Martha Wilson Sourcebook

in Publications

Martha Wilson Sourcebook: 40 Years of Reconsidering Performance, Feminism, Alternative Spaces is a collection of primary research materials consisting of rare archival documents and excerpts of landmark publications that influenced Wilson and her approach to activism and art.

Martha Wilson Sourcebook is the first in an ICI publication series that offers a fresh perspective on social, political, and cultural issues impacting and inspiring artists’ practices, comprised of materials that the artist selects from their own archive and annotates with personal commentaries. Wilson’s selection encapsulates the contestations around feminism, performance art and alternative spaces, accentuating the ways that identity and positioning are not just self-defined or projected, but also negotiated within one’s environment and through one’s critical reception. This unique selection of materials documents Wilson’s actions and work and reveals her interest in fellow artists such as Vito Acconci, Carolee Schneemann, Nancy Spero and Lynda Benglis and includes in its entirety Lucy Lippard’s exhibition catalogue for c. 7,500, the groundbreaking 1973 exhibition of women Conceptual artists, which first declared the significance of Wilson’s work.

Being myself born in the late 1980s, I have always been overtly impressed with the feminist artists of the 1970s and 1980s who opened up for new possibilities and new questions to be asked regarding gender, identity, and society at large. Artists like Martha Wilson dared to question and challenge the established norms and truths of their time – something which younger generations like my own have benefited greatly from. The Martha Wilson Sourcebook offers the complexity and subjectivity that is necessary to tell the story of not only Wilson’s own practice but also about the historical and philosophical context of it. The Sourcebook - compiled by Wilson herself - contains an extract of some of the most important feminist writers of the 20th century such as Simone de Beauvoir and Linda Nochlin; a lengthy interview concerning Wilson’s alternative art space Franklin Furnace; and texts about the New York art scene in which Wilson plays an important role still today. In other words, the Sourcebook is an intriguing invitation to follow Wilson’s thoughts and inspirations, and to learn from her practical experience. Not only the contents of the Sourcebook but also the multifaceted and polyphonic approach to Martha Wilson and her time is something that ought to inspire many.

— Anna Vestergaard Jørgensen, ICI Exhibitions Intern


Wilson, Martha, Martha Wilson Sourcebook, Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, 2011. 272 pages. 8.5 x 11 in., softcover. ISBN: 978-0-916365-85-1. $25.00.

Foreword by Kate Fowle; introduction by Moira Roth; text by Martha Wilson.


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