THE LARRY RIVERS ARCHIVE

Posted on July 1, 2010 - Filed Under The Marina Experiment | Leave a Comment

The NY Times published an article about the Larry Rivers archive, which was purchased by NYU for an undisclosed price. The  archive includes films and videos of Rivers’ two adolescent daughters, naked or topless, being interviewed by him about their developing breasts. Although my father was not a famous artist, he documented himself watching me in inappropriate ways, just like Larry. Was this a trend in 1970’s Manhattan?

As a victim of my own father’s predatory desires, I hope this doesn’t get swept under the proverbial rug. I started reading all the comments posted regarding Larry’s archive and his abuse. As a father, he abused his daughters by using his authority over them to get them to participate in his project. His thoughts were of himself, not his daughters. Loving parents don’t take risks with their children’s welfare just to complete their own pet projects.  Larry’s wife  quoted him: “What Larry said was that it would belong to them, as a record that when they got older they could look back at.”  My father taped himself saying “This is not for us to know, but for you to know 10 or 20 years from now,” and I used this in my film as evidence. Chilling. One person pointed out another atrocity that became public: the images from Abu Ghraib. I kept reading and couldn’t believe the similarities to my own experience.  I have re-posted one of the obituaries I wrote for my father below.

Larry’s daughter Emma said “I don’t want it out there in the world. It just makes it worse.” She has every right to this archive and to do whatever she wants with it. It is a document of her lost childhood. Her archive of betrayal. Every time I revisit my father’s archive the pain is excruciating. The difference is that I made my own choice to show my pain publicly. It was not dictated by an “art authority.”

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