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Jean Brown papers, 1916-1995 (bulk 1958-1985)

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Brown (Jean) papers

Scope and Content of Collection

The Jean Brown papers (1916-1995, bulk 1958-1985) form a significant ensemble of original works and printed matter, and document Brown's intent to build a study collection of avant-garde materials. Dada and Surrealism provided the core inspiration for Brown's acquisitions, as well as for the later artists whose work she collected. In-depth holdings by artists participating in Fluxus, happenings, concrete, sound and visual poetry, new music, mail art, copy art, rubber stamp printing, and video and performance art underscore her range of interests. The collection's broad scope presents a comprehensive account of alternative movements, distribution networks and exhibition venues of the 1960s and 1970s.

[DELETE??]A significant portion of the archive consists of approximately 500 objects created by Fluxus artists and other contemporaries. Another large component documents Brown's interaction with the international network of mail artists and those distributing their work via post. Considerable printed matter records the exhibition and performance activities of artists and the alternative artists' spaces which sponsored them. Also included are bibliographic notes written by Brown, audio cassettes, reel-to-reel tapes, and films. Publications received with the archive have been separated to the Getty Research Library.[/DELETE]

Materials by Fluxus and mail artists comprise the bulk of Series I. Of primary import are manuscripts, performance instructions, scores, correspondence, drawings and announcements by Fluxus artists. Concrete, visual and sound poetry is substantially represented through manuscripts, typescripts, chapbooks and prints.

Announcements and invitations in Series II include postcards, fliers, press releases and posters from galleries, museums and avant-garde artists' spaces. The majority of the venues are situated in New York City, providing a rich account of exhibitions, happenings and poetry readings within a prolific artistic community.

Series III includes printed ephemera and clippings of Dada and Surrealism, copy art, dance, Fluxus, happenings, mail art, music, poetry, rubber stamp printing, semiotics, small presses, and video. Items typically document group activities occurring in venues different from those in Series II. The small presses section, the bulk of this series, is comprised of catalogs and publicity from publishers, distributors and bookstores dealing in artists' books, poetry and art multiples.

Series IV comprises clippings from newspapers and magazines concerning artists, galleries, books, and cultural trends. The most common sources are the New York Times and New Yorker magazine.

Series V consists of Brown's personal files including a transcript copy of her UCLA Oral History (1993), and an annotated copy of Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology. There are several series of card catalogs handwritten by Brown listing her collection of books and objects.

Series VI forms a significant portion of the archive, consisting of approximately 500 original art objects created by Fluxus artists and other contemporaries. Many of the items are small-scale and ephemeral, reflecting the Fluxus spirit of mass-produced or home-made inexpensive art. Some are one-of-a-kind pieces created especially for Brown.

Series VII includes audio recordings, primarily of new music, poetry readings and lectures, some of which are homemade or were recorded live. Recordings include a lecture by Marcel Duchamp, works by John Cage and Opal Nations, homemade cassettes by Klaus Groh, a film by Joseph Beuys and a video by the Gerlovins (Rimma Gerlovina and Valeriy Gerlovin) comprising clips of Brown in her home with Fluxus objects.

The Correspondence in Series VIII predominantly comprises letters received from Bernard Karpel (1911-1986), bibliographer and chief librarian of the Museum of Modern Art from 1942 to 1973. The letters, largely addressed to Jean, relate chiefly to the development and provenance of Brown's collection of Dada, Surrealist, and Fluxus art documentation.

[SIMILAR NOTE IN Separated Material Note DELETE THIS??]Publications received with the archive have been separated to the Getty Research Library and they can be found by searching the library catalog for the phrase "Jean Brown Collection."

Arrangement note

The collection is arranged in 8 series: ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Series I. Artists' files, 1916-1995, bulk 1958-1985
Series II. Announcements and invitations, ca. 1960-1989, bulk 1970-1985
Series III. Topical ephemera, 1917-1989, bulk 1965-1989
Series IV. Miscellaneous clippings, 1957-1987, bulk 1980-1985
Series V. Jean Brown personal files, 1993, undated
Series VI. Art objects, 1958-1986, undated
Series VII. Audiovisual materials, 1965-1987, undated
Series VIII. Correspondence with Bernard Karpel and miscellaneous notes, 1958-1973, undated.

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