PRELIMINARY INVENTORY OF THE HEINZ OHFF COLLECTION OF WOLF VOSTELL PAPERS, circa 1962-2007

Finding aid prepared by Alexis Adkins


Descriptive Summary

Title: Heinz Ohff collection of Wolf Vostell papers
Date (inclusive): circa 1962-2007
Number: 2009.M.24
Creator/Collector: Ohff, Heinz
Physical Description: 8.0 linear feet (4 boxes, 4 flatfile folders)
Repository:
The Getty Research Institute
Special Collections
Research Library
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
(310) 440-7390
http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/library/reference_form.html
Abstract: The Wolf Vostell papers, collected by the German art critic and friend of the artist, Heinz Ohff, document the activities of one of Europe's pioneers in video art, Happenings, and Fluxus. The bulk of the material dates from the 1970s and the early 1980s.
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Language: Collection material is in German

Biographical/Historical Note

Born in Leverkusen, Germany in 1932, Wolf Vostell was a pioneer of video art, and the Fluxus and Happening movements. While studying graphic arts at the École nationale des beaux-arts in Paris, Vostell developed the concept of dé-coll/age, or the process of artistic creation through the destruction of everyday materials. In Paris in 1958 he staged his first Happening, Theatre is in the Street. Four years later he joined with George Maciunas and Nam June Paik to coordinate the First International Fluxus Festival at Museum Wiesbaden in Germany. Vostell was among the first artists to incorporate television into his work, which he did as early as 1958. Vostell had close ties to Spain, the birthplace of his wife, where he founded the Museo Vostell Malpartida de Cáceres in 1976. The first retrospective exhibition of Vostell's work took place in 1974 at Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris. He died in Berlin in 1998.
Heinz Ohff was a friend of Wolf Volstell, as well as an art critic and editor at the Berlin Tagespiegel from 1961 until 1987. He also served as president of the German chapter of International Association of Art Critics (AICA).

Administrative Information

Access

Open for use by qualified researchers.

Publication Rights

Preferred Citation

Heinz Ohff collection of Wolf Vostell papers, circa 1962-2007, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 2009.M.24

Acquisition Information

Acquired in 2009.

Processing History

In 2009 the collection was evaluated by John Tain and rehoused by Vladimira Stefura. In 2010 Alexis Adkins processed the collection and wrote the finding aid; Isabella Zuralski supervised and edited the work.

Related Archival Materials

The following collections at the Getty Research Institute also include archival materials related to Wolf Vostell: Jean Brown papers (accession no. 890164),  Allan Kaprow papers (accession no. 980063),  Dick Higgins papers (870613). 

Scope and Content of Collection

Collected by Wolf Vostell's friend, the German art critic Heinz Ohff, the Wolf Vostell papers document the activities of one of Europe's pioneers in video art, Happenings, and Fluxus. The bulk of the material dates from the 1970s and the early 1980s, a prolific period in Vostell's career. Including correspondence, signed drawings and notes, press clippings, invitations to Happenings and exhibitions, posters, and other printed ephemera, the collection provides a broad, if selective, overview of Vostell's career and art. Many of the items are signed, dedicated, initialed, stamped and/or hand-written by Vostell, often in the form of correspondence to Ohff. Particluarly well documented are several of Vostell's Happenings, his first retrospective exhibition in Paris in 1974, the mobile museum Fluxus Zug (Fluxus Train), the Vostell Environment Museum, the Vostell Archive in Berlin, and his work for the Museo Vostell de Malpartida de Cáceres in Spain. Also included are ephemera from Happenings and dé-coll/age projects, including an empty Joya de Nicaragua cigar box inscribed by Vostell.

Arrangement

Organized in three series: I. Happenings, 1962-1975; II. Exhibitions ephemera, 1970-1983,undated; III. Various papers, 1971-2007, undated.

Indexing Terms

Subjects - Names

Ohff, Heinz
Vostell, Wolf, 1932-1998

Subjects - Corporate Bodies

Museo Vostell de Malpartida de Cáceres

Subjects - Topics

Art critics--Germany--Correspondence
Artists--Germany--Correspondence
Fluxus (Group of artists)
Happening (Art)
Video art--Germany--20th century

Genres and Forms of Material

Drawings--Germany--20th century
Posters--Germany--20th century
Printed ephemera--Germany--20th century

Contributors

Vostell, Wolf, 1932-1998


Container List

 

Series I. Happenings, 1962-1975

Physical Description: 2.88 linear ft. 8 folders

Scope and Content Note

This series contains printed ephemera relating to Happenings. Included are P.-C.-Petite Ceinture, T.O.T. (Technological Oak Tree), Erdbeeren, Fandango, Heuwagen, and Salat, a train taken by Vostell, cohorts, and several crates of lettuce between Cologne and Aachen over a 100 day period.

Arrangement

Materials are in the chronological order in which they were received.
Box 1, Folder 1

P.-C.-Petite Ceinture, 1962

Box 1, Folder 2

Salat, 1970-1971

Box 1, 3*

T.O.T. (Technological Oak Tree), 1972

Box 1, Folder 3

Papers

Box 3*, Folder 1

Poster

Box 1, Folder 4

Erdbeeren, 1974

Box 1, 3*

Fandango, 1975

Box 1, Folder 5

Papers

Box 3*, Folder 2

Poster

Box 1, Folder 6

Heuwagen, 1975

 

Series II. Exhibitions ephemera, 1970-1983, undated

Physical Description: 10 folders, 3 flatfile folders

Scope and Content Note

Ephemera relating to exhibitions. Included are Vostell's first major retrospective at the Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris in 1974, the Vostell Environment Museum, the Vostell Fluxus Zug, and others.

Arrangement

The materials are in the order in which they were received.
Box 1, 3*

Paris exhibition, 1974

Box 1, Folder 7

Papers

Box 3*, Folder 3

Poster

Box 1, Folder 8

40 V 40, 1971

Box 1

Vostell Environment Museum, 1977

Scope and Content Note

Also in Flatfile 1**.
Box 1, Folder 9

Papers

Flatfile 1**

Poster

Box 1

Vostell Fluxus Zug, 1981

Scope and Content Note

Also in Flatfile 2**.
Box 1, Folder 10

Papers

Flatfile 2**

Poster

Box 1, 3*

Various other exhibitions, 1970-1983, undated

Scope and Content Note

Also in Flatfile 3**.
Box 1, Folder 11-14

Papers, 1970-1983, undated

Box 3*, Folder 4

Oversize materials, 1971-1977, undated

Flatfile 3**

Posters, 1976-1982, undated

 

Series III. Various papers, 1971-2007, undated

Physical Description: 13 folders, 1 flatfile folder

Scope and Content Note

Documented are other projects Vostell was involved in, including the Museo Vostell Malpartida de Caceres in Spain, and the Happening Archiv Berlin (HAB). Also in this series is correspondence, a lecture Vostell gave at Marburg University, press clippings, various texts and drawings, and a cigar box inscribed by Vostell.

Arrangement

The materials are in the order in which they were received.
Box 2, 3*

Museo Vostell Malpartida de Caceres, 1974-1986, undated

Scope and Content Note

Also in Flatfile 4**.
Box 2, Folder 1

Papers, 1976-1979

Box 3*, Folder 5

Oversize materials, 1974-1986, undated

Flatfile 4**

Large flyer, 1979

Box 2, Folder 2

Happening Archiv Berlin, 1971-1973, undated

Box 2, Folder 3-5

Correspondence, 1971-1982, undated

Box 2, Folder 3

Letter to Ohff and essay by Vostell, 1971, undated

Scope and Content Note

Essay on the art market in Germany, titled "Nicht-handelbare Kunst? Kunst als Bewusstsein? Notizen zum Kunsthandel in der BRD heute." Dated Apr 10, 1971. Typescript, photocopy. Also present is an annotated list of members of Akademie der Künste Berlin.
Box 2, Folder 4

Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, 1975

Scope and Content Note

Two letters to the artist, one letter from Vostell to Stephan Waetzold.
Box 2, Folder 5

Letters to Ohff from Vostell and his wife, 1972-1982

Box 2, Folder 6

Lecture at Marburg University, 1979

Box 2, 3*

Press clippings, 1977-1979, undated

Box 2, Folder 7

Clippings, undated

Box 3*, Folder 6

Oversize clippings, 1977-1979, undated

Box 2, 3*

Various notes and drawings, 1971-1974

Box 2, Folder 8

Notes and drawings, 1971-1974

Box 3*, Folder 7

Oversize notes and drawings, 1972-1973

Box 2, Folder 9

Manifesto and Wolf Vostell Ideen Kartei 1/1969, undated

Scope and Content Note

Photocopies.
Box 4

Cigar box, 1982

Box 2, Folder 10

Ephemera supplied by dealer, 1983-2007, undated