Dan Budnik: Photographs of David Smith and his work, Bolton Landing, NY

Record Group, 2019-001
Date(s) of record-keeping activity
1962 – 1965
Photographic prints, contact sheets, oral history video
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research use.
Conditions Governing Reproduction
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from Storm King Art Center Archives and the copyright holder.
Scope and Content
This collection holds photographs of Smith’s sculptures and studio in Bolton Landing, NY, including those taken in May 1965, two weeks before Smith’s death. The prints have been included in exhibitions at Storm King Art Center; additional contact sheets are for reference only. In addition, an oral history has been filmed recording Budnik’s reminisces of his relationship with David Smith.

Born in 1933, American photojournalist Dan Budnik attended the Art Students League of New York (1951-1953) and studied painting with Charles Alston (1907-1977). After serving in the Army, Budnik worked for Magnum Photos, from 1957 to 1964. Budnik began to photograph prominent artists in the mid-50’s, including Willem de Kooning, David Smith, Alexander Calder, Helen Frankenthaler, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, Louise Bourgeois, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko and others. For six months in 1958, Budnik lived in Havana during the Cuban Revolution, photographing the country and underground members of the revolution. Upon his return to America, at the start of the 1960s, Budnik immersed himself in the Civil Rights Movement, documenting the March on Washington in 1963, and the Selma to Montgomery March of 1965.

After meeting the sculptor David Smith in 1952, Budnik visited Smith’s studio in Bolton Landing, NY in 1962. The two men forged a friendship that would last until Smith’s untimely death in 1965.

In 1970, Budnik started photographing indigenous tribes, such as the Hopi and Navajo nations of Arizona, and documenting ecological activism. He won a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in 1973 for his work with the indigenous people, and an Honor Roll Award of the American Society of Media Photographers in 1998.