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Guide to the Marilyn Symmes Collection of Art Exhibition Ephemera
1973-2016 (bulk 1990s-2016)
 PR 352

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Alison Barr and Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on May 01, 2018 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents note

The collection includes about 2,500 announcements, guides, brochures, checklists, artwork images, booklet catalogues, and posters from galleries, dealers and museums related to art exhibitions. These materials were either mailed to graphic arts curator Marilyn Symmes or obtained by her when visiting an exhibition. The bulk of the documents/exhibitions date from the 1990s to 2016, when Symmes was working at Cooper Hewitt in New York and later the Zimmerli at Rutgers.

Most of the collection contains documents related to modern and contemporary one-artist exhibitions. These exhibitions primarily included paintings, sculpture, video, photography, prints, drawings, and installations, with some architecture, design, and textiles. Many artists are represented by only one or two documents, while others include multiple documents. Both well-recognized names and less well known artists are found in the collection. The container list attempts to identify at the folder level those artists represented with more extensive or substantive content. Two-artist and group exhibitions, including those with themed titles, are also in the collection. Overall, as Symmes described the content when donating the collection to N-YHS, “The collection presents in microcosm a significant record of modern and contemporary artists whose work was exhibited during this period [1991-2016] primarily in New York City. This collection provides some insight into subjects, issues, materials, styles explored by artists as presented in these exhibitions—thereby reflecting a significant sampling of cultural and social concerns during this time period, as well as commercial interests of the American dealers.”

Most of the collection includes materials from New York City art galleries and museums, though institutions elsewhere in the United States and, to a lesser extent, in other countries are also represented. Among the many galleries represented in the collection are: Alexandre, DC Moore, David Findlay Jr., Deitch Projects, Gemini G.E.L., Grey Art Gallery at N.Y.U., Hirschl & Adler, Gagosian, June Kelly, Mary Boone, Mary Ryan, Matthew Marks, Michael Werner, Marian Goodman, Marlborough, Michael Rosenfeld, Pace, Pace/Wildenstein, Peter Freeman, Sperone Westwater, Sonnabend, Susan Teller, UBU, and David Zwirner. Museums include, among others, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Whitney, Guggenheim, New Museum, Noguchi, Brooklyn, MassMOCA, Philadelphia, Cooper-Hewitt, Yale, and Zimmerli at Rutgers.

Arrangement Note

The collection is organized in four series, as presented by the collector/donor:

Series I. Single Artist Exhibitions, 1973-2016 (bulk 1990s-2016)

Series II. Two Artists Exhibitions, 1994, 2000-2016

Series III. Multiple Artists Exhibitions, 1992-2016

Series IV. Holiday Greeting Cards, 2006-2014, undated