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Eleanor Antin 100 Boots feedback, 1970-1974. ANT.001.001
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Collection Details
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  • Immediate Source of Acquisition note
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Scope and Contents note
  • Arrangement note
  • Conditions Governing Access note
  • Conditions Governing Use note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Processing Information note

  • Title: Eleanor Antin 100 Boots feedback
    Identifier/Call Number: ANT.001.001
    Contributing Institution: Los Angeles County Museum of Art Balch Art Research Library
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 12.67 Linear feet , 544 leaves, 13 boxes.
    Date (inclusive): 1970-1974
    creator: Antin, Eleanor

    Immediate Source of Acquisition note

    Gift of Eleanor Antin accompanying the purchase of 100 Boots postcards and the installation 100 Boots in their Crashpad for Antin's retrospective at LACMA in 1999 (EX.2214).

    Biographical/Historical note

    Eleanor Antin (nee Fineman) was born in New York City on February 27, 1935. She studied at the High School of Music and Art in New York City and received a B.A. in creative writing from the College of the City of New York. She also studied philosophy at the New School of Social Research and acting at the Tamara Daykarhanova School for the stage and dance at the Martha Graham studio. Much of the artist's work focuses on her attempt to find a missing part of her "Self," which is apparent in her "King of Solana Beach", "Ballerina" and her other works involving various personas. She is married to poet and critic David Antin.
    For Antin's most well known early work, 100 Boots, the artist photographed 50 pairs of black rubber boots in 51 locations and situations depicting ther journey from the San Diego area, where Antin lived and worked, to the Museum of Modern Art in New York where the boots and photographs displayed in the summer of 1973. Each photograph was sent as a post card to hundreds of individuals and insitutions with many recipients responding by sending letters, postcards, collages, small works of art and other items to Antin through the mail.

    Scope and Contents note

    This collection consists of 544 album leaves, each housed in a sheet protector, five three dimensional objects, and six folders containing oddly shaped or oversized items. Each may consist of letters, postcards, newspaper clippings, journal clippings, mail art, collages, and ephemera sent to Eleanor Antin during the years 1971-1974. Most of the items were sent to Antin in response to the receipt of postcards from the 100 Boots series or inspired by them but also present are a few items related to projects of Antin's, such as postcards for an upcoming “Traditional Art Show” featuring her photograph Portrait of the King and a postcard promoting her video work Representational Painting (1971).
    Contributors include artists, writers, art department faculty members of various universities, museum curators and other staff, gallerists and well as friends and acquaintances of Eleanor Antin and her husband, poet David Antin (some letters are addressed to "David and Ely"). Antin received letters and Christmas cards from poet Aram Saroyan and artist Carolee Schneeemann; letters from Stephen Weil from the Whitney Museum of American Art; Robert Flood Jr. of the University Art Collections at Arizona State University; artists Robert Cumming and Stephen Zaima; Judy Farmer of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Art Rental and Sales Gallery; Caroline Kent and Rick Herold of Orlando Gallery in Los Angeles; Collin Naylor of Art and Artists magazine; editor of L.A. Artists Publication Fidel Danieli; and Marty Carey describing life at the artists’ commune of the True Light Beavers in Willow, New York, near Woodstock. The collection also includes many letters from the fictional firm Dawson Aircraft signed by the firm’s founder Ira G. Dawson in which he complements Antin’s work and often apologizes for being absent from events due to pressing business obligations. Most of the letters in the collection are positive, praising 100 Boots as as exciting and fun, but Antin also retained letters critical of her work and requests to be removed from her mailing list.
    The collection includes examples conceptual art, collage art and especially mail art. General Idea, the Canadian artist group founded in 1969 consisting of Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal, and AA Bronson, is the best represented contributor of collages and postcards. Most notable are their “Boot Splits” made of Antin’s 100 Boots postcards torn in half and taped to half of another 100 Boots postcard or a completely unrelated card. Many of these include additional collage elements and are often stamped “Great Canadian Split Project.” Other particularly well represented contributors are the Canadian Art Writers, sometimes signed by David Zack; John Evans who sent Antin both letters and mail art postcards which include his “e” with a dot stamp, the “Avenue B. School of Art" stamp, and the “More Ursuline Ducks” stamp as well as drawings and collages incorporating the Ursuline Duck motif. Many flyers and collages from Ray Johnson are also present, most including his bunny drawing. Among these is a “Ray Johnson Evaporation,” a photocopied drawing of a milk bottle with instructions to fill it with something and send it on to John Evans. Also present are a large number of “poems” by Richard C. (Richard Craven) that consist of a single line typed onto an index card. Antin also retained a number of mail art postcards that had passed through many artist’s hands and baring their stamps. Mail art identity stamps also present but not mentioned above are the New York Corres Sponge Dance School of Vancouver and Flakey Rose Hip (both mail art identities of Glenn Lewis); Mr. Peanut and Marcel Dot (Michael Morris); Hoo Hoo Archives (Russell L. Buttler); School of Art (possibly John Baldessari); and Archive (poet Frank Kuenstler). Examples of conceptual art projects include documentation for several “Fake Events” from the New York Corres Sponge Dance School of Vancouver, with instructions for actions one could perform alone and in any location to participate. The final step of many such events is to go back to whatever it was you were doing before you started as if nothing had happened. A few three-dimensional objects are in the collection as well, including a painted sock, an installment of the “Sock of the Month Club” from Fletcher Copp and Ken Friedman (box 13, folder 1), and a box witha purple pine tree painted in it by Brian Buczak (box 12, item 4).
    Also present in the collections are ephemeral items such as change of address cards, empty envelopes separated from their contents, pieces of string, and large manila envelopes, usually with the return address for the University of California San Diego and labeled “100 Boots feedback.”

    Arrangement note

    This collection was arranged by the creator into three large three ring albums. The collection is arranged in 544 sheet protectors each of which contain items originally grouped together on an album leaf by Eleanor Antin. Many items have been removed from the original album pages before being placed into sheet protectors. The original arrangement of these items on each leaf was not recorded but it appears that the original order of the leaves has largely been preserved. Fragile and large items were removed from their sequence in the albums and placed into boxes 12 and 13 at the end of the collection. Except where noted, their original sequence within the albums was not recorded.

    Conditions Governing Access note

    Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment only through the Balch Research Library, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Telephone 323-857-6118 or email library@lacma.org.

    Conditions Governing Use note

    Contact the Balch Research Library at 323-856-6535 or library@lacma.org for information on publishing or reproducing materials included in these records. Permission will be granted by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as the owner of the physical materials, and does not imply permission for use from the copyright holder. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all necessary permissions from the copyright holder.

    Preferred Citation note

    [Description of item], Eleanor Antin 100 Boots feedback, Los Angeles County Museum of Art Balch Art Research Library, ANT.001.001.

    Processing Information note

    Original physical processing was performed by interns in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Balch Art Research Library 1999 and LACMA conservation staff. The original album leaves were removed from Antin's original three binders. Many of the original were trimmed down to fit into sheet protectors. Most items were cut or pulled from the original album pages before being wrapped in glassine and inserted into three hole punched sheet protectors which were replaced into the three original albums and five additional three ring binders. The original arrangement of these items on album pages has not been maintained or recorded. It appears that the original order of leaves has been maintained. Large or fragile items were removed from the binders and housed in archival folders outside of the binders. The position of these items within the sequence of leaves was not recorded. A brief description of the contents of each album or binder was also created at this time.
    In October 2011 archivist Jessica Gambling removed the leaves from the binders and rehoused them archivally stable flat storage boxes. The glassine was removed from select items and replaced with mylar sleeves. Some sheet protectors were cut on one side to make removal and examination of individual items easier. Some additional oversized items were removed, there original location within the series of leaves has been recorded in the container list.
    This finding aid was created by Elizabeth Huber and Jessica Gambling in July 2011 and Jully 2012.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Antin, Eleanor--100 Boots
    Mail art--United States
    Postcards--United States