Artist-Organized Spaces – Alternative To What? Session 1


“Museum of Modern Art is Racist” protest sign at “Students and Artists United for a ‘Martin Luther King Jr./Pedro Albizu Campos’ Study Center for Black and Puerto Rican Art at the Museum of Modern Art.” GAAG, AWC Black & Puerto Rican Block, Black Emergency Cultural Coalition, Tom Lloyd, et al. photo © Jan van Raay

Artist-Organized Alternative Spaces: Reflections on the 60s–80s

Sunday July 6, 2014 – Walking + Reading Tour
4:00pm – Meet in front of  Carriage Trade**, 62 Walker St.
5:00pm – Meet in front of Artists Space**, 32 Green St., 3rd fl.

** We are making stops at these locations. 
** These locations are NOT affiliated with Arts & Labor or this Summer Series. Sorry for any confusion.

In this first session we will attempt to trace the history of “alternative spaces.” Through various site-visits, essays, primary sources, news clipping, chronologies, and personal reflections, we will try to understand the context, possible motors, shifts the landscape, the people involved and their intentions. It’s also important to note that what we know about alternative spaces is still unfolding. New writings by Mary Ellen Lennon and Melissa Rachleff are opening up the idea of alternative spaces to include spaces that involved “different communities, neighborhoods, and concerns [1]”  For the time being, can we identify the various social, political, and economic forces behind their creation, the differences between them, and ultimately, how they appear today?

Readings: (click on the link to view PDF):
“Do It Yourself: A History of Alternatives” Rachleff, Melissa. (2012).
“A Question of Relevancy: New York Museums and the Black Arts Movement, 1968-1971.”  Lennon, Mary Ellen. (2006)
“Public Funding and Alternative Spaces.” Wallis, Brian. (2002)

Primary Material:
Caution! Alternative Space! Group Material Flyer Sept1981 “Caution! Alternative Space”, flyer by Group Material 1981.

more to come…

[1] Rachleff, Melissa. “Do It Yourself: A History of Alternatives”. Alternative Histories: New York Art Spaces, 1960 to 2010. Ed. Rosati, Lauren, and Mary A. Staniszewski. 2012. Massachusetts: M.I.T. Press. p26.


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