Alison Knowles: Alison Knowles Makes Performances, Books, Poems, and Visual Artworks. This Past July, She Performed at Miguel Abreu Gallery in New York as Part of "Agape," an Exhibition on Musical Notation Curated by Alex Waterman. She Is a Founding Member of the Fluxus Group

Artforum International, September 2007 | Go to article overview

Alison Knowles: Alison Knowles Makes Performances, Books, Poems, and Visual Artworks. This Past July, She Performed at Miguel Abreu Gallery in New York as Part of "Agape," an Exhibition on Musical Notation Curated by Alex Waterman. She Is a Founding Member of the Fluxus Group


1 ARTIST ORGANIZED ART (WWW.ARTISTORGANIZEDART.ORG) In 2003, Joshua Selman started this website, which grew into a nonprofit organization. The group supports and coordinates artist-organized events and interventions, continuing the legacy of the International Artists' Museum that Emmett Williams and Ryszard Wasko founded in Poland in 1990. The members of AOA have traveled all over, including Israel and Cardiff, to help create spaces in which art can occur. I like it because it functions outside the commercial art market and benefits artists rather than curators and institutions.

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2 ORCHARD STREET, NEW YORK The cluster of small art spaces around Orchard Street (Orchard, Dexter Sinister, Miguel Abreu Gallery) feels like an independent scene, not like the one in the 1960s, but its own thing; one that combines new media with old. In nearby Cake Shop, one can still find edgy music on seven-inch vinyl, such as the new album by Messages (Taketo Shimada and Tres Warren), who make irregular and intensely energetic music unlike anything you'd hear in a club. In July, at Miguel Abreu, I saw San Diego cellist Charles Curtis and Alex Waterman perform pieces by Eliane Radigue and Christian Wolff. The performance was spellbinding and minimal; the dimension of the music let us feel the presence of audience and space, without dominating either.

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3 A MAGNIFICENT CATHEDRAL I met some friends in Cologne and heard this joke: A tourist looking at the Cologne Cathedral said, "What a shame that they built the cathedral so close to the railroad station!" Later in the day, on my way to the public radio station Westdeutscher Rundfunk Koln (whose wonderful program Studio Akustische Kunst was then directed by Klaus Schoning), I crossed a street against the light and was stopped by a policeman on the other side. I replied in French. After several moments spent staring at each other blankly, he let me go.

4 FOOD ART John Cage was a great macrobiotic cook, and we enjoyed cooking together. To include space and silence in art is not easy; perhaps he developed his expertise in the kitchen. Food became serious art in the '60s, a new genre coming from everyday life; and it persists today. (I think of Rirkrit Tiravanija's live food events, such as the ones he produced at David Zwirner this past spring.) That first decade, Daniel Spoerri hung used lunch trays on the walls in his famous Dusseldorf restaurant and Ay-O performed "Identical Lunch," my event score involving New York's ubiquitous tuna-fish sandwich, at one of George Maciunas's New Year's celebrations. Gordon Matta-Clark's Food restaurant opened on Prince Street in the early '70s. In the '80s, Emily Harvey would host banquets for her artists' birthdays in the private section of her Broadway gallery space--a worthy substitute for bad wine and city water. The French Conceptualist Jean Dupuy once made mayonnaise there, sitting on a turning platform and releasing the oil, drip by drip. Delicious!

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5 MUSEE DES MOULAGES D'ART ANTIQUE Curated by Bertrand Clavez, a French Maciunas scholar, the most recent exhibition of my "Time Samples"--found objects embedded in paper with titles on attached tickets--took place this past summer at the University of Lyon's Musee des Moulages d'Art Antique, a stadium-size space that houses full-size plaster casts of famous European statues. …

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Alison Knowles: Alison Knowles Makes Performances, Books, Poems, and Visual Artworks. This Past July, She Performed at Miguel Abreu Gallery in New York as Part of "Agape," an Exhibition on Musical Notation Curated by Alex Waterman. She Is a Founding Member of the Fluxus Group
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