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   BOMB Magazine Records, 1978-2018

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); BOMB Magazine Records, Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information


This collection contains the administrative records of the interview-based arts journal, BOMB Magazine

At a Glance

Call No.:MS#1415
Bib ID:6256785 View CLIO record
Title: BOMB Magazine Records, 1978-2018
Physical description:129 linear feet (56 record cartons, 116 document boxes & 6 flat boxes)
Language(s):In English
Access: The following boxes are located off-site: Boxes 1 through 123 and 125-182. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. This collection has no restrictions.  More information »



This collection is arranged into five series

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Scope and Content

The bulk of the collection is comprised of research and background material used by the BOMB staff to create the individual issues. These records include correspondence, interview transcripts, literary manuscripts and proofs, magazine layouts, photographs and slides of individual artists and artwork, research material, printed material, and audio and digital files. Administrative files, such as financial records, fundraising material, legal files, records concerning other BOMB publications and programs, and general business records are also held in the collection.

Series I: Administrative Records, 1981-2003

Series I holds the administrative records of Bomb Magazine. This series is arranged in three subseries: Art Program, Development and Finances, and Website.

Subseries I.1: Art Program, 1981-2003

The Art Program records document the planning and execution of this financially based initiative. The files consist of artist's biographical material, correspondence, reviews, exhibition catalogues, artist catalogues, and press clippings. Visual material is well represented in the form of photographs and slides of the individual pieces of art. Some digital files may be found in this subseries containing scanned images of artwork and word documents concerning the artists and their work. Several original pieces of artwork are held in the collection by the artists Keith Haring, William Wegman, Billy Copley, and Tina Girouard.

Subseries I.2: Development and Finances, 1985-2003

Subseries Two is comprised of records concerning the fiscal operations of BOMB Magazine. Included are budgets and ledgers, correspondence with board members and donors, donor lists, general mailing lists, financial statements, contracts in regards to other BOMB publications, subscription and distribution information. There are also records for grant applications, most notably the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).

Subseries 3: Website, 1984-2003

This subseries documents the growth of the BOMB Website and the creation of the Online Archive and "BOMBLive!," a web-based interview series that was established in 2001. The bulk of the records are audio cassettes of online audio material used for "BOMBLive!" as well as cassettes of other published and unpublished interviews that are not associated with a particular issue. Printed matter consists of correspondence, legal records, such as contracts and release forms, exhibition and artist catalogues, and original manuscripts and magazine galleys created by author Phillip Lopate. Photographs, slides and negatives, or profiled artists and artwork are also found in this subseries.

Series II: BOMB Publications, 1981-2011

Series II: BOMB Publications comprise the bulk of the collection and holds records pertaining to the monthly magazine issues as well as the BOMB books entitled, Speak Art!, Speak Fiction and Poetry!, and Speak Theater and Film!, " which are compilations of interviews originally published in the magazine.

Subseries II.1: Issues, 1981-2011

This subseries consists of the finished publication and any accompanying documentation used in the creation of the issue. Included with the general records are correspondence between the editors, in particular Editor-in-Chief Betsy Sussler, and the artists being featured in an issue, transcripts of interviews, literary texts, layouts and galleys, artist catalogues, exhibition material, and other bound materials concerning art and artists. Separated work that is also found in this subseries may consist of a copy of the individual issue, photographs, printed material, copies of literary texts, in the form of reader copies or proofs that have been identified as being incorporated into a particular issue. Audio and Digital files, such as Zip disks, floppy disks, audio cassette tapes, and VHS tapes containing interviews, scanned digital images of artists and artwork, potential galleys and layouts, and advertisements are held in this subseries as well. This subseries has been organized chronologically by issue number.

Accession 2011.2012.M107, 2005-2011 files, was added to Subseries II.1

Subseries II.2: Monographs, 1991-1998

The books are compilations of interviews based upon a specific theme, Art, Fiction and Poetry, and Theater and Film. Editor-in-Chief Betsy Sussler edited the interviews with the assistance of Suzan Sherman and Rone Shavers. Within this series is printed material, in the form of press releases, invitations to book launches, and tickets, as well as correspondence, artist forms, and financial records. Also included, in both paper and digital formats, are manuscript drafts, proofs with accompanying corrections, photographs, and advertising layouts.

Speak Art! Interviews:

Dave Hickey by Saul Ostrow, Eric Fischl by A.M. Homes, Roni Horn by Mimi Thompson, Robert Gober by Craig Gholson, Adam Fuss by Ross Bleckner, Larry Sultan by Catherine Liu, Richard Serra by David Seidner, Sue Williams by David Seidner and Nancy Spero, Ross Bleckner by Aimee Rankin, Vito Acconci by Richard Prince, Kiki Smith by Chuck Close, and Lawrence Weiner by Marjorie Welish

Speak Fiction and Poetry! Interviews:

Michael Ondaatje by Willem Dafoe, John Edgar Wideman by Caryl Phillips, Lucie Brock-Broido by Carole Maso, Russell Banks by Pinkney Benedict, Walter Mosley by Thulani Davis, Jeanette Winterson by Catherine Bush, James Merrill by Tom Bolt, bell hooks by Lawrence Chua, Francine Prose by Deborah Eisenberg, Peter Carey by Robert Polito, Paul Auster by Joseph Mallia, Tobias Wolff by A.M. Homes, Caryl Phillips by Graham Swift, Bradford Morrow by Jim Lewis, Melanie Rae Thon by Caryl Phillips, and Graham Swift by Patrick McGrath.

Speak Theater and Film! Interviews:

Paula Vogel by Mary-Louise Parker, Mike Figgis by Bette Gordon, Arthur Miller by Ron Rifkin, George C. Wolfe by bell hooks, Elizabeth LeCompte by Linda Yablonsky, Anna Deavere Smith by Thulani Davis, Ron Vawter by Jessica Hagedorn, Edward Albee by Craig Lucas, Lee Breuer by Michael Goldberg, Suzan-Lori Parks by Han Ong, Mike Leigh by Bette Gordon, Richard Greenberg by Craig Gholson, Frances McDormand by Willem Dafoe, and Liz Diamond by Marc Robinson.

Series III: Research Material, 1978-2004

This series is comprised of material that may have been used in the creation of the magazine or the BOMB books, but is not attached to any particular issue. Series III has been arranged by box number. Each box contains material that generally falls into the following categories: manuscripts and proofs of plays, novels, and essays, often with corrections and annotations; printed material, which consists primarily of other arts-based journals and magazines, exhibition catalogues, advertising pamphlets, and artist's catalogs; and photographs and slides of individual pieces of artwork, theatre productions, entire exhibitions, and artists. The documents contained in Series III show the variety of artists and artistic endeavors that BOMB editors considered when compiling potential magazine issues

Series IV: Addition, 1999-2017

Accession number 2017.2018.M073

This significant addition of 27 record cartons and 2 flat boxes containing working/production files for Issues 118 through 141.

This addition also contains artwork donated by Betsy Sussler.

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Using the Collection

Partially Offsite

Access Restrictions

 The following boxes are located off-site: Boxes 1 through 123 and 125-182. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts, Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The majority of the photographs are under copyright and may not be reproduced without permission of the holder of copyright.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); BOMB Magazine Records, Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Papers processed in April 2007 by Lea Osborne.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion November 7, 2008 Finding aid written in English.
    2008-11-07 file created.
    2009-01-15 xml document instange created by Patrick Lawlor
    2009-04-30 Revision by Lea Osborne
    2018-03-06 Links to web archives added by Kevin Schlottmann
    2018-06-22 Dates in series II corrected by Kevin Schlottmann
    2018-07-2 Box 183 processed by PTL.

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Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Exhibition CatalogsPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Manuscripts for publicationPortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Arts, Modern--20th century--Periodicals.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Avant-garde (Aesthetics)--History--20th century--Periodicals.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Copley, Billy.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Experimental drama, American.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Girouard, Tina.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Haring, Keith, 1958-1990PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Intercultural communication in the performing arts.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lopate, Phillip, 1943-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Martinez, Daniel J., 1957-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Performing arts and literature--New York (State)--Brooklyn (New York)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Performing arts--Interviews.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Sussler, Betsy.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Wegman, William, 1943-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

BOMB Magazine was founded in 1981 as a medium through which artists could speak to one another freely and without boundaries about the creative process; what it meant to them as writers, actors, directors, artists and cultural commentators. The editors, being unsure of the success of this venture, named the magazine BOMB. However, the concept of providing a forum for artists to discuss art, literature, film, and fashion in print was indeed successful and the magazine has continued for over twenty-five years.

Located in Brooklyn, New York, BOMB Magazine is published quarterly by the small non-profit New Art Publications. The magazine has an editorial board consisting of some seventy members who are actively involved in the creative and performing arts. This organization exists financially through grants, given at the local and national level, and donations. BOMB's Art Program provides further income for the institution. Through this program, artists donate artwork to the magazine which then sells these pieces to art collectors, museums, and university galleries. Some individuals who have been involved with this program in the past are Keith Haring, William Wegman, and several artists who created publicity pieces for the popular Absolut Vodka marketing campaign.

Throughout the years, many notable members of the arts have conducted or been interviewed for BOMB Magazine. In addition to the interviews, BOMB staff members have reviewed literary pieces, have reproduced artwork, and have included articles on theater productions and film. Indeed, the variety of artists who have graced the pages is broad. Selected distinguished individuals include Jane Alexander, Laurie Anderson, Eric Bogosian, Jean Louis Borges, Chuck D, Willem Dafoe, Jill Eisenstadt, Spaulding Gray, Christopher Guest, Emmylou Harris, bell hooks, Jim Jarmusch, Jasper Johns, Wong Kar-Wai, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Mapplethorpe, Joyce Carol Oates, Salman Rushdie, Quentin Tarantino, and Wallace Shawn.

BOMB Magazine continues to provide an in-depth look at the ways in which art is appreciated, created and sustained by those most involved: the artists.

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