Lucy R. Lippard

  • May Stevens in her studio, New York, 1974. Photo: Joyce Ravid. © The Estate of May Stevens.


    IN 1968, I moved to a loft in SoHo around the corner from where May Stevens and her husband, the Lithuanian-born painter Rudolf Baranik, lived with their dog, Sparta. We became friends and political allies. They were way ahead of me, having been deeply committed to the civil-rights movement and, later, active participants of the Angry Arts Week and cofounders of Artists and Writers Protest Against the War in Vietnam. Rudolf, a self-defined “socialist-formalist,” was the dedicated activist and strategist. May was involved but less active until the feminist art movement hit New York in 1970. Her

  • Nancy Holt

    NANCY HOLT died on February 8 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, after she was suddenly diagnosed with leukemia in late October. She was seventy-five and had just returned from receiving an award from the International Sculpture Center in New Jersey. From her hospital bed in Santa Fe, New Mexico, having been given a possible forty-eight hours to live, she warned me, “Don’t ever accept a lifetime-achievement award!” She survived for some three months longer, opting for experimental treatment in New York that ultimately failed. Her time was spent seeing old friends and completing

  • Seth Siegelaub standing on the steps at 44 East Fifty-Second Street in New York, NY, where the exhibition “January 5–31, 1969” was held, 1969. Photo: Robert Barry.
    passages February 11, 2014

    Seth Siegelaub (1941–2013)

    WHAT TO SAY ABOUT SETH? He was pretty unique: such an intriguing mixture of hard-headed businessman and creative innovator. No nonsense, but plenty of lousy jokes. Though we stayed in touch for the rest of his life, I knew him best the two or three years before he absconded to Europe. Apologies to Lawrence Weiner, Bob Barry, Joseph Kosuth (and Doug Huebler, wherever you are), but I’ve always felt that Seth was the co-inventor of our particular brand of Conceptual art because distribution was such a huge part of its trajectory, built into the innovative forms many of you came up with. He offered


    THE FOLLOWING CONVERSATION with Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt was recorded on June 5, 1973, at the loft they shared on Greenwich Street. It was the last time I saw Bob, who died in a plane crash in Texas six weeks later. (Nancy has been my neighbor in Galisteo, New Mexico, since 1995.) I was writing my book on Eva Hesse at the time and was taping interviews with mutual friends and other people close to her. I was struggling with how to write this book on someone I had known so well—how to concentrate on the art without denying the life, and without letting the life overwhelm the art. Sol LeWitt, Eva’s best friend, was a constantly no-nonsense adviser on how to go about it. While I originally wanted to do a “smooth” edit of this text, Holt and the editors of Artforum persuaded me to leave it “rough,” as a kind of (embarrassing) time capsule. And so it stands.

    LUCY LIPPARD: Mel [Bochner] mentioned a summer when you all saw a lot of each other.

    ROBERT SMITHSON: I think it was ’66, because that was when I wrote my article “Quasi-Infinities and the Waning of Space,” where I included Eva.

    NANCY HOLT: It’s true. We saw each other about four, sometimes five times a week. We went to Max’s [Kansas City] a lot, ate a lot at an Italian restaurant with Sol. I remember by the end of the summer Bob didn’t want to see an Italian dish ever again.

    LL: When did you meet Eva? Do you remember?

    RS: I think it must have been ’66. Sol introduced me to her.

    NH: I remember exactly


    “It’s not a ‘tender love story’ as Time-Life has claimed. It’s a police story where the police can do what they want because they’re dealing with savages. It excuses their brutality at the same time it denies our humanity. Just as in the earlier western ‘Fort Apache’, the police are a thin blue line of civilization in a hostile territory.” (Committee Against Fort Apache—CAFA)

    “By showing us as animals, the film provides ideological justification for the neglect of the South Bronx by the rest of society; at the same time it legitimizes the killings of our people by cops and validates slum housing,

  • The Ten Frustrations, or, Waving and Smiling Across the Great Cultural Abyss

    If much of China’s art is lacking today, it is not lost, only sleeping. Some day we shall carry on a tradition that has made the world marvel.

    —Madame Quo Tai-Chi, Queen, October 9, 1935.

    IN RETROSPECT, I’M NOT SURE what I saw in the two and a half weeks I was in The Peoples’ Republic of China.1 I do know that the things that most interested me had little or nothing to do with art. But since art is my field, it provides the most convenient framework in which to try to convey my excitement and confusion about China. The following is neither “my Chinese Diary,” nor an expert’s overview, but an

  • Beverly Naidus

    Beverly Naidus’ Apply Within—a simultaneously casual and elaborate installation about alienation, bureaucracy and illusion—was in the window of Franklin Furnace in March. A simulated room, curling fake wood contact tape on the walls, held two straight chairs facing out and a sign reading Please Be Seated. The window glass was haphazardly spotted with scrawled notices like those found on lower Broadway and in other small manufacturing areas: We Have What You Want; Opportunity Knocks; Fringe Benefits; Paid Vacations; Make the Future Happen; Jobs Jobs Jobs Jobs; College Graduates Welcome.

    When one

  • Rosemarie Castoro: Working Out

    ALL OF ROSEMARIE CASTORO’S art is about a fine bond between mind and body—gestural, but above all disciplined. Its major impetus is kinesthetic. (Not incidentally, she has on occasion danced with Yvonne Rainer and while a student at Pratt was seriously involved in choreography.) She invests movement, and by implication, her work, with a highly personal content: “When I danced,” she wrote in a 1973 journal,

    I leapt through the air and continued to remain up there. . . . I felt a self-propelled air-stretch. It was a way to leave this earth to think in an other path, to bring coherence to reality,

  • Louise Bourgeois: From the Inside Out

    IT IS DIFFICULT TO FIND a framework vivid enough to incorporate Louise Bourgeois’s sculpture. Attempts to bring a coolly evolutionary or art-historical order to her work, or to see it in the context of one art group or another, have proved more or less irrelevant. Any approach—nonobjective, figurative, sexually explicit, awkward or chaotic; and any material—perishable latex and plaster, traditional marble and bronze, wood, cement, paint, wax, resin—can serve to define her own needs and emotions. Rarely has an abstract art been so directly and honestly informed by its maker’s psyche.

    Each period

  • Richard Pousette-Dart: Toward an Invisible Center

    “I’m interested in light, both inner and outer light. I’m interested in edges, their definition and non-definition.”1

    RICHARD POUSETTE-DART LEFT Bard College before the end of his first and last school year in 1936 because he preferred to think for himself. Since then he has done just that. Though associated with the Abstract Expressionists, he moved to the country in 1950, just as the action on the New York art scene began to be publicized. He is a loner whose work lends itself only superficially to categorization, historicizing, even stylistic analysis. “There is a possibility,” wrote a reviewer

  • Judy Chicago, Talking to Lucy R. Lippard

    I. YOU’VE BEEN SHOWING YOUR WORK for about 11 years now, but there’s never been an article on it, so let’s start from scratch.

    OK. When I first started my professional life, in 1963, I was making these very biomorphic paintings and sculptures; I went to auto-body school, because I wanted to learn to spray paint, and because it seemed another way to prove my “seriousness” to the male art world. While I was there, I put my very sexually feminine images on this car hood, which in itself is quite a symbol. Over the next few years, I retreated from that kind of subject matter because it had met with

  • Jackie Winsor

    HER MATERIALS ARE PLYWOOD, pine, rope, brick, twine, nails, lathing, and trees. From them she makes compact objects, natural and easy in their physicality; unpretentious, but formally intelligent in their use of a tension between material and process, process and result. Their immediate impact comes from their scale, quite different from that of much current sculpture because it is so inherent, seems to depend so little on the space in which they are placed. Winsor’s sculptures evoke the outdoors, not pictorially so much as by their tensile strength and crude vitality. Yet the process by which