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John McHale archive

 Collection
Call Number: MSS 60

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises collage books, collages, drawings, palettes, and posters by John McHale, with related printed material, including catalogs, periodicals, ephemera, and small posters. The collage books include McHale's Why I Took to the Washers in Luxury Flats and his Shoe-Life Stories, both completed ca. 1954. The collages series includes McHale's Transistor (1954), Aluminum Head (1956) and Untitled (Head) (1977). The drawings series 14 drawings of geometric or abstract design and several studies for Aluminum Head. Among the printed material are posters and literature concerning exhibitions of work by John McHale or related exhibitions at the Institute for Contemporary Arts.

Dates

  • ca. 1950-1978.

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The collection is the physical property of the Yale Center for British Art. Literary rights, including copyright, also belong to the Yale Center for British Art. For further information, consult the Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Yale Center for British Art, Gift of Magda Cordell McHale

Extent

25 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

https://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/ycba.mss.0060

Overview

The collection comprises collage books, collages, drawings, palettes, and posters by John McHale, with related printed material, including catalogs, periodicals, ephemera, and small posters.

Biographical / Historical

John McHale (1922-1978) was a British collage artist, art theorist, and sociologist. As a member of the Independent Group, formed at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1952, McHale helped to originate Pop Art in Britain, a movement rooted in American mass culture and modern technology.

McHale spent a year at Yale University in 1955-1956 and returned permanently to the US in 1962 to work with Richard Buckminster Fuller on ecological issues and environmental sustainability. With his wife, the artist Magda Cordell, McHale founded the Center for Integrative Studies (CIS) to consider the impact of modern industrialized world on human society and the environment.

In a 1984 retrospective of McHale’s work, Charlotta Kotik wrote: “The unique oeuvre of John McHale results from both his special creative talents and his exceptional human qualities. John McHale was at once a visual artist, writer, educator and organizer; but most important, he was a humanist philosopher endowed with relentless energy to pursue innovations which were ultimately to result in changes beneficial to mankind. He looked toward the future with a mixture of optimism and skepticism, but above all with a great deal of realistic wisdom, making possible a clear formulation of our predicament, and the consequences of our behavior well in advance of the mainstream.” (The Expendable Ikon, p. 9).

Bibliography

  • The Independent Group: postwar Britain and the aesthetics of plenty. Edited by David Robbins. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, c1990
  • McHale, John. The expendable ikon. Buffalo, NY: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1984
Title
Guide to the John McHale archive
Status
Completed
Author
compiled by Francis Lapka
Date
November 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Yale Center for British Art, Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

Contact:
Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts
1080 Chapel Street
P. O. Box 208280
New Haven CT 06520-8280 US
203-432-2814

Location

1080 Chapel Street
New Haven , CT 06510

Opening Hours