PRINT May 2008

MAY ’68

speaks with Michael Callahan about USCO

A MNEMONIC MIASMA hangs over the late 1960s, this haze only heightened by the recent spate of exhibitions devoted to Op and the Summer of Love. However saturated with psychedelia, mysticism, and electro-euphoria, though, the period’s history might also lend itself to starker views.

To better understand this moment, Artforum senior editor Michelle Kuo spoke with Michael Callahan of USCO, the collective whose kaleidoscopic intermedia events took place in communes and museums alike. Callahan, an engineer who had previously worked at the San Francisco Tape Music Center, founded USCO in 1964 with poet and former ichthyologist Gerd Stern and painter Stephen Durkee. The group lived communally in an abandoned church in Garnerville, New York, and hosted collaborators from filmmaker Jud Yalkut to Stewart Brand. Under the aegis of Marshall McLuhan, their conceptual guide, USCO enlisted all manner of

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