Kathe Burkhart Papers
Language of Materials
Kathe Burkhart (1958- ) is an American artist, writer, professor, and graphic designer based in both New York and The Netherlands. Her artwork utilizes various techniques including collage, painting, digital media, photography, video recordings, and sculpture. These techniques manifest in multiple forms including installations, short films, and writings. Her visual works frequently engage with themes such as gender roles, sexual politics, female dominance, and celebrity. The Kathe Burkhart Papers consist of paper and electronic files, and audio and video recordings on multiple formats which have been created and collected by Kathe Burkhart over the course of her personal and professional life dating from the 1960s to 2017. These materials document Burkhart's interdisciplinary work and provide contextual understanding of her artistic processes. Files and audiovisual material accumulated by Burkhart document her career as an artist through press clippings, artwork images, press releases, grant proposals, exhibition promotional material, and business correspondence. Datebooks and notebooks from the 1970s to the mid-2010s function as a combination of journals and appointment books. A significant amount of documentation is related to Burkhart's ongoing project, the The Liz Taylor Series, which originated in 1982, and includes source material, artwork images, clippings, and exhibition ephemera. Work files related to her writings include drafts, contracts, correspondence, and cover layouts, documenting her books From Under the 8-Ball (1985), The Double Standard (2002, 2005), Between the Lines (2006), and Dudes (2014). Burkhart's poetry, short stories, and articles are also in this collection. Files related to Burkhart's graphic design work and classes she taught at New York University and other institutions are also in this collection. Correspondence, writings, ephemera, and diaries related to Burkhart's Aunt Grace Knipe are in this collection and used as inspiration for her book Between the Lines (2006). Burkhart's personal files include photographs, astrology readings, correspondence, and high school and college ephemera.
Kathe Burkhart (1958- ) is an American multi-disciplined artist, writer, professor, and graphic designer. Burkhart received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of Arts, Valencia. Her artwork utilizes various techniques including collage, painting, digital media, photography, video recordings, and sculpture. Her visual works have been exhibited both nationally and internationally, and frequently engage with themes such as gender roles, sexual politics, female dominance, and celebrity. The Liz Taylor Series, which Burkhart began in 1982, is one of her better known projects. Burkhart's writing takes multiple forms including novels, poetry, art reviews, and short stories. Burkhart has also taught courses in art, critical theory, and feminist theory at New York University and other institutions.
Organized chronologically within eight series:
Series I. Artwork
Series II. The Liz Taylor Series
Series III. Writing
Series IV. Graphic Design
Series V. Teaching
Series VI. Personal
Series VII. Grace Knipe Papers
Series VIII. Journals, Datebooks, and Diaries
Scope and Contents
The Kathe Burkhart Papers consist of materials created and collected by Kathe Burkhart in the course of her personal life and professional work as an interdisciplinary artist, writer, graphic designer and professor. Paper and electronic files in this collection contain original documentation which provides contextual understanding of Burkhart's artistic process dating from the 1960s to the mid-2010s.
Files related to Burkhart's career as a working artist include business correspondence; artwork images; grant application material; and exhibition files containing press releases, press reviews, mailers, and catalogs. Artworks and projects with a significant amount of material in the collection include The Authorized and Unauthorized Portraits; Torture Paintings; Nudes and The Abortion Project exhibition and related anthology book. A significant amount of material in this collection is specifically related to Burkhart's The Liz Taylor Series including artwork images, press clippings, exhibition installation images, and promotional material. Source material on the actress Elizabeth Taylor was accumulated over decades by Burkhart and dates from the 1960s to the mid-2010s. Burkhart began creating this series of works in the 1980s and continues as of 2021.
Labels, project descriptions, digital sound files, notes, final versions, and edited and unedited video clips related to her video projects are in this collection including Spendthrift, 1001 Coffee Shops, Nicole, Shave, American Woman, and Fugue. Burkhart's collection of studio diaries, notebooks, journals, appointment books, and desk calendars document her personal relationships; artwork ideas and writings; and daily activities while living and working in both New York and Amsterdam from the 1980s to the 2010s. Because of the private nature of these journals, they are not presently available to researchers.
Burkhart's poetry, short stories, novels, and critical review work files include drafts, page design layouts, correspondence, and audio and video recordings of readings and spoken word performances. This collection also includes a selection of work samples and client files related to Burkhart's graphic design work. Burkhart has been a professor at New York University and other educational institutions, teaching courses in art and art theory including the courses Drawing I and II; Sex and Contemporary Visual Art; Art and Activism; and Introduction to Critical Theory. Teaching files typically include course descriptions, syllabi, reading lists, notes, and correspondence.
Material related to Burkhart's personal life includes magazine profile interviews; astrology charts and readings; photographs of Burkhart, friends, and pets; correspondence with family and friends; and ephemera from Burkhart's high school and college years dating from the 1970s and 1980s in West Virginia and California. Burkhart also collected material related to her aunt, Grace Knipe, including ephemera, letters, diaries, writings, and notebooks, which illustrate the life of a woman working and living in West Virginia during the 1920s to the 1950s. Burkhart used letters to Knipe from her friend, Kate Gibson, as inspiration for her 2006 novel Between the Lines.
Correspondence as well as artwork and personal images will overlap throughout all the series, because Burkhart's personal and professional lives are so interwoven.
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open to researchers. Access to Series VIII. Journals, Datebooks, and Diaries (Boxes 47-66) is restricted to researchers until the donor is deceased.
Conditions Governing Use
This collection is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use materials in the collection in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder.
Identification of item, date; Kathe Burkhart Papers; MSS 467; box number; folder number or item identifier; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University.
Location of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Kathe Burkhart in November, 2016; the accession number associated with this gift is 2017.004. Accretions to the collection were donated by Burkhart in February/April/May/September 2017, December 2018, and May 2023; the accession numbers associated with these accretions are 2017.010, 2017.085, 2018.080, 2018.123, 2018.125, and 2023.035.
Born-Digital Access Policies and Procedures
Advance notice is required for the use of computer records. Original physical digital media is restricted. An access terminal for born-digital materials in the collection is available by appointment for reading room viewing and listening only. Researchers may view an item's original container and/or carrier, but the physical carriers themselves are not available for use because of preservation concerns.
Audiovisual Access Policies and Procedures
Access to some audiovisual materials in this collection is available through digitized access copies. Researchers may view an item's original container, but the media themselves are not available for playback because of preservation concerns. Materials that have already been digitized are noted in the collection's finding aid and can be requested in our reading room. To request an access copy, or if you are unsure if an item has been digitized, please contact email@example.com with the collection name, collection number, and a description of the item(s) requested. A staff member will respond to you with further information.
During processing in 2021, two phonographic disc albums were identified with mold, and discarded.
2 vhs tapes, 11 CDs, and one audiocassette found to be commercial recordings were separated from the collection.
The following items did not fall within NYU's collection policy and were separated from the collection: books, 157 commercial phonographic disc albums, items of clothing (t-shirts, dresses, sweaters, shoes, leather jacket), slide light box, globe artwork, and other objects. A detailed list is available in the curatorial file for the collection. A syringe was disposed of as hazardous waste.
About this Guide
At the time of accessioning from 2016 to 2018, materials were moved into archival housing and described on the collection level, complemented by a box-level inventory. At that time, textiles including t-shirts were inspected and temporarily frozen as a preventive preservation measure.
Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. Original caption information, when available, was transcribed onto the new folders. A small number of t-shirts and other items were sent to the conservation lab for treatment and housed in appropriately sized containers. Analog audio and audiovisual materials were assigned unique numbers, labeled, and physcially grouped together by format into new containers.
47 carriers were forensically imaged, analyzed, and arranged in Forensic Toolkit. New York University Libraries follow professional standards and best practices when imaging, ingesting, and processing born-digital material in order to maintain the integrity and authenticity of the content.