TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT February 2004

IN THEORY & PRACTICE: A HISTORY OF THE WHITNEY INDEPENDENT STUDY PROGRAM

In memory of Joe Bishop, ISP 1976–77

I’d like to think this essay has been written at the suggestion of Thomas Crow, who singled out the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program in his examination of the “new art history” in the second of Artforum’s special issues on the ’80s last spring and proposed that there was more to be said:

One American crucible where social art history and the theoretical approach associated with October came together lay in the estimable Whitney Independent Study Program (long may it flourish) under the direction of Ron Clark. The ISP welcomed representatives of both tendencies and fostered an environment where their overlapping implications were put into play for cohort after cohort of beginning artists, curators, and critics. (The radiating effects of this unique, ongoing experiment merit a sustained study in their own right.) But here as elsewhere, critique and license lay only a hair’s breadth apart from one another: Can one forget that the young Julian Schnabel, a totemic figure of the ’80s dark side, was an early ISP graduate?1

Schnabel is indeed the ISP’s best-known alumnus, but Crow’s brief mention only hints at how we might understand him as its product, or how his ability to “exploit the analytical intelligence then floating around the art world to strategize an ultimate move into . . . fashionable celebrity” points to the tension between critique and career in the program. Crow may well be right about the nature of Schnabel’s success—and of artistic success in general in the ’80s—but there’s an odd temporal slippage here: The program Schnabel attended was not yet the ISP Crow describes, and he is not a product of the historical conjunction Crow wants to map. The ISP is older than the intersection of social art history with the journal October; founded in 1968, it is older, by eight years, than October itself. And if one takes the emergence of Robert Herbert and T. J. Clark as the marker of a new social art history, as Crow does, then the program is almost the same age. It certainly predates Clark’s clarion “On the Social History of Art,” the opening chapter to his book Image of the People, which was published in 1973—the year Schnabel entered the ISP.

Crow is right that the ISP is in many ways Ron Clark’s program, or, in the words of Hal Foster, former head of the program’s art-history wing, “the life project of one person.”2 (Carnegie Museum of Art director Richard Armstrong, who preceded Foster in his post at the ISP, puts it differently: “Ron’s inflexibility is paramount.”) Hired directly out of the Ohio State masters program in sculpture by Doug Pederson, the first director of the Whitney’s fledgling education department, Clark has been involved with the ISP since its inception. The program opened its studio wing with Clark as its only faculty member at 185 Cherry Street, on the east edge of Chinatown, far from the Whitney’s new Madison Avenue home. It was separated from the art-history half of the program, which was run uptown, first by Pederson, who would leave early on, and then by David Hupert, who would replace him as director of education. The studio section shared its building, which the New York Times described as an “art mission,” with another new Whitney outreach program, the Art Resources Center, a workshop for neighborhood youth. In the museum’s initial vision, ISP students would be working directly with the kids. Pederson “invented a number of programs, but it turned out the programs didn’t have the same purpose,” Clark recounts. “There was the hope for some kind of interactivity, but they came from very different backgrounds and social classes. Those programs did not survive.” The Art Resources Center folded in the mid-’70s; its last director was Laurie Anderson.

The ISP’s studios moved twice in the ’70s, to Reade Street in 1971 and to Old Slip in 1978. The ISP that Crow describes would not begin to take shape until the early ’80s, when the studio program and the program in art history—renamed Art History and Museum Studies in 1973, with the opening of the Whitney’s Downtown Branch galleries at 55 Water Street—were finally joined under one roof, at 384 Broadway. From the ISP’s founding through the ’70s, participants in the two wings of the program met together formally only once a week, in a visiting-artists seminar held in the spaces of the studio program or, early on, in artists’ studios. Visitors in the first years included Donald Judd, Brice Marden, Barnett Newman, Harold Rosenberg, Richard Serra, Frank Stella, and Roy Lichtenstein; Judd was a regular visitor in the ’70s, and Marden and Serra came most every year into the ’80s. The presence of Yvonne Rainer, who visited in the first year and became regular faculty in 1974, suggests not only the ISP’s openness to new work in dance, performance, and film but also how close the program was to the cultural life of Lower Manhattan and its spaces. Richard Foreman, Philip Glass, Michael Snow, and Trisha Brown all visited; according to Power Boothe, a member of the program’s first class and now dean of the Hartford Art School, “interdisciplinary practice was important, as was the edge of the art world. The ISP was available to the living contemporary edge of work for that time.”

New York and the art world at its margins were in many ways the subjects of the ISP in its first years. The program was not unlike a junior year abroad or, given its preprofessional possibilities, a Washington Semester. Most of the students came from small liberal-arts colleges in the Midwest, and they were almost all undergraduates. New York Times critic Roberta Smith came in 1968 from Grinnell College, Iowa, in the first semester of her senior year, and she still considers her acceptance something of a fluke: Henry Geldzahler, curator of twentieth-century art for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who had flown to Grinnell to lecture, phoned in a recommendation for her from the student union. “I thought it was designed for undergraduates, to get them out of the hinterlands to New York,” remembers Smith. “I got college credit for it and went back for a final semester at Grinnell. It completely saved my life, gave me direction; it got me to New York and to the art world.” In a brief history of the ISP written for the program’s fifteenth anniversary, Carrie Rickey, who attended in 1975–76 and is now film critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, sketched the usual trajectory: “The ISP inducts advanced art history and studio majors from American colleges (and, recently, an increasing number of European students and preprofessionals), who, if they were like me, wanted an entrée into the New York art scene, a legitimate excuse to come to Gotham, a hiatus from school, an introduction to Manhattan and its art heavyweights, and some structure to what otherwise might be an unstructured sojourn.”3

Given the place that the program occupied in the lives of a number of now well-known artists, critics, and curators, Rickey’s description of it as a “fine arts finishing school” in those years seems accurate, however ironically she intended it. The ISP offered introductions and modeled certain kinds of behavior. Peter Ballantine, who came to New York from Colorado College in the program’s first spring, began working in Judd’s studio at the end of his program year, and continues to work for the Judd Foundation today, recalls, “You met the cream of the art world and were able to put a face on it, which renders it much more possible to be in it; you’re in the same room as they are, and you can picture yourself in the same situation.”

Since the late ’80s, the students have tended to be older. Most on the art-history end come to the ISP from graduate art-history programs and are already writing; artists increasingly come not in lieu of the MFA but having completed the degree elsewhere. Early attendees like Boothe and Ballantine easily refer to fellow alumni as students or even as kids; Renée Green (1989–90) consciously avoided the word “student” when she recently wrote, “The people who come to the Whitney Program are considered to be participants, implying an active role of contributors rather than passive absorption of transferred knowledge.”4 Moreover, the participants are often already professionals. Gregg Bordowitz, who was in the program in 1985–86 and is currently a member of the regular visiting faculty, notes that “it is very different now, most of the participants have track records as artists. I had no career and neither did my peers; we were less professionalized, not established as artists. These artists have exhibition records. When I come into the studios they show me portfolios of work in galleries on laptops.”

“Finishing school” is not the only comparison a former participant has offered to explain the program’s form or its effects; George Baker, a participant in 1994–95 who now teaches art history at the University of California, Los Angeles, has linked the program’s founding in the late ’60s to broader postwar educational reforms and “the events of 1968,” but he finds one counterpart for the ISP much earlier in the century: The “Whitney Program and VKhUTEMAS: one doesn’t hear much about such a comparison, but it emerges as a testament to the Program’s intensity and integrity that the anachronistic grandeur of comparing the Program to arts education in postrevolutionary Russia seems even remotely plausible.”5 In its bookishness as much as in its lefter-than-thou position taking, Baker’s likening of the ISP to Soviet Russia’s first state art school might be seen by some as symptomatic of the changes the program has undergone since the ’80s. But if one takes his appeal as an attempt to describe the central place of discourse in the program and the insistent questioning of a consciously theorized practice, then it finds a curious echo in Bordowitz’s recent comment that the ISP “reminded me of Hebrew school.”6 Though Bordowitz goes no further with his analogy, one might liken the work of the seminars to learning a foreign language with a messianic past, one that raises broad questions of social identity and history but that is held in its form as alien. And there is in both Hebrew school and VKhUTEMAS something of the cult that the Whitney’s detractors accuse it of being. Bordowitz’s recollection of how critical attention was focused on practice at the ISP, and how practice came to matter differently for him, clearly suggests the intensity and integrity to which Baker refers and the avant-garde pedagogical practice his analogy reaches for: “I was never more self-conscious, that intensely in touch, or burdened by a sense of responsibility for my gestures, that my gestures have political and ethical consequences. How to make a work or produce a gesture.”

"By the late ’70s,” says Clark, “semiotics and poststructuralism as they are informed by feminism and Marxism had become the intellectual content of the program.” While he claims that “curriculum is too grand a word” for this leaning, the theoretical turn was in any case institutionalized in 1978, with the initiation of a second seminar devoted to critical readings, and reinforced after 1981, when the Studio and the Art History and Museum Studies sections moved into the same Broadway space and, with Hupert’s departure, Clark became the overall director of both halves of the program. The discourse that Clark introduced was situated in the art world and in relation to practice, rather than in academic art history, and even after the programs moved in together, there was a growing tension between artists and those in Art History and Museum Studies around theory and the seminar. The “turn to theory at the time was largely (although not entirely) driven by artists, [who] sought out theoretical sources as a way to sustain and complicate their art practice,” recalls Grant Kester, who entered the art-history program in 1986 with a studio background and now teaches at the University of California, San Diego. According to Foster, who began to visit regularly in the mid-’80s, artists dominated the seminars and were “much more savvy”—more aware not only of theory but also of how to operate professionally. Dana Friis-Hansen, a member of the Art History and Museum Studies class of 1981 and now executive director of the Austin Museum of Art, recalls that “the art-history people were not very involved in the serious reading program that Ron had. It was available, but most of us had jobs . . . so our time was tight. . . . I think I was there for a few [seminars].” Even without the reading seminar, the art-history students had a more structured experience than their studio counterparts: They served as staff for the Downtown Branch, and they were required to propose and write a research paper and given an individual tutor. From the program’s inception, they were treated more traditionally as students.

By contrast, in the studio area, especially before the introduction of the reading seminar, the production of discourse, and of work, was more fluid. “Although there is no teaching as such,” goes a 1974 report on the program, “the instructors say they try to bring as much discourse and information to the program as possible.”7 Rainer recalls that her “teaching consisted of studio visits, hanging out around Ron’s desk, and mainly looking at work.” “A kind of free-floating conversation ensued around Ron’s desk, ranging from gossip to theory,” artist John Miller (1977–78) echoes. “This all tied into the downtown New York scene, which was much smaller then.” Rainer put on a series of film screenings in the space on Broadway and, at least at first, gave a weekly talk in relation to the screening. Early on, she organized a semester-long workshop in which she and her students collectively made a videotape collage; in 1990, when she was working on Privilege, a film that took up identity, race, and gender issues of the sort that galvanized the program at the time, “I assigned parts and we read the script collectively.”

Boothe recalls that for the ISP’s inaugural class, “the discursive basis was Artforum, in many ways, particularly the 1967 summer issue. We discussed Greenberg and Fried. And there was already a reading list from Ron, though not written down. He was particularly interested in phenomenology.” Clark’s intellectual formation lay in Merleau-Ponty, Marcuse, and Sartre, and they were part of the informal intellectual content of the program early on. They were on his syllabus when he began the reading seminar, as were readings in the Frankfurt School and French structuralism, and texts by Brecht, Godard, and Robbe-Grillet. In the early ’80s, the artist Mary Kelly, now a professor of both art and art history at UCLA, began to visit regularly to lead seminar sessions on psychoanalysis, and Clark’s list expanded to include the Birmingham School cultural theory of Stuart Hall and Raymond Williams and the critique of representation that emerged, in part, from the British film journal Screen’s interests in Brechtian intervention, Althusserian Marxism, and Lacanian feminism.

The turn was political as well as theoretical; the program sought to refashion the relationship between art and social practice. By the middle of the ’80s, Clark says, “Some of the regulars, Minimalists and post-Minimalists, were no longer invited to do seminars. They were not the people the students wanted to talk to. Students increasingly felt a separation between what they were reading and talking about in the seminars and what was back in their studios—abstract work or post-Minimalist work.” The disciplinary questions posed by painting and sculpture, even at their most rigorous and austere, were no longer compelling to the program’s artists. Bordowitz recalls that in his year there were “contentious visiting-artist discussions, particularly with Brice Marden and Richard Serra, and I remember thinking, ‘I don’t share anything with them.’ We were reading a different generation of theory—Althusser, Irigaray, Cixous—and my interests were sparked by Althusser and Godard.” Rainer was “the most influential artist I worked with there, a model of how to bring form together with discourse and politically engaged questions,” but when she screened Snow’s Wavelength, “I remember thinking, ‘This is what I don’t want to make.’ . . . It is not that something was wanting in the program but that the Whitney was responsive to a new context. There were some things gained and some things lost. I wanted to go in this other direction, not bound to formal issues.”

The shift that Bordowitz describes, from “politics as form to issues of politics as discourse,” suggests an art practice no longer situated in the studio and its métier: The question becomes “how to do your work, to mobilize your own criterion, in public spaces or gallery spaces.” The program’s pragmatics reinforced its critical questioning; the ISP’s very real temporal and spatial limitations militate against developing a traditional studio practice. Each move since Cherry Street has been to a more structured space, and the program is now housed in office cubicles rather than studio lofts. Painter Gary Bower—who, like Clark, had come from graduate school at Ohio State, and who taught in the program in its earliest years—suggests that even early on, the space had programmatic ramifications: “When we moved to Reade Street it became clearer that the space was best set up for painters and Conceptualists, [with] less and less opportunity for sculptors to make anything physically. My memory is that we didn’t admit people who would put stress on our space in that way.” According to Rainer, the program’s most recent move, to Lafayette Street in 2000, has only exacerbated that trend: “The work has changed. On Broadway people had actual, enclosed studios. They were able to work out a whole show. That’s impossible now, so the work tends to be more conceptual, less installation. And there’s less of it. . . . There is less to look at.”

The ISP’s single nine-month tour also works against a certain kind of medium-based studio practice: For many it is not long enough to develop a daily regimen or a body of work that might generate its own questions, nor does it allow for the sort of studio culture that develops in two-year MFA programs as styles and attitudes are passed down from year to year. No work has to be made at all; there are no grades or requirements. Artists who come in with an established practice or a strong sense of how they want to use the ISP usually continue to work; others can seize up under the critical challenge the program poses to its participants. “When I was a student there I was frozen. I was in the process of moving out of being a painter to the kind of artist I am now,” recalls Bordowitz, describing an experience not at all uncommon at the ISP—but one that is “not necessarily a bad thing,” argues Miwon Kwon, who was in the program in 1988–89 and now teaches, with Baker and Kelly, in the art-history department at UCLA: “The fact that there is a supportive context in which one might allow oneself to freeze up in order to reconsider the basis of one’s practice is a terribly important one.” For some participants, however, it is not at all clear how supportive the context actually was. Although they made very different work and feel quite differently today about their experiences in the program, both Miller and Jon Kessler (1979) felt that there was, in Miller’s words, “a dogma that dominated the program at that time.” Miller characterizes it this way: “Representation was OK in film and video but prohibited in painting. I always disagreed with that.” Kessler, now chair of studio art at Columbia University, is much harsher; he describes the program in the half year he was there as “paranoiac”: “There was a bias against studio practice. . . . It was difficult to get a crit out of Ron, and the visitors in Ron’s camp did not make studio visits. That was not part of the process. When others came into the seminar, it would be difficult to talk with them afterwards because they were barraged with questions not about their work but how they fit into the scenario Ron’s reading list had outlined.”

It may just be that, as Bennett Simpson, a 1997–98 alumnus who is currently associate curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, puts it, “the best ISP experiences understand the program for what it offers, not for what it lacks.” A recent brochure outlines those offerings, and it suggests, as well, what the program might lack. It doesn’t interdict painting and sculpture; it simply no longer mentions them: “Current studio participants are engaged in a variety of art practices with an emphasis on installation work, film- and video-making, photography, performance, and various forms of interdisciplinary practice.” For Kelly the strength of the program is precisely that it is not an omnibus art school but a group of artists and theorists with a common project. Independent of university bureaucracy or the marketing demands of attracting graduate-degree candidates, it “is not saddled with the burden of representation”—the need for each recent style or all the traditional media to be represented on the faculty or in the studio. “At UCLA,” Kelly points out, “interdisciplinarity or Conceptualist work can only be one option among many.”

"The ‘empty studio’ syndrome was not uncommon when I was there,” recalls Kester, but if emptiness is one figure for the program’s studios, openness might be another: Traditional studio practice is often displaced by collaborative cultural practice. Between 1972 and 1978, several members of the artists’ group Colab came directly out of the program: Charlie Ahearn, Mike Glier, Jenny Holzer, Rebecca Howland, Tom Otterness, Walter Robinson, and Robin Winters. In the late ’80s the program was particularly open to, and significantly transformed by, a more directly engaged political practice: AIDS “reconstituted and politically radicalized a lot of us,” recounts Simon Leung (1988–89). “At least five or six of us in the program were extremely active in ACT UP. We would go to the Monday-night meetings, attend seminars on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and do political/art work simultaneously. A few people in the ISP made no distinction between art and activist work.” An involvement with theory—particularly as it questioned the autonomy of art and situated practice in relation to an examination of the politics of representation and identity—did not feel voluntaristic or arbitrary; rather, the program’s reading list seemed to provide the tools necessary for a new kind of cultural practice. “The way AIDS and the politics of difference completely impacted every aspect of the art world during this time cannot be underestimated,” says Leung. “Maybe it wasn’t true for everyone, but that’s how it felt to me. Postmodern feminism; postcolonial theory; the rise of the discussions around racial and other identity differences; homelessness; and, as analogue to AIDS activism, the newly reinvigorated politicization of gender (e.g., the soon-to-be-minted terms like Queer Nation) were transforming the entire fabric of social, political, and cultural life in New York. The ISP, at that time occupying a very privileged position in the New York art world, naturally felt this transformation really strongly. What was happening in the world made the ISP polemics and education resonate exponentially for me.”

The political transformation that AIDS brought about affected both wings of the program and worked to realign them. Kwon, an art-history participant, recalls the “sense of urgency” that artists involved in AIDS work “brought to the table in discussing the capacity of cultural work to make social change.” It was, she says, “inspiring at times and oppressive at other times,” but it was clear that cultural work could include historical, critical, and curatorial interventions as well. The resituating of practice that Leung and Kwon recount was institutionally recognized—and programmatically insured—in 1987, with the recasting of the Art History and Museum Studies program as the Curatorial and Critical Studies programs and the appointment of Foster to replace Armstrong as its full-time senior instructor. In Armstrong’s words, art history was “subsumed by the weight and gravitas of the studio program,” but one could also say that Foster’s arrival marked a shift in the program precisely toward art history, albeit of another sort. In 1989, Kelly, already a regular visitor, became the senior instructor in studio, and Benjamin Buchloh replaced Foster in 1991. Though none are full-time faculty now (Clark and studio-program graduate Gareth James are the only current full-timers), each contributes a series of lectures around a specific topic to the seminar annually, and they continue to inform the program’s content.

In the mid-’80s, when Foster began to visit regularly, there was, he says, “a real division between uptown and downtown”—between studio art and a curatorial-studies program still situated, at least ideologically, uptown—“and gears did not grind smoothly.” By the mid-’90s, he suggests, the important division was between the ISP and the art world outside. As the program’s common project—its “agenda,” to use a word that a number of its detractors, and its supporters as well, have turned to—has become more clearly articulated and more visible, it has drawn much attention and been the cause of a good deal of grumbling. There remains a serious debate between—or maybe over—theory and practice within the ISP, but that division no longer maps so easily over the program’s parts. There can be something of a “disconnection between Whitney practice and the recent history of innovative art,” worries Foster. “The semispecificity of art always dismays those participants who want to see practice as politics . . . to erase the difference. They do not like the proper.” Clark concedes that the tension is there, and fruitful: “I like to say that my purpose is to strike a balance between critical cultural studies and what Hal refers to as critical modernism studies. There are very important historical precedents that need to be honored and represented.” Clark’s response, it could be noted, isn’t quite written in the same tense as Foster’s worry; his language works to memorialize an art (and a situation for art) that Foster wants to take as active and present.

The ISP is still situated in the city that formed its subject for Boothe and Smith, but the New York that the program focuses on is no longer coterminous with the art world, or open to the same margins. One measure of the distance between the art world in which the program first embedded itself and the world in which it has increasingly come to operate can be taken in the difference between two magazines that were begun by ISP alumni just as they left the program: Art-Rite, started in 1973 by Joshua Cohn, Edit deAk, and Robinson, and Documents, founded in 1991 by Kwon, Helen Molesworth, Margaret Sundell, Christopher Hoover, and Jim Marcovitz. Art-Rite’s editorial voice tended to be breezy, and its interests were local; it had, in David Frankel’s recent and quite apt description, a “loving relationship with the art world and particularly with its own generation.”8 It embraced the scene and, in a remarkable group of gallery ads that appeared in issue 11, marked its boundaries: Each ad was a photographic portrait of a gallery building or storefront, a reference perhaps to Hans Haacke’s New York Gallery-Goers’ Residence Profile, completed in 1970, but certainly an image of the magazine’s mise-en-scène. Named after Georges Bataille’s short-lived journal of ethnography, archaeology, and the arts, Documents tended to see the art world in parallax rather than wide-eyed, and it consciously positioned itself elsewhere, between the literary and theoretical practices that opened up in Paris at the end of the 1920s and that intersection of October and the social history of art that Crow found in the ISP. Beginning in its seventh issue, Documents included a serialized memoir by Bordowitz, titled “New York Was Yesterday.”

The ISP is more international and ethnically diverse than it was in its early years, and as Foster notes, it has “expanded in the academic world as well.” But there is a sense in which the program’s environs are far more tightly bound. Many of its visiting artists have been coming for decades, since the program’s first years: Rainer, Vito Acconci, and Haacke. A number are the program’s own graduates: Bordowitz, Green, Holzer, Mark Dion, and Andrea Fraser (all of whom make work that foregrounds the situation of language in the pedagogical scene and that looks skeptically on the voices and texts of authority). The program has arguably grown more insular, more insistent in its focus on what Bordowitz describes as the “general problem of an engaged, socially relevant practice.”

In its current incarnation, the ISP’s closest ties in the city are not to Chelsea but to Columbia, Cooper Union, NYU, and the Graduate Center. “What gives the Whitney its strength is the way that it addresses the idea of an intellectual community,” says Kelly, and “it has shaped an intellectual community” that draws its members from those campuses: Jonathan Crary, Rosalyn Deutsche, David Harvey, Chantal Mouffe, Andrew Ross, Gayatri Spivak, and Anthony Vidler are all regular visitors. Former participants Kwon, Alexander Alberro, and Jennifer Gonzalez are also regular seminar leaders, and one could argue that in the past decade or so it has been critical-studies alumni such as these, along with Baker, Pamela M. Lee, Molesworth, Frazer Ward, and others, who have been the program’s most important representatives, and the most characteristic. The New York the ISP situates itself in now is a city mapped and theorized on its syllabi by postcolonial and globalization studies. And the art world and the questions of recent art history that Clark and Foster debate are the objects of an exceptionally well-articulated body of theory on the effectivity of cultural practice. It’s not at all coincidental that Alberro, Kwon, Lee, and other ISP historians have been among the most important voices in the project of historicizing and problematizing—or as Clark puts it, honoring and representing—the art of the ’60s and ’70s, and setting at a distance the moment in which the program emerged.

Howard Singerman is associate professor in the McIntire Department of Art at the University of Virginia.

NOTES

1. Thomas Crow, “Marx to Sharks: The Art-Historical ’80s,” Artforum, April 2003, 47–48.

2. Hal Foster, telephone interview with author, May 21, 2003. All of the direct quotations from ISP faculty and participants are taken from telephone conversations or e-mail exchanges between mid-May and July of 2003. Over that period, I spoke with a number of ISP alumni and current and former members of its regular faculty, all of whom were exceedingly generous with their time and their memories. It seems, as Renée Green has written, that “for most people who have ever experienced being a participant in the program, the year of participation marks them indelibly.” My thanks to Richard Armstrong, Peter Ballantine, Power Boothe, Gregg Bordowitz, Gary Bower, Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo, Lisa Cartwright, Ron Clark, David Diao, Hal Foster, Dana Friis-Hansen, Brian Goldfarb, Renée Green, Nora Halpern, Gareth James, Mary Kelly, Jon Kessler, Grant Kester, Miwon Kwon, Simon Leung, John Miller, Yvonne Rainer, Walter Robinson, Bennett Simpson, and Roberta Smith. Whether I have quoted them directly or not, their recollections and opinions have all helped to shape this piece, and I am indebted to them.

3. Carrie Rickey, “A Personal History of the I.S.P.,” in Independent Study Program: Fifteenth Anniversary (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1983), 10.

4. Renée Green, “Some Conditions for Independent Study: The Whitney Program as a Thought Oasis or Weathered Bastion,” in Education, Information, Entertainment, ed. Ute Meta Bauer (Vienna: Institut für Gegenwartskunst, Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien, 2001), 188–89.

5. George Baker, “Pedagogy, Power, and the Public Sphere: The Whitney Program and (Its) History,” Whitney Program Newsletter, Spring/Summer 2000, 1.

6. Gregg Bordowitz, “My Postmodernism,” Artforum, March 2003, 227.

7. Frederick G. Ortner, “Whitney Museum of American Art: Independent Study Program,” in The Art Museum as Educator, ed. Barbara Y. Newsom and Adele Z. Silver (Berkeley: University of California Press, and Cleveland: Council on Museums and Education in the Visual Arts, 1978), 561.

8. David Frankel, “The Rite Stuff,” Artforum, January 2003, 114.