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Michelson (Annette) papers, 1861-2014 (bulk 1969-2002)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical / Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Materials
  • Separated Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Annette Michelson papers
    Date (inclusive): 1861-2018 (bulk 1958-2004)
    Number: 2014.M.26
    Creator/Collector: Michelson, Annette
    Physical Description: 82 Linear Feet (183 boxes and 2 flatfile folders. Computer media: .001 GB [5 files]) 102 unprocessed disks and two unprocessed USB flash drives.
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    Business Number: (310) 440-7390
    Fax Number: (310) 440-7780
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The Annette Michelson papers represent the dynamic career of the American art and film critic, translator, editor, and scholar. The collection comprises correspondence, research material, writings by Michelson and others, and papers related to various conferences. Michelson's papers span her broad range of interests in avant-garde production in both contemporary art and experimental cinema.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record   for this collection. Click here for the access policy  .
    Language: Collection material is in English.

    Biographical / Historical Note

    Born in New York in 1922, Annette Michelson was an American art and film critic, translator, editor, and scholar. She contributed significantly to the fields of cinema studies and the international avant-garde in visual culture. She was a founding editor of October and was a Professor Emerita in New York University's (NYU) Department of Cinema Studies.
    After graduating from Brooklyn College in 1945, Michelson pursued graduate studies in art history and philosophy at Columbia University (1948-1949) where she studied with Meyer Schapiro and at the University of Paris (1950-1953). She spent the next 15 years in Paris as a critic and editor for several prominent publications, including Éditions René Julliard (1954-1957) as advisory editor; New York Herald Tribune (1957-1961) as art editor of the International edition; Arts Magazine (1957-1963) as Paris correspondent; and Art International (1962-1964) as Paris editor.
    Michelson returned to the U.S. in 1966 and, a year later, joined the newly-formed Department of Cinema Studies at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Michelson was an extremely active faculty member. Her classes and seminar topics ranged from Dada, Pop and Surrealism to science fiction. She regularly organized and chaired conferences and colloquia for the school and had close working relationships with several doctoral students. Michelson was awarded the Jay Leyda Prize for Excellence in Teaching (1993) and the Distinguished Teacher Award (1994). She transitioned to her Emerita position in 2004 as the department's first professor emerita.
    In addition to her post at NYU, Michelson has been a visiting professor and guest lecturer at numerous institutions, including Yale University, the University of Vienna, the State Film School in Moscow, Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Centre Georges Pompidou. Michelson was a member of the Board of Directors of Anthology Film Archives. She was a consultant on film programming at the National Gallery of Art and a senior fellow at the National Gallery's Center for Advanced Study of the Visual Arts (1986-1987). She received an honorary degree from Concordia University in 1997. Her other honors include the Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism and grants for research on Soviet Cinema awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
    In 1966, Michelson had been appointed associate editor for Film and Performance of Artforum Magazine, a position she would occupy for the next decade. She founded October, the journal of contemporary art criticism and theory, with Rosalind Krauss in 1976. Over the years, Michelson was responsible for several of October's special issues, with topics ranging from Soviet revolutionary culture to Georges Bataille. Michelson began her relationship with the Getty Center in 1989, when she was selected as a senior scholar in residence at the Getty Research Institute. During her tenure as a scholar she focused on research related to the theory and practice of film. From 1990 to 1992, she was a consultant at the Getty for the conference "Cine City: Perceptions of Urban Space: Film and Architecture 1885-1995." In 1992, she became a member of the visiting committee of the Getty Center.
    Annette Michelson passed away in Manhattan on Spetember 17, 2018.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers, with the exception of unreformatted audio visual and born digital materials, which are unavailable until reformatted. Evaluated student papers in box 60 and 157 are sealed for students' lifetimes. Michelson's medical papers in box 52 and 155 are sealed for her lifetime plus fifty years.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Annette Michelson papers, 1861-2014 (bulk 1969-2002), The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2014.M.26

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Annette Michelson. Acquired in 2014.

    Processing History

    The collection was processed and cataloged by Laura Schroffel from 2015 to 2016. Kevin Cruz assisted with processing during the summer of 2015. Lacey Minot assisted with processing and completed the biographical note during the summer of 2016. Laura Schroffel processed an ADD to the collection in 2019.
    Digital materials processed by Laura Schroffel in 2016 and 2019. Files require further processing before access copies can be made available. 19 disks without content were not retained. 16 software discs were not retained.

    Digitized and Digital Material

    Selected audio materials from the collection were digitized in 2017 and are available online: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/2014m26s2av
    Selected digital files are also available online: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/2014m26_ref13_mzm

    Related Materials

    October records, 1976-2001, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2002.M.9.

    Separated Materials

    Books that were transferred to the library can be found by searching the Library catalog  for the "Annette Michelson collection".
    Some books from Michelson's library containing annotations, post-it notes, or inserts, are available by request to use in the Plaza reading room. Please contact reference for more information.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Annette Michelson papers represent her dynamic career as an art historian and film critic. Work in the collection comprises correspondence, research, writings by Michelson and others, and papers related to various conferences that she attended and participated in. Series I contains the bulk of Michelson's correspondence. This series contains letters spanning Michelson's early career in Paris in the 1960s to her later career in New York, including correspondence until 2014. Correspondents of note include Yvonne Rainer, Susan Sontag, Maurice Tuchman, and Harald Szeemann.
    Series II. contains Michelson's professional papers. It covers her broad range of interests in avant-garde production in both contemporary art and experimental cinema. Her professional papers contain writing, ranging from her early work in Paris and then for Artforum to her later work for October and her contributions to a variety of other publications over the years. Also present are extensive writings by others either as submissions to October, student papers, or research. Michelson's research files on Maya Deren, Sergei Eisenstein, Hollis Frampton, Robert Morris, and Dziga Vertov are especially rich. In addition to Michelson's writing for the journal, the October files also represent her leadership and editorial work as co-founder of the publication.


    This collection is arranged in two series: Series I. Correspondence, 1943-2014; Series II. Professional papers, 1861-2014.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Krauss, Rosalind E.
    Morris, Robert, 1931-2018
    Vertov, Dziga, 1896-1954
    Eisenstein, Sergei, 1898-1948
    Frampton, Hollis, 1936-1984
    Deren, Maya

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    New York University

    Subjects - Topics

    Artists -- United States -- Correspondence
    Motion pictures -- History
    Motion pictures -- Study and teaching
    Editing -- Periodicals

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Floppy disks -- United States -- 20th century
    Color slides -- 20th century
    Audiocasettes -- United States -- 20th century


    Michelson, Annette