Martha Wilson Founding Director

New York Cultural Institutions Salute Franklin Furnace's 25th Anniversary
The Museum of Modern Art, Celebrating Franklin Furnace's 25th Anniversary exhibition
The Whitney Museum of American Art, "Artport" site
TDR, special issue in honor of Franklin Furnace's 25th Anniversary

In celebration of its 25 years as one of the most influential alternative spaces in the country, Franklin Furnace is being honored with several exhibitions and events during 2001.
Janis Ekdahl, Jenny Tobias, and Cynthia Frame have mounted an exhibition in celebration of Franklin Furnace's 25th anniversary in The Museum of Modern Art Library with material drawn from the Museum of Modern Art/Franklin Furnace/Artist Book Collection.
In 1993, The Museum of Modern Art acquired the Furnace's 13,500-volume collection of artists' books, from which the current exhibition is drawn. On view are such delightful works as Don Celender's Holy Holy Art Cards, Joanne Poehlmann's Drawings in a Nutshell, and Erica Van Horn's Italian Lesson #12.
The exhibition opened in May and will remain on view until July 13, 2001. (To visit the exhibition, call 212-708-9433 for an appointment, weekdays only). Milan Hughston, Chief of Library and Museum Archives, says "This exhibition commemorates an important moment for both The Museum of Modern Art and Franklin Furnace. Clive Phillpot, Director of the Library at the time of the acquisition of Franklin Furnace's collection, knew that the combination of MoMA's vertical strength in collecting artists' books, combined with the horizontal strength of Franklin Furnace's catholic collecting style, works from Europe, Russia, Central and South America, Australia, Japan and the Far East as well as North America, would create the pre-eminent collection of this material in the world." Items in the Franklin Furnace collection at MoMA can be accessed through the Library's online catalogue at
The Whitney Museum of American Art's "Artport" site,, will now feature in recognition of the virtual institution's public face as one of the artworld's most innovative art websites. Whitney director Maxwell Anderson says, "Culture is changing as a result of the efforts of artists and artist-run groups who are using the Internet itself as an art medium. The hierarchical structure of the art world is breaking down and becoming more interconnected; and our notions of 'originality' have been forever altered by digital culture. I congratulate Franklin Furnace for its pioneering work for 25 years, and look forward to seeing what it creates in the future!"
Richard Schechner, University Professor of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and Editor of TDR, and TDR Associate Editor Mariellen Sandford have invited Martha Wilson to prepare a special issue in honor of Franklin Furnace's 25th anniversary. Slated to be published in the Summer of 2002, the issue will be co-edited by Toni Sant, Ph.D. candidate in the Performance Studies Department. Mr. Sant is a specialist in issues of presenting live art on the Internet. He collaborated with Wilson in teaching a class entitled "Going Virtual" in the Spring semester of 2001. The issue will include primary documents and images drawn from Franklin Furnace's twenty-five year history, as well as interviews and essays focused upon real estate, funding, the culture wars and Franklin Furnace's evolving sense of identity. Schechner says, "Franklin Furnace has held true to its avant-garde principles without compromise for a quarter of a century, while continually adapting to its changing social, political, economic and artistic environment. Mariellen and I are pleased to make its history and achievements accessible to an international scholarly as well as general audience through this special issue of TDR."

In 1976 Franklin Furnace was founded with archival zeal by artist Martha Wilson. Between 1976 and 1993, the organization assembled and catalogued the largest collection in the U.S. of artists' books published internationally after 1960. In 1993, The Museum of Modern Art acquired this collection. During the past twenty-five years, Franklin Furnace, also a pioneering center for installation and performance art, launched the careers of artists whose works occupy the intersection of text and image, such as Eric Bogosian, Karen Finley, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Robbie McCauley and Paul Zaloom. And the organization examined the history of the page as alternative space in its exhibitions of books, posters and magazines published by Futurist, Dada, Cubist, Constructivist, Surrealist, Letterist, and Fluxus artists as well as presenting exhibitions of the regional innovations of artists in Eastern Europe, Russia, Central and South America, Japan and Iceland. During the "Culture Wars" of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Franklin Furnace became a flashpoint for politically and aesthetically conservative groups because it supported artists' right to freedom of expression.

On its 20th anniversary, Franklin Furnace made the decision to "go virtual" in order to offer artists the developing venue of cyberspace and the same freedom of expression they had enjoyed in physical space. Franklin Furnace's website,, became its public face, and its programs since that time have been mounted in both physical and virtual space in partnership with an array of institutions such as Judson Memorial Church, Cooper Union, NYU, The New School, P.S. 122, the Kitchen, Downtown Community Television, Parsons School of Design, and the Walker Art Center. From 500 "hits" per week during its first netcasting season, Spring 1998, in collaboration with, Franklin Furnace's website now receives over 79,000 hits per month, serving a worldwide audience of avant-garde aficionados. Through its collaboration with the Conceptual and Intermedia Arts Online (CIAO) consortium, Franklin Furnace is also pioneering the development of the electronic and vocabulary standards that will describe and document intermedia art works internationally.

Franklin Furnace's 25th anniversary programs stand as follows:
RECORDING THE WORK OF FRANKLIN FURNACE: Franklin Furnace is assembling a permanent, accessible, and ongoing digital record of Franklin Furnace's twenty-five-year history of artists' books, temporary installation, performance art, netcasts and works of "live art on the Internet" conforming to standards being developed by CIAO. In collaboration with The Studio for Digital Projects and Research of New York University, THE FRANKLIN FURNACE NETWORKED DIGITAL VIDEO ARCHIVE PROTOTYPE PROJECT is being developed as part of this initiative.

ARCHIVES OF THE AVANT-GARDE: Franklin Furnace is developing a plan to survey the location, legal status, quantity and condition of archives of artists' organizations and groups which flourished in and around Lower Manhattan after 1960, in order to build a Location Database conforming to CIAO standards.

THE FUTURE OF THE PRESENT 2001: Franklin Furnace is producing works of "live art on the Internet" in collaboration with New York venues such as Parsons School of Design, the Kitchen, DCTV Cyberstudio, The Eyebeam Atelier and others, as appropriate to artists' projects.

THE FRANKLIN FURNACE FUND FOR PERFORMANCE ART: Franklin Furnace annually awards grants to artists selected by peer panel review to enable them to prepare major performance art works for venues in the State of New York. This year Franklin Furnace's esteemed 25th anniversary peer panel, Patty Chang, Garland Farwell, Carmin Karasic, Christiane Paul, Mark Tribe and Zhang Ga, selected artists Tish Benson, George Ferrandi, Christine Carson, Cary Peppermint, Tadej Pogacar and Stanya Kahn to receive $5,000 each.

SEQUENTIAL ART FOR KIDS: Franklin Furnace sponsors and organizes arts-in-education workshops presented in New York City primary public schools by professional artists including bookmakers, performance artists, videographers, photographers, and film animators. In 2000-01, Franklin Furnace collaborated for the fourth academic year in a row with P.S. 52 in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, where videographers run ten-week workshops in English as a Second Language classes to produce videotapes based on Russian, Chinese and Middle Eastern folktales familiar to the children. to visit 'This Month's World Wide Events'.

Goings On for artists

Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc. 45 John Street, #611 New York, NY 10038-3706
T212.766.2606 F212.766.2740
Martha Wilson, Founding Director
Michael Katchen,Senior Archivist
Harley Spiller, Administrator
Tiffany Ludwig, Program Coordinator