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Robert Nelson Collection

AFA Collection - Robert Nelson Collection

The collection of filmmaker Robert Nelson (1930-2012) arrived at the Archive in multiple shipments spanning 2003-2009, with the main body of the collection arriving in the summer of 2003. The collection spans Nelson’s full filmographic output, including 16mm picture and track originals, intermediate printing elements, prints, audio tape, video tape, and other elements, totaling approximately 400 individual objects. Robert Nelson was one of the key artists of the American experimental film movement, particularly in his home base of San Francisco, where he was the first head of the San Francisco Art Institute’s film department, and co-founder of distributor Canyon Cinema. Early collaborators included the Grateful Dead, composer Steve Reich, artists William T. Wiley, Bruce Nauman, Robert Hudson, and R.G. Davis of the pioneering radical theater group, The San Francisco Mime Troupe. Among his most celebrated and widely seen films are the underground classics “Oh Dem Watermelons” (1965), “The Great Blondino” (1967), and “Bleu Shut” (1970).

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