Antin, David

Alternative names

Hide Profile

David Antin is a performance artist, experimental poet, curator, and critic who developed a unique literary form, the "talk piece." He has been a key figure in the New York literary and art scene for forty years, and was a long-time professor at the University of California at San Diego.

From the description of David Antin papers, 1954-2006. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 668135856

Biographical/Historical Note

Equal parts poet, critic, philosopher, and performance artist, David Antin (b. 1932) does not fit easily within any standard category of artistic or academic production. Originally trained in languages, mathematics, and science, the first ten years of Antin's career (1955-1964) were spent as a translator of both scientific texts and fiction. By the late 1950s, Antin had begun to experiment with writing fiction and poetry, with his first published work appearing in Kenyon Review in 1959. By the early 1960s, Antin had developed significantly both as a poet and as an art critic, and his 1965 articles about Andy Warhol and Robert Morris could be said to be among the first truly analytical writings about either artist.

By the later 1960s, Antin was becoming a key figure in New York art and literary circles. His dynamic and charismatic speaking style became a basis for spoken-word performances that fused elements of Fluxus and Cagean aesthetics with vanguard trends in fiction and poetry - a practice that shared many sympathies with artists such as Jackson Mac Low and the earliest works of Vito Acconci. Following a brief period as curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Antin took a teaching position at the University of California, San Diego in 1968, where he continued teaching for the rest of his career. Early on in San Diego, Antin was curator, and then director, of UCSD's Mandeville Art Gallery, where he organized exhibitions by Joan Jonas, Richard Serra, Nancy Spero, Keith Sonnier, and a large group show of Fluxus artists. Antin also helped to inaugurate the UCSD library's Special Collections Poetry Archive, which today has grown to be one of the most significant such collections in the country. Antin eventually became chairman of UCSD's Department of Visual Studies. Among the many innovations of this department, and primarily at Antin's urging, UCSD's was the first art department in the country to begin a program in video art (1971), and the first to begin a program in computer and new media art (1974).

As an art historian, critic, and theorist, Antin's contributions have been significant, but by no means systematic. Just as likely to write about Alex Katz as about new directions in computer art, Antin covers an extremely broad area in his writings, including pieces about Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Martha Graham, Piet Mondrian, Robert Morris, Yvonne Rainer, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol, as well as important pieces about video art, performance, technology, and general notions of the avant-garde and post-modernism. Antin has written presciently about the art market throughout his career, and his writings contain one of the most sustained arguments for the role of narrative in the visual arts. Antin has also continued to be an extremely prolific and esteemed writer of fiction and poetry up to the present day.

Antin's unique contribution to all of his fields of interest has been the development of the "talk piece," a sort of spoken-word academia that fuses poetry, performance art, and criticism into a single, persuasive form of discourse. When listened to, the talk piece would seem to be performance art; transcribed in Antin's unique grammatical style, it reads as poetry; and when analyzed for its intellectual content, the talk piece exists solidly as art or literary criticism. Since developing the talk piece in 1970, Antin has continued using it as his primary means of public discourse, both as live performance and as written (transcribed) material. Looking at Antin's career as a whole, it is certainly this form of discourse that ties his practice together, and which reveals the main focus of his life's project to be an extended interrogation of how and why we make meaning in any form, visual, verbal, or otherwise.

From the guide to the David Antin papers, 1954-2006, (The Getty Research Institute)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn New Directions Publishing Corp. records, ca. 1933-1997. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Bergé, Carol, 1928-2006. Papers, 1970-1983. Washington University in St. Louis, .
creatorOf Antin, David. Office files of The American Poetry Review, 1972-1973. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Owens, Rochelle. Papers, 1900-1997. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Larry Fagin Papers., n.d., 1958-1977. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.
creatorOf Eshleman, Clayton. Papers, 1958-1993. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn Clayton Eshleman Papers, 1958 - 1993 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
referencedIn The Review of Contemporary Fiction/Dalkey Archive Press : records, 1980-1990 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
creatorOf Kaprow, Allan. Allan Kaprow papers, ca. 1940-1997. Getty Research Library
referencedIn Davidovich, Jaime, 1936-. Video views from Iowa City #3 [videorecording]. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn New American Poetry Circuit Records., 1969-1974. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.
creatorOf Antin, David. [Armand Schwerner memorial reading, May 26, 1999 [sound recording]]. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn Gary Snyder Papers, 1910-2003;, (1945-2002 bulk) University of California, Davis. General Library. . Dept. of Special Collections
creatorOf David Antin papers, 1954-2006 The Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931-. [United Artists poetry reading, between 1970 and 1979 [videorecording] / Jerome Rothenberg...et al.]. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn Manuscripts and proofs of New Directions books, 1937-1997. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Sun & Moon Press Archive, 1976-2002 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
creatorOf Antin, David. David Antin papers, 1954-2006. Getty Research Institute, Research Library
creatorOf Joris, Pierre. [Poetry reading, April 19, 1998 [sound recording] / Pierre Joris ... et al.]. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf Mac Low, Jackson. Papers, 1923-1995. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn Review of Contemporary Fiction / Dalkey Archive Press : records, 1980-1988. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Higgins, Dick, 1938-1998. Dick Higgins Collection, 1958-2002 UMBC, Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery
creatorOf ANTIN, DAVID. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn George Economou Papers, 1954-1996. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Rochelle Owens Papers, 1900-1997 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
creatorOf Bergé, Carol, 1928-2006. Papers. Washington University in St. Louis, .
referencedIn Economou, George. George Economou papers, 1954-1996. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931-. Jerome Rothenberg collection on American literature, 1959-1995. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn New American Poetry Circuit (Organization). New American Poetry Circuit records, 1969-1974. University of Connecticut, Homer Babbidge Library
referencedIn David Ignatow Papers, 1929-1994 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
creatorOf Crow, Thomas. Seeing Rothko [sound recording] / [sponsored by the Getty Research Institute]. Getty Research Institute, Research Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Antin, Eleanor. person
associatedWith Bergé, Carol, 1928-2006. person
associatedWith Duncan, Robert person
associatedWith Duncan, Robert. person
associatedWith Economou, George. person
associatedWith Economou, George. person
associatedWith Eshleman, Clayton. person
correspondedWith Fagin, Larry. person
associatedWith Higgins, Dick, 1938-1998. person
correspondedWith Ignatow, David, 1941- person
associatedWith John O'Brien person
associatedWith Joris, Pierre. person
associatedWith Kaprow, Allan. person
associatedWith Mac Low, Jackson. person
associatedWith New American Poetry Circuit corporateBody
associatedWith New American Poetry Circuit (Organization) corporateBody
correspondedWith New Directions Publishing Corp. corporateBody
associatedWith Owens, Rochelle. person
associatedWith Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931- person
associatedWith Snyder, Gary person
correspondedWith Sun & Moon Press corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Subject
Art criticism--21st century
Poetry, Modern--20th century
Performance art--21st century
Art criticism 20th century
Performance Art--United States--20th century
Literary criticism--United States--20th century
Art criticism--United States--20th century
Poetry, modern--21st century
Literary criticism--20th century
Performance art--20th century
Experimental poetry
Literary criticism--21st century
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1932-02-01

Americans

English

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6n01sb3

Ark ID: w6n01sb3

SNAC ID: 74725993