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Guide to the The Patty Mucha Papers, 1949 - 2016 MSS.342

Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
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Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Rhyannon J. Rodriguez, 2012. Accretion processed by Laura Newsome, 2013.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 24, 2017
Finding aid written in English

 Record edited by Rachel Searcy to reflect incorporation of 2017 accretion  , August 2017

Biographical Note

Patty Mucha (Patricia Muschinski) was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 26, 1935. She attended Wisconsin State Teachers College in Milwaukee (now the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee), where she majored in art. Patty first saw Claes Oldenburg while she was at the Oxbow Summer School of Painting and later went to visit him in his Chicago studio. In 1957, she moved to New York to become an artist and met Oldenburg by accident after being there for two months. At the time he was painting portraits, and Mucha became one of his nude models. The last painting that Oldenburg claims to have painted is of Mucha and is titled “Girl with Fur Piece, Portrait of Pat.” She and Oldenburg were married in 1960 and divorced in 1970.

Patty Mucha was not only Oldenburg’s muse for his main performance ensemble but collaborator for all of his early sewn sculptures. Her contribution to the invention of soft sculpture was the result of the immediate demand for Oldenburg’s first exhibition at the Green Gallery in 1962. She appeared in his Ray Gun Theater, which they produced in 1962, and collaborated in sewing costumes and constructing objects and sets for his Happenings and installations. She appeared in Oldenburg films made by Rudy Wurlitzer and Robert Breer as well as in films by Jean Dupuy, Rudy Burckhardt, Andy Warhol and Red Grooms. She also participated in the Happenings of Jim Dine, Robert Whitman, Dick Higgins, Alex Hay, Steve Paxton, Simone Forti, and Sally Gross.

Patty Mucha farms, writes and paints near St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Her essential role in the Pop Art and Happenings scenes is revealed in her as-yet-unpublished memoir, Clean Slate: My Life in the 1960’s New York Art World. Portions of the book have appeared in  Art in America as well as in the catalog "Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958–1968." Her poetry books include  Poems Traveling, 1971-1973 (Panorama, 1973) and  See Vermont: Poems, 1974-1978 (Poets Mimeo Cooperative, 1979).

Biographical information provided by Granary Books with adaptations from Billy Klüver and Julie Martin’s entry on Patty Mucha in Jill Berk Jiminez's edition of  Dictionary of Artists' Models (Routledge, 2001).