Posted on September 4, 2015
Martha Wilson, A Portfolio of Models - The Goddess 1974, black and white gelatin silver print.
Martha Wilson is a pioneering feminist, artist, founder of the experimental artist-run space Franklin Furnace, and an ICI collaborator since the early days of ICI. Just three years after ICI was established, and at the same time as Wilson founded the alternative space Franklin Furnace, ICI produced Artists’ Books U.S.A, a unique survey exhibition of artists’ publications, co-curated by Wilson and Peter Frank. The show included well over a hundred examples of book art – showing a broad range of attitudes towards publishing, from ad-hoc to ephemeral, experimental to activist. From 1978 to 1980, it expanded the often informal distribution of these publications, reaching broad audiences in art spaces across North America.
Thirty years later, in 2008, ICI and Wilson, together with curator Peter Dykhuis, began working together on an evolving retrospective exhibition of her work, that would present her practice through various entry-points, in 8 art spaces internationally from 2010 to 2015.
Spread in Martha Wilson Sourcebook: 40 Years of Reconsidering Performance, Feminism, Alternative Spaces
At the same time, ICI published Martha Wilson Sourcebook: 40 Years of Reconsidering Performance, Feminism, Alternative Spaces in 2011, the first publication in ICI’s Sourcebook series.
Earlier this year, ICI’s Alaina Claire Feldman worked together with Wilson to present Performing Franklin Furnace – a series of performances held at Participant Inc., New York, which captured the spirit of Franklin Furnace as a physical space, and was organized to coincide with the final presentation of Martha Wilson, the exhibition.
Coco Fusco performing Observations of Predation in Humans: A lecture by Dr. Zira as part of Performing Franklin Furnace. Participant Inc., New York, NY; February 27, 2015. Photo credIt: Heather Jones.
ICI’s first collaboration with Wilson in 1978 prompted a focus on independent publishing which has lasted over the last four decades and continues in many of ICI’s Hub events in support of independent publishing. Similarly, ICI’s work on Wilson’s performance practice is inscribed in a series of exhibitions and programs that have addressed performance in diverse ways in the last five years, including do it, Performance Now, EN MAS’, among other events and training programs such as the Curatorial Intensive.