A Finding Aid to the Aleksandra Kasuba Papers, circa 1900-2019, bulk 1960-2010, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.kasualek
Creators:
Kasuba, Aleksandra, 1923-2019
Dates:
circa 1900-2019
bulk 1960-2010
Languages:
Multiple languages
Most of the collection is in English; some records are in Lithuanian.
English; Lithuanian
Physical Description:
12.4 Linear feet
42.7 Gigabytes
Repository:
The papers of sculptor and environmental artist Aleksandra Kasuba measure 12.4 linear feet and date from circa 1900-2019, with the bulk of the material from 1960-2010. The collection documents Kasuba's career through biographical material, correspondence, interviews, lectures and writings, extensive project files, printed material, a scrapbook, artwork, and photographs.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of sculptor and environmental artist Aleksandra Kasuba measure 12.4 linear feet and date from circa 1900-2019, with the bulk of the material from 1960-2010. The collection documents Kasuba's career through biographical material, correspondence, interviews, lectures and writings, extensive project files, printed material, a scrapbook, artwork, and photographs.
Biographical material includes artist's statements and letters of recommendation. Biographical data consists of curriculum vitae, bibliographies, checklists of commissioned work and biographical entries; also found are drafts of biographical accounts used for press releases. Included is a citation to Kasuba from the Women's Architectural Auxiliary, New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in honor of her participation in a West Side urban renewal project. Digital biographical materials include a CV and preserved copies of Kasuba's various websites.
General correspondence mostly consists of invitations to lecture at academic institutions and professional associations. There are letters between Kasuba and interior design firms, publishers, museums, and academic institutions. Included are letters from Columbia University, Museum of Modern Art, and the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. Correpondence relates to commissioned projects, proposed exhibitions, and the scheduling of workshops and speaking engagements. Also found is correspondence with Thomas Whitridge about the publication of a monograph by Kasuba, extenisve family correspondence in Lithuanian, and correspondence with Algirdas Julien Greimas later organized for a publication.
Writings include various manuscripts and complementary visual schematics that Kasuba worked on throughout her career. Also included are Aleksandra Kasuba's lectures on the effects of alternative living environments on human behavior presented at academic forums and corporations. Writings include an essay by Kasuba and a typescript of an article on Kasuba that was published in Woman's Art Journal (Fall 1988/Winter 1984). Also included is a subseries of journals kept by Kasuba since the 1940s, before her successful emigration to the United States. Many of the earlier journals throughout the 1960s are of mixed Language content, much of them being written in Lithuanian.
Project Files document Kasuba's installations, exhibitions, tensile-fabric dwellings, shell dwellings, and live-in environments. Included are correspondence, artist's statements, project notes, plans, sketches and diagrams, business-related materials including agreements and cost estimates, printed material, clippings, and exhibition installation photographs and slides of artwork. There are files on Aleksandra Kasuba's professional activities, including teaching positions, speaking engagements, and publishing projects. Digital Project Records related to many of Kasuba's projects including digital video recordings are found in this series, as well as one super 8 mm film reel and two 8 mm motion picture film reels.
Printed material includes exhibition catalogs, announcements, and brochures; news and magazine clippings document various projects, including Kasuba's wall mosaics, shell dwellings, and alternative living environments. Many of the later tiles in this series are self-published. A scrapbook consists mainly of news clippings and reviews on Kasuba's work.
Artwork consists of sketches and drawings used as preliminary designs for Kasuba's projects. Also included are prints and elements used in the creation of the Jetty print series. Photographs are of Kasuba's wall mosaics, reliefs, space shelters, and live-in environments. Also found are slides and three slide binders of wall installations, shell dwellings, and environments made of tensile fabrics; included are slides used for lectures. Also included are photographs of Kasuba's New York City and New Mexico homes and studios, many in digital format.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged in 9 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1900-2017 (Boxes 1, 11: 0.5 linear ft.; 0.037 Gigabytes: ER001-ER005)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1941-2015 (Boxes 1, 11: 0.5 linear ft.)
  • Series 3: Interviews, 1976-1983 (Box 1: 0.2 linear ft.)
  • Series 4: Lectures and Writings, circa 1938-2019 (Boxes 1, 11-14, 16 3.8 linear ft.; 5.81 Gigabytes: ER006-ER0024)
  • Series 5: Project Files, 1960-2018 (Boxes 1-4, 15, Film cans FC 8-10: 4.6 linear ft.; 33.44 Gigabytes: ER025-ER057)
  • Series 6: Printed Material, 1950-2016 (0.5 Linear feet: Boxes 5, 15)
  • Series 7: Scrapbook, 1971-2010 (Box 6; 1 folder)
  • Series 8: Artwork, circa 1938-2017 (0.8 Linear feet: Boxes 5-6, 15, 17)
  • Series 9: Photographs, circa 1920-2017 (0.9 Linear feet: Boxes 5,7, 16-17; 3.35 Gigabytes: ER058-ER072)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Aleksandra Kasuba (1923-2019) was a Lithuanian-born sculptor, best known for her innovative architectural environments, who lived in New York and New Mexico. She attended the Kaunas Art Institute and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vilnius, Lithuania from 1941-1943. She studied with the sculptor, Vytautus Kasuba, whom she married in 1944. In response to the Soviet Army's occupation of their country, Aleksandra Kasuba and her husband emigrated to the United States in 1947. By 1963, Aleksandra Kasuba, her husband, and two children had moved to the Upper West Side in New York City. At the start of her career, Kasuba received commissions to make ceramic tiles for use in furniture. About the same time, she was also collaborating with architects in designing mosaic wall installations for public works. Aleksandra Kasuba's commissioned projects have included a plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., and wall mosaics for the Container Corporation in Chicago, and 560 Lexington Avenue in New York City. Some of Kasuba's mosaic compositions were made as individual pieces to be included in museum and gallery exhibitions.
Aleksandra Kasuba has also devoted her career to designing alternative living environments. In the late 1960s, Kasuba built dwellings that she referred to as Space Shelters, which were made from a fabric of her own design. In 1970, the American Craft Museum featured Kasuba's tensile-fabric structure in an exhibition "Contemplative Environments." She has also used nylon fabric to build her alternative or live-in environments. In addition, Kasuba has held several faculty positions. She taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York City from 1971-1972 and was an artist-in-residence at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1976 and the Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science in 1977. Kasuba has received awards from the American Institute of Architects in 1971 and 1972; in 1983, she was granted a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Aleksandra Kasuba has written several books, including a memoir published in 2001. Kasuba's husband, Vytautus died in 1997. From 2001 on, Aleksandra Kasuba had been living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she purchased a tract of land in the desert to continue her work on experimental housing. She died in 2019.

Administration
Processing Information
This collection was processed in 2014 by Joy Goodwin. Motion picture film reels were inspected and re-housed in 2016-2017 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund. 2018 and 2019 additions, as well as born-digital content was processed by Ryan Evans in 2019.
Author
Joy Goodwin and Ryan Evans
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated in 2013 by Aleksandra Kasuba. Additions were donated in 2018 by Aleksandra Kasuba and in 2019 by Guoda M. Burr, Kasuba's daughter.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Aleksandra Kasuba papers, circa 1900-2019. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
The Aleksandra Kasuba 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
Subseries 4.2 (Journals) is access restricted; written permission is required.
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.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors -- New Mexico Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Environmental artists -- New Mexico Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Environmental artists -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors -- New Mexico Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Berlind, Jerilyn Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Whitridge, Thomas Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Freudenheim, Nina Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Columbia University Corporate 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/