Performance artist Martha Wilson is Founding Director of Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc., an institution which, since its inception in 1976, has presented and preserved temporal art: artists’ books and other multiples produced internationally after 1960; temporary installations; and performance art. During Franklin Furnace’s 20th anniversary season, the organization “went virtual,” its website, http://www.franklinfurnace.org, becoming its public face. In 1998, Franklin Furnace presented its first program of live art on the Internet, viewing cyberspace as offering the same freedom of expression as Franklin Furnace provided in its Lower Manhattan loft space during the 1970s. During the last 30 years, Franklin Furnace has presented 1,832 events in real time and space and in cyberspace. Ms. Wilson lectures widely on the book as an art form; on performance art; and on “variable media art.” Between 2003 and 2006 she served as Guest Editor of Leonardo magazine feature sections on live art and science on the Internet. She has developed exhibitions, publications, courses and pedagogical resources concerning the artistic movement and philosophy we now know as Postmodernism.
Trained in English Literature, Ms. Wilson was teaching at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design when she became fascinated by the intersection of text and image. She moved to New York in 1974, working at Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Artbook publishers, in an effort to combine her interests in art and literature. As an artist, she was a founding member in 1978 of DISBAND (including Ilona Granet, Donna Henes, Ingrid Sischy and Diane Torr), the all-girl conceptual feminist punk rock band of artists who couldn’t play any instruments. Since DISBAND disbanded in 1982, she has performed in the guises of Alexander Haig, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Tipper Gore. In the spring of 2008, she had her first solo exhibition in New York, at Mitchell Algus Gallery, “Martha Wilson: Photo/Text Works, 1971-74.” Martha Wilson joined P.P.O.W. gallery in the spring of 2011.