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Guide to the Group Material Archive
1976-2009 (bulk 1979-1996)
 MSS.215

Fales Library and Special Collections
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Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Tara Hart, 2011.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 03, 2018
Description is in English.

Historical Note

"Group Material was founded by a number of artists who sought a collaborative practice in which they could fuse their interests in art and politics. The original thirteen members included Tim Rollins, Patrick Brennan, Julie Ault, Mundy McLaughlin, Marybeth Nelson, and Beth Jaker. In 1980 and 1981 Group Material operated a storefront exhibition space on East Thirteenth Street, where it staged a series of shows focused on social themes.

After 1981 the group shrunk to three members and chose not to maintain its own space but instead to create installations in existing venues (alternative art spaces, university galleries, and museums) and multiform projects in public (primarily through interventions using public advertising spaces). Doug Ashford joined the group in 1982, Felix Gonzalez-Torres in 1987, Karen Ramspacher in 1989, and Thomas Eggerer and Jochen Klein in 1995. Group Material's dense installations were typically thematic and combined fine art in various media and styles, mass-produced items, and artifacts to form designed environments. These exhibitions were concerned with topical issues or debates in culture and politics and were institution- or site-dependent, such as "Subculture" on the IRT subway trains in 1982; "Democracy" at the Dia Art Foundation in 1988; and "AIDS Timeline" at the University Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley, in 1989. Group Material ceased its activities in 1996."

- Excerpt from Alternative Art New York: 1965–1985, University of Minnesota Press and The Drawing Center, 2002., edited by founding member Julie Ault

Chronology:

Missing Title
1980 Group Material opens storefront at 244 E. 13th Street in the Lower East Side
October 4-27,1980 "Inaugural Exhibition", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
November 4-11, 1980 "The Salon Election of '80", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
November 22-December 21, 1980 "ALIENATION", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
January 10-February 1, 1981 "The People's Choice (Arroz con Mango)", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
February 14-March 9, 1981 "It's a Gender Show!", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
March 7th, 1981 "Revolting Music", The Machinist's Union Hall, New York
March 21-April 20, 1981 "Consumption: Metaphor, Pastime, Necessity", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
May 2-June 4, 1981 "Facere/Fascis", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
June 14th-30th, 1981 "Atlanta: An Emergency Exhibition", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
July 11, 1981 "Eat This Show", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
August, 1981 Group Material awarded its first NEA grant
October 31-November 28th, 1981 "Enthusiasm!", Group Material Headquarters, 132 E. 26th street, New York
December 10, 1981-January 10, 1982 "M5", Interior bus advertisements, Fifth Avenue bus lines, New York
April 16, 1982 "DA ZI BAOS", 14th Street and Park Avenue South, Union Square, New York
March 25-May 1, 1982 "Works on Newspaper", Group Material Headquarters, 132 E. 26th Street, New York
May 29-July 17, 1982 "Primer (for Raymond Williams)", Artists Space, 105 Hudson Street, New York
June 19-July 9, 1982 "Luchar!: An Exhibition for the People of Central America", Taller Latinoamericano/The Latin American Workshop, Inc., New York
April 14, 1982 "Revolutionary Fine Arts", Taller Latinoamericano, New York
September 1-30, 1983 "Subculture", Interior advertisements, IRT subway trains, New York. Concurrent exhibition held at Taller Latinoamericano, New York
January 22-March 18, 1984 "Timeline: A Chronicle of U.S. Intervention in Central and Latin America", P.S.1, New York
January 11-February 8, 1985 "A.D.: Christian Influence in Contemporary Culture", Work, New York
March 21-June 9, 1985 "Americana", 1985 Whitney Biennial, lobby gallery, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
April 27-May 25, 1985 "Democracy Wall", Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, Wales
1985-1986 "MASS", various locations: Hallwalls, Buffalo, New York; The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles; Artspace, Sydney Australia, and others
September 1-October 12, 1985 "Messages to Washington", Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, DC
November 7-December 19, 1985 "Alarm Clock", "The Other America", Royal Festival Hall, London
February 22-March 22, 1986 "Liberty & Justice", Alternative Museum, 17 White Street, New York
May 24-June 14, 1986 "Arts and Leisure", The Kitchen, 519 W. 19th Street, New York
February 6-28, 1987 "Resistance (Anti-Baudrillard)", White Columns, 325 Spring Street, New York
June 12-September 20, 1987 "The Castle", "documenta 8", Museum Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany
May 22, 1988 "Inserts", Advertising supplement to the Sunday New York Times
September, 1988-January, 1989 "Democracy", Dia Art Foundation, 77 Wooster Street, New York
October 1-November 14, 1987 "Constitution", The Temple Gallery, Temple University, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia
September 15-October 8, 1988 "Democracy: Education", Dia Art Foundation, 77 Wooster Street, New York
October 15-November 12, 1988 "Democracy: Politics and Election", Dia Art Foundation, 77 Wooster Street, New York
November 19-December 10, 1988 "Democracy: Cultural Participation", Dia Art Foundation, 77 Wooster Street, New York
December 19, 1968-January 14, 1989 "Democracy: AIDS and Democracy: A Case Study", Dia Art Foundation, 77 Wooster Street, New York
December 16, 1988-February 13, 1989 "AIDS & Democracy" aka "Elegy", Vollbild AIDS, RealismusStudio, Neue Gesellschaft fur Bildende Kunst (NGBK), Berlin
June 1-December 1, 1989 "Unisex", The Center Show, The Lesbian and Gay Community Center, New York
October 14-November 26, 1989 "Shopping Bag", Shopping bags distributed in local shops and department stores, D&S Ausstellung, Kunstverein, Hamburg, Germany
November 11, 1989-January 28, 1990 "AIDS Timeline", Matrix Gallery, University Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley
February 23-March 30, 1990 "Your Message Here", Billboard project, Collaboration with Randolph Street Gallery, Chicago
June 26-July 5, 1990 "Democracy Poll", Insert in Der Togesspiegel, U-Bahn station, billboards, and an electronic billboard, RealismusStudio, Neue Gesellschaft fur Bildende Kunst (NGBK), Berlin
September 1-30, 1990 "AIDS & Insurance", Exterior bus advertisement, sponsored by Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT
September 30-November 18, 1990 "AIDS Timeline", Matrix Gallery, Wadsworth Athanaeum, Hartford, CT
October 26, 1990-January 13, 1991 "Collaboration" aka "Economics: Oberlin Project", "Social Studies: 4+4 Young Americans", The Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio
April 19-June 23, 1991 "AIDS Timeline" (New York City 1991), 1991 Whitney Biennial, lobby gallery, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
December 17-20, 1991 "Cash Prize", Advertisements in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, In Public: Seattle 1991, The Seattle Arts Commission, Seattle, Washington
October 8-December 31, 1993 "Tomorrow", Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA
October 19, 1993-January 23, 1994 "Democracy Wall", In And Out Of Place, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
May 6-June 18, 1995 "Market", Kunstverein München, Munich
June 7-23, 1996 "Program", Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA

Bibliography:

  1. Bibliography
  2. Ashford, D. (2006). A conversation on social collaboration. Art Journal, 65(2), 58-82. doi: 10.2307/20068466
  3. Ault, J., Wallis, B., Weems, M., & Yenawine, P. (1999). Art matters: How the culture wars changed America. New York: New York University Press.
  4. Ault, J. (2002). Alternative art, New York: 1965-1985. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press & New York: The Drawing Center.
  5. Avgikos, J. (1995). Group Material Timeline: Activism as a work of art. In Nina Felshin, (Ed.), But is it art? (pp. 85-116). Seattle: Bay Press.
  6. Fairbrother, T. J., Potts, K., & Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. (1993). In and out of place: contemporary Art and the American social landscape. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts.
  7. Group Material (Firm : New York, N.Y.), & Temple Gallery (Philadelphia, Pa.). (1987). Constitution. Philadelphia, PA: Temple Gallery.
  8. Group Material (Firm : New York, N.Y.), & Ault, J. (ed.) (2010). Show and tell: A chronicle of Group Material. London: Four Corners Books.
  9. Lippard, L. R. (1984). Get the message?: A decade of art for social change. New York: E.P. Dutton.
  10. Olander, W. (1989, January). Material world. Art in America, 167, 123–128.
  11. Wallis, B., Group Material (Firm : New York, N.Y.), & Dia Art Foundation. (1990). Democracy: A project. Seattle: Bay Press & New York: Dia Art Foundation.