New York CA 1975 Press Release | David Zwirner

Opening on Friday June 22, the gallery will present a group show titled “New York ca. 1975” featuring works made in New York around the mid-70’s, by artists focusing on conceptual ideas and addressing social and political issues.

New York in the mid-70's was marked by a near-bankrupt municipal government, high crime rates and white flight. American society in general was affected by the Watergate scandal and Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974. The political, social and cultural climate of New York city in the early 70's reflected national and international events, but to a more extreme extent. The dominant artistic styles of the 50's and 60's which were often associated with the Postwar prosperity of American society, i.e. Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art and Minimalism, made place for a wide variety of media caused by the dematerialization and the conceptualization of art. The center for the proliferation of these often new and diverse media was New York City.

While many prevailing structures of power were being re-evaluated, many movements of previously marginalized groups such as women and African Americans had been created. Alternative spaces and activist organizations were flourishing, particularly in SoHo. In this climate, artists were attempting to reconnect with the world but also with each other, and a lot of artistic production during this time was characterized either by group efforts or by audience participation. The New York art community in the mid-70's was dominated by alternative spaces such as 98 Greene Street (1969), Artist's Space (1973) and most of all 112 Greene Street (1970). 112 Greene Street gave a platform to all the artists who worked in the new media, and whose work could not be sold in the uptown art market. Besides its function as a non-profit exhibition space, it also functioned as a meeting space, a communal studio, dance floor etc.

The works included in this exhibition were made against this background, and are characterized by the community spirit of this time, the diversity of media, as well as the widespread interest of these artists with ideas developed in the radicalism of the 60's. The exhibition will feature video works by artists such as Vito Acconci, Michel Auder, Dara Birnbaum, Richard Foreman, Dan Graham, Nancy Graves. Martha Rosler, Joan Jonas; a large group of photographs by Peter Moore which documented the energy and spirit of this time in New York; photographs by Gordon Matta-Clark, Ana Mendieta and Dara Birnbaum; photomontages by Martha Rosler; sculptures by Lynda Benglis, Larry Miller and Laurie Anderson; an installation by Peter Campus; a slide projection by Yvonne Rainer; a film by Babette Mangolte; a sound piece by John Cage; and a silkscreen by Hans Haacke.

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