Primary Sources: Documenting SVA and the New York Art World, 1966 – 1985
School of Visual Arts presents “Primary Sources: Documenting SVA and the New York Art World, 1966 – 1985,” a survey of the myriad new ways of making and experiencing art that found a home at the College over two decades. The exhibition brings together publications, posters and press materials, artist correspondence, installation plans and photographs, and other rarely seen documents, along with works in various media by 21 artists who exhibited at SVA: Vito Acconci, Stephen Antonakos, Jared Bark, Rosemarie Castoro, William Conlon, Donna Dennis, Cris Gianakos, Carol Haerer, Nicholas Hondrogen, Alfred Jensen, Joan Jonas, Donald Kaufman, Sol LeWitt, Charles Luce, Dennis Oppenheim, Lucio Pozzi, Michael Singer, Eve Sonneman, John Torreano, Stan VanDerBeek and Lawrence Weiner. Organized by Beth Kleber, archivist, and Zachary Sachs, coordinator, “Primary Sources” will be on view November 19 through December 18, 2013, at the SVA Chelsea Gallery, 601 West 26th Street, 15th floor, New York City. Due to Thanksgiving Recess, the gallery will close at 1:00pm on Wednesday, November 27 and re-open at 10:00am on Monday, December 2.
There were many factors that brought SVA and emerging artists together in the late 20th century. Beginning in the 1970s, student exhibitions were held at SVA-operated galleries in Tribeca and then SoHo; these shows stand today as some of the earliest instances of a college presenting student work within a thriving gallery scene. At the same time, the College’s policy of hiring practicing artists led to a faculty that included Eva Hesse, Sol LeWitt, Lucy Lippard and Brice Marden, while SVA-organized lectures, performances and screenings brought attention to such figures as Laurie Anderson, Allan Kaprow and Lawrence Weiner. The proximity of the College’s campus to downtown Manhattan further strengthened the connection between SVA students and the city’s art community.
Exhibition highlights include the conceptual-art milestone “Working drawings and other visible things on paper not necessarily meant to be viewed as art” (1966), for which artist Mel Bochner solicited sketches, notes, receipts and other ephemera from Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold and others, then photocopied and displayed them in four identical binders; “Line” (1976), in which neon sculpture by Stephen Antonakos shared space with a Cy Twombly drawing and a Gordon Matta-Clark photographic collage; “Performance Spaces” (1972), in which Bill Beckley was seen singing while doing push-ups and, in a separate video, Dennis Oppenheim munched on a gingerbread man; and “Sculptural Density” (1981), featuring work by Carl Andre, Nicholas Hondrogen, Martin Puryear, Joel Shapiro, Mia Westerlund, Tim Whiten and Jackie Winsor.
“The abundance of material testifies to both the range and the concentration of energies present in New York and the emphasis the College and its faculty put on participating in a living dialogue with contemporary art,” Kleber says.