A Finding Aid to the Piri Halasz Papers,
circa 1950-2017
, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.halapiri
Creators:
Halasz, Piri
Dates:
circa 1950-2017
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
1.6 Linear feet
0.179 Gigabytes
Repository:
The papers of Piri Halasz are dated circa 1950-2017, and measure 1.6 linear feet and 0.179 GB. The collection consists of correspondence with Clement Greenberg and a number of well-known artists; writings including article and book manuscripts, drafts of lectures, talks, and born-digital presentations; interview transcripts and sound recordings; exhibition reviews; research; biographical material; photographs; and printed material documenting Halasz's activities as an art critic, writer and curator.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The papers of Piri Halasz are dated circa 1950-2017, and measure 1.6 linear feet and 0.179 GB. The collection consists of correspondence with Clement Greenberg and a number of well-known artists; writings including article and book manuscripts, drafts of lectures, talks, and born-digital presentations; interview transcripts and sound recordings; exhibition reviews; research; biographical material; photographs; and printed material documenting Halasz's activities as an art critic, writer and curator.
The series titled "Greenbergiana" contains various materials related to Greenberg, including an interview Halasz conducted with Greenberg in 1991, a questionnaire filled out by artist Pat Lipsky Sutton concerning Greenberg's ideas about her work, and items concerning his death and memorial services.
Correspondence contains letters from Anthony Caro, Helen Frankenthaler, Clement Greenberg, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons, Anne Truitt, and others. There is a folder of greeting cards, some with original artwork, from artists of her acquaintance. Also found is correspondence with publishers about articles submitted by Halasz for consideration. Photographs are of Halasz and colleagues.
Writings include drafts of published and unpublished articles about Pablo Picasso, Ad Reinhardt, Abraham Rattner, Jennings Tofel, Larry Poons, Stanley William Hayter, Morris Louis, Manhattan museums, Randy Bloom and other subjects. There are transcripts of lectures and talks given by Halasz, and transcripts of interviews she conducted with Stanley William Hayter and Randy Bloom. The series also contains a manuscript for her 1985 novel, The Artist's Widow and supplemental material related to her book, A Memoir of Creativity, 1956-2008. Born-digital material includes two PowerPoint presentations related to Halasz's lectures.
"A Year in the Life of Present Modernism," an exhibition curated by Halasz, was held in 1997-1998 at the Tribes Gallery, New York City. Documentation includes printed material, photographs, and biographical information about Halasz and participating artists.
A small amount of biographical material includes curricula vitae, identifications cards, drawings by Halasz, and photographs of Halasz at various stages in life.
Interviews include one transcript and nineteen sound recording on cassettes of artists, relatives of artists, historians, and curators. All interviews were conducted by Halasz as research for various writing projects. Interviewees include artists Randy Bloom, Frank Bowling, Stanley William Hayter, Larry Poons, Peter Reginato, Ann Walsh, and James Walsh.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as six series:
  • Series 1: "Greenbergiana," 1989-1996 (Box 1; 1 folder)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1968-2007 (Box 1, 3; 0.2 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Writings and Related Materials, 1966-2013 (Boxes 1-4, 1.1 linear feet; ER01, 0.179 GB)
  • Series 4: "A Year in the Life of Present Modernism," 1996-1998 (Box 2; 1 folder)
  • Series 5: Biographical Material, circa 1950-2017 (Box 4; 1 folder)
  • Series 6: Interviews, 1979-2004 (Box 4; 0.3 linear feet)

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Piri Halasz (b. 1935) is an art critic, writer, lecturer, teacher, curator, and blogger who focuses on the New York art scene and politics from the 1940s to the present. She corresponded with a number of well-known artists; her long-standing association with Clement Greenberg is represented in her correspondence, articles and interviews.
Halasz, a native New Yorker, attended Barnard College where she majored in English literature. After her graduation in 1956, Halasz worked at Time magazine for six years as a researcher, primarily in business news, before being promoted to writer. For the next six years, she wrote articles covering a range of subjects including obituaries, celebrities, books, current trends, and world affairs. Her 1966 cover story for Time, "Swinging London," was a cultural snapshot of mid-1960s London that resulted in an invitation to write A Swinger's Guide to London. Published by Coward McCann in 1967, it was republished in 2010 as part of the Authors Guild "Back in Print" program.
In 1967 Halasz was assigned to write the art page of Time. Her 1969 article about Helen Frankenthaler attracted the attention of Clement Greenberg and they became close friends. Greenberg encouraged her to leave Time, which she did in 1969.
She returned to Columbia in 1974 to pursue graduate studies in art history and obtained her PhD in 1982; a substantial section of Halasz's dissertation was devoted to Greenberg's philosophy. Halasz has since pursued a career as an art critic, writer, lecturer, teacher, curator, and blogger. In 1996 she launched "From the Mayor's Doorstep," an online column of art criticism and politics which became a blog in 2010.
Halasz has taught at Columbia University, Hunter College, C. W. Post Center Long Island University, Molloy College, and Bethany College. She has published articles, primarily on art, in The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Arts Magazine, Art in America, ARTnews and NYArts.
Her self-published book, A Memoir of Creativity: Abstract Painting, Politics and the Media, 1958-2008 (iUniverse, 2009), is an insider's view of the publishing industry, the New York art scene and an explication of her theory of "multi-referential imagery. This theory posits that abstract painting refers to imagery that is unconsciously significant to the artist which then triggers recognition in the viewer.
Ms. Halasz lives and works in New York City.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Deborah Tint in 2010. The 2017 addition was merged with the original donation and the finding aid was updated by Hilary Price in 2018.
Author
Deborah Tint
Provenance
Donated 2010 and 2017 by Piri Halasz.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Piri Halasz papers, circa 1950-2017. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Authors -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art historians -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Greenberg, Clement, 1909-1994 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Poons, Larry Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rattner, Abraham Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reinhardt, Ad, 1913-1967 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hayter, Stanley William, 1901-1988 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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