Skip to Content
Admission is always free Directions

Release Date: April 6, 2017

Avant-Garde Ephemera from the 1960s and 1970s Explored in National Gallery of Art Library Installation

New York University, Dan Graham: Performance, Film, Television, & Tape, invitation, New York, New York, 1970, National Gallery of Art Library, Vertical Files, Vogel Collection

New York University, Dan Graham: Performance, Film, Television, & Tape, invitation, New York, New York, 1970, National Gallery of Art Library, Vertical Files, Vogel Collection

Washington, DC—Avant-garde art movements of the 1960s and 1970s emphasized ideas, experience, and process over the tangible artwork. A new special installation of nearly 30 objects from the National Gallery of Art Library highlights art-related ephemera. In the Library: Companion Pieces will be on view from April 24 to August 25, 2017, in the East Building Study Center.

About the Installation

Experimental art of the 1960s and 1970s often occurred in immersive environments, at a specific time and place, or seemingly outside of time and space. Influenced by the civil rights, antiwar, and feminist movements, artists were interested in the democratization of the art experience. Readily available printing methods provided quick reproduction and dissemination of flyers, programs, and postcards.

Companion pieces—invitations, programs, and exhibition catalogs—promoted, recorded, and explained performances, environments, and conceptual artworks. While many of the companion pieces on view provide a fragment of a finished work, they fully reflect the spirit of the 1960s and '70s.

Organized by the National Gallery of Art Library and curated by Anne H. Simmons, reference librarian for vertical files and microforms, department of library reader services, National Gallery of Art, this installation is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Library and Vertical Files Collection

The National Gallery of Art Library, founded in 1941, holds more than 400,000 books and periodicals, including more than 12,000 volumes in the rare books collection, with an emphasis on Western art from the Middle Ages to the present. In 1979, the completion of a new seven-story facility in the Gallery's East Building and the establishment of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) allowed the library to broaden the purpose and scope of its collection. A major national art research center, the library serves the Gallery's staff, CASVA members, visiting scholars, and researchers.
Published documents—small catalogs, pamphlets, invitations, and other ephemera—are part of the library's vertical files. Documenting exhibitions primarily from the mid-20th century onward, this collection provides valuable material for provenance research and exhibition histories. The vertical files acquire material from the National Gallery of Art curatorial staff as well as from private collections, including those of Chester Dale, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, and Herbert and Dorothy Vogel.

To access the library, visitors must make an appointment, Monday through Friday. Call (202) 842-6511 or email [email protected] for more information.

Press Contact:
Laurie Tylec, (202) 842-6355 or [email protected]

General Information

The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are at all times free to the public. They are located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, and are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1. For information call (202) 737-4215 or visit the Gallery's Web site at Follow the Gallery on Facebook at, Twitter at, and Instagram at

Visitors will be asked to present all carried items for inspection upon entering. Checkrooms are free of charge and located at each entrance. Luggage and other oversized bags must be presented at the 4th Street entrances to the East or West Building to permit x-ray screening and must be deposited in the checkrooms at those entrances. For the safety of visitors and the works of art, nothing may be carried into the Gallery on a visitor's back. Any bag or other items that cannot be carried reasonably and safely in some other manner must be left in the checkrooms. Items larger than 17 by 26 inches cannot be accepted by the Gallery or its checkrooms.
For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
a-gut[email protected]

The Gallery also offers a broad range of newsletters for various interests. Follow this link to view the complete list.

Order Press Images

To order publicity images: Click on the link above and designate your desired images using the checkbox below each thumbnail. Please include your name and contact information, press affiliation, deadline for receiving images, the date of publication, and a brief description of the kind of press coverage planned.

Press Release

Laurie Tylec
(202) 842-6355
[email protected]

Questions from members of the media may be directed to the Department of Communications at (202) 842-6353 or [email protected]

The public may call (202) 737-4215 or visit for more information about the National Gallery of Art.