A Finding Aid to the Demi and Arturo Rodríguez Papers, circa 1957-2016, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.rodrartu
Creators:
Rodríguez, Arturo, 1956-
Demi, 1955-
Dates:
circa 1957-2016
Languages:
Multiple languages
The collection is in English and Spanish.
Physical Description:
6.42 Linear feet
12.79 Gigabytes
Repository:
The papers of Miami painters Demi and Arturo Rodríguez measure 6.42 linear feet and 12.79 GB and date from 1957 to 2016. The collection documents Arturo Rodríguez's career, travels, and childhood as well as the artwork of Demi, Rodriquez's wife and partner, and their relationship. Included are biographical materials, correspondence, interviews, writings, project and exhibition files, personal business records, printed and digital material, artwork, and photographic materials.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of Miami painters Demi and Arturo Rodríguez measure 6.42 linear feet and 12.79 GB and date from 1957 to 2016. The collection documents Arturo Rodríguez's career, travels, and childhood as well as the artwork of Demi, Rodriquez's wife and partner, and their relationship. Included are biographical materials, correspondence, interviews, writings, project and exhibition files, personal business records, printed and digital material, artwork, and photographic materials.
Personal and professional correspondence is with artists, curators, galleries, museums, art historians, and collectors, including Shifra M. Goldman, Cris Hassold, Helen L. Kohen, collectors Judith and Bill Ladner, Minuca Villaverde, and others. Interviews include video and sound recordings of Demi and Arturo discussing lives and artwork, as well as one interview with Carlos Verdecia Jr. about Arturo. Writings include statements on artwork and autobiographical essays, lectures and talks, and notes. Project files concern the exhibitions The Rage of Children (1991), Walls & Murals: Mike Glier, Arturo Rodríguez & David Wojnarowitz, and Far from Cuba. Other documentation includes a project overview for the Joan Mitchell Foundation, artwork for music album covers, and plans for a retrospective of Demi and Arturo's work that was cancelled due to lack of support.
Personal business records consist of files for donations, financial investments, gallery consignments, receipts, sales lists, and collector information. Printed material includes clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, journal and magazines, posters, programs, and several children's books illustrated by Arturo using the pseudonym Hieronimus Fromm. Artwork includes drawings and comics by Arturo, collages, drawings and sketches, and 30 sketchbooks belonging to Demi and Arturo. Photographic materials depict Demi and Arturo together and with others, Demi and Arturo's home and studio, exhibitions, still lives, travel, and works of art.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as nine series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1957-2013 (Box 1; 4 folders)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1978-2015 (Box 1; 0.8 linear feet, ER01; 0.023 GB)
  • Series 3: Interviews, 1991-2010 (Boxes 1-2; 0.5 linear feet, ER02-ER07; 6.01 GB)
  • Series 4: Writings, circa 1975-2015 (Box 2; 0.3 linear feet, ER08; 0.012 GB)
  • Series 5: Project and Exhibition Files, 1986-2015 (Box 2; 0.8 linear feet, ER09-ER11; 0.607 GB)
  • Series 6: Personal Business Records, 1988-2012 (Boxes 2-3; 0.4 linear feet; ER12; 0.007 GB)
  • Series 7: Printed Material, 1979-2016 (Boxes 3-4, 7, OV 8; 0.5 linear feet)
  • Series 8: Artwork, 1963-2016 (Boxes 4-5, 7, OV 8; 1.5 linear feet)
  • Series 9: Photographic Material, 1977-2012 (Boxes 5-7; 1.5 linear feet, ER13-ER29; 6.13 GB)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Demi (1955- ) and Arturo Rodríguez (1956- ) are painters in Miami, Florida.
Demi was born in Camagüey, Cuba. In 1961, her father was executed by the Cuban government. Demi's mother struggled to take care of Demi and her sisters alone and Demi was sent to live with relatives in Puerto Rico in 1962. She came to the U.S. in 1971 where she was able to join her sisters and mother. Eventually Demi settled in Miami in 1978. She attended Miami-Dade College where she studied drama with the Prometeo Theater Group. In 1980, she met Arturo at one of his exhibitions. They married in 1984. Demi worked as a bookkeeper before she knew she could draw and paint. Her first attempts at creating art were in 1984 using a wedding photograph of herself and Arturo as her subject. Her first exhibition was in 1987 at the Cuban Museum in Miami. As she developed as an artist, children became the prime subjects in Demi's paintings. She was the recipient of the Florida State Visual Artist Grant for 1992 to 1993.
Arturo Rodríguez was born in Ranchuelo, Cuba, and showed an interest in art as a small child. Arturo and his family were exiled to Spain in 1971. While in Spain, his visits to see the paintings of Goya and Velázquez at the Prado Museum helped solidify his interest in art. Rodríguez settled in Miami with his family in 1973 where he eventually attended Miami Dade College. Arturo's works are often influenced by his relationship with Demi. In 1995, he created a series of collages using images of Demi as a way to deal with her cancer diagnosis. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Cintas Foundation Fellowship, Florida Arts Council Fellowships, and a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy in 2019. Born-digital materials were processed by Kirsi Ritosalmi-Kisner in 2019 with funding provided by Smithsonian Collection Care and Preservation Fund.
Author
Sarah Mundy
Sponsor
The processing of this collection received Federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers were donated by Demi and Arturo Rodríguez in increments from 1997 to 2016.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Demi and Arturo Rodríguez papers, circa 1957-2016. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
One folder of samples of payments for sales is ACCESS RESTRICTED; use requires written permission. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings and born-digital records with no duplicate copies requires advance notice.
Conditions Governing Use
Authorization to reproduce a photograph of Demi by Ramon Guerrero for the purposes of publication requires written permission from Demi.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Demi conducted on November 20, 1997 and an oral history interview with Arturo Rodríguez conducted on November 14, 1997 at Demi and Arturo's home/studio in Miami, F.L. by Juan A. Martínez for the Archives of American Art.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Painters -- Florida -- Miami Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cuban American artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketchbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Goldman, Shifra M., 1926-2011 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hassold, Cris Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kohen, Helen L. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Verdecia, Carlos, 1955- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wojnarowicz, David 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/