Paradise: Underground Culture in NYC 1978-84


14468652_10211013029268596_6720064423776193094_o.jpgSteven Harvey Fine Art Projects presents Paradise: underground culture in NYC 1978-84, a group exhibition about a pivotal moment in New York cultural history. The exhibition includes original photo-copied posters for bands, films and theater, paintings, drawings, photography and a group of films by independent filmmakers and documentaries about the Lower East Side from 1978-1984.

X Magazine Benefit Screening

The opening is on Wednesday, October 12th, from 7-9pm. The exhibition continues through November 14th. There will be a conversation between Steven Harvey and Tim Lawrence, the author of LIFE AND DEATH ON THE NEW YORK DANCE FLOOR, 1980-83, just published by Duke University Press, on Sunday October 16th, at 3PM, at the gallery.

Filmmakers’ Coop Paddle 8 Art Auction


13934758_10153655652856671_532697434638432559_nThis benefit art auction supports the New American Cinema Group/The Film-Makers’ Cooperative, the oldest, largest non-profit distributor of avant-garde cinema. Since its founding in 1961, the Coop has grown to distribute over 5,000 titles by its 1,000 members. The Coop is currently embarking on a project to digitize its expansive celluloid and paper collection in an effort to make avant-garde cinema available to new audiences.

The auction is LIVE from August 23rd to September 6th:

Featuring the following artists:

Charlie Ahearn • John Ahearn • Peggy Ahwesh • Ulvis Alberts • The Andy Warhol Museum • Katherine Bauer • Sarah Bedford • Andrea Callard • Calmx • Donna Cameron • Mirjana Ciric • Jody Culkin • Lisa Dilillo • James Dowell • Sara Driver • Bradley Eros • Peter Fend • Coleen Fitzgibbon • James Franco • Su Friedrich • Bobby G • llona Granet • Ethan Greenbaum • Hal Hartley • Sharon Haskell • Jasmine Hirst • Kate Huh • Takahiko Iimura • Ken Jacobs • Jim Jarmusch • Antonia Kuo • Juanita Lanzo • Katy Martin • Jen Mazza • Jonas Mekas • Jocelyn Miller • Joseph Nechvatal • Dan Ochiva • Alice O’Malley • Tom Otterness • Cara Perlman • Walter Robinson • Barbara Rosenthal • Christy Rupp • Lynne Sachs • Zoë Sheehan Saldaña • Marja Samson • Carolee Schneemann • Rosalind Schneider • MM Serra • Russell Sheaffer • Shell Sheddy • Terise Slotkin • Georgie Smith & Amy Lowles • Mark Street • Molly Surno • Richard Sylvarnes • Laurie Thomas • Leslie Thorton • J. Kathleen White • Robin Winters

Collaborative Projects and Art Economies Panel



Collaborative Projects and Art Economies
Monday, June 27th, 2016
6:30-8:30 PM
40 Rector Street, 15th Floor, Suite 1500, New York, NY 10006

Panel with Stephen Zacks, Michael Mandiberg and artists Coleen Fitzgibbon, Joe Lewis, Ann Messner, Peter Fend, Tom Otterness, Lisa Kahane, Robin Winters and John Ahearn present to discuss Collaborative Projects and art economies.

In the late 1970s, artists and artist collectives made art and exhibitions in response to a growing awareness of art’s relation to communities, real estate, and economic development. The members of Collaborative Projects (Colab) created themed group shows, Fashion Moda gallery, the Times Square Show, the Real Estate Show, and the ABC No Rio activist art space, pioneering many of the modes and strategies deployed by socially-engaged artists today. Join us for a discussion with members, including Coleen Fitzgibbon, Joe Lewis, and others, moderated by Stephen Zacks.

Colab is known for its progressively explicit and confrontational approach to art exhibitions. Between 1978 and 1981, the group reacted to the struggle for space in and around SoHo by moving its exhibitions to private studios and lofts, galleries in poorer neighborhoods, and temporary spaces donated by owners. Finally, on New Year’s Eve at the end of 1979, the artists illegally occupied an in rem city-owned storefront as a self-proclaimed insurrectionary act. Despite their greater access to cultural capital, many Colab artists saw themselves as naturally aligned with people of color and classes displaced by speculative real estate development.

This discussion is a public session of the New York Arts Practicum, presented as pre-exhibition programming for Michael Mandiberg’s FDIC Insured at the Time Equities, Inc. Art-in-Buildings Program Project Space. FDIC Insured will transform a disused office space, echoing Colab’s approach to challenge the political and social identities of urban spaces. The project is produced by Art-in-Buildings and Denny Gallery.

40 Rector Street, 15th Floor, Suite 1500, New York, NY 10006

The Colab Vinyl Mix


From Clocktower Radio


Listen Here:


Here’s your tracklist:
Contortions – James White and the Blacks, Contort Yourself
Mars, 3E
Theoretical Girls, You Got Me
DNA, Blonde Redhead
DNA, New New
Sandra Seymour, Dogs (Excerpt from Just Another Asshole #5)
Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Orphans
Suicide – Alan Vega, Martin Rev, Ghost Ride
The Static, Don’t Let Me Stop You
Bush Tetras, Snakes Crawl
Y Pants, That’s the Way Boys Are
Lady B, To the Beat Ya’ll
Imply, Holland Tunnel Dive
Lounge Lizards, Do the Wrong Thing
Liquid Liquid, Cavern
ESG, Moody
Spoon Gee, A Drive Down the Street I Was Spanking and Freaking
Robert Goldman (Bobby G), Times Sq. Show Audio (Excerpt from Just Another Asshole #5)
Paul McMahon, Turtles Travel Slower on Asphalt (from Just Another Asshole #5)
Robin Crutchfield’s Dark Day, Hand in the Dark
Mark C and Marnie Greenholz Jaffe, Bad Hospital
Konk, Soka-Loka-Moki
Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force, Planet Rock

Thirty Years On, Colab Members Assess Their Successes and Failures


By Tiernan Morgan

Read the full article and see more images at HYPERALLERGIC


Spread from ‘A Book About Colab (and Related Activities)’ (2015) featuring Charlie Ahearn and Jane Dickson’s poster for “The Times Square Show” (1980). The book includes a reversible cover (background) (image courtesy Printed Matter)

Last month, members of Colab gathered at Printed Matter for the opening of a new iteration of the A. More Store, the collective’s pop-up exhibit of cheap multiples. The display coincides with the publication of A Book About Colab (and Related Activities)(2015), a sumptuous collection of archival images and written accounts compiled by Printed Matter’s director Max Schumann.

Colab (Collaborative Projects) produced some of the most significant exhibitions and projects of the 1980s, including the Times Square Show, the Real Estate Show, and Potato Wolf TV, the group’s public access television show. Active between 1977–85, Colab’s projects served to demonstrate the value of artist-led action and collaboration. As Robin Winters explains in A Book About Colab: “Outside curators and sponsor organizations seemed antithetical to what our efforts were all about […] we did stuff for free in our own spaces, in the airwaves, in print, on the street or in liberated public locations.” “We were a gang of young artists who had nothing to lose,” Walter Robinson writes in his foreword to the book, “and as a result we had the power to accomplish anything that we could think of.”

Colab’s members were active throughout the New York art scene; Walter Robinson served as the art editor of the East Village Eye between 1983–85. Charlie Ahearn and Fab 5 Freddy (Fred Brathwaite) met at theTimes Square Show and later collaborated on Wild Style (1983), the world’s first hip-hop movie. Fashion Moda’s Stefan Eins and Joe Lewis, themselves members of Colab, exhibited work by John Ahearn (twin brother of Charlie), Jane Dickson, and Christy Rupp. The Real Estate Show, which grew from an idea devised between Colab members Alan Moore, Peter Moennig, Ann Messner, and Becky Howland, ultimately led to the founding of ABC No Rio — a collectively run center for “oppositional culture” that continues to operate to this day.

Other Colab members included Tom Otterness, Jenny Holzer, Judy Rifka, and Joseph Nechvatal. Naming select members, however, feels like a patent violation of the group’s ethos. “There has been a rather humble declaration by all members of Colab as to the origin of the group,” Winters writes. “We say we are co-founders. I stand by that declaration … there was no one founder.” A running theme throughout A Book About Colab — as evinced through its many testimonials — is a sense of frustration at the art world’s cherry picking of the group’s members and its history. More often than not, an article on the Times Square Show will emphasize Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring’s participation, as opposed to acknowledging Colab’s efforts in realizing the show. As Joe Lewis puts it, “the gallery system … quickly picked off those they believed could draw a profit, — isn’t that what’s it all about?” “Early on, John Ahearn told me: Colab is like running the peer gauntlet,” writes Becky Howland. “Happy to report [that] I survived Colab and killed no one.”

In keeping with Colab’s spirit of collaboration and exchange, Max Schumann has structured A Book About Colab around newly written contributions by the group’s members. “It seemed best that Colab should represent itself,” Schumann writes in his introduction. “The book has no overarching narrative, rather, it is a series of parts and fragments that I think better convey and celebrate an extraordinary output of creative energy and work, as well as an iconic period of New York City’s cultural history.”

Colab’s entire ethos is further complemented by the book’s wraparound cover, which doubles as a reversible, fold-out poster. The front is comprised of an assortment of flyers and artworks by various members of the group, while the reverse features Cara Perlman’s finger-paint portraits of “some members of Colab” (1981–2) (amusingly, John and Charlie Ahearn are featured together as a single portrait). The thumbnail images on the book’s cover evoke the displays of the A. More Store, while also embodying Colab’s celebration of the multiple.


The book’s fold-out cover includes a selection of finger-paint portraits by Cara Perlman


Suzan Pitt, “Black and White Painted Coat” (2016)

The Real Estate Show and The Times Square Show Revisited


By Francesco Spampinato

Read the full article here:

During the past few years, New York has seen the restaging of two groundbreaking underground art exhibitions, originally organized in 1980 by Lower East Side-based collective Colab: The Real Estate Show and The Times Square Show. The former, which took place illegally on New Year’s Eve in a vacant, city-owned building at 125 Delancey Street—and was shut down by the police after few hours—was restaged in Spring 2014 at four Downtown venues: James Fuentes Gallery, Cuchifritos, The Lodge Gallery, and ABC No Rio. The latter was organized in a disused Times Square massage parlor and restaged in Fall 2012 at Hunter College’s Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery.

Both the original shows are representative of the revolution from below that characterized the New York art world in the postmodernist era, particularly the influence of punk and street cultures on an emerging generation of artists involved less in conceptual than social and cultural issues. Collaborative Projects Inc., known informally as Colab, was a loosely organized group of artists active from 1977 to the mid-1980s, with headquarters in ABC No Rio, a still existing squat on Rivington Street in the Lower East Side. Its network varied from thirty to a hundred members, and included artists, writers, and curators like John and Charlie Ahearn, Andrea Callard, Diego Cortez, Jane Dickson, Stefan Eins, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Bobby G., Mike Glier, Jenny Holzer, Becky Howland, Lisa Kahane, Alan W. Moore, James Nares, Tom Otterness, Christy Rupp, Kiki Smith, Wolfgang Staehle, and Robin Winters.

Both shows have contributed to moving the canon of exhibition history toward the acceptance of anti-art forms, cooperative practices, underground culture, and tactics of institutional critique into official art history. This essay will examine the two exhibitions as examples of an “aesthetic of disappearance” that brought artists to invent an alternative “art world” that challenged dominant cultural institutions, social hierarchies, and media power systems. Colab’s core concern with the issue of gentrification will be used as a paradigm to understand how New York City, the urban context that surrounds the shows and their restaging, has drastically mutated in the past three decades, even though some issues have remained the same.

“There was a tribal feel because we had different technology,” remembers Becky Howland, one of the initiators of Colab, in a radio conversation organized for the restaging of The Real Estate Show. “There was a feeling of running into people on the street: coincidence, serendipity that I don’t feel these days. That was the sweet part of Colab: just running into people, let things happen—it was so exciting! How I think about it now, is we were sort of in love with each other.”[1] These simple thoughts, expressed without intellectual preoccupations, denote the true spirit of Colab, a collective born out of the true desire of a group of young artists to come together. In the next paragraphs, I will briefly illustrate the early activities of Colab, while in the two sections that follow, the focus will be on The Real Estate and The Times Square shows and their restaging.