Alternatives: Spaces, Places, Voices

Posted August 05, 2010 by admin

This section of the AS-AP site contains selected essays by graduate student members of Professor Robert Storr’s seminar, Alternatives: Spaces, Places, Voices—How artists make it new and make it their own in good times and bad, which he taught at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University in the fall of 2004.

The course description was as follows:

The history of modern and contemporary art is one of institutions as much as of formal innovations or ideas. While much of the focus of recent institutional critique has focused on the circumstances in which avant-garde art enters the more conservative networks of the market, the museum, the academy and the mass media, the institutions that artists create for themselves—most of which are short-lived but of crucial importance—have received less attention. This seminar is a collective research project into the history, nature and problematics of such endeavors from the 1940s through to the present, with special emphasis on artist-run galleries, journals and activist groups focused on social and aesthetic issues.

Some of the spaces, places and voices, which were covered by students were (grouped by general subject matter or time period):

The Irascibles, The Club, Tenth Street Co-ops, Tiger’s Eye, It is.
Judson Church, Happenings
Artforum, Avalanche, High Performance
Art Workers Coalition
112 Greene Street, Food
AIR, Heresies, Womanhouse
Spiral, Black Art Movement, Harlem on My Mind
Museo del Barrio, Studio Museum, New Museum
Franklin Furnace, The Kitchen, Artists’ Space, Printed Matter
Group Material, Fashion Moda, Colab
Guerilla Girls, PADD
Act-Up, Gran Fury, WAC

These essays are primarily meant to serve as examples of (and an inspiration for future) research on the history of the American avant-garde, a history, which according to AS-AP “is largely unwritten, unaccounted for, or undervalued, though it is generally accepted to have transformed contemporary artistic practices.”

Index of Essays

Artists(’) Space by Kim Conaty

As Landmark: An Introduction to "Harlem on My Mind" by Matthew Israel

Spiral by Courtney Martin

A.I.R. Gallery: A Feminist Take on the SoHo-Style Alternative by Kate Moomaw

WOMANHOUSE: Cradle of Feminist Art by Sandra Sider

The Banquet Years: FOOD, a SoHo Restaurant in the Early 1970s by Lori Waxman