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Gregory Battcock

Gregory Battcock was born in 1941 , possibly 1937 in New York, NY. He died in 1980 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was an art critic, art historian, and painter. He was the son of Elizabeth T and Gregory J. Battcock. He attended Michigan State University, receiving his A.B. before graduating from Hunter College (today Hunter College, City University of New York) with an M.A. He also attained a certificate at the Academia de Belli Arti, Rome. He painted as an abstract expressionist and did theater costume designs. Gregory Battcock was close friends with Andy Warhol and starred in several of the artist’s films, including “Batman Dracula,” 1964, “Horse,” 1965, “Galaxie,” 1966 and “Iliac Passion,” 1967. He became a special correspondent for Arts Magazine also in 1967. His interest in cinema led him to write articles about other Warhol films such as, “Notes on the Chelsea Girls: A Film by Andy Warhol,” 1967, and “Warhol Film,” 1968. He contributed to the re-definition of what the art world categorizes as art in that many of his anthologies address “new” fields of the aesthetic exploration of media such as film and video. He advocated that video is able to serve purposes other than the commercial, as it can stimulate intellectual and artistic inquiry. He was appointed associate professor of art history at Fairleigh Dickenson University, Teaneck NJ Campus, advancing to professor of art history, William Paterson College, Wayne, NJ in 1970. He accepted the additional responsibilities of editor of Arts Magazine in 1973. During these years, he wrote and edited books about minimal art, conceptual art, realism, photo-realism, video art, new music and art education, and he had. In these activities Battcock sought to define a “new art.” For example, the anthologies he edited investigated new types of relationships developing between artists, critics, art objects and the art world. Correspondingly, he believed that close and direct contact with artists and their work was necessary in facilitating the creation of new art. Upon completing his dissertation, Constructivism and Minimal Art: Some Critical, Theoretical and Aesthetic Correlations, he received his Ph.D. from New York University in 1979. By then, he was a significant member of the contemporary American art world. On December 24, 1980, Gregory Battcock was stabbed to death at his condo in Puerto Rico; his murder remains unsolved. An openly gay man, he lived a lifestyle which the art historian Robert Rosenblum (q.v.) described at “performance theater.” His papers consisting of biographical information, correspondence, works of art, financial records, photographs, artist files, printed material, datebooks, and manuscripts of published and unpublished writings are in housed in the Archives of American Art, The Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. Alice Neel’s painting, “David Bourden and Gregory Battcock,” 1971, is in the collection of the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas Austin.

His books

• Constructivism and Minimal Art: Some Critical, Theoretical and Aesthetic Correlations. New York University, 1979; edited.

• The New Art: A Critical Anthology. New York: Dutton, 1965; edited.

• The New American Cinema: A Critical Anthology. New York: Dutton, 1967; ed.

• Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology. New York: Dutton, 1968;

• Idea Art: A Critical Anthology. New York: Dutton, 1973;

• New Ideas in Art Education: A Critical Anthology. New York: Dutton, 1973; “Aesthetic for Rebellion.”

• Art and Artists 7, no. 10 (January 1973): 12-14; “Aesthetics and/or Transportation.”

• Arts Magazine 48, no. 1 (September-October 1973): 33-5; “Abstract Expressionism: The End of an Age.”


April 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment