A Finding Aid to the Gregory Battcock Papers, 1952-circa 1980, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.battgreg

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.battgreg
Creators:
Battcock, Gregory, 1937-
Dates:
1952-circa 1980
Languages:
English
The collection is in English.
Physical Description:
10.2 linear feet
Repository:
Archives of American Art
The papers of New York art critic, writer, educator, and painter, Gregory Battcock, measure 10.2 linear feet and date from 1952 to circa 1980. The collection includes biographical material, correspondence, published and unpublished writings, artists' files, personal business records, printed materials, scrapbooks, photographic materials, and artifacts that detail his involvement in both the mainstream and fringe art scenes of the 1970s.

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
The papers of New York art critic, writer, educator, and painter, Gregory Battcock, measure 10.2 linear feet and date from 1952 to circa 1980. The collection includes biographical material, correspondence, published and unpublished writings, artists' files, personal business records, printed materials, scrapbooks, photographic materials, and artifacts that detail his involvement in both the mainstream and fringe art scenes of the 1970s.
Biographical materials contain address lists, six appointment books, a diploma and certificate, family history, identification documents, interviews, resumes, obituaries, a William Paterson College of New Jersey teaching file, and membership files for The Bronx Museum, International Association of Art Critics, and other organizations. Correspondence is with Battcock's mother, Elizabeth; friends and colleagues Peter Frank, John George, Al Goldstein, Braniff Livingston, Robert McGeehan, Julio Neri, Judith Van Baron, Ron Whyte, and others regarding social events, reprint permissions, book projects, travel arrangements, real estate, and freelance work.
Writings and notes include personal journal entries, drafts for articles and essays, manuscripts for published and unpublished works including "The Story of Film" and
Breaking the Sound Barrier: A Critical Anthology of the New Music
, his dissertation titled "Constructivism and Minimal Art: Some Critical, Theoretical and Aesthetic Correlations," book proposals, lectures, limericks, restaurant reviews, notes and writings by Jorge Glusberg and Vivienne Thaul Wechter.
Files for artists contain mostly printed material on Gisela Beker, Cee Brown, Jon Carsman, Christo, Jerry Dreva, Jacques Halbert, Emil Hess, Les Levine, Naoto Nakagawa, Nam Jun Paik, Harry Partch, Lil Picard, Philip Pocock, HA Schult, Andy Warhol, and others. The file for Salvador Dalí contains one video recording. Battcock's personal business records include contracts and payments for his writing, real estate papers, business agreements, papers regarding his father's estate, a loan agreement for Andy Warhol's "Self Portrait," and files detailing the theft of two painting by Malcom Morley from Battcock's residence.
Found in printed materials are clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, flyers, post cards, magazines, press releases, issues of
Trylon & Perisphere
and
Gay
magazines, and other material that features Battcock's writings. Additional clippings of Battcock's writings that appeared in the
New York Free Press, New York Review of Sex and Politics, Domus, The Soho Weekly News, New York Arts Journal, Gay
, and other publications are contained in ten scrapbooks.
Photographs are of Battcock, colleagues and friends, works of art from his personal collection, travel, and artists Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, Nam Jun Paik, Julio Neri, Rolando Peña, Stephen Varble, and Scott Burton. Several keys with a detached keychain labeled 'studio' are in artifacts.

Arrangement note
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged as 9 series.
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1958-1980 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1960s-circa 1980 (2.7 linear feet; Boxes 1-3, 12)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1966-1980 (2.7 linear feet; Boxes 4-6)
Series 4: Artists' Files, 1960s-1980 (0.6 linear feet; Box 6)
Series 5: Personal Business Records, 1966-1980 (0.5 linear feet; Box 6-7)
Series 6: Printed Materials, 1952-1980 (1.4 linear feet; Boxes 7-8, 12-13)
Series 7: Scrapbooks, 1959-1980 (1.1 linear feet; Boxes 8-9, 12)
Series 8: Photographic Materials, 1960s-1980 (1.0 linear feet; Boxes 9-11)
Series 9: Artifacts, circa 1970s (0.1 linear feet; Box 11)

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
Gregory Battcock (1937-1980) was an art critic, writer, educator, and painter from New York, N.Y. He attended Michigan State University, the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, and Hunter College for his undergraduate and graduate studies before receiving his Ph.D. from New York University in 1978. His dissertation was titled "Constructivism and Minimal Art: Some Aesthetic, Theoretical and Critical Correlations."
Battcock was a prolific writer and wrote numerous articles as a correspondent for
Art & Artists
and
Domus
magazines. His column, "The Last Estate," appeared in
Gay
magazine as well as other publications. In 1977, Battcock co-founded the short-lived magazine,
Trylon & Perisphere
, with his close friend, playwright Ron Whyte. Even though only three issues were printed, the magazine exhibited Battcock's predilection for art society gossip, and provocative imagery and prose. E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. published several of Battcock's books including
Why Art: Casual Notes on the Aesthetics of the Immediate Past
,
Breaking the Sound Barrier: A Critical Anthology of the New Music
, and
Idea Art: A Critical Anthology
. In addition to his writing career, Battcock taught fine art at William Paterson College of New Jersey, was art critic for
New York Free Press
from 1967 to 1970, Editor-in-Chief of
Arts Magazine
from 1973 to 1975, and appeared in the Andy Warhol films
The Illiac Passion
,
Horse
, and
Batman Dracula
.
Battcock was murdered in Puerto Rico on December 25, 1980. At the time of his death he was working on "The Story of Film," which remains unpublished, and
The Art of Performance: A Critical Anthology
, which was published posthumously in 1984.

Administration
Processing Information note
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy in 2017 with funding from the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care Pool Fund, using accelerated processing strategies implemented by the Archives to increase information about and access to more of our collections. For this collection, accelerated processing included arrangement to the series and folder levels, adhering to the creator's original arrangement as much as possible. Generally, folder contents were simply verified with the original folder titles, but items within folders were not arranged further. All materials were rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed.
Author
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund.
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
The Gregory Battcock papers were donated in 1992 by Nancy Mahl, an artist who occupied a studio in Jersey City, N.J. that had formerly been leased by a moving and storage company, and who came upon Battcock's papers in the building. The papers had been shipped to the Jersey City building without the knowledge of Ron Whyte (executor of Battcock's estate) and the Rev. Paul William Bradley, who had arranged to have Battcock's papers stored after his death. Additional papers were donated 2003 by Rev. Paul W. Bradley, who inherited the papers after the death of his partner Ron Whyte.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use note
The Gregory Battcock papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Conditions Governing Access note
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Preferred Citation note
Gregory Battcock Papers, 1952-circa 1980. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Archival Materials note
Also found at the Archives of American Art is an audio interview recorded on December 11, 1969 with Gregory Battcock for the University Roundtable radio series. The recording forms part of the WFUV radio interviews relating to art, 1969-1973 collection.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Battcock, Elizabeth Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Beker, Gisela Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bronx Museum of the Arts. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brown, Cee Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Burton, Scott Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976 -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Carsman, Jon, 1944- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Christo, 1935- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dalí, Salvador, 1904- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dreva, Jerry Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Frank, Peter, 1950- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
George, John Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Glusberg, Jorge Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Goldstein, Al Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Halbert, Jacques Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hess, Emil, 1889-1945 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
International Association of Art Critics Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Levine, Les, 1935- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Livingston, Braniff Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McGeehan, Robert, 1933- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Morley, Malcolm, 1931- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nakagawa, Naoto, 1944- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Neri, Julio Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Paik, Nam June, 1932-2006 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Partch, Harry, 1901-1974 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Peña, Rolando, 1942- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Picard, Lil Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pocock, Philip Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Schult, Ha, 1939- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Trylon & perisphere. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Van Baron, Judith Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Varble, Stephen Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Warhol, Andy, 1928- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wechter, Vivienne Thaul Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Whyte, Ron Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
William Paterson College of New Jersey. -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art critics--New York (State)--New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art thefts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, Modern--20th century--Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art--New York (State)--New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Authors--New York (State)--New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Constructivism (Art) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators--New York (State)--New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Minimal art Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters--New York (State)--New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C., 20001
Phone: 202-633-7950
http://www.aaa.si.edu/askus