Oral Histories

Interview of Oliver Andrews

Sculptor and UCLA professor of art.
Los Angeles Art Community: Group Portrait, Oliver Andrews
Los Angeles Art Community - Group Portrait
Biographical Note:
Sculptor and UCLA professor of art.
Goodwin, George M.
Andrews, Oliver
Persons Present:
Andrews and Goodwin.
Place Conducted:
Sessions one and two: Andrews's office in the Dickson Art Center, UCLA; Sessions three and four: Andrews's home in Santa Monica, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by George M. Goodwin, Interviewer-Editor, UCLA Oral History Program (for "L.A. Art Community: Group Portrait"); B.A., Art History, Lake Forest College; M.A., Art History, Columbia University; Ph.D., Art Education, Stanford University. Acting Curator of Education, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1975-76.Goodwin prepared for the interview by pursuing a full biographical study, emphasizing the interviewee's dual role as an artist and educator.
Processing of Interview:
Editing was done by the interviewer. He checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings and edited for punctuation, paragraphing, correct spelling, and verification of proper and place names. This final manuscript remains in the same order as the original taped material. Words and phrases added by the editor appear in brackets.Andrews reviewed and approved the edited transcript. He made a number of corrections and minor additions, and he supplied spellings of names not previously verified.The interviewer wrote the introduction.The index was prepared by Lawrence Weschler, Assistant Editor, Oral History Program. Other front matter was prepared by Program staff.
6 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series includes interviews with prominent Los Angeles-based visual artists and other members of the art establishment whose careers span the period from the 1920s through the 1970s. It documents the art community of the pre-World War II period and the rise of Los Angeles as a nationally recognized art center in the postwar period. Funding for this series was provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Family background — Family visit to Tahiti — Early experiences with water--Living by the seashore--Marin School for Boys--Stanford University — Desire to become an artist -- Drawing as a youngster — Soap Box Derby competition--Building family houses--Interest in chivalry — Colony on Mountain Drive in Santa Barbara--World War II on Peleliu Island--Deciding to become an artist--Return to Stanford-- Jean Varda--Frederic Spiegelberg.
Frederic Spiegelberg — Art classes — Alan Watts — "Woodpecker Hall" — Art scene in San Francisco — Trip to Europe — Visits with famous artists--California as important art center--Visit with Peggy Guggenheim-- Course work at University of California, Santa Barbara — Iris Tree and Ojai drama group — Marriage to Betty Harford — Odd jobs as draftsman — Building a reputation-- Applications for teaching positions — Decision to stay in California.
Arrival at UCLA--Planning Dickson Art Center --Teaching duties--Teaching assistants — Purposes of art department — Selection of graduate students--Characteristics of students — Importance of graduate study--Functions of artists in society--What "art" is--Evaluating artists--Competition among artists--Role of the past.
Relative health of visual arts — Originality of artists — Former students: Lloyd Hamrol, Judy Chicago--Women's art movement--More students: Tony Berlant, Richard Matthews, Maria Nordman, George Rodart, Kelly Haimes, Loren Madsen, Bob Goulart, Nancy Youdelman — Los Angeles as a world art center.
Death of Alexander Calder — Additional former students at UCLA: Peter Alexander, Michael Todd--Visiting faculty members: David Hockney, Arman--Relationship with faculty-- Stanton MacDonald-Wright — Relationship with art historians--Teaching art history in sculpture classes--Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden — George Rickey and UCLA-- Art labels--Organizing "Electric Art" exhibition .
"Electric Art" exhibition--Public response — Art and technology movement--Lila Tuckerman exhibition at Woman's Building — Influence of grandmother's art -- Teaching at California State University, Northridge — Art departments at University of California campuses — Outdoor space at UC Irvine Art Gallery — University of California as an art patron — Teaching as an art — Lecturing outside of university--Art schools compared to university art departments --Future of art schools--Designing an ideal art education.
Wood sculpture--Concrete sculpture--Wire sculpture--Bronze and steel sculpture-- Titles of sculpture--Preliminary drawings --Interest in David Smith and Anthony Caro --Studio spaces--Water sculpture — Consistency of style--Fabricators and assistants-- Handling of materials--Process versus product--Working at night--Art displayed in studio--Displaying own work.
Commissions: Yale University, Neutra houses --Technology of water sculpture--Racine, Wisconsin — Cincinnati, Ohio--Contracts and models--Meaning of sculptures — Costa Mesa, California — Cincinnati cemetery- -Warrington family — Admiration for Isamu Noguchi — Creating spaces for people — Qualities of sculpture .
Evolution of "events"--Reaction against art and technology--Role of spectators — "Sky Fountains "--Documentation — "Underwater fountains"--Mylar — Importance of "events" compared to stationary sculpture--Avant- Garde Festival in New York City--Art versus "events" — Influence of Marcel Duchamp and Allan Kaprow--Christo ' s Running Fence as an "event" — Christo and Avant-Garde Festival.
Function of art dealers--Styles of dealers-- Pricing--Cost of commissions--Supply versus demand — Availability of good dealers — Exhibiting in Los Angeles versus New York--Accepting guidance from dealers--Success and failure of dealers--Arts legislation--Art criticism--Art periodicals — Los Angeles art community.