Reenact historic political conversations between prominent New York artists of the late twentieth century in this two day workshop. Using transcripts published in 1976, participants will take on roles and collaborate to stage and record the event. Together, we will create a video/sound/performance work from beginning to end, and each participant will walk away with a copy of the finished work, as well as a deeper knowledge of this little-known moment in the history of conceptual art.
Those participating in the workshop will be involved in the analysis and co-creation of a series of conversations that marked the end of the art journal The Fox along with the New York section of the artist collective Art and Language in 1976. The conversations documented in the final issue of the journal are at turns caustic, politically incisive, self-critical, petty, and brutally honest. They form a historical index to the way art, politics, and political commitment were thought in a politically volatile time. The workshop uses the article as a script to think about our own volatile moment and the words we use to describe it and hopefully change it.
In 1976, a series of exchanges between the members of the editorial board of the art journal The Fox were published as the “Lumpen Headache,” edited by Peter Benchley. Some would say these transcripts from their last meetings charted the breakdown of the New York section of the trans-Atlantic artist collective, Art and Language. The Fox (1975–1976) was a polemical publication — part art magazine, part trade journal, part artist book. The exchanges we will be re-creating were published in the third and final issue of the journal. These meetings—or “struggle sessions” in the group’s parlance—were devoted to the question of the collective unity, the ideological “position” of the collective, and the question of individual agency within a collective project. Participants in the workshop are expected to take part in the conversations as one of the interlocutors, and be involved in the staging and recording of the reading/conversation. The roles include artists Michael Corris, Joseph Kosuth, Sarah Charlesworth, Karl Beveridge, Christine Kozlov, Ian Burn, Carole Conde, Mel Ramsden, Andrew Menard, Preston Heller, Jill Breakstone, Mayo Thompson, Nigel Lendon, and Alex Hay.
Materials: A short selection of readings and reference materials will be provided in advance.
Audience: No prior knowledge of Art & Language or The Fox is necessary. Nor are there any prerequisite technical production skills necessary; Camel Collective and Pioneer Works will supply the equipment and background necessary for the production.
Camel Collective is the name under which Anthony Graves (USA) and Carla Herrera-Prats (Mexico) have worked under since 2005. The group works through processes of archival research, dramaturgy, printmaking, sculpture, and photography to focus on the problematics of labor, pedagogy, theater, and collectivity. Selected exhibitions include “La distancia entre Pontresina y Zermatt es la misma que la de Zermatt a Pontresina,” Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2017); “Camel Collective: Project Room,” PARQUE Galería, Mexico City (2017); “Something Other Than What You Are,” REDCATGallery, Los Angeles (2016); and “ El Segundo Congreso de Artistas Libres,” Casa del Lago, Mexico City (2013-14).
Image Credit: Something Other Than What You Are (still)
3-channel hd video installation, with sound and computer programmed lighting system and light grid, 45 min. 2016