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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Separated Material
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Robert Irwin papers
    Date (inclusive): 1970-2004
    Collection number: 940081
    Creator: Irwin, Robert, 1928-
    Extent: ca. 45 linear ft. + Additions (1999, 2001, 2003, 2004)
    Repository: Getty Research Institute
    Research Library
    Special Collections and Visual Resources
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688
    Abstract: Robert Irwin is a California artist, known for his space and light, and environmental works. His papers (1970-1996) document with correspondence, writings, clippings, drawings, photographs, models, and sound and video recordings about 46 of Irwin's site-specific, primarily public, artworks. Additions (1999, 2001, 2003, 2004) to the archive include papers, photographs and drawings relating to the Getty garden, and other projects (ca. 1992-2003).
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    Language: Collection material in English

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Robert Irwin papers, 1970-2004, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 940081.

    Acquisition Information

    The papers were acquired in 1994. Additions to the archive were received in 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997. Subsequent additions were received in 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2004.

    Processing History

    Lynda Bunting unpacked and minimally processed the collection in the Fall of 1994. Sporadically, from July 1995 to March 1996, the oversize material was processed. Kelly Nipper helped identify and organize the photographs.
    In July 1997 a supplement consisting of correspondence and project files dating from the 1990s was interfiled.
    Additions to the archive in 1999, 2001, 2004 have not been interfiled, but have been added to the end of the collection in order of receipt.

    Separated Material

    75 titles were separated to the library 1995 June 27. Some were duplicates.
    UCLA Oral History. Los Angeles Art Community: Group Portrait. Robert Stiner. "Meditations on a Site-Conditioned Art: the Landscape Architecture" (Master's Thesis). Jan Butterfield. The Art of Light and Space. Wechsler. Seeing is Forgetting. Immaterial Objects. Maurice Tuchman. A Report on the Art and Technology Program of the LACMA 1967-71 1st National Symposium: Habitability. 2 vols. + pamphlet with yellow cover (Irwin created the space in which these meetings took place, and five auxiliary spaces) Marc Treib. Modern Landscape Architecture: A Critical Review. Transformation in Sculpture. 200 Years of American Sculpture. San Diego Museum of Art: Selections from the Permanent Collection. Perception of the Spirit. DifferenteS NatureS. Wave Hill Pictured: Celebration of a Garden. Philadelphia College of Art. Projects for PCA.〹 Venice Biennale 1976. U.S. Pavilion. Walker Art Center. Works for New Spaces. California Perceptions, Light and Space: Selections from the Wortz Collection. 〹 Jennifer Licht. Some Recent American Art. (MOMA) Castelli. Important Post War and Contemporary Art. Auction cat. LACMA 1966 exhibit. Robert Irwin-Kenneth Price. 20th Century Art from Fort Worth Dallas Collections. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Robert Irwin. Pasadena Art Museum. West Coast Artists. unbound Southern California Artists 1940-80. Aspects of the 70s Sitework. Philadelphia. FAF:PFPAFP.The last time I saw Ferus. 1976 Transparency, Reflection, Light, Space: Four Artists. Polaroid Portraits. Urban Encounters: Art Architecture Audience. Fort Worth Art Museum. Painting and Sculpture.〹 Jewish Museum. Gene Davis Robert Irwin Richard Smith. UCLA. 20th Century Sculpture from Southern California Collections . 1972 The Maximal Implications of the Minimal Line. Sculptors International. Dialogue 1984. 20th Century American Drawings. Twenty-five years of American Painting 1948-1973. Site. Sculptors and Landscape Architects. 39th Venice Biennale 1980. Drawings: The Pluralist Decade. Institute of Contemporary Art, Univ. of PA. Drawings: The Pluralist Decade. Andre Buren Irwin Nordman: Space as Support. UC Irvine. Faculty '68. The Vice-President's House. Sculpture Today, 1978. King's Square Show. Profile: Robert Irwin 1982. Places. Quarterly journal of Environmental Design. Museum as Site: Sixteen Projects. Issue 5. A Journal for Artists. Art in Los Angeles: Seventeen Artists in the Sixties. Freedman Gallery. Sites and Solutions: Recent Public Art. NEA. Art in Public Places. Finish Fetish: LA's Cool School. Jack Broghan: Projects. High Museum, Atlanta. Contemporary Art in Southern California. Pittura Ambiente. 1979 Perceiving the Garden: Robert Irwin at Wave Hill. Insights/On Sites: Perspectives on Art in Public Places. CSULB. A View Through. Allen Memorial Art Museum. Bulletin. vol. 39, no. 1. University of California, Irvine, 1965-75. 〹 Robert Perine. Chouinard: An Art Vision Betrayed. L'umana avventura. Autunno '87. Detroit Institute of the Arts. Art in Space: Some Turning Points. Journal. Southern California Art Magazine. 6-7 1979. Laica Journal. July-August 1977. UCSD. Stuart Collection. Art Now 74: A Celebration of the American Arts. Musée d'Art de la Ville de Paris. Robert Irwin. Kölnischer Kunstverein. Robert Irwin. Fort Worth Art Center Museum. Robert Irwin-Doug Wheeler.〹 University of Massachusetts/Amherst. Critical Perspectives in American Art. Art and Public Space.
    5 titles were separated July 1997 from the recently recieved supplement:
    La Jolla Museum of Art. Portraits of artists: Photographs by John Waggaman. Fort Worth Art Center Museum. Robert Irwin -Doug Wheeler. VIII Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna, Sao Paulo, Brasil, 1965. Estados Unidos da America.〹 Rhode Island School of Design. About time.〹 Grieder, Terence. Artist and Audience.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Robert Irwin is a Southern California artist and a founder of the light and space, and environmental art movements.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Robert Irwin papers are composed of correspondence, personal writings, clippings, and audio and visual tapes, as well as project files, photographs, drawings and models pertaining to his light and space, and environmental works. The material dates from 1970, the year he sold the contents of his Venice, California studio, to 2001. The project files, photographs, and drawings present a comprehensive view of his site-specific, primarily public, artworks, executed and unrealized, from the 1980s. Particularly well documented are "Portal Park Slice," 1980, John W. Carpenter Park, Dallas; "48 Shadow Planes," 1983, Old Post Office, Washington, D.C.; Arts Enrichment Master Plan, proposed 1986, Miami International Airport; "Two Architectural Towers," proposed 1989, City Front Plaza, Chicago; and Sentinel Plaza, 1990, Pasadena.
    Additions to the archive (Series IX) include materials relating to the Getty garden and other projects.


    Indexing Terms


    Irwin, Robert, 1928- —Exhibitions
    Light in art
    Public art--United States
    Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, Calif.)
    Dia:Beacon (Art Museum)
    Miami International Airport
    Old Post Office and Clock Tower (Washington, D.C.)
    City Front Plaza (Chicago, Ill.)
    John W. Carpenter Park (Dallas, Tx.)
    Sentinel Plaza (Pasadena, Calif.)
    Public sculpture—United States
    Building sites—Planning—United States
    Sculpture, Modern—20th century
    Art, Modern—20th century
    Environment (Art)
    Getty Center Gardens (Los Angeles, Calif.)

    Forms and Genres of Material

    Architectural drawings
    Motion pictures (visual works)
    Photographic prints
    Photographs, Original
    Sound recordings


    Irwin, Robert, 1928-
    Dia:Beacon (Art museum)
    Miami International Airport
    Old Post Office and Clock Tower (Washington, D.C.)
    City Front Plaza (Chicago, Ill.)
    John W. Carpenter Park (Dallas, Tx.)
    Sentinel Plaza (Pasadena, Calif.)
    Getty Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)