Performing Franklin Furnace

Coco Fusco, Observations of Predation in Humans: A Lecture by Dr. Zira, Animal Psychologist, 2013. Courtesy the artist and The Walker Art Center; Michael Smith, Baby Ikki 3rd Birthday Party, 1978. Courtesy of Franklin Furnace.

Performing Franklin Furnace
Participant Inc.
253 East Houston Street
New York City, NY
February 26 – March 1, 2015

In conjunction with the final presentation of the exhibition Martha Wilson in New York, Martha Wilson and ICI’s Alaina Claire Feldman have organized a series of performances, which capture the spirit of Franklin Furnace as a physical space. The program will take place at Participant Inc. in lower Manhattan from February 26 – March 1, 2015. It includes live works by Michael Smith (who will re-create a version of Baby Ikki he presented at Franklin Furnace in 1978), Coco Fusco (a Franklin Furnace alum presenting a recent work), a day of screenings of Franklin Furnace alumni from each decade, and a day of improvisational / in-progress performances hosted by Clifford Owens inspired by the S.N.A.P. (Sunday night at the performances) series at Franklin Furnace.

Franklin Furnace has served the local, national and international community of activist artists—artists who have addressed urgent subjects such as war, poverty, disease, racism, sexism, and homophobia. In 1976, artist Martha Wilson founded Franklin Furnace in Lower Manhattan as a site for producing and mediating works vulnerable to neglect due to lack of institutional support, ephemeral nature, or politically unpopular content. Until 1996, when it moved online to its current digital platform, Franklin Furnace occupied a Tribeca storefront space presenting historical and contemporary exhibitions of artists’ books as well as temporary installation and performance art to the public.

In 2011, Independent Curators International (ICI) organized the international touring exhibition Martha Wilson, which took Wilson out of New York and paired her with hosting curators to further explore the ideas behind her work and the history of Franklin Furnace. This exhibition returns to New York City for a grand finale in 2015 at NYU Fales Library and Pratt Manhattan Gallery.

Michael Smith
Thursday, February 26

Coco Fusco
Friday, February 27

Franklin Furnace Screenings
Featuring Julia Heyward, Ericka Beckman, Deborah Edmeades, and Zackary Drucker
(videos on rotation throughout the day)
Saturday, February 28

Performances hosted by Clifford Owens
Featuring Amanda Alfieri, Wilmer Wilson IV, Kris Grey and Rafael Sanchez
Sunday, March 1

Related events:

Pratt Manhattan Gallery and NYU Fales Library exhibition
February 20 - April 30, 2015

Exhibition Openings
Thursday, February 19, 2015
NYU Fales Library 5-7PM
Pratt Manhattan Gallery 6-8PM

Knowledge Carnival
Performances by students in Karen Finley’s Performance Matters class in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Department of Art and Public Policy
Thursday, March 12
Pratt Manhattan Gallery, 6:30-9PM

ICI Symposium on Performance: Performing, Re-enacting and Reacting
Wednesday, April 22
Pratt Manhattan Gallery, 6:30PM

February 26, 2015 - March 1, 2015

Participant Inc.
253 East Houston Street
New York, NY


Martha Wilson

Martha Wilson is a pioneering feminist artist and gallery director, who over the past four decades created innovative photographic and video works that explore her female subjectivity.  She has been described by New York Times critic Holland Cotter as one of “the half-dozen most important people for art in downtown Manhattan in the 1970s.”  In 1976 she founded Franklin Furnace, an artist-run space that champions the exploration, promotion and preservation of artist books, temporary installation, performance art, as well as online works.  She is represented by P.P.O.W Gallery in New York; and has received fellowships for performance art from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; Bessie and Obie awards for commitment to artists’ freedom of expression; a Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts; a Richard Massey Foundation-White Box Arts and Humanities Award; and in 2013 received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University.

Photograph: Christopher Milne.

Alaina Claire Feldman

Alaina Claire Feldman is the Director and Curator of Mishkin Gallery at Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY) where she has organized solo and group exhibitions, performances, readings and film screenings with artists such as Minerva Cuevas, Juan Downey, Lamin Fofana, Nicolás Guagnini, May Joseph, Zeena Parkins, Nicolas Premier, Jeff Preiss, Ho Tzu Nyen and more. She teaches Curatorial Praxis in Baruch’s MA Arts Administration program and holds a degree in Art History and Critical Visual Studies from Pratt Institute and Social and Environmental Justice Studies from the Graduate Center.

Her writing on art and political ecology has appeared in Afterall, Contemporary&, e-flux journal, Flash Art, PARSE, Texte Zur Kunst and in catalogues for museums around the world. She is the editor of The Ocean After Nature and Nicolás Guagnini: Theatre of the Self, and managing editor of the Apichatpong Weerasethkul Sourcebook. Previously curated exhibitions include Peter Fend: HACE SENTIDO (Embajada, San Juan, 2018 w TV GOV) a project interrogating the environmental predatory “shock doctrine” of a post-Maria Puerto Rico, as well as Cherchez la femme/Maso et Miso Vont en Bateau (The Kitchen, New York, 2012 and Space, London, 2014), featuring video works she translated from the Centre Audiovisual Simone de Beauvoir in Paris. She was previously Director of Exhibitions at Independent Curators International where she organized dozens of projects, including The Ocean After Nature, a traveling and modular exhibition presented at seven museums around the world. Her current research is concerned with display technologies that have contributed to the production of nature/ocean as material for consumption as well as the history of natural history, aquariums, critical animal studies, and collecting & collections.

Part of Martha Wilson

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