A Finding Aid to the Gracie Mansion Gallery Records,
1972-1991
, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.gracmans
Creators:
Gracie Mansion Gallery
Dates:
1972-1991
Languages:
Multiple languages
The collection is in English with scattered materials in German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese.
English; German; French; Italian; Spanish; Japanese
Physical Description:
5.3 linear feet
Repository:
The records of the New York City contemporary Gracie Mansion Gallery measure 5.3 linear feet and date from 1972-1991. Most of the records date from the gallery opening in 1982 and later. The bulk of the collection consists of printed material and exhibition loan files that document the activities of the gallery and the East Village art scene. Loan and consignment files are found for numerous artists including Michael Bidlo, Buster Cleveland, Claudia DeMonte, Rodney Alan Greenblat, Stephen Lack, Ed McGowin, David Sandlin, Hope Sandrow, David Wojnarowicz, Rhonda Zwillinger, among others. Also found are scattered business records.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The records of the New York City contemporary Gracie Mansion Gallery measure 5.3 linear feet and date from 1972-1991. Most of the records date from the gallery's opening in 1982 and later. The bulk of the collection consists of printed material and exhibition loan files that document the activities of the gallery and the East Village art scene. Loan and consignment files are found for numerous artists including Michael Bidlo, Buster Cleveland, Claudia DeMonte, Rodney Alan Greenblat, Stephen Lack, Ed McGowin, David Sandlin, Hope Sandrow, David Wojnarowicz, and Rhonda Zwillinger, among others. Also found are scattered business records.
Extensive printed material includes newspaper and magazine clippings, exhibition catalogs, and artists' files. Exhibition loan files are found for artists, exhibitions, and art fairs. These files contain consignment and loan agreement forms, correspondence, exhibition announcements, newspaper and magazine clippings, negatives and slides of artwork and exhibition installations, and a handful of color photographs of artwork or exhibition locales.
Scattered business records include correspondence, returned consignment forms from 1982-1987, donation records and materials related to art auctions, artist commissions, various lists, materials related to the Gracie Mansion Museum Store, notes, and a variety of other documents related to gallery operations.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 3 series:
Series 1: Printed Material, 1972-1991 (Boxes 1-2, 6; 0.80 linear feet)
Series 2: Exhibition Loans, 1982-1991 (Boxes 2-4; 2.25 linear feet)
Series 3: Business Records, 1982-1991 (Box 5; 1 linear foot)

Historical Note
Historical Note
Painter and dealer Joanne Mayhew (b. circa 1947) changed her name to Gracie Mansion in 1982, and opened a gallery in the bathroom of her East Village apartment in March of that same year.
Gracie Mansion's first "Loo Division" exhibition was of her friend's photographs. The previous year, Gracie Mansion helped organize the "Limo Show", for which she rented a limousine and parked it on the corner of Spring and Broadway with fellow artists Buster Cleveland and Sur Rodney Sur. There, dressed as tourists, they served champagne and tried to sell their artwork to passersby.
This grassroots approach to the art market came to typify the emerging East Village art scene. Frustrated by the closed system of the SoHo and 57th Street galleries, in 1981-1982 several young artists and artists' groups began organizing shows and forming makeshift galleries of their own for fun and profit in the more affordable dilapidated East Village. The artwork they sold, predominately paintings, were also more affordable than those in SoHo.
The press quickly picked up on the East Village phenomenon and Mansion, who borrowed her name from the New York City mayor's official residence, had a charisma that made her and her gallery one of its favorite subjects. After three well-attended shows in her apartment, her landlord put a halt to her exhibitions and she moved her gallery to a larger space at 15 St. Mark's, then shortly after to 337 East Tenth Street between Avenues A and B. An integral part of the East Village art scene by the mid-80's, the Gracie Mansion Gallery, ran with the assistance of Sur Rodney Sur from 1983-1989, was one of the best known in the East Village during this boon.
Mansion specialized in large group exhibitions, theme shows that dramatically restyled the gallery, and the creative marketing of small affordable art. She represented a synthesis of painting and sculpture, art and environments, as opposed to single isolated objects. Among the artists she represented were Claudia DeMonte, Rodney Alan Greenblat, Ed McGowin , David Sandlin, Hope Sandrow, David Wojnarowicz, and Rhonda Zwillinger.
Eventually, Mansion relocated the gallery to SoHo and then Chelsea before closing in 2002 to focus on private dealing and the secondary market.

Administration
Processing Information
The records were processed by Jessica Ondusko in 2011.
Author
Jessica Ondusko
Provenance
The Gracie Mansion Gallery records were donated in 1991 by Gracie Mansion, founder of the Gracie Mansion Gallery.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Gracie Mansion Gallery records, 1972-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Restrictions on Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Gracie Mansion Gallery records 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.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art dealers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art galleries, Commercial -- East Village (New York, N.Y.) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zwillinger, Rhonda Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sandrow, Hope, 1951- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wojnarowicz, David Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
DeMonte, Claudia, 1947- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cleveland, Buster, -1998 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bidlo, Mike Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McGowin, Ed, 1938- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mansion, Gracie Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lack, Stephen Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Greenblat, Rodney Alan, 1960- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/