Group Material (Firm : New York, N.Y.)

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"Group Material was founded by a number of artists who sought a collaborative practice in which they could fuse their interests in art and politics. The original thirteen members included Tim Rollins, Patrick Brennan, Julie Ault, Mundy McLaughlin, Marybeth Nelson, and Beth Jaker. In 1980 and 1981 Group Material operated a storefront exhibition space on East Thirteenth Street, where it staged a series of shows focused on social themes.

After 1981 the group shrunk to three members and chose not to maintain its own space but instead to create installations in existing venues (alternative art spaces, university galleries, and museums) and multiform projects in public (primarily through interventions using public advertising spaces). Doug Ashford joined the group in 1982, Felix Gonzalez-Torres in 1987, Karen Ramspacher in 1989, and Thomas Eggerer and Jochen Klein in 1995. Group Material's dense installations were typically thematic and combined fine art in various media and styles, mass-produced items, and artifacts to form designed environments. These exhibitions were concerned with topical issues or debates in culture and politics and were institution- or site-dependent, such as “Subculture” on the IRT subway trains in 1982; "Democracy" at the Dia Art Foundation in 1988; and "AIDS Timeline" at the University Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley, in 1989. Group Material ceased its activities in 1996."

Chronology:

  • 1980: Group Material opens storefront at 244 E. 13th Street in the Lower East Side
  • October 4 - 27,1980 : "Inaugural Exhibition", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
  • November 4 - 11, 1980 : "The Salon Election of '80", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
  • November 22 - December 21, 1980 : "ALIENATION", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
  • January 10 - February 1, 1981 : "The People's Choice (Arroz con Mango)", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
  • February 14 - March 9, 1981 : “It’s a Gender Show!”, Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
  • March 7th, 1981: “Revolting Music”, The Machinist’s Union Hall, New York
  • March 21 - April 20, 1981 : "Consumption: Metaphor, Pastime, Necessity", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
  • May 2 - June 4, 1981 : "Facere/Fascis", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
  • June 14th-30th, 1981: "Atlanta: An Emergency Exhibition", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
  • July 11, 1981: "Eat This Show", Group Material, 244 E. 13th Street, New York
  • August, 1981: Group Material awarded its first NEA grant
  • October 31 - November 28th, 1981 : "Enthusiasm!", Group Material Headquarters, 132 E. 26th street, New York
  • December 10, 1981 - January 10, 1982 : "M5", Interior bus advertisements, Fifth Avenue bus lines, New York
  • April 16, 1982: "DA ZI BAOS", 14th Street and Park Avenue South, Union Square, New York
  • March 25 - May 1, 1982 : "Works on Newspaper", Group Material Headquarters, 132 E. 26th Street, New York
  • May 29 - July 17, 1982 : "Primer (for Raymond Williams)", Artists Space, 105 Hudson Street, New York
  • June 19 - July 9, 1982 : "Luchar!: An Exhibition for the People of Central America", Taller Latinoamericano/The Latin American Workshop, Inc., New York
  • April 14, 1982: "Revolutionary Fine Arts", Taller Latinoamericano, New York
  • September 1 - 30, 1983 : "Subculture", Interior advertisements, IRT subway trains, New York. Concurrent exhibition held at Taller Latinoamericano, New York
  • January 22 - March 18, 1984 : "Timeline: A Chronicle of U.S. Intervention in Central and Latin America", P.S.1, New York
  • January 11 - February 8, 1985 : "A.D.: Christian Influence in Contemporary Culture", Work, New York
  • March 21 - June 9, 1985 : "Americana", 1985 Whitney Biennial, lobby gallery, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  • April 27 - May 25, 1985 : "Democracy Wall", Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, Wales
  • 1985 - 1986 : "MASS", various locations: Hallwalls, Buffalo, New York; The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles; Artspace, Sydney Australia, and others
  • September 1 - October 12, 1985 : "Messages to Washington", Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, DC
  • November 7 - December 19, 1985 : "Alarm Clock", "The Other America", Royal Festival Hall, London
  • February 22 - March 22, 1986 : "Liberty & Justice", Alternative Museum, 17 White Street, New York
  • May 24 - June 14, 1986 : "Arts and Leisure", The Kitchen, 519 W. 19th Street, New York
  • February 6 - 28, 1987 : "Resistance (Anti-Baudrillard)", White Columns, 325 Spring Street, New York
  • June 12 - September 20, 1987 : "The Castle", "documenta 8", Museum Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany
  • May 22, 1988: "Inserts", Advertising supplement to the Sunday New York Times
  • September, 1988 - January, 1989 : "Democracy", Dia Art Foundation, 77 Wooster Street, New York
  • October 1 - November 14, 1987 : "Constitution", The Temple Gallery, Temple University, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia
  • September 15 - October 8, 1988 : "Democracy: Education", Dia Art Foundation, 77 Wooster Street, New York
  • October 15 - November 12, 1988 : "Democracy: Politics and Election", Dia Art Foundation, 77 Wooster Street, New York
  • November 19 - December 10, 1988 : "Democracy: Cultural Participation", Dia Art Foundation, 77 Wooster Street, New York
  • December 19, 1968 - January 14, 1989 : "Democracy: AIDS and Democracy: A Case Study", Dia Art Foundation, 77 Wooster Street, New York
  • December 16, 1988 - February 13, 1989 : "AIDS & Democracy" aka "Elegy", Vollbild AIDS, RealismusStudio, Neue Gesellschaft fur Bildende Kunst (NGBK), Berlin
  • June 1 - December 1, 1989 : "Unisex", The Center Show, The Lesbian and Gay Community Center, New York
  • October 14 - November 26, 1989 : "Shopping Bag", Shopping bags distributed in local shops and department stores, D&S Ausstellung, Kunstverein, Hamburg, Germany
  • November 11, 1989 - January 28, 1990 : "AIDS Timeline", Matrix Gallery, University Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley
  • February 23 - March 30, 1990 : "Your Message Here", Billboard project, Collaboration with Randolph Street Gallery, Chicago
  • June 26 - July 5, 1990 : "Democracy Poll", Insert in Der Togesspiegel, U-Bahn station, billboards, and an electronic billboard, RealismusStudio, Neue Gesellschaft fur Bildende Kunst (NGBK), Berlin
  • September 1 - 30, 1990 : "AIDS & Insurance", Exterior bus advertisement, sponsored by Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT
  • September 30 - November 18, 1990 : "AIDS Timeline", Matrix Gallery, Wadsworth Athanaeum, Hartford, CT
  • October 26, 1990 - January 13, 1991 : "Collaboration" aka "Economics: Oberlin Project", "Social Studies: 4+4 Young Americans", The Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio
  • April 19 - June 23, 1991 : "AIDS Timeline" (New York City 1991), 1991 Whitney Biennial, lobby gallery, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  • December 17 - 20, 1991 : "Cash Prize", Advertisements in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, In Public: Seattle 1991, The Seattle Arts Commission, Seattle, Washington
  • October 8 - December 31, 1993 : "Tomorrow", Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA
  • October 19, 1993 - January 23, 1994 : "Democracy Wall", In And Out Of Place, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • May 6 - June 18, 1995 : "Market", Kunstverein München, Munich
  • June 7 - 23, 1996 : "Program", Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA
Bibliography: Bibliography Ashford, D. (2006). A conversation on social collaboration. Art Journal, 65(2), 58-82. doi: 10.2307/20068466 Ault, J., Wallis, B., Weems, M., & Yenawine, P. (1999). Art matters: How the culture wars changed America. New York: New York University Press. Ault, J. (2002). Alternative art, New York: 1965-1985. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press & New York: The Drawing Center. Avgikos, J. (1995). Group Material Timeline: Activism as a work of art. In Nina Felshin, (Ed.), But is it art? (pp. 85-116). Seattle: Bay Press. Fairbrother, T. J., Potts, K., & Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. (1993). In and out of place: contemporary Art and the American social landscape. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts. Group Material (Firm : New York, N.Y.), & Temple Gallery (Philadelphia, Pa.). (1987). Constitution. Philadelphia, PA: Temple Gallery. Group Material (Firm : New York, N.Y.), & Ault, J. (ed.) (2010). Show and tell: A chronicle of Group Material. London: Four Corners Books. Lippard, L. R. (1984). Get the message?: A decade of art for social change. New York: E.P. Dutton. Olander, W. (1989, January). Material world. Art in America, 167, 123–128. Wallis, B., Group Material (Firm : New York, N.Y.), & Dia Art Foundation. (1990). Democracy: A project. Seattle: Bay Press & New York: Dia Art Foundation.

From the guide to the Group Material Archive, Bulk, 1979-1996, 1976-2009, (© 2012 Fales Library and Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Group Material : PAD/D pamphlet file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Franklin Furnace Ephemera Collection, Compiled by Matthew Hogan, ca. 1970 - 2007 (Bulk 1985 - 2007) Fales Library & Special Collections
creatorOf Group Material Archive, Bulk, 1979-1996, 1976-2009 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Public Art Fund Archive, 1966-2009 Fales Library & Special Collections
creatorOf Alternative Museum (New York, N.Y.). Correspondence to Edward F. Fry, 1986. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Franklin Furnace Ephemera Collection, Compiled by Matthew Hogan ca. 1970-2007 (bulk 1985-2007). Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Public Art Fund Archive, 1966-2009 Fales Library & Special Collections
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith ABC No Rio (New York, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith Acconci, Vito, 1940- person
associatedWith ACT UP (Organization). corporateBody
associatedWith Adams, Dennis person
associatedWith Ahearn, John, 1951- person
associatedWith A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith Alderfer, Hannah person
associatedWith Alternative Museum (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Annina Nosei Gallery. corporateBody
associatedWith Artforum. corporateBody
associatedWith Artists Space (Gallery) . corporateBody
associatedWith Ashford, Doug person
associatedWith Atkinson, Conrad person
associatedWith Ault, Julie person
associatedWith Beuys, Joseph person
associatedWith Brennan, Patrick person
associatedWith Dalen, Anton van person
associatedWith De Sana, Jimmy person
associatedWith Fashion Moda (Group). corporateBody
associatedWith Gay Men's Health Crisis, Inc.. corporateBody
associatedWith Gay Men's Health Crisis, Inc.. AIDS Professional Education Program. corporateBody
associatedWith Gonzalez-Torres, Felix person
associatedWith Guerrilla Girls (Group of artists). corporateBody
associatedWith Hawkins, Yolanda person
associatedWith Howland, Rebecca person
associatedWith Kosuth, Joseph person
associatedWith Kruger, Barbara person
associatedWith McCarty, Marlene, 1957- person
associatedWith McLaughlin, Mundy person
associatedWith Nelson, Marybeth person
associatedWith New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York, N.Y.) . corporateBody
associatedWith New York (N.Y.). Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene. corporateBody
associatedWith New York State Council on the Arts. corporateBody
associatedWith Ostrow, Saul person
associatedWith People with AIDS Coalition . corporateBody
associatedWith Planned Parenthood Federation of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Public Art Fund. corporateBody
associatedWith Rollins, Tim, 1955- person
associatedWith Ronald Reagan person
associatedWith Rosler, Martha person
associatedWith School of Visual Arts (New York, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith Serrano, Andres person
associatedWith Smith, Kiki, 1954- person
associatedWith Spero, Nancy, 1926- person
associatedWith Szypula, Peter person
associatedWith Taylor, Elizabeth person
associatedWith Tom of Finland person
associatedWith Tseng, Kwong Chi person
associatedWith Whitney Museum of American Art. corporateBody
associatedWith Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900 person
associatedWith Wojnarowicz, David person
associatedWith Wong, Martin person
Place Name Admin Code Country
SoHo (New York, N.Y.)
Lower East Side (New York, N.Y.)
Subject
Group work in art
East Village (New York, N.Y.)
Heresies Collective, inc
Group Material (Firm : New York, N.Y.)--Constitution
Art, American--20th century
Art--Exhibitions
Feminism and art
Artists and community--United States
Gender identity--United States
Alternative spaces (Arts facilities)--New York (State)--New York
Artists--United States
National Endowment for the Arts
Artists--New York (State)--New York--Exhibitions
Artists--New York (State)--New York--Political activity
Art and society--United States--History--20th century
Art--Exhibitions--New York (State)--New York
Arts--Experimental methods
Art--Political aspects
Group Material (Firm : New York, N.Y.)
Culture conflict--United States
Art and society
Art patronage
AIDS activists
Art, Modern--20th century--Exhibitions
Women--Health and hygiene
Communication in art
Feminism
Alternative spaces (Arts facilities)
SoHo (New York, N.Y.)--Intellectual life
Art--Philosophy
Occupation
Activity

Corporate Body

Americans

English

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SNAC ID: 58734677