A Finding Aid to the Melinda Wortz Papers, 1958-1992, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.wortmeli
Creators:
Wortz, Melinda
Dates:
1958-1992
Languages:
English
The collection is in English.
Physical Description:
17.45 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of California art historian, writer, instructor, and curator, Melinda Wortz (1940-2002) date from 1958-1992, and measure 17.45 linear feet. The collection includes documentation of Wortz's tenure at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), where she specialized in collecting and presenting the California "light and space" artists during the 1970s and 1980s. Wortz's papers include biographical information, personal and professional correspondence, interview transcripts and sound recordings, professional and student writings and notes, diaries of five trips abroad, UCI administrative, dossier, and teaching files, general subject and artist files, printed material, several pieces of artwork; and photographs.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of California art historian, writer, instructor, and curator, Melinda Wortz (1940-2002) date from 1958-1992, and measure 17.45 linear feet. The collection includes documentation of Wortz's tenure at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), where she specialized in collecting and presenting the California Light and Space artists during the 1970s and 1980s. Wortz's papers include biographical information, personal and professional correspondence, interview transcripts and sound recordings, professional and student writings and notes, diaries of five trips abroad, UCI administrative, dossier, and teaching files, general subject and artist files, printed material, several pieces of artwork; and photographs.
Wortz's biographical material includes annotated appointment books and calendars, resumes, and some family, financial, and legal records.
Correspondence files document Wortz's activities beyond her work at UCI, including scattered correspondence with artists such as Eleanor Antin, Daniel Barber, Christo, Craig Kauffman, Cork Marchesi, Martha Rosler, Eve Sonneman, Hap Tivey, and Elsa Warner. Correspondence also relates to arrangements for lectures, juries, panels, symposiums, and other professional activities in which Wortz participated.
Interviews include transcripts of four interviews conducted by Wortz with subjects including Peter Lodato and Dewain Valentine, and a sound recording of an interview with Nina Wiener.
Writings and notes include drafts, and some published copies, of articles and essays written for journals, magazines, and exhibition catalogs; Wortz's dissertation and thesis; notes; student essays and class notes; and scattered writings by others. Included in the published works are copies of Artweek containing articles by Wortz, and drafts and published copies of essays on Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Jasper Johns, Jay McCafferty, Isamu Noguchi, Robert Rauschenberg, Klaus Rinke, Beth Ames Schwartz, and James Turrell.
Diaries document five separate overseas trips to locations including Asia in 1977, Paris in 1978, and the U.S.S.R., where Wortz delivered a paper on Robert Irwin, in 1989.
University of California, Irvine, records include Wortz's administrative files documenting her work on various committees, her directorship of the Fine Arts Gallery, including budget and exhibition records, her work as Chair of Studio Art, and her collaborations with other faculty, including Judy Baca, Sandy Ballatore, Tony Delap, Craig Kauffman, and Rena Small. Wortz's dossier files provide a thorough record of her accomplishments from the late 1970s-1990, and her UCI teaching files document the content of core art courses which she taught at UCI in the 1970s and 1980s.
Subject files provide additional documentation of Wortz's interest in particular artists and subjects, and include scattered correspondence with artists, as well as additional correspondence, reports, printed material, index card files, sound cassettes, and photographs, documenting her interests in art and politics, feminism, religion and spirituality, museum management and training, and other subjects.
Printed material includes announcements, catalogs, journals, newsletters, and material specifically documenting Wortz's activities.
Artwork includes a piece of floor covering from a Jim Dine exhibition, a booklet by Daniel Barber, Flams by Rena Livkin, and several pieces of unidentified artwork.
Photographs include photos of Wortz with her family and with UCI faculty including Tony DeLap, Craig Kauffman, and Ed Moses; photos of events with friends and family, including Hap Tivey's wedding to Liza Todd with Elizabeth Taylor in attendance; photos of artists including Frederick Eversley, Bill Harding, Jack Ox, and Stephen Zaimo; and photos of artwork by artists including Tony DeLap, Barbara Smith, Marc Van Der Marck, and others.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as ten series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1966-1988 (0.25 linear feet; Boxes 1, 19)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1967-1992 (1.25 linear feet; Boxes 1-2, 18)
  • Series 3: Interviews, 1971-circa 1980s (6 folders; Boxes 2, 18)
  • Series 4: Writings and Notes, 1958-circa 1990 (4.25 linear feet; Boxes 2-6, 19)
  • Series 5: Diaries, 1977-1989 (6 folders; Box 6)
  • Series 6: University of California, Irvine, 1960-1991 (4.8 linear feet; Boxes 6-11, OV 20)
  • Series 7: Subject Files, circa 1960-1990 (4.25 linear feet; Boxes 11-15, 18)
  • Series 8: Printed Material, 1960s-1980s (1.8 linear feet; Boxes 15-16, 19)
  • Series 9: Artwork, circa 1960s-circa 1980s (3 folders; Boxes 17, 19)
  • Series 10: Photographs, 1960s-1980s (0.6 linear feet; Boxes 17, 19)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
California art historian, writer, instructor, and curator, Melinda Wortz (1940-2002), taught at the University of California, Irvine, from 1975, serving as Director of UCI's Fine Arts Gallery and Chair of the Department of Studio Art. Wortz's special area of interest was the work of the California "light and space" artists emerging in Los Angeles in the 1970s.
After attending Stanford University and graduating from Radcliffe College with a bachelors degree in art history, Wortz received her masters degree in art history from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her doctorate in theology and the arts from the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley. Wortz taught at California State University and the University of California Extension in the early 1970s. At UCI her colleagues included Judy Baca, Sandy Ballatore, Tony Delap, Craig Kauffman, and Rena Small.
Wortz married Edward C. Wortz in the early 1970s, following her divorce from her first husband, Thomas G. Terbell, Jr. Edward Wortz's first career was as a research scientist working on NASA contracts in the air research industry in Colorado and California. Later he was involved in the arts and participated in collaborations with artists including Robert Irwin, Coy Howard, and James Turrell. He worked with Melinda Wortz to develop their personal collection of contemporary art.
Melinda Wortz was a prolific writer who wrote extensively for national art periodicals, including Arts Magazine, and Art News. She also wrote, and served as editor, for the California periodical Artweek from the 1960s to 1990s. She wrote numerous catalogs for artists including Larry Bell, Cork Marchesi, Doug Moran, Beth Ames Schwartz, and James Turrell; and published articles on Dan Flavin, Robert Irwin, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and others. She lectured at Brown University, the Center for Art, Salt Lake City, Contemporary Art Museum, La Jolla, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the San Diego Museum, Wellesley College, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and many other institutions. In 1989 she traveled to the U.S.S.R. to deliver a paper on Robert Irwin at the International Art Critics Association annual meeting.
In addition to her curatorial work at the UCI Fine Arts Gallery, where she organized exhibitions for artists including Alice Aycock, Jonathan Borofsky, Audrey Flack, Jack Ox, and Dennis Oppenheim, Wortz curated exhibitions for University of California sister colleges, Pasadena Art Museum, and others.
Wortz received UCI and National Endowment for the Arts grants in support of her writing, and served on advisory boards of the Contemporary Arts Forum, Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara, Robert Rauschenberg's foundation, Advisory Board of Change, Inc., the Pasadena Art Museum, and others.
Wortz was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease at the age of 50 and died in 2002.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Stephanie Ashley in 2017 with support from the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care Pool Fund, using accelerated processing strategies implemented by the Archives to increase information about and access to more of our collections. For this collection, accelerated processing included arrangement to the series and folder levels, adhering to the creator's original arrangement as much as possible. Generally, folder contents were simply verified with the original folder titles, but items within folders were not arranged further. All materials were rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed.
Author
Stephanie Ashley
Sponsor
Support for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian's Collections Care Pool Fund.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated by Edward C. Wortz, Melinda Wortz's husband, in 1994.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
The Melinda Wortz 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
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Preferred Citation
Melinda Wortz papers, 1958-1992. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women art historians -- California Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gallery directors -- California -- Los Angeles Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art historians -- California -- Los Angeles Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transcripts Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, American -- California Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art galleries, University and college -- California -- Irvine Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Curators -- California -- Los Angeles Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art critics -- California -- Los Angeles Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Authors -- California -- Los Angeles Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Travel diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art teachers -- California -- Los Angeles Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- California Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Paris (France) -- description and travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Soviet Union -- description and travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Eversley, Frederick, 1941- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Taylor, Elizabeth, 1932-2011 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Livkin, Rena Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Turrell, James Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tivey, Hap Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Baca, Judith Francisca Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
DeLap, Tony, 1927- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Antin, Eleanor Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Christo, 1935- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dine, Jim, 1935- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McCafferty, Jay David, 1948- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sonneman, Eve Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ox, Jack, 1948- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Todd, Liza Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University of California, Irvine. Fine Arts Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marck, Marc van der Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rinke, Klaus, 1939- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rosler, Martha Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Irwin, Robert, 1928- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Johns, Jasper, 1930- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University of California, Irvine. Department of Studo Art Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Valentine, De Wain, 1936- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kauffman, Craig, 1932- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zaimo, Stephen Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Small, Rena Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University of California, Irvine -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Warner, Elsa Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bell, Larry, 1939- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Moses, Ed, 1926- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lodato, Peter Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wiener, Nina Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Schwartz, Beth Ames Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Barber, Daniel Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Noguchi, Isamu, 1904-1988 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Harding, Bill Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marchesi, Cork Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ballatore-Nelson, Sandy 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/