Since its beginnings, the MoMA Library has housed several collections of artists' files and subject files, which contain assorted printed ephemera like announcement cards, press clippings, posters, and flyers. These materials illustrate an elaborate range of artistic activities and can contain unique elements from an artist' s practice. This two-part exhibition gathers a sample of innovative printed invitations, small posters, and flyers from the early 1960s to the present. The selection traces ways in which artists, designers, and galleries have used invitation cards and other printed announcements as a part of the staging of conceptual works, installations, performances, and other time-based events and screenings. This diverse grouping of ephemera explores the various, surprising ways that we have been invited to experience art.
This exhibition also features materials from the Franklin Furnace Archive and the Political Art Documentation and Distribution (PAD/D) Archive, which are housed in the MoMA Library. These New York-based archives developed important ephemera files that included announcements for exhibitions and events, especially the active scene of alternative spaces from the late 1970s to early 1990s. These collections were formed by the work of independent artists and art workers like Martha Wilson and Lucy Lippard, among many others. The two archives, together with the materials from the MoMA Library artist’s files from this time, comprise a vivid picture of the New York art community as well as broader international activities. More recent materials characterize the persistence of innovative print invitations within the context of our shift to online communication. Part of the interest in doing an exhibition now of special invitations and flyers is related to the recognition that this phenomenon of the art invitation has changed. As libraries and archives actively work towards collecting digital content and as galleries and museums phase out their printed invitations, it is a fitting moment to reflect on the various forms the printed invitation has taken in contemporary art practices.
This exhibition is organized by David Senior, Bibliographer, MoMA Library.
This site illustrates of some materials included in the exhibition as well as a checklist of the entire contents of the show.
All the materials were assembled from the MoMA Library Collection.
David Wojnarowicz invitation card with inscription to Lucy Lippard. New York: Alexander F. Milliken, 1982.
Pictures: an exhibition of work of Troy Brautuch, Jack Goldstein, Sherrie Levine, Robert Longo, Philip Smith, organized by Douglas Crimp. New York: Artists Space, 1977.
Truisms, by Jenny Holzer. New York: Franklin Furnace, 1978.
Down in the Rec Room, by Michael Smith. New York, Artists Space, 1978.
Ikki Birthday Party! by Michael Smith. New York, 1977.
Let’s See What’s in the Refrigerator, by Michael Smith. New York, The Kitchen, 1978.
My Space, by Mke Kelley. La Jolla, Calif.: La Jolla Contemporary Art Museum, 1978.
Jill Giegerich, Mike Kelley. Los Angeles: LACE Gallery, 1978.
You’re invited to Another Ikki Birthday Party, by Michael Smith. New York: Franklin Furnace, 1978.
Stuart Sherman’s Eleventh Spectacle (The Erotic). New York, 1978.
Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives (Private Parts). New York: Dance Theater Workshop, 1979.
Real Estate Show. New York, 1980.
Group Material Opens October 4th. New York, 1980.
Marc Chaimowicz: a fifteen-minute performance around a table. London: Garage, 1980.
Partial Eclipse...by Marc Camille Chaimovicz. Amsterdam: De Appel, 1980.
Fifteen Films, by Stuart Sherman. New York: Anthology Film Archives, 1980.
Record Player, by Christian Marclay. New York, 1980.
Family Entertainment: An Evening with Marshall Klugman and Michael Smith. New York: The Kitchen, 1980.
Three Flyers for the Time Square Show. New York, 1980.
Mudd Clubb flyer for Kathy Acker and Gary Indiana Valentine’s Day film screening. New York, 1980.
Public Spirit/Live Art L.A. Los Angeles, Highland Art Agents and LACE, 1980.
Two flyers for Artists for Survival. New York: ABC No Rio, 1980.
Dan Graham: Gallery Projections, Architectural Proposals, Photographs. Munich: Rüdiger Schöttle, 1980.
Untitled Film Stills, by Cindy Sherman. New York, The Kitchen, 1980.
Michelle Stuart: jordbilder, stenböcker. Lund, Sweden: Galleriet, 1980.
Ballad of Sexual Dependency Slide Show, by Nan Goldin. New York, 1981.
Eat This Show: Group Material Gala Benefit. New York, 1981.
Flyer for a Black Flag concert tour, by Raymond Petitbon. Lawndale, CA : SST Records, 1981.
Press release for Pictures and Promises: A Display of Advertisings, Slogans and Interventions, curated by Barbara Kruger. New York: The Kitchen, 1981.
Artists’ Use of Language: A Display of Books, Periodicals and Posters, Curated by Barbara Kruger. New York: Franklin Furnace, 1982.
Safety Net, by Hans Haacke. New York: Bread and Roses Exhibition Gallery, 1982.
Funk Lessons: A Collaborative Experiment in Cross-Cultural Transfusion, by Adrian Piper. New York, 1982.
Keith Haring (with LA2). New York: Tony Shafrazi Gallery, 1982.
Jenny Holzer: Survival Series. New York: Barbara Gladstone Gallery, 1983.
Flyer for the reissue of Heresies #5: The Great Goddess issue. New York, 1983.
Flyer for a Keith Haring slide talk. Hartfort, CT: Wadsworth Athenaeum, 1983.
Paper Tiger Television at Gallery 345. New York, 1983.
Spiritual America, by Richard Prince. New York, Kim Fine, 1983.
Poster for The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Laughter. New York: Protech McNeil, 1983.
Monkey Island: Monologue Hebephrenic, by Mike Kelley. Los Angeles: Rosamund Felsen, 1983.
Poster for a Laurie Anderson performance on the occasion of the ICA’s Twentieth Anniversary performance. Philadelphia: Institute of Contemporary Art, 1983.
The Michael Asher Lobby. Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1983.
Life is Good, Isn’t It Mama? A 30 second soap opera, by Ida Applebroog. New York: Public Art Fund, 1983.
Subculture, by Group Material. New York, 1983.
Dan Graham: Pavilions. Bern: Kunsthalle Bern, 1983.
Glenn Branca & Dan Graham: Musical Performance. Bern: Kunsthalle Bern, 1983.
Not for Sale: A Project Against Displacement. New York: PAD/D, 1983.
Another City, by Stephen Willats. London: Riverside Studios, 1984.
1917, by Sherrie Levine. New York: Gallery Nature Morte, 1984.
Not Just Any Pretty Picture...an exhibition of images and text. New York: Political Art Doumentation/Distribution, 1985.
Works from Plato’s Cave, Rothko’s Chapel, Lincoln’s Profile, by Mike Kelley. Los Angeles: Rosamund Felsen, 1985.
Disinformation: The Manufacture of Consent. New York: Alternative Museum, 1985.
Wie Komm’ ich in Kriegszeiten mit einem gebrochenen Arm und dem Futurismus klar? by Martin Kippenberger. Hamburg: Ascan Crone, 1985.
Hunger: Bilder und Skulpturen, by Martin Kippenberger. Frankfurt : Galerie Bärbel Grässlin, 1985.
Acht Ertrasgebirge und drei Entwürfe Fur Müttergenesungsweke: ilder und Skulpturen, by Martin Kippenberger. Frankfurt: Galerie Heinrich Ehrhardt, 1985.
Poster for Eau de Cologne. Cologne: Monika Sprüth Galerie, 1985.
Announcement for Messages to the Public, Spectacolor Board, Times Square, by David Wojnarowicz. New York: Gracie Mansion Gallery, 1985.
Record without a Cover, by Christian Marclay. New York: Hallwalls, 1985.
Venetian Glass Series, by Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt. New York: Holly Solomon Gallery, 1985.
One Year Performance, 1985-1986. Performed by Other People, Organized by Tehching Hsieh. Brooklyn, NY, 1986.
Raymond Pettibon. New York: Semaphore, 1986.
Arts and Leisure, organized by Group Material. New York, The Kitchen, 1986.
It Remains To Be Seen, by Louise Lawler. New York: Metro Pictures, 1987.
Mike Kelley: Half A Man. Los Angeles: Rosamund Felsen Gallery, 1987.
Mike Kelley: Three Projects. Chicago: Renaissance Society, 1988.
Jef Geys and Gijs Van Doorn. Duinbergen, NL: Gallerie Jos Jamar, 1988.
Extended Play, curated by Ursula Block and Christian Marclay. New York: Emily Harvey Gallery, 1988.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. New York: Intar Latin American Gallery, 1988.
Kay Rosen. Chicago: Feature, 1988.
Kay Rosen: Ed Paintings. New York: Feature: 1989.
Cary Leibowitz. New York: Stux Gallery, 1989.
The Perfect Fool, by David Robbins. Cologne: Daniel Buchholz, 1989.
Martin Kippenberger: Collages. New York: David Nolan Gallery, 1989.
Raymond Pettibon. New York: Feature Gallery, 1989.
David Hammons. New York: Exit Art, 1989.
Artwork for Teenage Boys, by Pruitt & Early. New York: 303 Gallery, 1990. Sticker meant to adhere to beer bottle.
Invitation card and performance script for May I Help You, by Andrea Fraser in cooperation with Allan McCollum. New York: American Fine Arts, 1991.
Every week there is something different: A four part project by Felix Gonzalez-Torres. New York: Andrea Rosen Gallery, 1991.
Thrift Store Paintings, organized by Jim Shaw. New York: Metro Pictures, 1991.
massen – malerei und versammlung von und mit Jutta Koether. Vienna: Generali Foundation, 1991.
Closing Down Sale, by Michael Landy. London: Karsten Schubert, 1992.
Philippe Parreno. Paris: Galerie Claudine Papillon, 1992.
We Interrupt This Program...New York: Creative Time, 1992.
More Light Research, by Isa Genzken. Cologne: Daniel Buchholz, 1992.
Whatever Happened to Institutional Critique?,curated by James Meyer. New York: American Fine Arts, 1993.
William Pope L. Chester Springs, PA: Yellow Springs Institute, 1993.
Sean Landers. New York: Andrea Rosen Gallery, 1993.
My Major Retrospective, by Tracey Emin. London: White Cube, 1993.
Wall Paintings, by Lily van der Stokker. New York: Feature, 1994.
Rosemarie Trockel, Naples: Galeria Lucio Amelio, 1994.
Nicole Eisenman. New York: Jack Tilton Gallery, 1994.
Rirkrit Tiravanija, Andy Warhol. New York: Gavin Brown Enterprise, 1994.
Sean Landers. Los Angeles: Regen Projects, 1994.
Kay Rosen. New York: Morris Gallery, 1995.
Figures of Speech, by Joseph Grigely. Ac Project Room, 1995.
Love Flight of a Pink Candy Heart: A Compliment to Florine Stettheimer, curated by Michael Duncan. New York: Holly Solomon Gallery, 1995. Drawing by Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt.
Supersensible, by Sarah Lucas. New York: Barbara Gladstone, 1995.
No Sex Last Night, by Sophie Calle et Greg Shephard. Paris: Studio des Ursulines, 1996.
3 x 3, by Martin Kippenberger. New York: Nolan/Eckman Gallery, 1996.
Mark Morrisoe. New York: Pat Hearn Gallery, 1996.
David Shrigley. Copenhagen: Galleri Nicolai Wallner, 1997.
David Shrigley. Glasgow: Center of Contemporary Art, 1997.
The Storytellers, by Joseph Grigely. Berlin: Galerie Arndt and Partner, 1997.
Bjarne Melgaard. Oslo: Galeri Riis, 1998.
Richard Prince. New York: Barbara Gladstone: 1998.
...when do we need more tractors? by Liam Gilliick. Berlin: Schipper and Krome, 1998.
No, No, No, No, Now, by Frances Stark. Los Angeles: Marc Fox Gallery, 1998.
Frances Stark. New York: CRG Gallery, 1999.
Wade Guyton. New York: Project Space Andrew Kreps, 1999.
European Wavy, by Mark Bradford. Curated by Daniel Joseph Martinez. Pittsburgh: Three Rivers Arts Festival, 1999.
Afrobiotics, by Chris Offili. New York, Gavin Brown Enterprise, 1999.
Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, by Mark Leckey. Cologne: Daniel Buchholz, 2000.
Blank Generation, by Jim Lambie. San Francisco, 2001.
The Suburban 2001 Schedule. Oak Park, IL: The Suburban, 2001.
BLACK MY STORY, by Samson Kambalu. Almere, NL: Museum De Paviljouens, 2003. Design by Will Holder.
Retreat. Los Angeles: Peres Projects, 2003.
General Store Grand Opening. Milwaukee, WI: General Store, 2002.
The 4 Color Pen Show. Milwaukee: General Store, 2002.
Laura Owens. Milwaukee: General Store, 2003.
Today’s Man. New York: John Connelly Presents, 2003.
LTTR #2 Launch Flyer. New York, 2003. Printed by Ginger Brooks Takahashi.
New Tech Lo–Fi and a Synaesthetic Revival. New York, Ocularis, 2003.
Invitation card and call for participation for The Infinite Fill Group Show, by Cory and Jamie Arcangel. New York: Foxy Production, 2004.
Invitation for the LTTR Block Party and Issue #4 Launch. New York: Printed Matter, 2005.
If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want to Be Part of Your Revolution. Leiden: De Veenfabriek, 2005.
Xu Tan: Loose. Guangzhou: Vitamin Creative Space, 2005.
Hot Topic: LTTR and Ridykeulous, curated by Amy Mackie. Red Hook, NY: Bard College, 2006.
Matthew Smith, organized by Ryan Gander. London: Associates, 2006. Design by Will Holder.
Stella Capes,organized by Ryan Gander. London: Associates, 2006. Design by Will Holder.
Press release for Trisha Donnelly. New York: Casey Kaplan, 2007.
Agapē, organized by Alex Waterman. New York: Miguel Abreu Gallery, 2007.
Atelier, by Beca Lipscombe, Lucy McKenzie and Bernie Reid. Cologne: Galerie Buchholz, 2007.
Reena Spaulings Fine Art and Merlin Carpenter request the pleasure of your company at The Opening. New York: Reena Spaulings Fine Art, 2007.
Flyer for The Milwaukee International. Milwaukee, WI, 2008.
Marriage a la Mode et Cor Anglais, by Jimmy Robert and Ian White. Amsterdam: De Appel, 2008. Design by Will Holder.
Volume Attempts: The Space of Books, by Purtill Family Business. Philadelphia: Tyler Art Gallery, 2008.
Custom Car Commandos. New York: Art In General, 2009. Reproduction of a photogram by Walead Beshty on front of invitation. Design by Dexter Sinister.
Flyer for a book signing for Rarely Seen Bas Jan Ader Film, by David Horvitz. New York, 2009.
Marc Camille Chaimowicz. Los Angeles: Overduin and Kite, 2009.
Readykeulous: The Hurtful Healer: The Correspondance Issue, by Ridykeulous. New York: Invisible Exports, 2010.
Ecstatic Resistance, curated by Emily Roysdon. Kansas City, MO: Grand Arts, 2010.
For the blind man in the dark room looking for the black cat that isn’t there, curated by Anthony Huberman. Amsterdam: De Appel, 2010. Design by Will Holder.
Vertically Intergrated Manufacturing. New York: Murray Guy, 2010.
The Rodney Graham Band live featuring the amazing Rotary Psycho–Opticon. New York: Public Art Fund, 2010.
Come to My Opening!, by Amy Yao. New York: Jack Hanley Gallery, 2010.
Zulu and 100%, by Harsh Patel. Berlin: Motto, 2010.
My Best Thing, by Frances Stark. Banff, Alberta: The Banff Centre, 2011.
Dough Cheese and Tropicla Breeze, by Mika Rottenberg. Amsterdam: De Appel, 2011. Design by Will Holder.
Genius without Talent. Amsterdam: De Appel, 2011. Design by Will Holder.
Guilty Feet Have Got No Rhythm, by Banu Cennetoglu. Basel: Kunsthalle Basel, 2011.
Damnatio Memoriae, by Danh Vo. Red Hook, NY: Bard College, 2012. Matchbook.
Amy & Wendy Yao's Art Swap Meet. Yucca Valley, CA, 2012.
Aaron Flint Jamison. Vancouver: Artspeak, 2012.
Angie Keefer. Portland, OR: Yale Union (YU), 2013. Designed by Scott Ponik.
Many thanks to Sara Bodinson and Rebecca Roberts for editorial guidance and Chiara Bernasconi, Sara Dayton and Jessica Natoli in the Digital Media Department. Special thanks to Milan Hughston for his support of the project. Thanks to the Library staff for working around the stacks of files that I created while digging through the collection. Aaron Flint Jamison made a huge contribution by producing a bound volume of reproduced posters from the artists' files, which would have otherwise been excluded from the exhibition. Rene Smith was my partner in installing the show. Many thanks also to Scott and Tyson Reeder, A.L. Steiner and Nicole Eisenman, Wendy Yao, Foxy Production, LTTR, Harsh Patel and Will Holder for sending materials for the show.