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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

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

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

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Press Release

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