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Author/Artist Bourdon, David.
Title David Bourdon correspondence, 1952-1997.
Found In Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.). Museum Archives. Records.
Description 2.5 linear ft. (6 boxes)
Arrangement The collection is organized into three series as follows; within each series folders are arranged as received. Series I: Correspondence 1955-1997, Series II: Interview and Conversation Transcripts 1971-1972, Series III: Ray Johnson Material 1964-1995.
Barcode Location Call Number Vol./Copy Status Information
 MoMA Museum Archives    AVAILABLE
Access restrictions The records are open for research and contain no restricted materials.
Terms of use The David Bourdon Papers are the physical property of The Museum of Modern Art. Literary rights, including copyright belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Rights to work produced during the normal course of Museum business resides with The Museum of Modern Art. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archivist.
Summary Received correspondence, conversation transcripts, and other material from the author and art critic, David Bourdon.
Throughout his adult life, Bourdon was intimately involved with the art world as a writer, critic, collector, and connoisseur, and he developed close relationships with many of his subjects. This collection of his correspondence and interview transcripts attest both to his professional activities and his personal relationships.
The earliest material here dates from 1955, well before Bourdon began his professional career, and consists of letters from numerous close friends. Much of the correspondence in Series I is of strictly personal nature, including numerous Christmas and holiday cards from friends and relatives. There is personal correspondence here from some of Bourdon's more significant relationships, including the art critics Suzi Gablik and Gregory Battcock. And one folder (I.12) contains numerous letters and postcards from noted artists. Many, such as Jeanne Claude and Christo and Carl Andre, were frequent subjects of Bourdon's writing.
The transcripts of conversations and interviews in Series II compose a distinct part of Bourdon's activity. Evidence suggests that he regularly recorded his phone conversations, then later transcribed them for research or diaristic purposes. While some of the content is strictly conversational in nature, much also involves the activities of the art world and Andy Warhol in particular, as Warhol is the most frequent caller recorded here. There is no available information suggesting that the callers were informed of the recordings.
Finally, one of Bourdon's longest lasting correspondents among the many artists he knew was Ray Johnson. Johnson had studied at Black Mountain College but gained his greatest prominence only in the late 1960s and after as one of the main progenitors of Correspondence or Mail Art. Bourdon was recipient of a great number of these pieces as well as regular written letters. The folders of Series III contain numerous examples of Johnson's output as well as a drawing by Johnson.
All correspondence noted below is addressed to Bourdon. Only a few examples of Bourdon's outgoing correspondence is present. That Bourdon kept envelopes for most of his correspondence greatly aids the substantiation of date and correspondent. The material was received as a single series of folders overlapping in chronology, without any clear organization, and absent significant titles or labels. The order of folders has been only minimally rearranged to form the three series.
Biographical/historical note David Bourdon was born October 15, 1934, and earned his undergraduate degree from Columbia University in 1961. He immediately entered into a career as a journalist and art critic writing through his career for periodicals such as Artforum International, Art in America, Arts Magazine, and Time, among others. In particular he worked as an assistant editor at Life, 1966-1971, an associate editor at Saturday Review, 1972, and Smithsonian, 1972-1974, a senior editor at Geo, 1981-1983, and a senior features editor at Vogue, 1983-1986. Additionally, he served as art critic for The Village Voice, 1964-1966 and 1974-1977. Bourdon wrote numerous books on modern artists including works on Alexander Calder, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Carl Andre, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and Andy Warhol. David Bourdon died in New York on March 27, 1998.
Cite as Published citations should take the following form:Long version: David Bourdon Papers, [series.folder]. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.
Published citations should take the following form:Long version: Short version: Bourdon, [series.folder]. MoMA Archives, NY.
Provenance The David Bourdon Correspondence was given to the Museum Archives in 1999 by Les Levine, executor of David Bourdon's estate.
Note Forms part of: Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.). Museum Archives. Records.
LC subject Art critics -- United States -- History -- 20th century -- Archives.
Art, American -- 20th century -- Sources.
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Sources.
Warhol, Andy, 1928-1987 -- Archives.
Genre/Form Correspondence.
Personal papers.
WorldCat no. 758651667

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