Announcing: Launch of the Jefferson Place Gallery Archive

A note from project director John Anderson:

I’m proud to announce the launch of the Jefferson Place Gallery (JPG) archive.

This project begins the process of archiving the 18-year history of DC’s first artist cooperative gallery. The JPG is significant for a number of reasons.

●    Sam Gilliam’s first “off the wall” canvases were showed at Jefferson Place
●    Rockne Krebs’ first “sculpture without object” laser installations were at Jefferson Place
●    It was the first place several of the Washington Color School would exhibit their best known work, including Gene Davis’ “stripes,” Thomas Downing’s “spots,” and Howard Mehring’s “all-overs.”

Rockne Krebs with his “Cat’s Cradle” installation at the Jefferson Place Gallery. Image courtesy Heather Krebs

The JPG archive functions as a companion to American University Museum’s exhibition, “Making a Scene: Jefferson Place,” a part of the Alper Initiative for Washington Art. As an art critic for the Washington City Paper, this opportunity to dive deep into the history of DC’s art world was illuminating.

View the Jefferson Place Gallery archive.

View the exhibition page on the American University Museum website.

The exhibition examines the first six years of the gallery: from its founding in 1957 through 1962, immediately after the gallery transitioned between it’s first director, Alice Denney, and it’s second, Nesta Dorrance. True to its title, the exhibition outlines the scene the gallery was attempting to cultivate. As companion, the Jefferson Place Gallery archive site contains additional work by the artists, plus important contextual information: press clippings, gallery announcements, artist bios, and a full timeline history of the gallery.

Sam Gilliam and Olivia Harrison in the Artist’s studio. Photo (C) Carol Harrison

A reception for the exhibition, which includes the website, will be this Saturday, September 9, 6–9 pm, at the American University Museum. 

The archive was developed by BRINK media with generous funding from the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities, and the American University Museum, and additional support from the DC Public Library, and the Smithsonian Library.

I hope to see you at the opening Saturday night, and I will also speak at a salon-style event, “Free Parking”, at the museum on Thursday, October 12, from 5:30–7:00 pm.

Sincerely,

John Anderson
Project Director, Jefferson Place Gallery Archive