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Guide to the Christine Tamblyn Papers
MS-F011  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection comprises notes, correspondence, interviews, photographs, slides, audio and video recordings, floppy disks, CD-ROMs, books, catalogues, printed ephemera, and artifacts collected and created during the life and career of artist, critic, and educator Christine Tamblyn. The bulk of this collection consists of materials documenting Tamblyn's artwork, writings, academic career, and professional activities from the 1970s through 1990s. The collection also includes some personal files and juvenilia. The collection is particularly strong in the area of conceptual art, performance, video and digital media in the 1970s and 1980s, representing her work as a multimedia, video, and performance artist as well her role as writer and critic. Files include extensive documentation of two of Tamblyn's CD-ROM works, She Loves It, She Loves It Not: Women and Technology (1993) and Mistaken Identities (1995). Materials concerning such artists as Karen Finley, Lynn Hershman-Leeson, and others can be found throughout the collection. Significant issues and debates in the U.S. art world of the 1970s to 1990s are well documented in Tamblyn's articles, essays, and reviews for a variety of publications, including Afterimage, Art news, Cinematograph, Art week, High Performance, Leonardo, and New Art Examiner. Materials also reflect Tamblyn's participation in the national and international art world, primarily through her attendance at and presentations for conferences and symposia, but the geographic emphasis is Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area. The collection also contains posthumously collected materials, including the multimedia CD-ROM Archival Quality (1998).
Background
Christine Tamblyn was an American visual artist and critic active in Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area from the 1970s through 1990s, and known for her performance pieces and multimedia works utilizing CD-ROMs and video. She was born in 1951 in Waukegan, Illinois and attended a Catholic girls' school. In 1968 or 1969 she moved to Chicago where she audited courses at the University of Chicago while working as an administrative assistant for an insurance company. She began her studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in approximately 1973 and taught graduate-level courses in video while still an undergraduate. She also worked as the Video and Performance Editor for the New Art Examiner journal from 1977 to 1979, a beginning in her long and prolific career as an art critic. She quickly became an active participant in the flourishing community of Chicago video artists. In a series of lectures about her own work, Tamblyn noted that she focused on video and performance art at SAIC since they were "the closest to everyday life." In the area of performance she was strongly influenced by the work of Allan Kaprow and the Happenings artists of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Among her video teachers was Phil Morton, who in the early 1970s founded the Video Data Bank at SAIC. Morton, Dan Sandin (inventor of the Image Processor, an analog video synthesizer), Tom DeFanti, and Bob Snyder were part of what became known as the Chicago Imagist school of video makers. This group was the "first generation" of video artists to incorporate the use of special effects into their work, a practice that was initially met with derision by other artists who termed the results "video wallpaper."
Extent
20.1 linear feet (44 boxes and 14 oversize folders)
Restrictions
Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and University Archives.
Availability
Collection open for research.