Archives of American Art

Oral history interview with Pat Steir

Collection ID:
Steir, Pat, 1940-
Richards, Judith Olch
2008 March 1-2
Physical Description:
92 Pages

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Pat Steir conducted 2008 March 1-2, by Judith Olch Richards, for the Archives of American Art, at Steir's home, in New York, N.Y.
Scope and Contents
Steir speaks of her parents' history and various occupations; her Russian Jewish background; her early desire to become a poet or artist; the lack of encouragement from both her parents; memories of earlier interactions with a number of influential figures; rejecting a scholarship offer to go to Smith College for a scholarship to study art at Pratt Institute; studying art at Boston University; illustrating for Harper & Row; her experiences and reflections as a female artist struggling to get recognition equal to that of her male counterparts; teaching at Parsons School of Design; living in Pasadena, California and teaching at CalArts; traveling to Europe, China, Japan, and India; opening a studio in Amsterdam; her involvement with the feminist movement; working as an editor at Semiotext magazine and how that launched her into starting a private company called Printed Matter, designing books; traveling to the Southwest and the influence of the Navajo culture on her work; her relationships with various performing artists; her interns and teaching; how she got involved with printmaking; her preference for oil-based paints rather than acrylic; printmaking as a major art form; how her relationship with dealers changed over time; how her work was seen and promoted in Europe; exhibiting at Paley & Lowe; working with large canvases; her interest in reacquiring her sold works; influences from Japonism, Impressionism, Modernism, and Postmodernism; the influence of Chinese and Japanese art, process, and technique; the significance of her Brueghel paintings; her artistic process and techniques; her interest in the romance of art history; almost giving up painting; working with Cheim & Read; her current exhibition at the Ochi Gallery in Idaho; the future of her work; the struggle for women to gain critical attention in the art world; the fusion of the art world and fashion; and her love and zeal for fashion. Steir also recalls Agnes Martin, Mark Rothko, Dick Solomon, Joan Mitchell, Brigitte Cornand, Louise Bourgeois, Lucy Lippard, Flora Biddle, Willem de Kooning, Marcia Tucker, Joan Snyder, Miriam Schapiro, and others.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Pat Steir (1938- ) is a painter and printmaker in New York, N.Y. Judith Olch Richards (1947- ) is the former executive director for iCI in New York, N.Y.

Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.

Digital Content

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
This interview is open for research. Contact Reference Services for more information.

More Information
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 47 min.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women painters Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women printmakers Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Heresies Collective, Inc. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
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Washington, D.C. 20001