ISTPART publica una colección facsímil de los documentos de la Art Workers’ Coalition

Art Workers’ Coalition, “Documents. Open Hearing”: un documento fundamental sobre las relaciones entre arte, política y sociedad en la segunda mitad del siglo XX

La Art Workers’ Coalition (AWC) fue organizada en Nueva York en enero de 1969 por un grupo de artistas, cineastas, escritores, críticos de arte y trabajadores de la cultura que pretendían implicar al mundo del arte en las cuestiones políticas y sociales del momento. El grupo combatió decididamente la exclusión de los artistas femeninos y de color de los museos públicos, exigió el acceso universal gratuito a los epacios culturales y pidió la retirada norteamericana de Vietnam.

La AWC se fundó tras el incidente entre la dirección del Museum of Modern Art de Nueva York y el escultor Takis Vassilakis, que retiró una obra suya de la exposición The Machine at the End of the Mechanical Age por considerar que no representaba su trabajo en ese momento. Ello llevó a una serie de reuniones de artistas y críticos, incluyendo al propio Takis, Wen-Ying Tsai, Hans Haacke, Willoughby Sharp, Carl Andre y John Perreault, que retaron al director del MoMA, Bates Lowry, a mantener una discusión pública sobre el tema “La relación del museo con los artistas y la sociedad”. Tras la negativa de Lowry se organizaron varias manifestaciones y piquetes ante el MoMA a lo largo de 1969 y un debate público (Open Hearing) en la Escuela de Artes Visuales de Nueva York, con 300 participantes que discutieron sobre política cultural, los derechos de los artístas y la guerra de Vietnam. En octubre, la AWC convocó una huelga contra la guerra que obligó a cerrar el MoMA, el Whitney Museum, el Jewish Museum y casi todas las galerías comerciales. El Metropolitan Museum hubo de suspender la inauguración de su exposición de pintura y escultura americana y el Guggenheim fue rodeado por piquetes. La AWC se disolvió en 1971 en una miríada de grupos con intereses más concretos, como Women Artists in Revolution, Guerilla Art Action Group, y Art Strike.

ISTPART acaba de publicar una edición facsímil de la colección de documentos recopilada por la propia AWC en 1969 con recortes de prensa, artículos, declaraciones y las actas completas del Open Hearing mantenido en la Escuela de Artes Visuales. En total, 288 páginas en las que se trata la relación entre arte, política y sociedad de modo muy rico y complejo.

Art Workers’ Coalition, Documents. Open Hearing

Editorial Doble J / ISTPART, 2009, 288 p.

Edición en inglés

ISBN: 978-84-96875-96-8

Más información: info@editorialdoblej.es

Disponible en Amazon y www.editorialdoblej.es

The Art Worker’s Coalition (AWC) was a loose group of artists, writers, and members of the creative community formed in January 1969 after the artist Takis protested the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) by removing his sculpture from their exhibition, “The Museum as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age.” In the case with Takis, the artist was concerned with his ability to control the exhibition of his work after it had been sold (the Museum had exhibited his work against his wishes because they owned it and felt that their right of ownership superseded his rights as an artist to control its exhibition). This initial protest was a spark that ignited the coalition—which gathered members and concerns exponentially throughout the early months of 1969. At the time, the Art Workers’ Coalition was concerned with the responsibility of museums to artists and aimed their efforts at building a dialogue between themselves and MoMA. Another early issue was better representation of Black and Puerto Rican artists in MoMA as well as the other local museums. As the coalition grew in membership, so did its concerns, which the Art Workers’ Coalition sought to publicly discuss at MoMA. When these efforts proved unsuccessful, the coalition held an Open Hearing at the School of the Visual Arts on April 10, 1969, in which hundreds of people attended. Written statements were collected (some of which were read and some of which were not) and the proceedings were later transcribed. The statements were published in book form by the AWC under the name Open Hearing. At the same time, the AWC also published “Documents 1″ a collection of letters, press, and ephemera documenting the formation of the Coalition and its dialogue with MoMA. Following the Open Hearing, AWC’s emphasis broadened to address the political and social events and concerns of its time: racism, sexism, abortion rights, Vietnam, and Kent State, among others. With so many issues, AWC eventually splintered, with groups like Women Artists in Revolution, Guerilla Art Action Group, and Art Strike addressing specific concerns while remaining affiliated with AWC. Art Workers Coalition remained active through Spring of 1971, with its last protest at the Guggenheim, which had cancelled a solo exhibition by Hans Haacke, on May 1, 1971. Many of its splinter groups continued throughout the 70s and 80s and were fundamental to addressing the unequal representation of the minority and women artists in the art world—a battle that is still being fought today.

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