Oral history interview with Richard Tuttle
Portions of this collection are digitized

Collection ID:
Tuttle, Richard, 1941-
McElhinney, James Lancel, 1952-
2016 November 14-17
Physical Description:
3 Items
sound files (4 hrs., 4 min.)
digital, wav
59 Pages

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview with Richard Tuttle conducted 2016 November 14 and 17, by James McElhinney, for the Archives of American Art, at Tuttle's home in New York, New York.
Scope and Contents
Tuttle recalls early memories at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; his mother's influence; family background from Pennsylvania, and Celtic ancestry; discussion of Calvinism; philosophies of art schools; discussion of Japanese language, literature and philosophy; designing book covers for Graham Greene; joining the air force and being honorably discharged; friendship with Agnes Martin; observations about the landscapes and geology of New Mexico and the Lascaux caves; thoughts on Humboldt and other German philosophers, Husserl, Philipp Otto Runge, and others; Travel in Peru, and his recent exhibitions in Lima, Peru; discussion of religion, art, senses; discussion of philosophy: Epicurus, Lucretius. Tuttle speaks of his childhood; he describes his siblings and his brother serving in the Vietnam War; discussion of creativity, education and difficulty with teachers, and being a creative child; influence of his grandparents; influence of religion and German background; teachers and relationship to his childhood schools; discussion of the 2016 elections and comparison to Republican Rome and Julius Caesar; engagement in theater, and writing at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut; influence of Sam Wagstaff; Interest in Allan Kaprow; comparing Picasso and Matisse; discussion of the cultural history of Hartford; visiting New York City in high school and college and the encouragement of his high school teacher; early artworks and creation of Paper Cubes; briefly attending Cooper Union; working in the library at the Cooper Hewitt Museum; discussion of Beat poetry and Abstract Expressionism; discussion of Betty Parsons and speaking about the "invisible" in art; thoughts about color and eidos in respect to Gaugin; working at Parsons; the importance of Ad Reinhardt's work; discussion of Romanticism. Tuttle also recalls Betty Parsons, Agnes Martin, Mark Rothko, Sam Wagstaff, A. Everett Austin, Herbert Vogel, Allen Ginsberg and others.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Richard Tuttle (1941- ) is a postminimalist artist and author in New York, N.Y. James McElhinney (1952- ) is a painter and educator of New York, N.Y.

Funding for this interview was provided by the Lichtenberg Family Foundation.
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
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.

Digital Content

More Information

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Artists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Installations (Art) Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001