Art Spaces Archives Project at CAA 2006 [Press Release]

Posted August 05, 2010 by admin

Art Spaces Archives Project
Announces a Panel Discussion
"Activist Arts Organizations of the 1970s and 1980s: Research Opportunities for Scholars"
to be held at the College Art Association's 94th Annual Conference
Hynes Convention Center, Plaza Level, Room 112, Boston, Massachusetts
February 23, 2006, 5:30 to 7:00 PM

The Art Spaces Archives Project [AS-AP] is pleased to announce a panel discussion entitled "Activist Arts Organizations of the 1970s and 1980s: Research Opportunities for Scholars," to be held at the College Art Association's 94th Annual Conference on February 23, 2006, from 5:30 to 7:00 PM in Boston at the Hynes Convention Center, Plaza Level, Room 112.

The panel will feature Linda Frye Burnham, Dr. Margo Machida, and Steven Englander. Moderating the panel will be David Platzker, the Project Director of AS-AP, a non-profit initiative founded in 2003 to assess and survey the state of the archives of art spaces throughout the United States.

The presenters will investigate the history of three formative organizations: High Performance Magazine, Godzilla: The Asian American Art Network, and ABC No Rio, and discuss what each of these organizations prompted, how they interacted within a community, how they co-existed, melded into, or changed a broader constituency. Additionally, the panel will discuss the role their archival materials play in telegraphing, or revealing, underlying historic information about these organizations and the state of these archives.

The goal of the panel is two fold: first to encourage emerging scholars to engage with the avant-garde / alternative organizations of the period, and secondly to highlight three selected organizations and to pair an emerging scholar with each. Ultimately, each scholar will conduct research using an organization's physical archival materials; perform oral histories with founders of the organization, and publish, on AS-AP's website, the conclusion of the research and oral histories.

In Spring 2006, AS-AP will invite proposals from emerging scholars to conduct the research with High Performance, Godzilla, and ABC No Rio. The three chosen individuals will conduct on-site work in 2007 with the edited oral history to be published by the close of that year. Each AS-AP Scholar will be provided with a $2,500 stipend as well as costs associated with travel, editing and publishing of the work.

AS-AP is using the panel as a template for emerging scholars to engage with the rich history of the avant-garde / alternative arts movement. Central to this investigation is the utilization of archival materials; the identification and preservation of which is fundamental to AS-AP's mission.

Linda Frye Burnham will reflect on the history of High Performance magazine (1978-1998) and the changes it tracked in the alternative arts movement during those years. High Performance followed the cutting edge from performance art through feminism, multiculturalism, activism and community-based art. High Performance was also closely engaged in the so-called Culture Wars of the early 1990s. After the demise of High Performance, Burnham and her co-editor, Steven Durland, wrote about these changes in The Citizen Artist: 20 Years of Art in the Public Arena (New York: Critical Press, 1998), and they have carried on their investigations at the Community Arts Network on the Web: A traveling exhibition about the first five years of High Performance -- along with an award-winning essay in College Art Association's Art Journal -- were created by historian Jenni Sorkin in 2003 [Art Journal, vol. 62, no. 2 (Summer 2003), pp. 36-51. High Performance's archive resides at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles

Margo Machida will discuss the formative years of Godzilla: The Asian American Art Network, from her perspective as a co-founder of this collectively-run group of New York City-based artists, writers, and curators. She will examine the period in which it arose, and what distinguishes Godzilla from groups that emerged in the context of 1970s Asian American arts activism. Founded in 1990 and active for over a decade, Godzilla was conceived as a pan-ethnic, cross-disciplinary, and multigenerational forum aimed at fomenting a wide-ranging dialogue in Asian American visual art. Over its "lifetime" it sponsored art exhibitions, public symposia, and open slide viewings for new artists; published a newsletter that featured emerging critical writing and news from artists across the country; and also served as a platform for arts advocacy. Godzilla's archive is housed at New York University's Fales Library,

Steven Englander will discuss the history of the Lower East Side arts center ABC No Rio founded on New Year's Day, 1980, in New York City. He'll address the changes the organization has undergone over the years, and how the spirit and values that animated its early days continue to inform No Rio as its facilities, projects and programs have expanded and evolved. Since its founding No Rio has been host to a wide range of artistic expression dealing with war, homelessness, drugs, punk rock, performance art, spoken word and poetry, sex, violence, and the politics of housing and real estate, among much else.

About Art Spaces Archives Project

Art Spaces Archives Project [AS-AP] is a non-profit initiative founded by a consortium of alternative art organizations, including Bomb Magazine, College Art Association, Franklin Furnace Archive, New York State Council on the Arts [NYSCA], New York State Artist Workspace Consortium, and The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, with a mandate to help preserve, present, and protect the archival heritage of living and defunct for- and not-for-profit spaces of the "alternative" or "avant-garde" movement of the 1950s to the present throughout the United States.

With funding provided by NYSCA, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, AS-AP has a mandate to begin the documenting process by rooting out both a national index of the avant-garde-assessing the needs for archiving and preservation-and helping to establish universal standards for archiving the avant-garde.

AS-AP's belief is beyond simply identifying the whereabouts of centers of activity. There is an underlying need to assess, catalogue, and preserve important formative materials for study by historians with a critical distance from the creation of the material itself.

AS-AP's website -- -- is a virtual resource and finding aid for locating the places and spaces of alternative and avant-garde activity. A central location for information pertaining to reservoirs of archives, tools to assist in archiving, and other aids for scholars interested in the alternative or avant-garde movement in the United States as well as for the locations of activity themselves.

About the Panelists

Linda Frye Burnham is a writer who founded High Performance in 1978 in Los Angeles and served as its editor through 1985 and its co-editor 1995-1998. She holds an MFA in Writing from University of California at Irvine. Burnham also co-founded the 18th Street Arts Complex and Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, California; Art in the Public Interest in Saxapahaw, North Carolina; and the Community Arts Network on the World Wide Web. She has served as a staff writer for Artforum, contributing editor for The Drama Review and arts editor for the Independent Weekly of North Carolina. High Performance's website is:

Margo Machida is an educator, independent curator, researcher, and writer specializing in Asian American art and visual culture. She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies, and has a joint appointment in Art History and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut. Most recently she co-edited a major anthology of new critical writing entitled Fresh Talk / Daring Gazes: Conversations on Asian American Art (University of California Press, 2003). Dr. Machida has recently completed a book for Duke University Press, Art, Asian America, and the Social Imaginary: A Poetics of Positionality.

Beginning in 1995 Steven Englander has led the campaign to resist New York City's effort to evict ABC No Rio. Using the courts, public and political support, and finally direct action, the eviction was prevented, and the City, surprisingly, then offered the building to ABC No Rio for acquisition and renovation. Englander was hired as Director in 1999, and has overseen No Rio's transformation from storefront gallery / performance space to arts center with four floors of resources and facilities for area artists and activists. No Rio anticipates taking title to the building this winter, and renovation construction is expected to begin towards the end of 2006. ABC No Rio's website is

David Platzker is the Project Director of Art Spaces Archives Project. From 1998 through 2004 he was the Executive Director of the non-profit institution Printed Matter, Inc. He is also the co-author, and co-curator -- with Elizabeth Wyckoff -- of Hard Pressed: 600 Years of Prints and Process (New York: International Print Center New York & Hudson Hills Press, 2000); and -- with Richard H. Axsom -- the book and exhibition entitled Printed Stuff: Prints, Posters, and Ephemera by Claes Oldenburg: A Catalogue Raisonné 1958-1996 (Madison, Wisconsin: Madison Art Center & New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1997), which was awarded the George Wittenborn Award for Best Art Publication of 1997 by the Art Libraries Society of North America. Platzker is also the president of Specific Object, an on-line arts bookstore.

For additional information regarding the panel or AS-AP please contact David Platzker at or at (212) 330-7688.

For additional information regarding the College Art Association's 2006 Annual Conference please visit CAA's website: