Celebrating the acquisition, processing, and opening of the Larry Rivers Papers for study and research New York University's Fales Library & Special Collections

“Crossings: Larry Rivers and His Milieu” a Day-long Symposium at NYU’s Fales Library and Special Collections March 29, 2013
"Washington Crossing the Delaware", 1953 copyright (c) Estate of Larry Rivers. Image licensed by VAGA

Carol A. Mandel, Dean of the New York University Division of Libraries, and David Joel, Executive Director of the Larry Rivers Foundation, are co-hosting a day-long symposium, “Crossings: Larry Rivers and His Milieu” at NYU’s Fales Library and Special Collections on Friday, March 29, 2013 from 9:00a-5:00p at the Fales Library, third floor, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, (at LaGuardia Place). [Subways A,C,E, B,D,M to West 4th Street; 6 line to Astor Place; R train to 8th Street.].  In this day-long symposium, scholars, artists, musicians and writers will gather to discuss Larry Rivers’s work, life, and times.

The symposium is free and open to the public.  To RSVP, please email to: rsvp.bobst@nyu.edu with your name and title/date of the event.


The symposium celebrates the acquisition and processing of the Larry Rivers Papers, which comprises nearly 200 linear feet of archival materials, including correspondence, photographs, source material, film and video. The symposium, organized by Nicholas Martin, Project Archivist for the Larry Rivers Papers, and David Joel of the Larry Rivers Foundation will feature four panel sessions, developing from the following broad topics: Poetry, Music, Art/Painting, and Literary and Artistic Circles. Each panel will consist of three presenters and a moderator. Participants include David Amram, Bill Berkson, Frank Bowling, Barbara Goldsmith, Brad Gooch, David Levy, Eileen Myles and Jenni Quilter.


Panel Times and Participants:


  • 9am to 10:30am  Panel One: Art with David Levy, Frank Bowling, Barbara Goldsmith, David Joel, Helen Harrison (moderator)


  • 11am to 12:30pm  Panel Two: Literary and Artistic Social Circles with Bill Berkson, Jenni Quilter, Rob Slifkin, Daniel Kane (moderator)


  • 2pm to 3:30pm  Panel Three: Poetry with Eileen Myles, Brad Gooch, Daniel Kane, Marvin J. Taylor (moderator)


  • 4pm to 5:30pm  Panel Four: Jazz with David Amram, Eric Charry, Howard Brofsky, David Levy (moderator)

Evening Reception

  • 5:30pm to 7pm  Opening reception for Crossings: Larry Rivers & His Milieu, an exhibition in the Tracey/Barry Gallery curated by Nicholas Martin


Larry Rivers (1923-2002) was a famously social and artistically provocative figure at the very center of the transformative New York art world from the 1940s through the 1960s. At first a musician, then also a painter, filmmaker, sculptor, and writer, Rivers had a gift for collaboration and reached out to other artists in all media. As Holland Carter wrote in The New York Times in 2009, “Rivers was a spark, in art and in life.” His friendships helped knit together the worlds of poetry, visual art, writing, music, dance, and theater in post-war New York City.

Commenting on the opening of the Larry Rivers Papers, Dean Mandel says, “NYU is a leading center for the study of art, from theory to practice to history. It is extremely gratifying for us at the library to acquire a resource as extraordinarily rich and unique as the Rivers Papers, make the materials accessible to students, scholars and the public, and see them mined for exciting new scholarship.”


The papers are a nearly inexhaustible supply of primary source material for scholars of contemporary art history, criticism, poetry, literature, New York City culture, and more. Among the highlights is Rivers’s correspondence over many years with such contemporaries as Frank O’Hara, Jane Freilicher, Merce Cunningham, Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, Ned Rorem, James Schuyler, Maxine Groffsky, and Niki de Saint Phalle, among more than 600 other named correspondents.


About Fales Library and Special Collections:

The Fales Library, comprising nearly 200,000 volumes, and over 8,000 linear feet of archive and manuscript materials, houses the Fales Collection of rare books and manuscripts in English and American literature, the Downtown Collection, the Food and Cookery Collection and the general Special Collections of the NYU Libraries. The Fales Collection was given to NYU in 1957 by DeCoursey Fales in memory of his father, Haliburton Fales. It is especially strong in English literature from the middle of the 18th century to the present, documenting developments in the novel. The Downtown Collection documents the downtown New York art, performance, and literary scenes from 1975 to the present and is extremely rich in archival holdings, including extensive film and video objects. The Food and Cookery Collection is a vast, and rapidly expanding collection of books and manuscripts documenting food and foodways with particular emphasis on New York City. Other strengths of the collection include the Berol Collection of Lewis Carroll Materials, the Robert Frost Library, the Kaplan and Rosenthal Collections of Judaica and Hebraica and the manuscript collections of Elizabeth Robins and Erich Maria Remarque.


Press Contact

Christopher James
Christopher James
(212) 998-6876