In the summer of 2003 I moved from Denver to Chatham, New York. For those who have not been to Chatham, it is a charming former railroad town built in the nineteenth century, with Victorian houses set back from tree-lined streets. The main street is perhaps four or five hundred yards in length. The older stretch is lined with Norman Rockwell storefronts, a couple of espresso bars, a bookstore, antique shops, art-galleries, a movie-house and a few restaurants. In the middle of the block stands the Peint O Gwrw Welsh pub. Waiting for a friend one winter day, I ducked into the pub and ordered a pint of cider. To my left on a barstool sat a lanky man in a long tweed coat, looking a bit like Fred Astaire. He turned to me.
“Who are you and what do you do?
Replying vaguely that I was “in the arts” (I never tell anyone I’m an artist unless I’m sure to be forgiven), he extended his hand.
“Pleased to meet you,” he smiled. “I’m John Weber, the famous art-dealer.”
A couple of years later I had moved to the city. Liza Kirwin, then curator at the Archives of American Art asked if I might like to conduct oral history interviews for the Smithsonian.
“Sure,” I said. “Who do you have in mind?”
“Well…” Liza explained, “We have a grant. The donors want us to interview a number of people, including an art dealer who was very big in the seventies and eighties. The problem is that nobody is sure where he’s living. His ex-wife didn’t know, or wouldn’t say.”
What’s his name?” I asked
“John Weber,” she replied.
“I don;t know where he is this minute,” I told Liza, “but I may know where he will be around five o’clock.”
Later that day I called the pub and asked if Weber was there. The bartender put him on the phone.
And so commenced my adventures as an oral historian. Here is a link to that interview.
New interviews will be added to the list. Highlighted names contain hyperlinks to websites. A number of them link to transcripts of the interviews.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Oral History interviews.
Oral history interviews conducted for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution since 2006 include Rachel Adler, Hildegard Bachert, William Bailey, Jennifer Bartlett, Charles Bergman, Dianne Blell, Barbara Bloom, Philip Bruno, Charles Byron, Jeffrey Deitch, Rackstraw Downes, Rosa Esman, Richard Feigen, Ronald Feldman, Jack Flam, Arnie Glimcher, James Goodman, Marian Goodman, Richard Gray, Alanna Heiss, Joseph Helman, Antonio Homem, Yvonne Jacquette, Phyllis Kind, Gilbert H. Kinney, Arnold Lehman, Knox Martin, Maryanne Martin, Steve Martin , Louis K. Meisel, Hugh Mesibov, Robert Meyerhoff, Mira Nakashima, Linda Nochlin, Barbara Novak, Wendy Olsoff and Penny Pilkington, Carole Pesner, Irving Petlin, Raquel Rabinovich, Brenda Richardson, Barbara Rose, James Rosenquist, Ira Spanierman, Eugene V. Thaw,Richard Tuttle,John Weber, Angela Westwater.
Columbia University Center for Oral History.
For a pilot project with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, interviews were conducted with: Sidney Felsen, Robert Petersen, Donald Saff and David White (audio and video).
Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.Internal oral history project collecting narratives from the patrons, curators, consultants, associates and friends of CPPC.
Jewish Heritage Oral History Archives, in the Addlestone Library at the College of Charleston. The audio recordings will be available in the future through the Lowcountry Digital LibraryInterview with visual artist Sigmund Abeles.