A Finding Aid to the Elyn Zimmerman Papers, 1969-2017, in the Archive of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.zimmelyn
Creators:
Zimmerman, Elyn, 1945-
Dates:
1969-2017
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
28.5 Linear feet
0.223 Gigabytes
Repository:
The papers of sculptor and site-specific installation artist Elyn Zimmerman measure 28.5 linear feet and 0.223 gigabytes, and date from 1969-2017. The collection documents the artist's life and work through correspondence, writings, project and commission files, exhibition files, teaching files, and printed material. Project and commission files comprise the majority of the collection at 18.2 linear feet and comprehensively document dozens of Zimmerman's site-specific sculptural projects and proposals for public and private sites across the United States and internationally. Items include correspondence, contracts, photographs, models, blueprints, and original sketches and drawings. The papers include a small number of born digital records, including digital images of projects, construction sites, and floorplans, as well as PowerPoint presentations.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of sculptor and site-specific installation artist Elyn Zimmerman measure 28.5 linear feet and 0.223 gigabytes, and date from 1969-2017. The collection documents the artist's life and work through correspondence, writings, project and commission files, exhibition files, teaching files, and printed material.
Correspondence is comprised predominately of received letters and fewer drafts and copies of outgoing letters. Notable correspondents include Zimmerman's late husband, curator Kirk Varnedoe, arts advocate Agnes Gund, and artists Ruth Dicker, Richard Diebenkorn, Kady Hoffman, and Masami Teraoka.
Writings include drafts of journal articles, a book mock-up, project notes, and statements. Agendas and address books are filed with writings.
Project and commission files comprise the bulk of the collection and comprehensively document dozens of Zimmerman's site-specific sculptural projects and proposals for public and private sites across the United States and internationally. Items include correspondence, contracts, photographs, models, blueprints, and original sketches and drawings. The files include a small number of born digital records, including digital images of projects, construction sites, and floorplans, as well as PowerPoint presentations.
Exhibition files document Zimmerman's site-specific installations and exhibitions in a gallery and museum context. Files include correspondence, photographs, slides, statements, press releases, shipping information, and price lists.
Teaching files document the many courses Zimmerman taught in painting, drawing, design, architecture, and landscape architecture. Items include syllabi, assignments, lecture notes, reading lists, and articles.
Printed material primarily consists of items cataloging Zimmerman's career including exhibition announcements, catalogs, and press clippings. Subject files were saved and collected by Zimmerman and are arranged at the end of the series.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as six series.
  • Series 1: Correspondence, 1978-2011 (3.7 linear feet; Box 1-4)
  • Series 2: Writings, Agendas, and Address Books, 1970-2003 (0.5 linear feet; Box 4-5)
  • Series 3: Project and Commission Files, 1970-2016 (18.2 linear feet, Box 5-15, 21-22, OV 23-85, RD 97-98; 0.223 gigabytes, ER01-04)
  • Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1969-2015 (3.5 linear feet; Box 15-16, 20-21, OV 86-96, RD 99)
  • Series 5: Teaching Files, 1970-1994 (0.4 linear feet; Box 16)
  • Series 6: Printed Material, 1970-2017 (2.2 linear feet; Box 16-19)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Elyn Zimmerman (1945-) is a New York City and Los Angeles based sculptor best known for her large scale site-specific outdoor installations incorporating granite, water features, and landscape architecture.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Zimmerman moved to California for college, earning both her BFA and MFA from University of California, Los Angeles. While at UCLA, she studied with Richard Diebenkorn and Robert Irwin, and worked in photography, drawing, and site-specific installation. In 1978 she created Monarch's Trough for Artpark in Lewiston, New York, her first site-specific work using granite. For the next several decades Zimmerman would complete dozens of site-specific installations in public and private spaces across the United States, and submit proposals for dozens more. Working frequently with stone and granite, she developed a decades long relationship with a granite quarry in Cold Spring, Minnesota, which fabricated many of her designs. Zimmerman's clients have included the National Geographic Society, the Birmingham Art Museum, and the New York City Parks Department.
In addition to her site-specific work, Zimmerman has had an extensive exhibition history, and has shown for many years with Gagosian Gallery. In 2016, Zimmerman was the recipient of the Isamu Noguchi Award. She has taught at Mills College, California Institute of the Arts, Harvard University, New York University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Zimmerman was married to the late curator Kirk Varnedoe from 1978-2002.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Hilary Price in 2018.
Author
Hilary Price
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art in 2015 and 2017 by Elyn Zimmerman.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
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.
Conditions Governing Use
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Preferred Citation
Elyn Zimmerman papers, 1969-2017. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Sculptors -- California -- Los Angeles Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women sculptors Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Installations (visual works) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Installation artists -- California -- Los Angeles Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Installation artists -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diebenkorn, Richard, 1922-1993 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gund, Agnes Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Teraoka, Masami, 1936- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Varnedoe, Kirk Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dicker, Ruth 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/