Scope and arrangement
The records contain slides of many of the photographers who exhibited their work at the Gallery. There are also slides of photographer's work that was considered for an exhibit. Related material includes administrative records, general correspondence, general gallery information, exhibitions, handbills, financial, printed matter and photographs. Photographers who's work was exhibited in the Gallery include the following: Berenice Abbot, Dawoud Bey, Barbara Brooks, Shelley Bachman, Steve Cagan, Ron English, Charles Gatewood, Judith Golden, Arthur Leipzig, Les Levine, Sy Rubin, Larry Siegel, Aaron Siskind and William Earle Williams.
The records, 1972-1996, are reflective of a vital cultural organization that promoted innovative and new photographers. The collection provides good documentation of approximately thirty years of The Gallery existence from the nineteen seventies through the nineteen nineties. An overview of the photography exhibits at The Gallery is located in Exhibitions, Series IV. This series covers The Gallery from its beginning. Although documentation for the early years is limited, this series is fairly complete for showing the publicity utilized by The Gallery to promote photographers. Additional documentation is located in the Administrative Records (Series 1) and the Slides (Series VII). The collection does lack significant correspondence of photographers whose work was exhibited at The Gallery. There are the occasional curricula vitae of photographers that work was/was not exhibited. What the collection does indicate is that many photographers sought to exhibit at The Gallery. Requests for shows came from the metropolitan area and also from photographers from around the country. In some instances, the photographer previously exhibited their work and now sought to show their work in New York City at The Gallery. Located at the end of the finding aid is a List of Photographers and Group Shows, 1972-1996. In some instances, a photographer showed their work more than once.
The Midtown Y Photography Gallery records are arranged in eight series:
This series is representative of the administration of The Midtown Y Gallery. It is one of the smallest series in the collection. Records for the 1970s are lacking. The series contains Board correspondence, 1983-1994, relating to some of the administrative duties of The Gallery. The administrative records contain questionnaires forwarded to the Advisory Board from Sy Rubin and Michael Spano in 1983. The questionnaires were meant to make use of the talents of the Board members. Individuals were asked to check off what they would be interesting in doing for the Gallery such as lectures, writing grant proposals, openings, film series, lecture series, donating photographs to the permanent galley and curate a show. The remaining materials are miscellaneous notes and internal office correspondence c1982-1983.
This series is arranged in two sections. The first section, General Correspondence, 1970-1995, is arranged chronologically. The second section is alphabetical by name. The correspondence contains incoming correspondence to the Midtown Y Gallery. There is some outgoing correspondence.
This series, is a mixture of periphery material. The most important information in this section is the exhibition schedule of the Gallery for the years 1972 through 1996. The schedule is arranged by the time of the exhibit. There are no individual photographers recorded for group shows. Consult List of Photographers and Group Shows 1972-1996 for an alphabetical listing of photographers. The remaining material includes of artist postcards, recommendations by the Gallery, individuals and galleries requiring the Gallery's assistance and notes.
This series, is arranged chronologically. Not all exhibits are represented. There are handbills of the exhibits, press releases, reviews of exhibits published in newspapers and magazines, sign in sheets for visitors to the Gallery, occasional curricula vitae of the photographer and photographs.
Some years are incomplete; not all handbills are represented. These handbills were distributed to supporters giving about upcoming exhibits and receptions. The bulk of the handbills are glossy black and white measuring approximately "9x5." A few of the handbills are in color.
The financial records consists of the Midtown Y Gallery efforts to secure outside funding. The targeted groups are the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts; the Creative Artists Public Service Program; Council of the City of New York; National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. The remaining material consists of assorted financial records including donations and gifts.
The printed material contains a scattering of articles, newsletters and published works relating to photography. The published material includes catalogues of photographers who exhibited at galleries and museums. 14th Street by Sy Rubin and Larry Siegel (1981) is included in the printed matter. The remaining material includes some promotional posters and flyers for photography shows.
The slides are arranged into two sections. The first group of slides is arranged by Exhibition season, 1981-1996. This group does not represent all of the photographers whom exhibited at the Midtown Y Gallery. It also is not a complete inventory of the photographer's work exhibited at a show. The second group of slides is photographers rejected for exhibits (arranged alphabetical) and unidentified slides. The remainder of the collection contains information on potential exhibitions (1980-1996), assorted photo and copy prints.