Installation view of Benefit for the Student Mobilization Committee to End The War in Vietnam including works by Will Insley (left) and Jo Baer (right); Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, October 22-31, 1968; organized by Lucy R. Lippard, © Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. (Photo: James Dee, courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York).
Installation view of Eccentric Abstraction including Alice Adams, Big Aluminum, 1965; Fischbach Gallery, New York, September 20–October 8, 1966; organized by Lucy R. Lippard, Fischbach Gallery Records, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (Photo: © Fischbach Gallery, New York).
Vito Acconci (American, b. 1940), Following Piece, 1969, Activity, 23 days, varying times each day; typewritten statement, 27.9 x 21.6 cm, Photographic negatives: Acconci Studio; archival documents: Ilona Rich, Brooklyn, © Vito Acconci. (Photo: Betsy Jackson, courtesy Acconci Studio, New York).
N. E. Thing Co. (Iain Baxter& [Canadian b. England, 1936] and Ingrid Baxter [American, b. 1938]), 1. Time., detail from North American Time Zone Photo–V.S.I. Simultaneity, October 18, 1970, 1970, Offset lithograph 44.5 × 44.5 cm, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver; Gift of Iain Baxter and Ingrid Baxter, 1995.
Announcement card for Eccentric Abstraction, 1966, Printed text on vinyl, 15.2 x 25.4 cm, © Fischbach Gallery, New York.
Gilbert & George (Gilbert, b. 1943; George, b. 1942), Underneath the Arches, 1969, A Living Sculpture, © Gilbert & George.
John Latham (British, b. Zambia, 1921-2006), Art and Culture, 1966-69, Leather case containing book, letters, photostats, and labeled vials filled with powders and liquids: case, 7.9 x 28.2 x 25.3 cm, The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund, © 2011 John Latham (Digital image: © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY).
Front cover of Six Years: The dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 1972 …, 1973, Paperback book, 8-¾ x 7-½", New York and London: Praeger Publishers, 1973; second edition, with a new introduction, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997, © 1973, renewed 2001, Lucy R. Lippard. (Photo: Brooklyn Museum).
200 Eastern Parkway
Materializing 'Six Years':
Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence
of Conceptual Art
September 14, 2012-February 3, 2013
Materializing “Six Years”: Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art, is the first exhibition to explore the impact of the feminist writer, curator, and activist Lucy R. Lippard on the Conceptual art movement. Using Lippard’s influential 1973 book Six Years, which catalogued and described the emergence of Conceptual art in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as a critical and chronological framework, the exhibition illustrates the dynamics of Lippard’s key role in redefining how exhibitions were created, viewed, and critiqued during that era of transition.
The full title of Lippard’s now-classic book, which drew on her personal relationships with artists, is 79 words long: Six Years: The dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 1972: a cross-reference book of information on some esthetic boundaries; consisting of a bibliography into which are inserted a fragmented text, art works, documents, interviews, and symposia, arranged chronologically and focused on so-called conceptual or information or idea art with mentions of such vaguely designated areas as minimal, anti-form, systems, earth, or process art, occurring now in the Americas, Europe, England, Australia and Asia (with occasional political overtones. Through what appeared to be an objective chronology of events, exhibitions, writings, and ideas, Six Years presented a remarkable catalogue of groundbreaking work by young artists challenging the status quo of the art world. The exhibition, which will include some 173 works, will be arranged chronologically, with sections focusing on each of the years covered in Lippard’s landmark book, along with a concluding section exploring the relationship between Conceptual and feminist art.
• 1966. This section highlights works from Lippard’s landmark exhibition Eccentric Abstraction, including sculptures by Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, and Alice Adams, alongside original gallery announcements and installation photographs. It traces the evolution of some artists toward transient, performance projects and the increasing importance of the printed word. It also documents key works such as Robert Morris’s outdoor intervention Steam Cloud (1966), Bruce Nauman’s rarely seen film Fishing for Asian Carp (1966) and John Latham’s Art and Culture (1966-69).
• 1967. The section reflects the growing internationalism of Conceptual art with work by artists including Canadians Michael Snow and Christine Kozlov and European collectives such as Art & Language and Buren, Mosset, Parmentier, and Torino (BMPT). Also explored here is the growing importance of the periodical as a means of distribution and an alternate site of display as well as investigations into the production of meaning through works such as the collective Art & Language’s The Air Conditioning Show, featuring an empty gallery with temperature-controlled air as its content.
• 1968. This section shows how American artists’ challenge to institutions and definitions of art became more closely aligned with issues surrounding opposition to the Vietnam War. Works include Hans Haacke’s Live Random Airborne System (1965-68), along with works by the Latin American artists Graciela Carneval and the Rosario Group that made political art in covert ways, for their own safety, while working under a dictatorship.
• 1969. This section traces how the organizing of exhibitions underwent major changes as the emphasis on text and the documentation of ephemeral occurrences became primary means of art-making. Lippard launched a multi-year curatorial project known as the “numbers” shows, the titles of which were taken from the population figure of the city where each appeared. The exhibitions featured works primarily produced from instructions that participating artists provided to Lippard on index cards, which became the exhibition catalogues. Examples will be included along with reconstructions of some projects; for example, a plywood work by Richard Serra along with his instruction card and photographic documentation of its second installation, in Vancouver.
• 1970. This section highlights Lippard’s involvement with the Art Workers’ Coalition and also continues to focus on her portable exhibitions-as-instructions, 955,000 in Vancouver and 2,972,543 in Buenos Aires, with documentary photographs, catalogue cards, and selected works from each exhibition. Catalogues from other experimental exhibitions throughout the world will also be included.
• 1971. This section explores the forward trajectory of Conceptual art, as idealism gave way to pessimism in the 1970s, with some artists continuing activist politics through their work, as exemplified by the Guerrilla Art Action Group, while others, like William Wegman, focused on performance , as in videos such as his Spit Sandwich. Women Conceptualists became more prevalent and Lippard became more committed to recognizing the work of women and anticipating feminist art as the next major movement — one in which she would become a defining voice.
The exhibition has been organized by Catherine Morris, curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, and Vincent Bonin, a Montreal-based independent curator and writer. It will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, with a preface by Lucy R. Lippard and essays by the co-curators as well as Julia Bryan-Wilson, associate professor of art history at UC Berkeley. One of the first publications to explore the influence of Lippard’s thinking on the Conceptual art movement, it is being co-published by the Brooklyn Museum and the M.I.T. Press.
Lucy R. Lippard is the author of 21 books on contemporary art, politics, place, and culture, most recently •Down Country: The Tano of the Galisteo Basin• 1250-1782 (2010); •On the Beaten Track: Tourism, Art and Place• (1999); and •The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society• (1997). She has curated more than 50 exhibitions and has participated in the founding of many alternative spaces and visual art and political collectives. Her achievements have been recognized with numerous awards and grants and eight honorary degrees. She lives in Galisteo, New Mexico.
Lee Lozano (American, 1930-1999), No Title (Grass Piece), 1969, Graphite and ink on paper, 28 x 21.5 cm, Collection of Alan Cravitz and Shashi Caudill, Chicago, © The Estate of Lee Lozano, courtesy Hauser & Wirth, Zurich.
Visitors at c. 7,500; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, November 16-December 16, 1973; organized by Lucy R. Lippard, Walker Art Center Archives, Minneapolis. (Photo: Glenn Halvorson for Walker Art Center, Minneapolis).
Mierle Laderman Ukeles (American, b. 1939), Private Performances of Personal Maintenance as Art, 1969, Black-and-white photograph, 25.4 x 20.3 cm; later reproduced as contribution to the catalogue of c. 7,500, Index card, 10.2 x 15.2 cm, Valencia, Calif.: California Institute of the Arts, 1974, © Mierle Laderman Ukeles. (Photo: Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York/ www.feldmangallery.com).
Alice Aycock (American, b. 1946), Segment of Cloud Piece, 1971, One of five black-and-white photo contact sheets, 55 x 40 cm each, © Alice Aycock. (Photo: Alice Aycock).
Rosemarie Castoro (American, b. 1939), Room Cracking #7, 1969, Installation piece for Number 7 at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, Collection of Rosemarie Castoro, courtesy Hal Bromm Gallery, New York, © Rosemarie Castoro. (Photo: Rosemarie Castoro).
Guerrilla Art Action Group (Jon Hendricks [American b. 1939] and Jean Toche [American, b. Belgium 1932]), Send Letters to Nixon, Agnew, Hoover, Mitchell, Laird, Kissinger … April 29, New York (Eat What You Kill), 1970, Typewritten letter, 27.9 x 21.6 cm, Collection of Alan Cravitz, Chicago.