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Riva Castleman Papers

in The Museum of Modern Art Archives

The Museum of Modern Art Archives
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019-5497
© 1995
The Museum of Modern Art Archives
Finding aid prepared by Erika Gorder, Rona Roob 12/6/1995.

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Castleman, Riva, 1930-2014
Title: Riva Castleman Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1976-1993
Quantity: 3.54 linear feet
Seven 5" and three 2.5" document boxes


The papers are processed to the folder level and are organized into five series. Original order has been maintained.
The Papers are organized into five Series:
Series I: Curatorial Committee on Exhibitions, 1976-1993.
Series II: Contemporary Art in Context, 1985-1992
Subseries A: Artists' Talks
Subseries B: Budget and Funding
Subseries C: Exhibitions
Subseries D: Open Forum
Subseries E: Panels and Symposia
Subseries F: General Administrative Matters
Subseries G: Photographs
Series III: General Administrative Responsibilities, 1980-1992.
Series IV: Education, 1986-1992.
Series V: Library, [1974] 1986-1993.

Biographical Note

Riva Castleman (1930-) joined MoMA's Department of Drawings and Prints in 1963 as a cataloger and in 1976 became Director of Prints and Illustrated Books (department est. 1969). She was named Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs in 1986, a position she held in addition to her work as Director of Prints and Illustrated Books until she retired in June 1995.

Ms. Castleman received her B.A. in art history from the University of Iowa and pursued graduate work at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. From 1951 to 1955, she was an assistant curator at the Art Institute of Chicago before working at the California Historical Society in San Francisco from 1956 until 1957. Between 1958 and 1962 she was an associate of John Fleming, an antiquarian book dealer in New York City. Castleman recognized the significance of prints and illustrated books as important expressions of modern art. Among her important writings are Contemporary Prints (1973), Prints of the Twentieth Century: A History (1976), Printed Art: A View of Two Decades (1980), Jasper Johns: A Print Retrospective (1987) and American Impressions: Prints Since Pollock (1994). During her tenure at the Museum she arranged over twenty-one exhibitions on modern and contemporary prints, lithographs and illustrated books.

Scope and Content Note

The processed Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs records (1976-1993) are contained in seven 5" and three 2.5" document boxes. The records include three linear feet of correspondence, memoranda, reports, exhibition proposals, committee minutes, exhibition schedules, financial information, and photographs assembled by Riva Castleman during her tenure as Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs.

Documentation gathered over the course of the Deputy Director's activities is varied; until November 1995 the position oversaw the Department of Education and the Library in addition to the curatorial departments. The records from the Curatorial Committee on Exhibitions include reports, notes, correspondence with museum curators (both at MoMA and from outside museums and galleries), committee minutes, exhibition schedules, and correspondence and memoranda concerning international exhibitions. Correspondence and memoranda include documents forwarded to Castleman by curators. A significant portion of this series concerns the six individual curatorial departments including correspondence from Director Richard E. Oldenburg, Waldo Rasmussen of International Exhibitions, and various curatorial staff such as Magdelena Dabrowski, John Elderfield, Peter Galassi, Adrienne Mancia, Richard Palmer, Linda Shearer, John Szarkowski, Kirk Varnedoe, and Stuart Wrede.

The records also document the Contemporary Arts in Context Program [CAIC], including Artists' Talks, Discussion Panels, Open Forums, and the CAIC Exhibition. The collection includes reports and surveys, committee minutes, memoranda, and budgetary information concerning the Museum's Department of Education and Library and the Library Director, Clive Philpot.


Access Restrictions

The records are open for research and contain few restricted materials.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Papers of Riva Castleman are the physical property of The Museum of Modern Art. Literary rights, including copyright belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Rights to work produced during the normal course of Museum business resides with The Museum of Modern Art. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archivist.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the library catalog of The Museum of Modern Art. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Art museum curators -- New York (State) -- New York -- Archives
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) -- Contemporary Art in Context -- Archives
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) -- Employees -- Archives
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) -- Exhibitions -- Archives
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) -- History -- Archives
Document Types:

Related Collections at MoMA and Elsewhere

See The Museum of Modern Art Annual Report 1986/1987; International Program Records; inventory of Department of Education Records; Junior Council records; Committee Minutes collection; and Sound Recordings, 88.1 (Ken Feingold) and 89.11 (Tina Barney). Published writings by Riva Castleman available in Museum Library.

Administrative Information


A Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs was appointed in 1986 as a result of the restructuring of The Museum of Modern Art under the direction of Richard E. Oldenburg. Riva Castleman, Director of Prints and Illustrated Books (1976-1995), was the first person to serve as Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs; four other deputy directorships were also created at that time. The Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs is the liaison between the director of the Museum and the directors of the six curatorial departments (Architecture and Design, Drawings, Film, Painting and Sculpture, Photography, and Prints and Illustrated Books), and from 1986 through 1995, the Department of Education, the Library and the Projects series.

From 1988 through 1991 the Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs also served as the administrator of the National Endowment for the Humanities [NEA] funded Contemporary Art in Context program (1988-1989, 1991) which involved the efforts of the Museum's Department of Education, an interdepartmental working group of curators, and the auxiliary Contemporary Arts Council. This program, composed of artists' talks, exhibition, panel discussions, forums, and symposia, focused on the Museum's role as a forum for the study of contemporary art, by establishing a dialogue on how the art of our time was appreciated and perceived.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Riva Castleman Papers, [series.folder]. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.

Additional Descriptive Data

Explanation of Abbreviations

ALS is an Autographed Letter Signed.
TLS is a Typed Letter Signed.
TL stands for Typed Letter.
MoMA is The Museum of Modern Art.
n.d. stands for no date.
re: stands for regarding.

Container List

Series I: Curatorial Committee on Exhibitions 1976-1993.

17 folders, two 5" and one 2 1/2" boxes.
All folders begin with the title "Curatorial Committee on Exhibitions." Box 1 contains administrative documentation of the coordination of exhibition activities of all curatorial departments; incl. internal and external exhibition proposals both approved and rejected, budgetary information, grant applications, minutes, exhibition procedures, exhibition schedules, memoranda and correspondence; Boxes 2 and 3 contain specific exhibition documentation for each of the curatorial departments; incl. approved proposal sheets for exhibitions with name of curator, subject/title of exhibition, dates, and projected costs.

Folder Title Date
I.1 "Correspondence, 1985-1988"

Some correspondence in this folder concerns international exhibitions;
Incl. copy of TLS Linda Shearer (Painting and Sculpture) - Margarita Tupitsyn (Contemporary Russian Art Center) (8/88)
Waldo Rasmussen (International Program) re: "Venice Biennale" (11/14/85)
Richard Oldenberg corresp. with Russian art museum directors
Arthur Drexler and Ian Sinclair corresp. re: new designs (9/25-10/15/1985)
Feb. 1985 Agenda on Curatorial issues
Proposals for "projects" gallery

I.2 "Exhibition Committee Minutes and Convening Notices, 1985-1992"

Incl. list of "Modern Shows in New York Area, 1989-1993"

I.3 "Exhibition Fundraising" 1986-1988
I.4 "Exhibition Procedures" 1985-1986
I.5 "Exhibition Schedules"


I.6 "International Exhibitions"

Incl. Waldo Rasmussen corresp. re: Latin American Artists of the Twentieth Century [MoMA Exh. #1654, June 2-September, 7 1993]
Alan Bowness of Tate Gallery, London re: possible joint exhibition with Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Museum Nationale d'Art Moderne, Paris, "International Contemporary Art of the Last Two Decades", (March 1988)
High and Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture [MoMA Exh.# 1559, October 7, 1990-January 5, 1991]

I.7 "Memos" 1985-1992
I.8 "Outside Exhibition Proposals"

Concerns both rejected and accepted proposals from domestic and international institutions, scholars, and museums
Many proposals unsolicited

I.9 "Outside Exhibition Proposals"


I.10 "Architecture and Design"

Photocopies of eight Philip Johnson TLS, dated December 1987, forwarded to Stuart Wrede (Director, Architecture and Design Department) re: Deconstructivist Architecture [MoMA Exh.# 1489, June 23-Aug 30 1988]

I.11 "Drawings"

Incl. corresp. with Magdelena Dabrowski, John Elderfield, and Bernice Rose.

I.12 "Film"

Incl. corresp. with Mary Lea Bandy, Laurence Kardish, and Adrienne Mancia

I.13 "Painting and Sculpture"

Incl. corresp. with Richard Palmer and Kirk Varnedoe

I.14 "Painting and Sculpture"

Incl. corresp. with John Elderfield, Richard Palmer, and Linda Shearer

I.15 "Photography"

Incl. corresp. with Peter Galassi and John Szarkowski

I.16 "Prints and Illustrated Books" 1984-1991
I.17 "Projects, 1976-1990"

Concerns the "Projects" exhibition series
Incl. proposals, memoranda and corresp. from curatorial staff such as Richard Palmer, Linda Shearer, John Szarkowski, and Kirk Varnedoe
Curatorial Committee on Exhibition minutes of meeting on the series (October 16, 1985)
Exhibition brochure for Win Knowlton (March 13-April 22, 1986) and Judith Barry (May 3-June 3, 1986)

Restricted materials removed: Condition correspondence.


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Series II: Contemporary Art in Context 1985-1992

33 folders; three 5" document boxes
All folders begin with the heading "Contemporary Art in Context" CAIC. In 1986, the National Endowment of the Arts created a category of grants in its Museum Program called "Special Artistic Initiatives." Contemporary Art in Context, an effort to increase awareness of MoMA as a focus for the study and appreciation of contemporary art, was a program of exhibitions of contemporary art drawn from the museum's collection and several series of lectures, symposia, forums, and artists talks funded by the NEA program in 1988-1989. With the assistance of the Museum's auxiliary Contemporary Arts Council, interaction with the artists and participants was an informal and unique element of the program. The program intended to focus on how the art of our time is perceived. See Subseries descriptions for detailed information on separate programs.

Subseries A: Artists Talks n.d

4 folders; one half of 5" document box
Official title of program: "Artists' Talks in the Galleries"; Contemporary Artists chose a work (or room) in MoMA to discuss in terms of their own work, experience, aesthetic, or philosophy. Contains lists of artists and the subjects of their talks, biographical information, and correspondence.

Folder Title Date
II.A.1 "Artists' Talks November 16, 1989"

Tina Barney, Houston Conwill, Brice Marden, Mark Rappaport, Dorothea Rockburne, and Francesc Torres.
See also Sound Recordings, #89.11 for Tina Barney talk.

II.A.2 "Artists' Talks May 4 & May 8, 1989"

Ashley Bickerton, Robert Cumming Eric Fischl, Izhar Patkin, Howardena Pindell, Michael Young

May 8:
Alice Aycock, Emilio Cruz, David Diao, Jenny Holzer, Brian Hunt, Neil Winokur

II.A.3 "Artists' Talks November 10, 15, 17 1988"

Nov 10:
Jake Berthot, Ross Bleckner, R.M. Fischer, Michael Spano, Pat Steir

Nov. 15:
Ida Applebroog, Larry Fink, Tim Rollins, David Salle, Joel Shapiro

Nov. 17:
Richard Bosman, Peter Campus, Jane Dickson, Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler, Annette Lemieux, and James Wines.

II.A.4 "Artists' Talks March 1,3,4 1988"

March 1:
Scott Burton, Ken Feingold, Jan Groover, Vitaly Komar & Alexander Melamid, Yvonne Rainer, Mark Tansey, Elizabeth Murray, Leon Golub, and Nancy Spero

March 3:
Joseph Kosuth, Justen Ladden, Robert Longo, William Wegman, Terry Winters

March 4:
Donald Sultan, Vito Acconci, Sue Coe, Faith Ringgold. See also Sound Recordings, #88.1 for Ken Feingold talk.

1988, 1991

Subseries B: Budget and Funding

Six folders of budgets and financial reports, processed as Subseries B, were retained for the required seven year period and then discarded.

Subseries C: Exhibition n.d

Concerns Contemporary Art in Context: Recent Acquisitions, MoMA Exh. # 1478, February 29-March 5, 1988.

Folder Title Date
II.C.1 "Exhibition- Barbara Kruger, Feb. 29- March 5, 1988"

2 items
Kruger was a guest curator of "Picturing Greatness" segment of primary exhibit, January 14-March 29, 1988
Incl. article, " 'I am the greatest': Kruger and Albers" by Richard Woodward, New Criterion June 1988, 1 item

II.C.2 "Exhibition- Recent Acquisitions Feb. 29- March 5, 1988"

Contemporary Art in Context: Recent Acquisitions [M0MA Exh. #1478]
Incl. five (5) Polaroids from the exhibition
One folder floor plan of the Lobby Gallery space in the Roy and Niuta Titus Theater I
Acquisition inventories for the years 1968, 1978, and 1988 from Architecture and Design, Film, Photography, and Painting and Sculpture departments
Committee on Painting and Sculpture Minutes, 1987-1988.

II.C.3 "Video Exhibition, Feb. 29, March 5, 1988" 1988

Subseries D: "Open Forum" n.d

Open Forums were round table discussions with representatives of museums, alternative spaces, and corporate collections, as well as freelance curators concerned with the presentation of contemporary art. Incl. membership lists, attendance lists, cv and biographies of presenters, correspondence, and memoranda.

Folder Title Date
II.D.1 "Mailing Lists for Open Forum" n.d.
II.D.2 "Open Forum, March, 20, 1991"

Luis R. Cancel, Director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts, led Curator's forum concentrating on multicultural issues
Incl. his 1990 case study, "Building Partnerships: Museums & Their Communities: The Anytown Museum Case Study"

II.D.3 "Open Forum, May 3, 1989"

Concerns "Legal Issues Surrounding the Exhibition, Production, Subjects, and Rights of the Creators of Contemporary Art" addressed by Harriet K. Dorsen, Vice President, Secretary, and General Counsel, Bantam, Doubleday, Dell Publishing Group Inc.
Stephen Weil, Deputy Director, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; and Beverly Wolff, Secretary and General Counsel of the Museum of Modern Art

II.D.4 "Open Forum, November 2, 1988"

Concerns "Influence, Intervention, and Influence"
Incl. Stephen Weil, Deputy Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden's cv and correspondence

II.D.5 "Open Forum, March 2, 1988"

"Exhibiting Contemporary Art;"
No main speaker


Subseries E: Panels and Symposia

Folder Title Date
II.E.1 "A Generation Apart: The Differences - Panel, May 6, 1989"

Original copy TLS (signed with a lipstick kiss) October 21, 1988 Guerrilla Girls to Linda Shearer forwarded to RC with note

II.E.2 "CAC Files, 1997" 1997
II.E.3 "Panels, May 4 and May 5, 1989"

May 4: "A Generation Apart: The Galleries" Panelists Josh Baer and Paula Cooper
May 5: "A Generation Apart: Artists" Panelists: John Baldessari and Tim Rollins
Incl. one Polaroid and fact sheet of John Baldessari
One photograph of Josh Baer
Incl. sheet on Paula Cooper

II.E.4 "A Generation Apart-Miscellaneous, May 1-9, 1989"

Incl. biographical info. and resumes of artists: Parly Chin, Kinshasha Holman Conwill, David Driskell, Luis Jimenez, G. Peter Jimison, Inverna Lockpez, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Patterson Sims, and Lorna Simson
Incl. Conwill's notes on index cards and highlighted copies of scholarly articles on multiculturalism

II.E.5 "Surveying Contemporary Art - Panel Feb. 29- March 5, 1988"


II.E.6 "Contemporary Art and Its Community - Panel, March 2, 1988" 1988
II.E.7 "Points and Views - Panel, Feb 29, 1988" 1988
II.E.8 "Symposium: 'Keeping the Heat On: Activism in Contemporary Museum Practices' May 20, 1992" 1992

Subseries F: General Administrative Matter; Folder Descriptions: n.d.

Folder Title Date
II.F.1 "Corporate Discussions, May 1989"

One project of CAIC not achieved was a corporate section
Concerns some exploratory meetings with executives to promote creativity with the business world and possible new sources of income for museums
Incl. corresp. with Robert Douglass Chair of Chase Manhattan Bank (1 item)
Torsten Lilja of the Swedish insurance company Trygg-Hansa

II.F.2 "General May 1989" 1989
II.F.3 "General, 1988" 1988
II.F.4 "Organization"


II.F.5 "Publication"

Incl. one copy of Contemporary Art in Context catalog (1990) describing the project

II.F.6 "Publicity, May 1-8, 1989"


II.F.7 "Publicity" 1988

Subseries G: Photographs n.d.

Folder Title
II.G.1 "Photographs - Artists' Talks, Panels"

Artists photographed:
Alice Aycock
Vito Acconci
Tina Barney
Germano Celant
Robert Cumming
Eric Fischl
Jan Groover
Barbara Kruger installation
Brice Marden
Izhar Patkin
Mark Rappaport
Dorothea Rockburne
Mark Tansey
Neil Winokur

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Series III: Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs General Administrative Responsibilities, 1980-1992

10 folders; part of 5" document box
Documents admistrative responsibilities of Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs. The bulk of material is general corresp. and memoranda re: Studies in Modern Art Series, 60th Anniversary, travel procedures, and personnel issues.

Folder Title Date
III.1 "Studies in Modern Art"

Studies in Modern Art is the publishing vehicle for the Research and Scholarly Publications Program of MoMA, and was initiated with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The goal of the program is to foster and sustain study of the Museum's collections of works of art and archival material. Each issue addresses a different topic of general interest to the student of modern and contemporary art. As Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and representative of the curatorial staff, Riva Castleman served on Editorial Committee. Concerns implementation, first number of series and proposals for second number of series
Incl. corresp. John Elderfield, editor of series.

III.2 "Staff Positions on Boards, etc"

RC compiled lists of staff participation in and positions on outside organizations boards and committees

III.3 "60th Anniversary and Other Projects" 1988-1992
III.4 "Junior Committee, 1989"

Concerns Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art
Incl. Contemporary Arts Council Statement of Organization

III.5 "Curatorial Travel Fund-Procedures (Donald B. Marron)" 1989-1990
III.6 "Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs: Riva Castleman--Confidential"

8 items
Concerns topics such as museum space, staff sabbaticals, and personnel issues

III.7 "Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs: Riva Castleman--Memos" 1986-1992
III.8 "Deputy Director General Correspondence, 1980-1992" A-G

Arranged in alphabetical order by name or subject
Incl. correspondence to RC as Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books before 1986

III.9 Deputy Director General Correspondence H-J


III.10 Deputy Director General Correspondence M-Z



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Series IV: Education 1986-1992

8 folders; two 5" document boxes
The Deputy Director supervised the departments of Education and Library as well as the six curatorial departments. Of particular interest is MoMA's concern for audience development and its role as educator of the public; materials incl. education and gallery guides, budget and funding records, and Trustee Committee meeting minutes and reports.

Folder Title Date
IV.1 "Misc Education and Gallery Guides, Children's books" 1987-1992
IV.2 "Education: Funding"


IV.3 "Education: Long-Range Planning Subcommittee" 1986
IV.4 "Education: Budget" 1986-1992
IV.5 "Trustee Committee on Education: Ad Hoc Meetings/Audience Development" 1988-1992
IV.6 "Education: Trustee Committee"

Incl. preliminary and final drafts of the report "MoMA as Educator: A Retrospective, A Blueprint", December 10, 1986

IV.7 Museum of Modern Art Audience Survey

1 item

September 1990
IV.8 "Education: Other"

Concerns a variety of subjects arranged in chronological order


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Series V: Library 1974, 1986-1993

One 2" document box
Concerns Museum Library, its budget and acquisitions, particularly Franklin Furnace Archives and Artists Files. Includes correspondence between Library Director Clive Philpot and RC, memoranda, and Trustee and Advisory Committee Minutes

Folder Title Date
V.1 "Library Curatorial Advisory Committee"

Composed of representatives from MoMA curatorial depts. incl Judith Cousins, Magdelena Dabrowski, Peter Galassi, Ron Magliozzi, Stuart Wrede, and Debbie Wye
Incl. agenda of meetings and procedures for Library

V.2 "Library--Memos"

Concerns gifts and acquisitions, library automation, climate control, etc.
Incl. draft transfer agreement re: Franklin Furnace Archives
Incl. Chadwyck-Healy brochure of "The Artists' Files" microfiche set
Incl. Annual Reports for 1991-1992 and 1988-1989

V.3 Library--Memos

Incl. corresp. re: Museum Archives and gifts

1974, 1986-1989
V.4 "Library Finance"


V.5 "Library Trustee Committee"

Concerns acquisitions and budget


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Box and Folder List

File numbers marked by an asterisk (*) indicate oversize material that have been separated to the end of the collection
Researchers should include the asterisk when issuing a request for such material
Box Series Folder
1 I I.1-I.8
2 I I.9-I.14
3 I I.15-I.17
4 II II.A.1-II.B.6
5 II II.C.1-II.E.1
6 II II.E.2-II.G.1
8 IV-V IV.4-IV.8
9 V V.1-V.5
10 I I.17

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