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Women – Concept – Art: Lucy R. Lippard’s Numbers Shows

Christine Kozlov’s nine books Neurological Compilation: The Physical Mind since 1945, (1961–69) are stacked in two rows on the table along with other artists' books. In the background from left to right works by Christiane Möbus, Renee Nahum, Agnes Denes, Martha Wilson and Alice Aycock were displayed.

Let women speak so that they can find themselves, this is what I ask for in order to achieve a self-defined image of ourselves and thus a different view of the social function of women. We women must participate in the construction of reality…


I’m not saying that feminist art must be propaganda… so much as I am arguing for a feminist sensibility as consciously and intelligently employed as any kind of formal sensibility is normally employed in making art of any kind… Art in fact is all about choices. And choices, in turn, are all about how to use time, the means by which to know more about the connections between art and life, and by doing so, to make art a part of the lives of others. Lucy R. Lippard 02

This is a story of transformation – the transformation from a solitary, critical practice in which language and writing are the medium, to one that engages audience through the medium of artists and works of art. From text as medium to exhibition-making as a discursive, creative act, it is a story of the invention of a curatorial mode that is political, argumentative and reluctantly but deeply feminist. In a remarkably short period at the end of the 1960s, North American writer Lucy Lippard moved from the individual practice of art criticism to the socially engaged work that has characterised both her writerly voice and her curatorial activities ever since. In a span of less than ten years, in the first decade of her professional activities, she found feminism through her cultural activism, which, in turn, informed her development as a writer and curator of contemporary art. Lippard invented a critical space for her hybrid practice that is transdisciplinary, multivalent and interrogative.

The story of Lippard’s finding a voice through feminism is emblematic of a cultural moment of rupture that took place around 1968, and it signals fissures deep within institutionalised curatorial practice at this time. Her role as a writer, curator, educator, self-described ‘art worker’ and friend of artists through the 1970s,03 both in the United States and internationally, yielded important curatorial and critical networks in ways matched by few of her contemporaries. One of many women in the 1960s for whom the discovery of personal feminism came as a surprise, Lippard began as an academically trained art historian before finding her way through the avenues of museum work and art criticism, to emerge as the curator of the first exhibition of Conceptual art by women, as well as an advocate for feminist politics.

Changing /1966–70In the prefatory notes to her collected essays published in 1971, when she was 34 years old, Lucy Lippard writes, ‘Not very far beneath the surface of these essays is an almost daily frustration and doubt about the role of criticism itself.’ 04 Forthrightly titled Changing and dedicated to Eva Hesse and Ad Reinhardt, this book came out at a watershed moment in Lippard’s early career as a critic, even as she was problematising the function of criticism and indeed the very act of writing within the sphere of art. What follows in her brief introductory remarks amounts to an attempt at methodological transparency: ‘I have no critical system, which should be patently obvious from the contents of this book.’ 05 Beginning with ‘Notes on African and Modern Art’ and a piece on the work of Max Ernst, both dated 1966, the essays in Changing then move through a preoccupation with Minimalism and culminate with Lippard’s seminal essay ‘The Dematerialization of Art’, authored with John Chandler in 1968, and a reprint of the conceptual index she contributed to the catalogue of the ‘Information’ exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in 1970. 06 The metamorphosis represented in Changing argues for understanding the daily beat of the critic as transformative and empowered, resituating critical practices as activist and self-reflective instead of passive and removed. Rather than employing the noun ‘changes’ as the title for her retrospective anthology – which would sit in the memory in a fixed and freighted way – Lippard decided upon ‘changing’, to imply a body of work, and a life, in flux.

What is striking about Lippard’s blunt insistence that she has no critical system is her mode of address. She is honest and direct, and employs the disarming voice she has maintained over the span of more than twenty books and four decades of work in the field of art. And yet, in Changing she acknowledges the post-Greenbergian framework shaping the reception of art that still dominated the landscape of 1960s New York. As a writer, and later as a curator, Lippard understands there is a critical system, and also how power is situated within it, and she chooses to work outside of it by claiming no system at all for herself. Reflecting her early development and scattered focus, a consequence of the foraging life of a freelancer, this rather catholic selection of essays tracks the rangy command of the self-described ‘serious working critic’. 07

Appropriating Reinhardt’s dictum ‘art as art’, Lippard would later embrace his insistent purity in describing her own writing, including an essay published in The Jewish Museum retrospective catalogue in 1967, writing about ‘art as art’. 08 She published Hesse’s monograph in 1976, following the artist’s death in 1970 and her retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in 1972.09 From the museological and distant, third-person voice of the Reinhardt text to the elegiac opening lines of the Hesse book, which relies heavily on biography and an almost hagiographic analysis of Hesse’s truncated career, we see and hear the emergence of a voice and curatorial mind that seeks to blend modes of writing and subjectivities. Lippard’s body of work from this early period argues for her self-fashioning as critic and curator, informed by the practical and intellectual methodologies of artists and by the art being made around her. It is to a degree Lippard’s transdisciplinarity that locates her practice as feminist. Anti-hierarchical before this became an articulated stance for feminist politics and art, Lippard’s work parallels those of the feminist art historian Lea Vergine, the critic Annemarie Sauzeau Boetti and the artist VALIE EXPORT, all of whom were inventing new identities as practitioners and expanding models of artistic labour from within the discipline of art history at that time. Like a very few of her peers – women working in the overwhelmingly male-dominated industry of art – Lippard used her writing and curatorial work to invent a feminist practice in a field where the social inscription of such did not exist. This is the agency, the ‘participat[ion] in the construction of reality’, that EXPORT incites at the same moment. 10

While her understanding of women’s multiple subject positions would come in the 1970s, examining her early and intuitive experimentation with different forms within her own writing and curatorial work is key to claiming her debt to feminism. The transformation begins with her job in the library at MoMA in the late 1950s, continues during her freelance work for the curators and publications departments in the early 1960s and culminates in her so-called ‘numbers shows’, a decade after that. It is indeed the writerly and curatorial voice that I want to argue becomes productively conflated in Lippard’s work from 1966 to 1973. Between 1966 – the year of her first independent curatorial project, ‘Eccentric Abstraction’, an exhibition organised for the Fischbach Gallery in New York – and 1973, when she curated ‘c.7,500’, the final project of her numbers shows, and published Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972, Lippard situated her critical writing as the backbone of her curatorial practice, which was dynamic, discursive and changing.

Lippard’s numbers shows, organised between 1969 and 1973, each bore a large but very specific number as their title: ‘557,087’, at the Seattle Art Museum Pavilion and across the city (5 September–5 October 1969); ‘955,000’, at the Vancouver Art Gallery and other venues in the city (13 January–8 February 1970); ‘2,972,453’, at the Centro de Arte y Comunicación (CAYC) in Buenos Aires (4–23 December 1970); and ‘c.7,500’, at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, California (14–18 May 1973) and then touring throughout the US and to London. Not specifically thematic, but rather conceived as survey exhibitions of an emergent generation of artists, and geographically spanning the East and West Coasts of the United States, plus Canada, Argentina and the UK, these exhibitions were titled after the size of the populations of the cities in which they first took place. The generic designation of the given numbers also underscored what Lippard felt was the arbitrary nature of curatorial selection by the criteria of theme, nationality or style. 11 Crucial, and in stark contrast with the trends represented by such institutions as MoMA and the history, then recent, of Abstract Expressionism in New York, is that Lippard made her choices in defiance of dominant tastemaking. In her words, ‘Rejecting connoisseurship was part of a generational rebellion against the Greenbergian aesthetic hegemony that was becoming obsolete in New York in the mid- 1960s.’ 12 This she has claimed again and again as a matter of personal pride, and she eventually turned it into a curatorial strategy. 13

Lippard’s job in the Museum of Modern Art library was her first full-time position after her graduation from Smith College, a private liberal arts college for women in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she majored in art. Her only stint in an institutional context, the brief years at MoMA had a profound impact on her subsequent trajectory, providing a history, an economy of labour and a power to push against. From 1958 to 1960 she worked as a library page, shuttling books and archival files to art students and art historians. She has referred to it as the only real job she has ever had, and as good preparation for the archival, informational aspect of Conceptual art. 14 Lippard was inspired by the MoMA librarian at the time, Bernard Karpel, and specifically his initiative to catalogue things visually, using categories akin to the language of art criticism. 15 Here, as a writer working in a museum library where she could experience objects, texts and the construction of the narratives of art history, Lippard has located the ignition of her passion for language as a system of information, and one both integrated into and resisting the institutional structures around it. In an oral history recorded by MoMA in 1999, she declares, ‘I was never an artist. I like words.’16

After leaving the MoMA library job in 1960, Lippard organised some travelling exhibitions and wrote for the institution. 17 With Kynaston McShine, then an Associate Curator in the Painting and Sculpture Department, Lippard contributed short entries to the ‘Assemblage’ catalogue 18 in the autumn of 1961 – the two young erstwhile colleagues eager for the opportunity to write anything offered to them. 19 About her freelance work for MoMA in this period Lippard has said:

I did a couple of shows for the Museum of Modern Art travelling exhibitions department, which I barely count since I never got to install them myself. Installation is when you finally get to see what you’ve got as a whole instead of in fragments, it’s like holding a finished book in your hands at last, and makes the whole gruelling process worthwhile. 20

Lippard’s biography for her early years reads at first like that of a young art historian steeped in modernism and classically trained: in 1960 she travelled to Florence for an art history course with H.W. Janson, credited at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; with due diligence, she completed a master’s thesis on Max Ernst, working with Robert Goldwater at the Institute of Fine Arts in 1962. At the same time, however, she fed early curiosities about feminist thought (she read Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex in 1956 or 1957 (the book, written in 1949, was first translated to English in 1953)); she aligned herself with artists (she married Robert Ryman in 1961, with whom she had a son in 1964); 21 and she began intellectual work outside the museum context (she started writing criticism for Artforum in 1964 and ‘The New York Letter’ for Art International, a respected correspondence she took over from Max Kozloff in 1965). Lippard would later recall discovering during these years her own criteria for being a good critic, when she said, ‘I’ve always felt that you have to be intimately involved with the art and the artist… you have to know the context in which people are working.’ 22

With ‘Eccentric Abstraction’, Lippard expanded her intellectual work and critical practice by organising an exhibition outside the museum context. This show, which took place at a commercial gallery in the autumn of 1966, 23 included three-dimensional works by Alice Adams, Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, Gary Kuehn, Bruce Nauman, Don Potts, Keith Sonnier and Frank Lincoln Viner. An associated article published concurrently in Art Inter- national expanded on the show significantly, and provided the basis for lectures delivered in Berkeley and Los Angeles later that year. 24 Here, in words beyond the gallery, Lippard widened her scope to cover further artists, including Lee Bontecou, Robert Breer, Yayoi Kusama, Claes Oldenburg, Ken Price and H.C. Westerman. As well as responding to Robert Morris’s then developing ideas about ‘Anti-Form’, 25 ‘Eccentric Abstraction’ encouraged discussion of art practices pushing beyond the Minimalist sculpture grouped in McShine’s landmark exhibition for The Jewish Museum earlier that year, ‘Primary Structures’. 26 Lippard had worked as a freelance research assistant on this exhibition, while her friend and former colleague was still at MoMA.

Lippard’s catalogue essay for the Ad Reinhardt retrospective at The Jewish Museum in 1967 then followed, and the painter’s distinctly irreverent interpretation of his own biography in this same publication might be seen to anticipate her interest in foregrounding subjectivity in her own work. 27 She has acknowledged Reinhardt as an influence on her political self- formation, citing his early protests against MoMA 28 as precursors to her own struggle with the same institution at the end of the 1960s as part of the Art Workers’ Coalition (AWC). 29 Lippard later revered Reinhardt’s involvement with the anti-Vietnam War movement and the Civil Rights Movement, but it is his peculiar conflation of the personal and the political, the very long view of one’s own history in the mix of institutional history, which anticipates Lippard’s view, formulated as an insider with a healthy scepticism of institutions and their politics. 30

Reflecting on the latter 1960s, Lippard has said that she was interested in what she calls ‘object-oriented writing’, the accumulation of language and thought that Robert Smithson envisioned in his monumental drawing A Heap of Language (1966). 31 Lippard was in dialogue with Smithson about including a major work by him in ‘955,000’, her numbers show in Vancouver, at that time. His luscious pyramid of words, mapped out on graph paper like the accumulations of circles layered and hand-drawn against the same graphed geometry, in Untitled drawings Eva Hesse made the same year, amounts to a wayward dictionary of language itself: ‘language phraseology speech … alphabet ABC consonant vowel … English orthography terminology thesaurus cipher’.32 The notion of writing as a process of amalgamation, of an entropic amassing of ideas, letters, hieroglyphs and forms, was in the air. This would develop during what Lippard had described as early as 1962, with a presaging vision of Conceptual art, as ‘an age in which artists are becoming increasingly verbal in order to forego the critical middleman’. 33

Curating by Numbers

Reflecting on the proliferation of her activities around 1970, Lippard has declared Six Years, her seminal publication, to be a curatorial effort in book form, and one that mirrors her numbers shows in the situating of artists and works of art. She describes her strategy as both the organiser of the numbers exhibitions and the writer/compiler of the publication as one of ‘over-the- top accumulation, the result of a politically intentional anti-exclusive aesthetic which was also a core value of feminist art…’ 34 In a way, by putting into practice the archival model laid out in the Six Years volume – cumulative, serial and energetic to the point of seeming random in its accretion of artists, projects and moments of rupture – Lippard begins a resolute deskilling of her activities as writer, curator and cultural worker. Her interrogation of her own craft, literally the rethinking of her practice through the dismantling of the received parameters of art writing, reflects a broader shift in the language around artistic practice at this time. Artists too increasingly foregrounded the labour of making, by calling paintings and sculpture simply ‘works’, for instance, and thereby reflecting making as part of meaning. Exhibitions were more commonly designated as ‘projects’, yet this still aligned the activity of the curator closely with the production of artists. And, in calling themselves ‘art workers’, cultural producers such as Lippard and her artist allies adopted the language of the proletariat, emphasising their activism while associating their politics with Marxism. 35

Making her curatorial labour more present in the numbers shows, Lippard intentionally mimicked the strategies of the artists in her milieu. Reflecting their defiance of classification, for example, she has described how she was ‘determined not to provide a new category into which disparate artists could be amalgamated’. 36 Having spent her formative years at MoMA, where medium-based curatorial departments reinforced hierarchical and increasingly contested notions of practice, 37 Lippard was subversive in dismantling the categories for art-making and establishing the radical anti-institutional bent of her curatorial work. The numbers shows included almost no painting, but rather sculpture in its broadest, site-based terms, photography at its most conceptual, as well as film, sound art and works that were completely text- based or ephemeral in form and intention.

The numbers shows were low budget and for the most part physically easy to transport, in part out of necessity, given the dictates of the smaller, sometimes marginal and generally under-funded institutions where they took place. 38 But the scrappy, do-it-yourself sensibility was also in keeping with Lippard’s interest in the techniques and material dimensions of print media. After the exhibitions she organised for MoMA’s touring programme, she had a sense of the burdensome administrative necessities that accompany the moving of conventional objects from place to place. The majority of the artworks she solicited were, if not easily transportable, easily produced on-site at the instruction of the artists and often in their absence. The works were frequently ephemeral and intended to be dismantled after the exhibition. Lippard’s growing commitment was to an art that positioned itself against connoisseurship, both in material demands and conceptual attitude.

The catalogues for the numbers shows were each a set of index cards, a product of economic necessity and, simultaneously, a result of Lippard’s library experience. Mimicking Conceptual art by adopting what Benjamin Buchloh has called its ‘aesthetic of administration’, 39 Lippard took a step further in her experiments with the archival format in Six Years. From early on she saw both the material and conceptual possibilities of language as inextricable from her evolving curatorial methodology. By encouraging a reshuffling of some standard museological information – the artist biography, the curatorial statement, the exhibition checklist – and allowing the viewer/reader to act as participant, she subverted the notion of authorship and enacted a kind of engaged viewership, where curator, artist and audience exchange roles and jointly participate in the construction of meaning. The catalogues existed as informational content that could be sorted and used freely; they applied a predigital model, pre-empting something of the CD- ROM or web-based archive. Beyond being represented by basic biographical information, artists in the numbers shows were invited to author the content of either one or two cards in the catalogue.

Lippard has subsequently described another of her curatorial projects, which opened earlier in 1969, as a progenitor for her numbers shows, because, like them, the exhibition was given a completely generic title with numerical content: ‘Number 7’. 40 Organised as a benefit for the AWC at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York, this show brought together post- Minimalist, process-based, Conceptual art and work with a political focus. 41 Lippard’s inclusion of Rosemarie Castoro, Hanne Darboven, Christine Kozlov, Adrian Piper and Martha Wilson in this exhibition suggests the beginnings of an interest in Conceptual practices by women artists. In fact, all but the first were also later included in ‘c.7,500’. The number of female participants in ‘Number 7’ contrasts notably with two larger group shows that had opened in Europe several months before, also survey exhibitions of youthful, anti-hierarchical art that was frequently messy or barely visible: ‘Op Losse Schroeven’ at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (with only Marisa Merz) and ‘When Attitudes Become Form’ at the Kunsthalle Bern (with only Eva Hesse).42 Lippard’s choice of an elusive and uncommunicative title for her project indicates an interest in troubling the conventions of exhibition-making, as does the fact that the exhibition prompted the coin- age of a term ‘para-visual’ to describe its effect. 43 Like Wim Beeren’s ‘Op Losse Schroven’ and Harald Szeemann’s ‘When Attitudes Become Form’, Lippard’s curatorial projects up to and including the numbers shows laid out a new approach to art-making. In Seattle, a few months after the Paula Cooper exhibition, Lippard would expand her proposal into a sprawling exhibition, executing artists’ works on- and off-site, playing to non-art and art audiences alike.

‘557,087’, Seattle Art Museum Pavilion, 1969

Lippard organised ‘557,087’ for the Seattle Art Museum in the autumn of 1969. The exhibition was to be housed in the institution’s ancillary space, called Seattle Art Museum Pavilion, formerly the Fine Arts Pavilion of the 1962 World’s Fair and located in an area of the city called Seattle Center. The Center is an agglomeration of structures, including a theatre, a stadium and a tower, the Space Needle. Seattle was home to the Boeing airplane industry at the time, and the siting of the World’s Fair there, the first US city to host the event since World War II, was in keeping with the ‘space race’ focus on new materials and technologies, especially on the West Coast. After the Fair in Seattle, the Space Needle became the city’s icon, emblem of late twentieth-century innovation. 44

Lippard was invited to work in the city by Anne Focke, assistant in Education and the head of an advisory group for the programming of the Pavilion called the Contemporary Art Council of the Seattle Art Museum. 45 The Council also included Virginia Wright, who had relocated from New York to Seattle in 1955 with her husband Bagley. They were sophisticated contemporary collectors and, through financial support, responsible for the Pavilion’s functioning as a year-round venue for exhibitions and projects from 1963 to 1987. From 1967, Virginia Wright also operated her own gallery, Current Editions, where she showcased many of the New York artists in her personal collection, including Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and Kenneth Noland. The Contemporary Art Council brought Clement Greenberg to speak in 1967, 1969 and 1971, and the Wrights invited him and the gallerist Richard Bellamy to act as advisors to their collection. That the two men withdrew because they could not work together was indicative of the tension existing by the end of the decade between the hangover of Greenbergian abstract painting and the new sculpture supported by Bellamy, Lippard and others. 46

But it was the Wrights’ own passion for modernist painting coming from New York mixed with their enthusiasm for current art from Los Angeles and their eventual embrace of projects such as Lippard’s that was instrumental in establishing a contemporary art scene on the north-west coast and a network for Seattle with cities like Vancouver. Accommodating the goal of bringing one exhibition of recent art to Seattle per year, the Seattle Art Museum Pavilion was amongst the liveliest centres for international contemporary art activity in the extended region. Exhibitions that could not be housed at the Seattle Art Museum because of space or other constraints often found their way to the Pavilion, which featured fluorescent light fixtures, beige cotton- clad walls, linoleum and carpeting typical of gallery design in 1962. The Wrights’ collection was on view there in 1969, prior to Lippard’s exhibition. Her enquiries as to whether the walls might be plastered and painted white received a negative response. According to Thomas Maytham, the associate director of the Seattle Art Museum, the city refused this alteration. 47

The Seattle Art Museum did not appoint its first curator of modern art (to say nothing of specialisation in the contemporary) until 1975, and so, in the absence of any contemporary expertise, the Council served as programmer. Indeed, because it had no particular interest in contemporary art, the museum gave its blessing to the Council’s activities and to their use of the satellite space as they saw fit. In the United States in the late 1960s and early 70s, this kind of patronage was common as a way for contemporary programming to emerge at museums, and in fact there is a fascinating history of women playing the crucial role in the founding of non-profit institutions devoted to contemporary practice in the US – a history as yet unwritten. 48

Another local collector and patron, Anne Gerber, was Chairman of the Exhibitions Committee of the Council, and the correspondence with Lippard is largely from her. In their letters, Virginia Wright is repeatedly mentioned as indicating her enthusiasm for the ambition and scope of the project through offers of financial and other kinds of support. (When Keith Sonnier, for example, proposes to adorn the Space Needle with huge spotlights, Gerber writes that it seems unlikely but ‘Jinny is less cautious, and getting excited.’) 49 Given the highly regarded history of public art in Seattle and the role of the Wright family within this – their commissioning artists and establishing one of the nation’s most respected outdoor sculpture parks, both as private citizens in their own collecting and as supporters of public art – we might now trace this legacy back to 1969, when, with this as a backdrop, Lippard began to invite artists to work outdoors and make site- specific, temporary sculptures for ‘557,087’.

Lippard’s exhibition is noteworthy for its peripheral location: distinctly outside the boundaries of the museum, even if institutionally accommodated by it. What Jenny Sorkin has called the ‘deterritorialisation of traditional group-exhibition practice’ in relation to all-women group shows 50 might also be used to understand how Lippard’s groundbreaking exhibitions found their success, almost without exception, in marginal, out of the way or otherwise nontraditional sites. Lippard’s interest in locations like Seattle, off the grid for the East Coast art establishment, and her apparently easy acceptance of a venue like a World’s Fair Pavilion indicate a curatorial emphasis on accessibility and a search for a broad public for her exhibition projects. In basing the title of the Seattle exhibition on the population of the host city, Lippard not only embraced neutrality and randomness in designation, but also gestured towards a more inclusive audience for art. This deeply held impulse took hold at this formative moment and would occupy her increasingly later in her career. The population represented a potential art-viewing public outside of the museum, at large in the city.

A survey of the installation and insurance checklist for ‘557,087’, when compared alongside the Pavilion’s floor plan, indicates a project with ambitions way beyond the scope of its allotted 85 square metres of space. 51 Works by the sixty named artists are divided into the following categories: ‘inside’, ‘outside’ and ‘nowhere’. 52 The insurance list looks like the stocklist for a hardware store and comes to a total value of $23,128. Conspicuous here is Eva Hesse’s fifty- part fibreglass work Accretion (1968), which had been valued at $2,200 in a letter from the Fishbach Gallery. 53 Some notable entries include:

[Carl] Andre, 64′ log, 28 sections, 3′; [Vito] Acconci, 2 calendars on floor; [Richard] Artschwager, none, blps all over; [Iain] Baxter, 9 mirrors on property of Sheri Johnson, Bellevue; [Jan] Dibbets, shadows outside, 15 photos in Pavilion; [Rafael] Ferrer, grease on floor; [Sol] LeWitt, work not yet done… 11 9H pencils; [Robert] Rohm, 40′ rope on wall; [Ed] Ruscha, Sunset Strip book opened on wall; [Robert] Smithson, 400 photographs of empty horizons, shown on wall. 54

Lippard also produced a document titled ‘Care and Feeding: Daily’, which is a two-page, typewritten instruction manual for the ongoing upkeep of the show. This project was closely her own and, always describing her own toil in gendered and itinerant terms of a devoted and daily beat, she was a conscientious, if not maternal, overseer of her projects and artists.

In April, prior to the opening of ‘557,087’ in the autumn, Lippard wrote to Maytham, in answer to his request for more general information about the artists and style of art to be represented in the exhibition. She replied with a letter asking him to consult available material about the new ‘dematerialised art’: ‘the Art Index or any file of recent art magazines such as Artforum, Art News and Arts should provide adequate information’. 55 Lippard’s tone is slightly perfunctory – she seems to feel that the artists, whose work will be new to the Seattle audience, should be well known to anyone familiar with the current discourses of contemporary art:

I gather most of the names are familiar to you. In regard to the ‘documents’ section, which may not be so well-known (by this I mean conceptual works which exist only in document, map, etc. or projects for existing or potential works which are most easily explicable and exhibitable on paper), Seth Siegelaub is sending you some catalogues and a bibliographical list. The earthworks have been so well covered in art magazines and in the mass media, there seems little point in going on about them. The few paintings included will deal with words or will be in less conventional (or ‘dematerialised’) media. 56

Seth Siegelaub, innovative dealer, unconventional gallerist, artists’ advocate and prolific instigator of Conceptual projects, worked with Lippard on ‘packing, printing and business in general’ for ‘557,087’. 57 He is credited by her in the card catalogue as having ‘cooperated in the development of the show from its inception’, 58 and travelled with her to install it.

In correspondence concerning a subsequent numbers show, Lippard remarks that she ‘overcame initial resistance (bafflement) in Seattle and they ended up by being wildly enthused about the prospective show’. 59 She continues: ‘Can’t make up my mind how many if any paintings to use, but the rest is pretty well set. Artists quite enthused about doing things for it.’ Gerber, for her part, reports a general uneasiness about the Pavilion walls being too empty, but says she is confident Lippard is already aware of this potential pitfall. 60 The stark contrast between the way the Color Field paintings of the Wrights’ exhibition must have occupied the space and the potential non-objectness of Lippard’s artist cohorts was beginning to occur to both hosts and organiser. What is interesting in their fluid exchange is the duality of painting and the as-yet unnamed kind of art Lippard was championing. The Seattle Art Museum was operating without a modern curator; the Seattle Art Pavilion was hosting exhibitions of Color Field and New York School painting; and now an outside curator was invited to show ephemeral and nearly invisible contemporary art by conspicuously young artists, indicating a nascent emphasis on the new that was apparently spreading from the New York art world. Anxieties were being played out on opposite coasts.

The demographic of the exhibition and an emphasis on the youthfulness of the artists was also discussed in the correspondence. In a letter dated 13 December 1968, Gerber writes to Lippard: ‘Just talked to John Coplans, and he might be interested if it were a consistently YOUNG show.’61 And further: ‘We prefer the earlier date of late 1969 because this group may well be too well known by 1970.’ Because of budget constraints, none of the European or South American artists sent actual works, but rather plans and documents. In Lippard’s invitation letter to all artists, she emphasises unconventional presentations and a curatorial openness to works to be made on-site or in response to the occasion of the exhibition:

Dear [artist]

I’d like your work to be in a large exhibition at the Seattle World’s Fair Pavilion opening Sept. 4, 1969, it will also travel to three other museums on the West Coast. There will be a few paintings and sculptures in unconventional media, a large section of documents, photographs, books and conceptual projects, and outdoor (or indoor) pieces which can go out into the city and the surrounding landscape or wherever you choose. There is no theme as such; the title will be different in each city; there is no limitation to conception except financial. I don’t have the budget to ship heavy things or to execute expensive projects.

What I’d like is several propositions so I can choose the one that seems most feasible. I won’t know exactly where I stand on expenses until all the projects are in, but I do know they won’t pay the artists’ expenses to Seattle, etc., so it has to be something I can execute with the help of friends and volunteers. If you need specific information – floor plans of the pavilion (it’s huge, and lots of wall space), maps of the city, etc. – let me know.

The catalogue (text too) will be typed on loose 5×8 ̋ index cards and projects can be changed for each city (cards will probably be added [at] each place). You can tell me how you’d like what information and repro- duction on your card.

The faster I hear from you the better, and the more hope of being able to do more ambitious projects. Address is above.

Thanks, Lucy R. Lippard 62 —

According to Peter Plagens, in his Artforum review of the exhibition,

[‘557,087’] will be recalled generically as the first sizable (i.e. public institution) exhibition of ‘concept art’, but it is in fact an amalgam of non-chromatic work running a gamut from late, funky Minimal to a point at which art is replaced, literally, by literature […] In its parts, ‘557,087’ emerges from manifold sources, of varying degrees of relevance… The single more pertinent source is, I think, an almost Puritan, moralistic concern with the threatening, nagging, perverse presence of ‘art’ and, as sub-source, anti-technology. 63

Plagens’s suggestion that the exhibition would be seen as including primarily Conceptual art may have come, to some extent, from the dispersed nature of the project, with its indoor and outdoor components and a map to guide the intrepid visitor to locations within a fifty-mile radius around the city. In Six Years, Lippard follows the Plagens quotation with a correction:

Actually, this show was conceived as an exercise in ‘anti-taste’, as a compendium of varied work so large that the public would have to make up its own mind about ideas to which it had not been previously exposed. It was not a ‘concept art’ show; had it been, it would most certainly not have included the work of artists like Andre, [Bill] Bollinger, Hesse, Ryman, [Richard] Serra, etc. 64

She goes on to say that ‘concept art’ was not yet a term in 1968, when she began to conceive of the exhibition, and, indeed, a closer look at the list of artists and works reveals the curator’s desire to again push against the formulation of categories. She confirms: ‘I didn’t see how anyone could possibly lump “Minimal art”, “outdoor art”, “idea art”, etc., into any single new lump.’ 65 Lippard’s dogged insistence on ‘anti-taste’ has roots in her then-Marxist politics and in her activism, which was focused on large cultural institutions such as MoMA and the Whitney Museum. The way she prioritised the accessibility of art, by moving it outside the museum space, and the manner in which she courted the public’s active and responsible viewership, through asking museum visitors to explore beyond, is unprecedented. Plagens’s reference to the ‘non-chromatic’ look of the show and what he describes as a puritanical devotion to text is evident in the dearth of painting, which Lippard had worried about in the correspondence leading up to the show. Her determination to introduce painting, whilst being committed to conceptually driven and ‘styleless’ work, is evident in her letters to Gene Beery. 66 Ultimately his Note: Make a Painting of a Note as a Painting (1970) – a work that bears the same text in a casual script, scrawled on a blank canvas – provided the only instance of the medium in the Pavilion installation.

Michael Asher’s initial proposal in reply to the invitation to participate in ‘557,087’ was unrealisable because of the scale of his desired construction and the associated alteration of the gallery’s permanent architecture. 67 He then responded on-site, with five days to make something in the space allotted to him. Partitioning this space with the given movable walls, he altered not only the traffic flow through the gallery but also highlighted the natural versus fluorescent and incandescent light. He subsequently reflected:

Can space itself become an object of perception?…It is very clear that I was creating a space in relation to all these objects. If you create an enclosure in an enclosure, it is considered a more intimate space.Either everybody in the show objectified his work or the artists closed their works off.I had always asked myself: ‘Why put stuff on the wall, why put stuff on the floor’. And then I ended up facing the fact that what I was doing was probably an object. Looking at blue light, I wanted people to see that they were looking at blue light.What is the difference between making a room with nothing in it and inserting an object into a room?68

Asher worked with the space as an object. His use of the walls shifted them from being supports for objects to being objects themselves, in a conceptual investigation of their use as ‘a cultural definition’. 69 Writing retrospectively, he situated his work at a particular juncture: ‘The work emerged historically at precisely the moment when Minimal sculpture developed into Conceptual art. The work tried to come to terms with both, without being part of either.’ 70 It is this tipping point that Lippard’s exhibition articulated in its rangy inclusion of earthworks, Minimal art, Conceptual projects, artists’ books, Conceptual painting and film.

While in the exhibition there were objects to be conventionally installed – Edward Kienholz’s plaque pieces – or Concept Tableaux, as he called them, for example – there were many works for which Lippard had to function as surrogate artist. Like her colleague Seth Siegelaub, who was by this time travelling often to Europe to install the works of his artists, Lippard acted as interlocutor, guided by more or less specific instructions and keen on taking few liberties with the artists’ intentions. Fred Sandback’s sculptures, for instance, were to be made from elastic cord in a specified colour, stretched and pinned according to given dimensions and associated considerations. For one he wrote: ‘On a clear wall surface – leave some space around it. It extends out 6 feet from the wall, only 1 foot high, so put it where it won’t be easily tripped over.’71 Smithson was to take an extensive series of Polaroids of horizons around Seattle, but the curator (with others) executed and installed the photographs instead, as Smithson was not there. Other works, such as Michael Heizer’s, were doomed ‘due to weather, technical problems and less definable snafus’, and some were never completed, like those of Sol LeWitt and Jan Dibbets.72 All of this Lippard took in stride, and her collaborators at the museum seemed to as well. This was par for the course with the new art, and the general audacity of this emerging generation of artists.

In what Ann Focke calls ‘a running report’, provided in a handwritten letter addressed to Siegelaub and Lippard in September, not long after the opening of ‘557,087’, an account is given of an exhibition that is already displaying signs of wear and tear. It seems the show was pushing the limits of what the institution could manage in terms of audience reaction and the upkeep of challenging new sculptural material. 73 Maytham had not obtained per- mission to put the Carl Andre logs on the grass outside the Pavilion and the grounds workers were unhappy about certain sprinkler heads being bent under the wood’s weight. Moreover, unguarded, several logs had been taken. The different elements of Roelof Louw’s white pole piece had been dispersed by the gardeners with the help of a group of folk dancers who used the grounds on Sundays. A suitable place was still to be found to accommodate the digging of Keith Arnatt’s hole, although Focke mentions trying to secure a private piece of land in someone’s back yard. And Focke reports still not having received anything from Dan Graham or Richard Serra. In one of the more retrospectively humorous anecdotes, she tells Lippard and Siegelaub that Gerber likes Barry Flanagan’s rope work so much that they will paint it blue if the artist agrees. The collector also agreed to allow the Arnatt hole to be dug in her yard. In a subsequent letter written by Lippard, the curator declares the Andre and the Louw to be her favourite of the outdoor works, but rather wryly sums up the debrief she has received when she says, ‘Conceptual art seems to make a good deal of sense compared to outdoor projects.’ 74

Lippard also reports some positive results, including good attendance figures for the show and ‘the occasional visitor who sits through the entire Land art film programme and not leaving halfway through Richard Long’s Walking a Straight 10 Mile Line [1969].’ 75 The screening of Land art films expanded the Earth art presence within the Pavilion, while responding to a request from the Seattle Art Museum for a film component in conjunction with the exhibition. It also further demonstrated Lippard’s increasingly international ambition. In a letter written in the summer of 1969, the film-maker Gerry Schum had provided Lippard with information about his groundbreaking Land Art project, the first broadcast exhibition for the Fernsehgalerie, or Television Gallery, which had just launched its programming through a German public station that spring. 76 Schum’s experimental exhibition transmissions brought international art film to a broader public in West Germany. In a letter to Gene Youngblood that he copies to Lippard, Schum aligns Land art with Conceptual art in its anti-market and anti-object stance. 77 His programme was screened daily for the duration of ‘557,087’, and represented an all-male selection of many of the major players in this international movement. 78 It was amplified by further films selected by Hollis Frampton, who presented a survey of experimental practice, beyond Land art, of the moment. 79

In a letter to Schum in February 1970, Lippard tells her German colleague that the Land Art programme has been requested by McShine, then back at MoMA, for a private screening and for inclusion in his ‘Information’ exhibition, which would open later that year. 80 The productive blowback of Lippard’s research and curatorial work informed the activities of her East Coast colleagues and events at the most renowned art institution in New York.

In the context of Lippard’s evolving curatorial career, ‘Information’ frames the dominant discourse of international Conceptual art, which preoccupied her during these years. Now recognised as an early landmark in the history of the movement, ‘Information’ was the first museum exhibition in the United States to address such activity and the first of international contemporary art to include Latin American artists. In 1970 Lippard was asked by McShine, who followed her travel itinerary for much of his research, to assist in some aspects of his project. 81 She recalls suggesting artists, many of them her peers, while she was in Spain writing I See/You Mean, a work of experimental fiction that would eventually be published in 1979. 82Several characteristics of the exhibition, including its display and especially the catalogue, to which she contributed, seem entirely consistent with the artists and the kind of work championed in her numbers shows, and strategically aligned with the collecting and compiling she adopted as the modus operandi for Six Years. McShine stated in an internal memo that he knew she was up to something, and he anticipated that a number of the artists she was working with might be appropriate for his exhibition. 83 He made a point of visiting Vancouver to see her show there, before his own exhibition opened in New York later that year.

When Lippard’s Seattle exhibition travelled to Vancouver early in 1970, it was presented under the auspices of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the primary contemporary art venue in the city, and at the University of British Columbia’s Student Union Building Gallery, where Alvin Balkind was the curator. Lippard added local artists Greg Curnoe and Christos Dikeakos as well as New York-based choreographer and visual artist Alex Hay to the roster, otherwise maintaining the same list as she had shown in Seattle. 84 In a letter to Doris Shadbolt, Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Lippard mentions that she has learned LeWitt is potentially doing a ‘minimal’ show in the space just before her own exhibition, and she wonders how this might interfere with her own ‘anti-taste’ project. 85 As a centre for production with many interesting artists living and working there, Vancouver was presumably a more interesting context for Lippard than Seattle, and indeed she found it less stuffy. 86 About the exhibitions, she has since reflected:

The two shows differed according to the places they were in – not because I was particularly sensitive to place, but because of logistics. The indoor object and non-object works in both exhibitions remained more or less the

Letter from Lucy R. Lippard inviting artiststo participate in ‘557,087’, 14 March, 1969.Lippard Archives, ‘557,087’, Archives of American Art

same, though very differently installed in a single large venue in Seattle and in two smaller venues in Vancouver. But the large number of outdoor pieces changed drastically between fall 1969 and January 1970, in part because of the artists’ wishes, in part because of the resources available. There was no budget for transportation or professional execution at either venue. I wasn’t thinking of this when I did these shows in 1969–70, but in retrospect the creation and installation of all these imagined projects required a knowledge of place that I didn’t have. So I was lucky to get a lot of help finding and hauling around materials, locating sites and actually building pieces according to the artist’s often fuzzy instructions. My collaborators were all volunteers – local artists and art workers; we were all in our 20s or 30s, as were most of the artists. 87

Essentially an exhibition touring from one city to another under a changing title, the Vancouver show nonetheless included a number of different works from those shown in Seattle, and not just through the participation of additional artists. Rosemarie Castoro, Rafael Ferrer, Robert Huot, Robert Smithson and the New York Graphic Workshop, among others, were all represented by new work in the second destination. Adrian Piper’s contri- bution to ‘955,000’, Position A–B (1969), involved a specific development of the work shown in ‘557,087’, which itself had referenced her involvement in Lippard’s earlier show ‘Number 7’. John Baldessari, then teaching at CalArts, the future site of Lippard’s fourth and last of the numbers shows, showed a work in Seattle and Vancouver that necessarily took different forms in each city, further differing from its original installation in the artist’s hometown of San Diego. His Ghetto Boundary Project (1969) comprised five colour photographs and 6,000 adhesive stickers, the latter bearing the dictionary definition of ‘ghetto’: ‘A section of the city, especially a thickly populated area inhabited by minority groups often as a result of social or economic restrictions.’88 These stickers were intended to mark the border of a ghetto not identified on commercially produced maps of the city, and Baldessari worked with his collaborator George Nicolaidis to distribute them around the Vancouver area. Both this work and Piper’s suggest a geographical thinking that parallels Lippard’s own desire to increase the reach of her work.

It would seem that the ambition of the outdoor commissions changed between the Seattle and Vancouver exhibitions. Both Ferrer and Smithson, for example, contributed gallery works to the former show and installed pieces in remote destinations for the latter. 1969 is the year when Smithson’s production moved from his site/non-site body of work into his practice in the land. At this turning point he contributed a photographic series executed by Lippard and friends, 400 Seattle Horizons, to ‘557,087’. This work, shown in the Pavilion, has since been destroyed. 89 By comparison, Glue Pour, which Smithson made off-site in Vancouver for ‘955,000’ and which existed for less than 24 hours (courtesy of a rainstorm), is regarded as one of his most important land-based works; its image has proved indelible, with rust-coloured ooze slopping downhill, acting like paint but rejecting all of that medium’s baggage and historical confinements. 90

Lippard appears in several documentary photographs of the event, clearly amused and approving from the side, appearing as both a collaborator and an interlocutor.

After the exhibition came to an end in Vancouver, Siegelaub, facing landlord problems in New York, relocated to Europe with the intention of staying at least three or four months and Lippard’s close working partnership with him ceased. 91 Often the intertwined chronologies of Lippard’s and Siegelaub’s activities during those years read like a kind of evolving call and response, so closely aligned was their dialogue. 92 Her political consciousness was partly informed by his activities – for instance his role in the boycott by North American artists of the Bienal de São Paulo in reaction to the military dictatorship in power from the mid-1960s – and each benefited from mutual moral support and argument. Just prior to the opening of Lippard’s project in Vancouver, Siegelaub organised a conference and series of events at the Centre for Communication and the Arts at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada, under the rubric of a ‘group exhibition [taking] place in different parts of the University using the communication and other facilities’, 93 involving many of the artists participating in ‘955,000’. 94 Siegelaub’s project included a symposium held by telephone, connecting New York, Ottawa and Burnaby. While Lippard used geographical space to move the conceptual and material frame of her exhibition into the territory of post- Minimal sculpture and Land art, Siegelaub pushed the boundaries of art and technology by staging pure communication as art. 95

Off the Grid

Clearly at the core of Lippard’s curatorial agenda from 1969 to 1973 was her expanding network on the West Coast of North America – Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver – and an ongoing interest in sites outside the conventional frames of the art world. She cites having written an exhibition catalogue text in 1966 for Ken Price, whose clay sculptures of abstract biomorphic forms were associated with the strong legacy of ceramic art in California. This work took her to Los Angeles for the first time, and there she saw other artists associated with the Bay Area Funk aesthetic, including Bruce Conner, Robert Arneson and Frank Lincoln Viner; she included the latter’s work in ‘Eccentric Abstraction’ that same year. According to PeterPlagens in his book Sunshine Muse: Art on the West Coast 1945–1970 (1974), Funk was a term that originated with West Coast jazz and its use of improvisation and looseness, which, when applied to sculptural practice, was ‘fed a bit on New York anti-aestheticism – the “bad” brightness of Lichtenstein and Warhol – as well as on a Northern California predilection for frivolous puns, sexual allusions and nose-thumbing.’ 96 In putting West Coast practices in direct dialogue with those of New York post-Minimalism, Lippard shifted the discussion not only to include the critique of Abstract Expressionism, which was almost entirely alien to Los Angeles at the time, but also what she described as the ‘non-sculptural’ – the practices of Bruce Nauman, Don Potts and Vancouver-based Mowry Baden. These artists were engaged in a critique of sculpture through deflation, anti-monumentalism, the ugly and the bodily. By the time she reworked her ‘Eccentric Abstraction’ text for Changing, Lippard noted, ‘I have seen reproductions that indicate artists in other countries (e.g. Barry Flanagan in England and Emilio Rewart in Argentina) are working in similar directions, to say nothing of the Americans omitted here…’ 97 By 1971 she had an established network of West Coast Conceptual artists, including Baldessari, teaching at CalArts, and Douglas Huebler, teaching at Bradford; Ed Ruscha, whose books she included in the Seattle and Vancouver exhibitions; and Iain and Ingrid Baxter, of N.E. Thing Co., then operating out of Vancouver.

Lippard credits the notion of ‘decentralization’ to Conceptual art. 98 The correspondence leading up to the Seattle exhibition suggests the initial contender for its title was ‘3,025’, on the basis that this ‘is roughly the number of miles across the continent, and from within that geographical delineation come the many vital artists that are contributing to this show’. 99 In fact, the second part of the typewritten sentence is crossed out with a handwritten addition: ‘it is hoped that all of Seattle will be stimulated and involved with the exhibition’. This phrase is ultimately published in the card catalogue for the show, where it appears in the foreword written by Morrie J. Alhadeff, President of the Contemporary Art Council at the Seattle Art Museum, who further notes: ‘Consistent with the theory that “557,087” will not deal with the conventional stylised art form and frameworks is the fact that the show is not confined to the Pavilion at the Seattle Art Center, but extends to other locations in the Seattle Center and areas outside the city.’ 100 This would seem to indicate a shift in focus from the New York/West Coast axis to a more local or regionally specific agenda – a more radical decentring. 101

The moment at which Lippard opted for the more verbally cumbersome but conceptually elegant ‘557,087’, which tied the show specifically to its location, is not evident in the correspondence. The handwritten phrase explaining the earlier title reads as if produced by a museum press department, but Lippard must have liked the idea of reaching out to a broader public and so changed it to represent Seattle’s then booming population. Arguably, Lippard was not only feeling the lure of the local – the title of a later book and an ongoing investigation for her 102 – but, as already suggested, also the desire for all of Seattle’s population to be engaged, not just those who already attended art galleries. Recollecting two decades later her intentions for her two first numbers shows, she indicated an interest in prompting a chance encounter with works of art sited in the landscape, and a will to bring contemporary art to the masses:

By spreading pieces all around the cities, and by engaging a youthful art population, I hoped to ‘democratise’ the art on some level, to transform the practice of art-making from an ‘elitist’ activity to a presence in the daily lives of the populations for whom the shows were named. By spreading the work around (some would say spreading it thin), such a show reaches local people who may have little time or inclination to go to a museum, and takes tourists into parts of the area they would otherwise never see. 103

Nonetheless, in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s files for ‘995,000’, with two Canadian artists added since the US iteration in Seattle, there are dozens of visitors’ comment sheets that indicate either indifference or open hostility to the exhibition and the generation it represented. Outweighing remarks like ‘groovy’ and ‘out of site’, we find the likes of ‘It’s about time we taxpayers put a stop to this foolishness!’ and ‘A bigger put-on than the hippies!!!’ 104

In the late 1960s the suburban expansion of cities across North America reached a fever pitch, and photographers such as Lewis Baltz in Southern California and Utah or Robert Adams in Colorado made cool, documentary pictures of the encroachment of the built environment on the surrounding land. 105 Increasingly interested in the significance of periphery over centre, Lippard made the concept of decentralisation key to her feminism, dedicating her feminist anthology of 1976 to ‘all the women artists coming out from the center everywhere’. 106 Writing the introduction to this book, she muses on her own coming out as a feminist:

It is no accident that I finally accepted feminism during a period spent alone with my five-year-old son in a fishing village in a foreign country, good and far away from the art world. I had retreated to write fiction… I began to write for myself rather than for some imaginary male audience and, by extension, I began to write for women. 107

Lippard has since recalled that her move out of the mainstream art world, which in fact she has never been allowed to fully realise, began in 1969 with her Art Workers’ Coalition activity, which positioned her politically beyond and against the institution. But her personal and cultural politics conjoined when she was pulled back towards the centre by a compulsion to get women into the system. 108 Returning from Spain, her chosen ‘foreign country’, 109 in 1970, she united with her friends, the artists Poppy Johnson, Brenda Miller and Faith Ringgold, and others to protest the ‘lousy coverage of women artists’ in the Annual exhibitions of the Whitney Museum in New York.

Articulating her feminism and what it meant in terms of her role as a writer and critic preoccupied Lippard for most of the 1970s, but the inside/outside dynamic so evident in her later work on ‘location’ has its origin in the late 1960s. What would become a physical removal when she relocated herself to the desert of New Mexico in 1992 can be traced back, in part, to an initial curiosity, then later an emboldened pursuit, of artists, practices and locations that represent the non-canonical – something other than New York-based, orthodox Conceptual art, if not other than art in general. 110

The problematics of location are relevant in thinking about Lippard’s attraction to an intellectual annexation of Conceptual art, and in particular to two of its strains, which she embraced and then redefined over the course of her numbers shows: Land art and feminist Conceptual art. To the extent that they both evolved productively outside of the canonical East Coast- centric writing of art history, it is worth briefly examining Lippard’s interest in a certain kind of liberation through the landscape and through working outside the institution. Robert Smithson, who, as noted, participated in both Lippard’s Seattle and Vancouver exhibitions, is useful in illustrating this tension.

Working in the land appealed to Smithson for all the same reasons that being based in New York was restrictive for him, both intellectually and in terms of the physical demands of his sculptural practice by 1969. While fully at the centre of both Minimalism and proto-Conceptual developments in New York, he complimented his birthplace of New Jersey, dubbing it the ‘California of the East’, evidently seduced by the outside-the-beltway possibilities of working in such places111, and grew increasingly fascinated by that state’s industrial wasteland and the exurban desolation of areas of California, Utah, Texas and Vancouver. Smithson found western North America a particularly liberating context in which to make his last pro- ductions, the large-scale Earthworks created between 1969 and 1973. Culminating in the Earthwork and film Spiral Jetty in 1970, this last chapter of projects and experiments is arguably his most formally engaging and conceptually complex, as he confronted his own relationship to site, the documentary and the materiality of land.

As an important footnote to Lippard’s tracking of language and idea as the dematerialised contents of art – an equation written by Conceptual art – Smithson’s late practice and the milieu in which his land-based works were realised, including Lippard’s exhibition projects, offers evidence of what Craig Owens has called the interchangeability of writing and sculpture: ‘the eruption of language into the aesthetic field – an eruption signalled by, but by no means limited to, the writings of Smithson, Morris, Andre, [Donald] Judd, [Dan] Flavin, [Yvonne] Rainer, LeWitt – is coincident with, if not the definitive index of, the emergence of postmodernism.’ 112 Smithson’s satirical videotape East Coast/West Coast, made in 1969 with the artist Nancy Holt in the New York apartment they shared, is a mock talk-show arrangement in which he plays the West Coast alter ego to his New York artist self. Holt plays the snooty Conceptualist to Smithson’s stoned Earth-worker, who argues for messing around in the desert over sitting around talking. 113 This taking art out of the academy and beyond the boundaries of the studio clearly appealed to Lippard, as she tested the limits of exhibition-making and the audience’s capacity to look beyond the institution.

In a letter to Doris Shadbolt in February 1969, Lippard mentions having just seen Willoughby Sharp’s ‘Earth Art’ exhibition at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, which included work by Jan Dibbets, Hans Haacke, Richard Long, David Medalla and Smithson, among others. 114 ‘It was lovely’, she writes, ‘even though the snow covered certain pieces. Wish everybody would work in the medium, or outdoors, so I could combine my writing and nature-walking urges all the time.’ 115

Her letters query both the US and Canadian artists about sites and equipment, from rope to tractors. Like Smithson, who treated the tractor drivers and earth-moving machines like collaborators, and represented them as such in documentation and films such as Spiral Jetty, Lippard formed here early ideas about community and the collective practice of art. Ed Ruscha’s photographic book Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966), which Lippard included in her Seattle and Vancouver exhibitions, Baldessari’s Conceptual tracking of his surroundings and his view of the open and otherwise banal terrain of southern California, much like earlier works not included in the shows, such as Dan Graham’s Homes for America (1966–67) or Smithson’s Non-sites from Pine Barrens, New Jersey to Mono Lake, California (1968), all must have given Lippard some sense of permission to shift her own relationship to the context of New York and to the kinds of artistic practices with which she would align herself for the coming years.

The reviews of ‘557,087’ and ‘995,000’, which appeared almost exclusively in the regional press, were mixed and often lacked critical engagement. Most sophisticated is the Plagens article already quoted, which was published in Artforum, when the magazine’s editorial board was still based in Los Angeles. Here, laying a charge that would soon be levelled against Lippard’s fellow curators Siegelaub, McShine and Harald Szeemann likewise, Plagens wrote: ‘There is a total style to the show, a style so pervasive as to suggest that Lucy Lippard is in fact the artist and that her medium is other artists’. 116

What was it about Lippard’s practice that was threatening to artists’ agency? Was it her insistence on the dual nature of her activities as a writer and exhibition organiser and her refusal to be bound by either? Or did her shaping, through her writing, of the work of the artists she supported and collaborated with, seem intimidating? Here the notion of asserting an exhibition as a manifesto, or at least instrumentalising the curatorial framework within it, situates Lippard as an activist cognisant of the power embedded in methodological transparency. This deeply self-critical practice and her absolutely singular voice in North America in the late 1960s constitutes Lippard’s legacy. In 1969 it was still too early for Lippard to claim this kind of authority, and indeed she has always retained a modesty about her contribution, specifically dissociating herself from professional curating, leaving the historicising to others and refusing the power that the art world wants to bestow on its tastemakers. It is precisely this attitude that makes her such an intriguing and ready subject. The little visual documentation that exists of her numbers shows bears witness not only to a resistance to category or canon formation, but also to an exhibition-making strategy that stubbornly aligns itself with artists and with the art being made by them. She insists on the curatorial premise as a subtext emerging from the production of art, not a narrative, commentary or argument being imposed on or superseding it.

That parts of the Seattle and Vancouver exhibitions took place in locations outside the museums that were the official host institutions seems to have been extremely important to Lippard at the time, and also retrospectively, as evidenced in her attempt to put the shows into some kind of historical context four years later in Six Years. Writing in response to Plagens’s review of the Seattle exhibition, she is concerned not only with the way the exhibition is framed in terms of Conceptual art, but with the critic’s apparent lack of understanding of what is, to her, the most striking thing about the exhibition – its discursive and even nomadic address. She writes that it was the first show I know of in which the work was spread out not only from indoors to outdoors but for a radius of some fifty miles around the city’. 117

It is as though Lippard’s work advocated for a kind of break, or for a category shift to take hold through the medium of the exhibition. The proposal she put forth argues for a destabilised, open-ended curatorial thesis, to remain in flux in the experience of the exhibition itself. Projects that were instructional in nature and site-responsive, as well as works that were made outside of the exhibition space and throughout the city, seem to have occupied most of Lippard’s time and interest in preparing the exhibition, even though they were probably not viewed by the majority of the audience. An incomplete list of these includes not only Smithson’s Glue Pour and Baldessari’s Ghetto Boundary Project, as already described, but also works by Richard Artsch- wager, Daniel Buren and Dibbets. The anti-spectacle that Lippard created was one where artists’ works were realised according to their instructions, and the viewers were left to draw their own conclusions.

‘2,972,453’, Buenos Aires, 1970

In the autumn of 1970 Lippard organised ‘2,972,453’ for the Centro de Arte y Comunicación (CAYC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where it opened in December. While she considered this exhibition a continuation of the projects in Seattle and Vancouver, the list of artists included none of those from the previous two shows. The full list reads as follows: Eleanor Antin, Siah Armajani, David Askevold, Stanley Brouwn, Victor Burgin, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Don Celender, James Collins, Christopher Cook, Gilbert & George, Ira Joel Haber and Richards Jarden. As in Seattle and Vancouver, the exhibition catalogue was in the form of index cards, in this case 43 4-by- 6-inch (approximately 10-by-15-centimetre) cards, mostly contributed by artists but including texts by Lippard and a note by Jorge Glusberg, the founder and director of CAYC.

In 1968 Lippard had been invited to be part of a jury for a large exhibition at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, and had travelled to Argentina with French critic Jean Clay on a trip she would characterise as radicalising. 118 The experience of being on the jury was for Lippard an eye- opening foray into how her own role as critic could be abused to confer value on pre-sanctioned artists. Afterwards, she remained in Argentina for two days, and she became acquainted with artists working in collaborative modes and in opposition to existing cultural and political structures. 119 When she was later invited by Glusberg to organise an exhibition for CAYC, she reinvented the idea of the ‘travelling’ exhibition – proposing one that could literally be packed into a suitcase and then easily assembled and disassembled, in one place after another:

In Latin America I was trying to organise a ‘suitcase exhibition’ of dematerialised art that would be taken from country to country by ‘idea artists’ using free airline tickets. When I got back to New York, I met Seth Siegelaub, who had begun to reinvent the role of the ‘art dealer’ as distributor extraordinaire through his work with Lawrence Weiner, Douglas Huebler, Robert Barry and Joseph Kosuth. Siegelaub’s strategy of bypassing the art world with exhibitions that took place outside of galleries and/or New York and/or were united in publications that were art rather than merely about art dovetailed with my own notions of a dematerialised art that would be free of art-world commodity status. 120

By now having formulated her own radically itinerant version of the travelling group show, she organised what she viewed as a continuation of the earlier projects, but without making the trip to Buenos Aires to install the show herself.

Her travels to South America inspired the curatorial research of her friend and former colleague Kynaston McShine, who visited Argentina and Brazil in 1969 and included Carlos D’Alessio, Jorge Luis Carballa, Grupo Frontera, Guilherme Magalhães Vaz, Cildo Meireles, Alejandro Puente and Hélio Oiticica in ‘Information’. There are signs of Lippard’s increasing politicisation and criticism of the institution in the third part of the draft version of the text that she contributed to the catalogue for that show. Here her tone takes on an additional urgency – as if she felt compelled to incorporate a sense of the political, a shading of the world outside the institution. She asserts that holders of film tickets, randomly numbered, who are ‘Black, Puerto Rican or Female’ should be given lifetime passes to the museum as well as a free copy of the ‘Information’ catalogue or a catalogue of the museum’s collection. 121 She then instructs:

Show no films glorifying war. Ask the American artists in the exhibition to join those willing on the Museum staff in compiling and signing a letter that states the necessity to go AWOL from the unconstitutional war in Vietnam… 122

If 1968 was the year Lippard found politics through her trip to Argentina, by 1969 or 1970 her writing and curatorial work became increasingly inter- twined with her participation in the Art Workers’ Coalition. Her attraction to information and language as art, and the possibility of art’s transformational power as an agent for political and social justice, found a context in the AWC’s activities and its focus on the issue of artists’ rights. In this third part of her ‘Information’ text she includes instructions concerning artists’ rights:

…ask each trustee to spend at least eight hours talking to that artist about art, artists’ rights, the relationship of the museum to society at large […] Xerox and publish as an insert to the catalogue of the ‘Information’ exhibition, all available information on any extant proposed reforms concerning artists’ rights, such as rental fees, contracts, profit-sharing, artists’ control over works sold, shown. 123

Lippard recalls the ‘Information’ exhibition, both its contents and its reception, being radicalised because of the Kent State student riots in Ohio and the US involvement in Cambodia in the Vietnam War. 124 In March 1970 the AWC made demands on all museums and trustee boards for free admission and for representation of artists in the governance of institutions. Lippard is quoted in Russell Lynes’s 1973 narrative Good Old Modern: An Intimate Portrait of The Museum of Modern Art as saying:

There seems little hope for broad reform of the Museum of Modern Art… It has done a great deal in the past and now seems to have become so large and unwieldy that it has outgrown its usefulness. What is really needed is not just an updated Monolith of Modern Art, but a new and more flexible system. 125

This challenge to dismantle patterns of behaviour and structures of power is also articulated in the ‘Information’ exhibition and catalogue; from within the institution that, for Lippard’s generation, was most emblematic of high modernism – a failed avant-garde for them.

In the context of her own critical practice, Lippard’s engagement with political activity seems to have put into her mind the reinvention of her task as a writer. Concurrent with her activism, she was in the middle of her own experiment with fiction in I See/You Mean, and was clearly trying her own hand at Conceptual strategies. The sources for the novel are listed as part of the author’s note at the back, which functions as a kind of bibliographic laying out of ‘found material’ that provides the collage aesthetic that informs the book. 126 The fragmented narrative, involving unnamed characters A to F, unfolds in the format of a slide show, with each frame described in great detail. For instance:

Colour slide, square, hazy, pale.

Five people standing in the sea against a lurid sky. Three young women together, the shortest to the left, wet hair clinging to her head so she looks almost bald, hands on her hips, a dark blue one-piece bathing suit tight over

small, widely spaced breasts, small waist, larger hips. She has a high forehead, heavy curved brows, small deepset eyes, narrow mouth, jutting chin. Her legs below the knees are hidden by water. The second woman, whose face is round and out of focus, wears a light blue bathing cap and pink printed cotton suit with a short skirt. The third has on a lime-coloured bikini…

Your first introduction to them, then is visual. 127

Here Lippard sticks to a strictly descriptive mode taken from the procedures of Conceptual art. Having proposed in Changing the obsolescence of certain kinds of art writing, 128 and having stated her own belief in the subjective and the impossibility of its removal, 129 the indexical photograph used in Conceptual art comes closest to a kind of realism that is increasingly present in Lippard’s work of the time. Whether through political action, art in the streets or the increasing demands of her own motherhood, which impacted on her personal feminism, the encroachment of life into art seems ever more important.

Female Sensibility

If 1968 is the year in which she became politicised, 1970 is a year that Lippard has posited as life-changing in another way – the year she became a feminist. 130 Her biography from this time is an increasingly intertwined project of political and curatorial engagements. Her work on the exhibitions in Seattle and Vancouver was finished, and she was preparing, from New York, for the December opening of ‘2,972,453’ in Buenos Aires. On her return from Spain, later in 1970, she became one of the founders of the Ad Hoc Women Artists Committee, independent of the AWC, together with Poppy Johnson, Faith Ringgold and Brenda Miller. Writing movingly about the unfolding of these events, Lippard has said,

I had retreated to write fiction – something I had been doing in fits and starts all my life and have always intended to make my ‘real’ career. First, I realised that the book I planned to write didn’t come from me, but from the artists I lived with and wrote about. They were, of course, mostly men. And second, I realised that I was ashamed of being a woman. Trite as this may sound in retrospect, it came as an earth-shaking revelation… It changed entirely what I wanted to do. I began to write for myself rather than for some imaginary male audience and, by extension, I began to write for women. 131

Lippard locates the seeds of her feminism in what she calls her

revolt against Clement Greenberg’s patronisation of artists, against the imposition of the taste of one class on everybody, against the notion that if you don’t like so-and-so’s work for the ‘right’ reasons, you can’t like it at all, as well as against the ‘masterpiece’ syndrome, the ‘three great artists’ syndrome and so forth. 132

Lippard’s nascent feminist politics were enacted through the demonstrations by the Ad Hoc Women Artists Committee in response to the predominance of male artists in the Whitney Museum Annuals (for the 1969 annual, eight of the 151 artists included were women). What is clear, in spite of her attempt to remove herself from the art world for the writing of fiction, is the simultaneity of all the various parts of her practice: the multitasking art critic, curator and literary author (and single mother) had an exhibition on view in Vancouver, was protesting in New York, publishing art criticism and writing fiction all at the same time. It is this multivalent engagement – the foundations of what we now call ‘social practice’ – that McShine found both inspiring and important to capture as part of the radical Conceptual art that his ‘Information’ show attempted to map. 133And the simultaneity of practice, life, politics and art – what Julia Kristeva has argued as ‘women’s time’, or a radical discourse of maternity and proposal for the construction of female identity 134 – became one of the tenets of feminist art and is evident in the work Lippard champions beginning with ‘c.7,500’.

Following the protest actions of the Ad Hoc Women Artists Committee, the Whitney Museum Sculpture Annual opened in December 1970 and 23 per cent of the artists included were women. This was more than double than the previous year, which had showcased ‘Contemporary American Painting’, but still less than half of the 50 per cent that Lippard and her fellow activists demanded. In the list of nine primary demands made by the AWC, summarised and published in an article by Lippard in Studio International in November 1970, the fifth addresses the situation of women artists in particular: ‘Museums should encourage female artists to overcome centuries of damage done to the image of the female as an artist by establishing equal representation of the sexes in exhibitions, museum purchases and on selection committees.’ 135

In the outline for his book The Aesthetics Business and Miscellaneous Art Things, dated to the late 1960s, Siegelaub too indicates a new awareness of the inequalities in the art world and of the small number of women artists in exhibitions and collections. 136 He writes: ‘The artist is both a political contradiction and an anachronism. He – it is very rarely a “she” – is a medieval craftsman in an advanced industrial society.’ 137 The book, intended as ‘an inside explanation, with supporting documentation, of the political and economic forces behind the promotion, and diffusion of contemporary art values and myths in the “NATO” countries’, had a projected table of contents that included ‘The Economics of the Artist: A Class Problem’, ‘The Deal: First Poverty, then Success’ and ‘Women, Minorities’. As was true generally of the feminist political movement at this time, much was learned from the Civil Rights Movement, and Siegelaub’s enlightenment apparently arose from the growing consciousness of other social injustices.

The book would never be published, and for Siegelaub the move to Europe was the beginning of a progressive disengagement with the contemporary art context. Lippard was pulled in the same direction, but feminism kept her engaged. She has written: ‘Then the women’s movement came along and I was thrown back into the art world by trying to get women into the art world, because I figured they deserved to be there just as much as anybody else. And that went on for most of the 1970s.’ 138Lippard’s evolution from a champion of mostly male artists to a curator of exhibitions by women artists necessitated the invention of a new critical voice in order to reflect the urgency of the matter. This urgency also led art historian Linda Nochlin to write her galvanising article ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’, published in ARTnews in 1971. 139 Like Siegelaub’s Marxist approach to the broad cultural inequities for women artists, Nochlin’s assessment laid bare the structural problems in the art economy, from the education of artists to studio practice to circulation within the art system.

But if Lippard’s personal feminism emerged, as she says, in 1970, the groundwork was laid in the mid-1960s, with her interest in the anti- monumental and in what Rosalind Krauss and Yve-Alain Bois have theorised as the reappearance in post-War art of George Bataille’s ‘informe’. 140A recourse in those years to a sexually charged Surrealism was frequently found in the proto-feminist sculpture of women artists such as Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, Niki de Saint Phalle, Hannah Wilke and others. Shaped by this loose network, as well as the emerging critique of Minimalism and the object status of sculpture by such artists as Robert Morris, ‘Eccentric Abstraction’ functions as a harbinger of Lippard’s later anti-hierarchical, female-centric, critical and curatorial practices. Both the exhibition and the presaging article of the same name can be appreciated as the first time Lippard takes gender into account in her reading of art in general, and sculpture and abstraction in particular. 141

In a small but focused collection of material collected as part of her archive under the heading ‘Erotic Art’, in addition to a few articles on obscenity legislation are a handful of press clippings and reviews of two exhibitions concurrent with ‘Eccentric Abstraction’: ‘Erotic Art ’66’ at the Sidney Janis Gallery and ‘Hetero Is’ at the NYCATA Gallery. 142 Organised by Carroll Janis, ‘Erotic Art ’66’ was the more visible of the two, and opened just a few weeks after Lippard’s show. With the exception of Marisol, the exhibition included work by an all-male roster, all of whom were primarily associated with Pop art and the appropriation of already codified and sexualised images from popular culture, primarily of women. With its purple, glossy pages, its title in an elaborate flourish of script, and a peep show-like design that included titillating images from art history, the exhibition catalogue captured the prurient sensationalism of the show. Writing in spring 1967 about the phenomenon of what she called the ‘current figurative erotica’, Lippard opined:

For at least two years rumours have been rife of wickedness stored up in the studios waiting for the Trend to break. It never has, and won’t, for the simple reason that subject matter without style does not make a trend. And most of the erotic art that has appeared so far is bad art, inept art, trite art, even dull art – third-rate Pop and warmed over neo-Surrealism for the most part. 143

In contrast, the erotics of her own exhibition offered an account of the return of Surrealism into a body-based language of abstract sculpture, and a challenge to Minimalism’s reductive objectness. She relates the work to the language of abstract painting, 144 and distinguishes its eroticism from pornography:

Abstraction cannot be pornographic in any legal or specific sense no matter how erotically suggestive it becomes… Instead of employing biomorphic form, usually interpreted with sexual references in Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism, several of these artists employ a long, slow, voluptuous but also mechanical curve, deliberate rather than emotive, stimulating a rhythm only vestigially associative – the rhythm of post-orgasmic calm instead of ecstasy, action perfected, completed and not reinstated. 145

Lippard’s attempt to define an erotics of abstract art through sculpture, even as she goes to great writerly lengths to account for the more essentialist, p.21 bodily, almost sexed-up kind of form which populated ‘Eccentric Abstraction’, signals two critical voices in conflict. Her strained prose is, on the one hand, shaped by the discourses of art history – the waning of Abstract Expressionism and painting in favour of Minimalism and ‘primary structurist’ sculpture. 146 But she is also experimenting with a new language of subjectivity and the body, exploring notions like ‘post-orgasmic calm’ and describing an ‘eroticism of near inertia’.

While Lippard was at pains to treat the groundswell of erotic art fairly and in art-historical terms, the tone of the broader critical response to the ‘Erotic Art ’66’ exhibition, mostly authored by men, was rabidly sexist and at times giddy about the overwhelmingly female subjects (and bodies) that populated the exhibition. Some critics were wildly conservative and accusatory about the exhibition’s content. 147A full-page cartoon in The New Yorker or Village Voice saved in Lippard’s ‘Erotic Art’ file, captures the mood of the moment: a male painter leans over his very naked and perky female model, training a magnifying glass over a group of large moles on her back and rear. The image on the canvas facing the reader is a cluster of large, black dots. Scrawled on the page – over the image, above the dot painting and presumably in Lippard’s handwriting – are the words ‘Abstract Eroticism??’ Clearly she was looking for an abstract equivalent for the content of the moment, which interested her, even if the art it produced did not.

Taking a proactive approach in relation to these issues that verged on affirmative action, and ramping up to ‘c.7,500’, the most curatorially defined of her all-women projects, Lippard organised ‘Twenty-Six Contemporary Women Artists’ in 1971 at The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art

in Ridgefield, Connecticut, the first of three exhibitions devoted to the work of women artists.148 Her catalogue introduction for the show reads like an apology for not having paid attention earlier:

I took on this show because I knew there were many women artists whose work was as good or better than that currently being shown, but who, because of the prevailingly discriminatory policies of most galleries and museums, can rarely get anyone to visit their studios or take them as seriously as their male counterparts [] I also took on this show as a form of personal retribution to women artists I’d slighted, unintentionally, in the past. I have recently become aware of my own previous reluctance to take women’s work as seriously as men’s, the result of a common conditioning from which we all suffer. 149

She shared this kind of frank transparency – the foregrounding of her own subjectivities and blindnesses as a curator – with only a very few fellow curators at the time, notably other women.150

Organised at the invitation of the museum, ‘Twenty-Six Contemporary Women Artists’ included only artists who had never had a one-person show in New York: Cecile Abish, Alice Aycock, Cynthia Carlson, Sue Ann Childress, Glorianna Danvenport, Susan Hall, Mary Heilmann, Audrey Hemenway, Laurace James, Mablen Jones, Carol Kinne, Christine Kozlov, Sylvia (Plimack) Mangold, Brenda Miller, Mary Miss, Dona Nelson, Louise Parks, Shirley Pettibone, Howardena Pindell, Adrian Piper, Reeva Potoff, Paula Tavins, Merrill Wagner, Grace Bakst Wapner, Jacqueline Winsor and Barbara Zucker. In January 1973 Lippard organised ‘Ten Artists (Who Also Happen to Be Women)’ for the Kenan Center in Lockport, New York, featuring work by Rachel Bas-Cohain, Daria Dorosh, Heilmann, Kazuko, Brenda Miller, Sylvia Sleigh, Joan Snyder, Pat Steir, Michelle Stuart and Cindy Sullivan. 151 This female focus led to the last of her numbers exhibitions, ‘c.7,500’, which opened at CalArts in May 1973, and, after its five-day run there, travelled to seven other venues in the US as well as one in London, where the women’s movement was also gathering momentum. 152

The all-women group show was developing in the early 1970s in the United States, the UK and throughout Western Europe as a format rooted in both necessity and desire. 153 The evolution of Lippard’s curatorial strategy and the gendering of its emphasis must be seen in this context. Over and over in the personal-awakening accounts of female artists during this time the strong desire of women to be in dialogue with other women is brought up. Whether in consciousness-raising groups like the one Lippard was part of in New York – a regular meeting of artists, critics, curators and associated others – or in the cooperative galleries that sprang up across the United States and internationally, such as A.I.R. Gallery, women were inventing a language with which to understand themselves as artists and workers in the cultural sphere. In the US, the UK, other European centres and in South America, different kinds of work common to women’s experience were deployed in the language of Conceptual art in order to articulate and contest issues of artistic labour, given a backdrop of oppressive and ingrained institutional structures.154

From within the context of the AWC, Lippard advocated for artists to make their own spaces, outside of established institutions. She is listed as participating in several of the group’s committees, including ‘Alternatives to Museums and Institutions’, ‘Artists’ Relationship to Society and Other Philosophical Considerations’ and ‘Black and Puerto Rican Artists Rights’. 155 In the transcript of her remarks at an open forum of the AWC, in April 1969, Lippard calls for ‘trans-aesthetic solidarity’ and for artists to claim their own space:

All the art media have rejected traditional confines: room space, proscenium stage, academic symposia, literary readings… The exhibition function could be shifted to a series of smaller museums resembling branch libraries, in loft buildings or any large, simple space, each of which would naturally evolve an identity, style and structure of its own. There is no reason why these branches should even be called ‘Museums’; they are needed more as vital community centres that would provide workshop space for experimental projects in all media, including performance, as well as space for showing art or organising art in more open situations. 156

This attempt to find a voice outside of the institutional structure of the museum, together with that of bypassing the mainstream publishing apparatus of the art magazine, reoccurs throughout Lippard’s activism and professional activities. This is perhaps the result of a frustration with an art world that refuses to acknowledge women practitioners. As she writes in her 1973 essay for the exhibition ‘Ten Artists (Who Also Happen to Be Women)’:

In a few years, women’s art exhibitions, issues of magazines focused on women’s art alone, women’s art classes, etc., will hopefully be unnecessary. For the time being, however, acknowledged discrimination against women pervades the international art world in subtle and often cruel forms. 157

A year earlier, while working on the organisation of ‘c.7,500’ in July 1972, she had faced an example of such discrimination (enforced by Harald Szeemann, then Artistic Director of Documenta 5), and confronted it directly. In a letter following up correspondence between Szeemann and the Guerrilla Art Action Group (GAAG), Lippard unleashes her righteous frustration with an art world that refuses to join the cause of feminism fast enough:

Dear Harald Szeemann,

Who the hell are you calling a whore? You were having dinner at my home last Thanksgiving and Brenda Miller and I gave you a small list of women artists whose work seemed to fit your rather limited taste for Documenta since you, and the several other organisers, on your frequent visits to New York, had only bothered to visit a few (if any) women’s studios. At that time you were all paying a good deal of lip service to the women’s movement… 158

Lippard goes on to say how she regrets getting any artists involved in submitting their materials for an exhibition and curatorial agenda that had no intention of attending to their work. The fearlessness of her address to a colleague of enormous influence and whose friendship to (male) artists and curators from her circle (including Siegelaub) was well known to her are a sign of the indignation she and other women felt with the closed system of the art world. The urgency of her letter also echoes the tone of her activist texts. During those years, she fearlessly mucks around in the face of whatever perceived stronghold of hegemonic enforcement she sees in the way of art and, increasingly, of women artists. This almost crude formation of a more direct mode of address became evident in her writing about women artists, 159 and reflected an awareness of the need to take a position, as a practitioner and a woman – an awareness that she made explicit in writing: ‘The personal is political because if we don’t know who we are and where we come from we are going to be singularly ineffective at knowing anyone else, at working together for change.’ 160

‘c.7,500’, touring, 1973–74

Even after having become a feminist in 1970, Lippard continued to champion Conceptual art. She has said that at this time she hung out with men and assumed that this was the only way to get good company and conversation. 161 Two important exceptions were Ingrid Baxter, the female half of N.E. Thing Co., and Adrian Piper; both continued to be part of Lippard’s evolving pool of artists as she made the shift from exhibitions of Conceptual art in 1969 and 1970 to Conceptual art made by women in 1973.

Conceived in 1972, ‘c.7,500’ was the last of the numbers exhibitions, and constituted, in many ways, a watershed moment for Lippard’s curatorial style and agenda. The exhibition was organised in response to what Lippard experienced as a persistent misperception, or indeed ignorance, as evidenced in some of her correspondence, about the dearth of women Conceptual artists. ‘c.7,500’ was also Lippard’s first exhibition focusing exclusively on Conceptual strategies and, in the history of Conceptual art globally, the project represents the first attempt at presenting a narrative of a feminist Conceptual language. Unlike its numbered predecessors, the exhibition had a unifying visual style. By foregrounding the all-women issue yet de- emphasising this agenda by giving the exhibition a numbered title, Lippard downplayed what seemed to be a new category of art practice. That she consistently attempted to diffuse the all-women nature of the project is arguably evidence of the newness of her personal feminism and of the activism of this curatorial position. Indeed, the bold move away from a strong curatorial position through the exhibition title was in keeping with feminism’s critique of authority.

At the same time, Lippard insisted that the art should be received independently from the artist’s gender. In a letter to Helene Winer, then curator at the Pomona College Museum of Art in Claremont, California, in the autumn of 1972, Lippard describes the project: ‘I’m doing a Conceptual Women’s show (not to be titled that) including about 30 people on the 4 × 6 index cards and continuing the Seattle (557,087) and Vancouver (955,000) shows from 69 and 70’. 162In another, to the artist Christiane Möbus in 1973, she writes: ‘Its title will not be about women (it is part of a series with the others which have for a title the population of the city it begins in), but there will be only women in it (because “there are no women making Conceptual art”)’. 163 Despite Lippard’s refusal to present ‘c.7,500’ as a feminist reading of Conceptual art, by bringing together women Conceptual artists as early as 1973 she changed the parameters of the movement and the discourse of its reception, even though it has taken many years for an analysis of this exhibition to reach critical thinking about the period. In arguing for the parallel evolutions of Lippard’s writerly and curatorial voices, each informed by her emerging personal feminism, it is possible to understand this exhibition as a product of her discovery of a feminist voice and, at the same time, as a tool to broaden our own understanding of the very masculinist reading of Conceptual art’s history to date. 164

The correspondence around ‘c.7,500’ reveals a network formed by an entirely new cast of characters. They are all women, many from the West Coast and a number from Europe. The project was initiated by Suzanne Kuffler, an artist, MFA student and administrator who was teaching at CalArts and programming a small space there called Gallery A-402. The genesis of the exhibition at CalArts was not incidental: this school was both the nexus of Conceptual art on the West Coast and the home of the Feminist Art Program established at CalArts in 1971 by Judy Chicago and Miriam Shapiro. Lippard now credits the Feminist Art Program for funding the exhibition and bringing her back to Los Angeles, and for politicising her advocacy of representation for women artists. 165

In letters to artists and staff at potential venues for ‘c.7,500’, Lippard repeatedly states that the exhibition is of women artists who make Conceptual art, but whose work has nothing else in common. ‘Some of the participating artists are feminists, some are not. This was not an issue in choosing their work’, she writes in a draft of the exhibition’s press release. 166 Like many of the women in the exhibition and indeed many women at the time, Lippard identified with feminist art or feminist artists but distinguished her personal and political feminism from it. The artists are described in the press release as being ‘American’ (New York, Los Angeles, San Diego and Oberlin, Ohio), German (Düsseldorf, Essen and Hamburg) and Canadian (Halifax and Toronto). Arguably the majority of these cities were centres of Conceptual art production in the 1970s, but also pockets of feminist activity. The 25 artists or artist’s groups who ultimately participated were Renate Altenrath, Laurie Anderson, Eleanor Antin, Jacki Apple, Alice Aycock, Jennifer Bartlett, Hanne Darboven, Agnes Denes, Doree Dunlap, Nancy Holt, Poppy Johnson, Nancy Kitchel, Christine Kozlov, Suzanne Kuffler, Pat Lasch, Bernadette Mayer, Christiane Möbus, Rita Myers, Renee Nahum, N.E. Thing Co., Ulrike Nolden, Adrian Piper, Judith Stein, Athena Tacha, Mierle Laderman Ukeles and Martha Wilson.

In her research lists of the artists Lippard was considering for inclusion (organised as ‘definite’ and ‘maybe’), she seems to be striving for an internationalism and diversity that were not fully achieved in the final exhibition. Several artists did not make the cut as their work was in flux, somehow on its way to becoming Conceptual, but not Conceptual enough according to Lippard. While she clearly and intuitively embraced the ambiguity of the female artist/feminist/Conceptual territory, defining it as she went, it is clear that she was vigilant regarding the parameters of Conceptual art and introducing these women artists as part of its field. At the same time, implicit in the correspondence between the curator and her artists, as well as hinted at in the critical response to the exhibition (if not its catalogue), is the fact that Conceptual art has passed its prime. The exhibition is framed, in part, as a redress – a political provocation launched by an exasperated critic who once allied herself almost entirely with male artists, but who, emboldened by her own political awakening, has seized the moment. For example, in the research files there is a note next to Lee Lozano’s name, wondering whether she was a Conceptual artist. 167 Polish artist Zofia Kulik appears in the files with a note about a video, but her work was also not included, as video and performance works were omitted because of budgetary and technical issues. Other artists mentioned included Yoko Ono, Gina Pane and Liliana Porter and the poet Jill Cement, who were all contacted for samples of their work, but not included in the exhibition. 168

The same was the case for an artist whom Lippard had done considerable thinking about, Yvonne Rainer. Rainer’s very emphatic turn away from choreography and movement to film-making, in search of a space for subjectivity in representation, paralleled Lippard’s own awakening to the narrative and content of women’s experience in Conceptual art. In her introduction to an interview with the choreographer and film-maker published in The Feminist Art Journal in 1975, Lippard talks about Rainer’s turn away from schematic movement to a form that would more readily incorporate elements drawn from her life:

It was also during these years [1969–70] that the women’s movement hit the art world and, not coincidentally, a behavioural emphasis on content began seeping into the reigning Minimalist styles. Rainer came to some meetings, but was not involved in consciousness raising. The dance world was already matriarchal… Nevertheless, all of these factors, along with the improvisational work she had been doing with The Grand Union, undoubtedly affected her decision to deal with ‘human’ as well as physical relationships. The fact that these relationships turned out to be based on (but not faithful to) her own life was a daring step… 169

Lippard calls Rainer a ‘hesitant feminist,’ a moniker which suits her own early trajectory of personal politics. 170 In fact, the position of the exhibition in relation to the feminist issue is complicated. Lippard was not yet inter- ested in the categories of feminist art or theory as such. However, she was formulating an exhibition that effectively argued for a feminist language of Conceptual art. There was a decidedly feminist impulse in the Conceptual work Lippard was championing that she stops short of naming.

By that time, not only had Lippard already organised ‘Twenty-Six Contemporary Women Artists’ in 1971, but the all-women group show had become an international phenomenon that was inextricably linked to feminist politicsand activism, and would only proliferate as the decade advanced. The women-only show was essentially a grassroots occurrence doomed to second-class status in its binary opposition to mainstream exhibition-making, and fuelled by the potentiality of creating new modes of artistic and curatorial practice. Aware of this double bind, Lippard tempted fate and, no doubt, the critical response of her peers by wanting to have it both ways. Hers was an exhibition of women artists only, who were linked by gender and Conceptual strategy. At the same time, by working to make the exhibition travel, not only from the West to the East Coast of the US but internationally to its one important stop in London, Lippard exploited a discursive and nomadic model for exhibition- making that mimicked her own expanded critical networks, reaching from New York to the West Coast of Canada and the United States, to Argentina and, increasingly, to the UK and the rest of Europe.

In the correspondence between Lippard and the artists, both North American and European, there is the sense of something brewing in Conceptual circles. The title of this essay comes from the heading of one such letter from Christiane Möbus to the curator, in which the artist abbreviates the contents of their conversation to, simply, ‘Women-Concept-Art’, 171 suggesting that the terms were inextricable. This letter follows another in which Möbus describes the situation for young, experimental artists in Düsseldorf as dire, but also refers to a nascent community of women artists gathered around the academy there. 172

The exhibition originated at the initiative of the first hosting venue, rather than Lippard’s. In a brief handwritten note, sent at the suggestion of John Baldessari, Suzanne Kuffler invites Lippard to look at her work, and suggests she make a visit to the CalArts campus. 173 Lippard’s note-to-self scrawled on the letter reads, ‘yes, Women’s conc art show?’ Kuffler refers to Judy Chicago, the head of the Feminist Art Program, and, in another note, says to Lippard, ‘Please go ahead with the 3 × 5 show’ (referring to the show by its catalogue) and ‘please note A-402

is a first-come, first-serve place/ shows change each week/most exhibits are of two or more people’. 174 Lippard scrawls, ‘cards 4 × 6!’ and ‘money for car, money for me’. 175 In future correspondence, they agree to move forward, with Lippard contacting a number of other venues about travelling the show within California. In one telling exchange, she writes to Helene Winer, whose contemporary programming at the Pomona College Museum of Art was gaining recognition at the time;176 in a letter a month later, Winer expresses interest, but says she has recently left the gallery and reports that ‘they are retreating to the Renaissance, so it is unlikely that they would participate’. 177 Contemporary art was still fugitive on the outskirts of Los Angeles circa 1973.

The gallery at CalArts was 8 metres long by 5 metres wide – a long rectangle with grey carpet on the floor, fluorescent lights and a 12-centimetre baseboard around the walls. Lippard and Kuffler agreed on the number of artists (25) and exchanged names back and forth for some months. Lippard began a dialogue with the artists, who, in some cases, pushed her to define her terms. Often wary of the possible ‘feminist’ association but clearly eager to be included, they all identified with a new language that was often Conceptual in format – books, photographs, text – yet mobilising subjects and strategies that would shift Conceptual art’s terms. Most of the works included tended to share an ‘image and text’ format, typical of Conceptual practice. 178

In a letter to Anthony Stokes, who assisted with the organisation of the London showing of the exhibition, Lippard describes the works and how they are installed:

Most of the photos, sheets, etc. are simply hung with push pins – unframed and unmessed with… The installation should be very simple and clear – just lines or double lines or rectangles of the work. No fancy business – please!179

Consistently remarked upon in the press reception is this specific look. The few installation shots which exist document an exhibition which looks like a reading room as much as an art show, with faces, body parts and things from everyday life in standard Conceptual format: gridded photographs and short accompanying texts, all flat, archival in appearance, under Plexiglas and unframed. This Conceptual format was indeed carefully honed by Lippard herself, often in extensive correspondence with the artists about the presentation of their work, in an effort to prove her point about the existence of a Conceptual art made by women. This look was condemned by Peter Plagens in his review of ‘557,087’, as holding no visual interest and therefore as deadly boring and even offensive. 180 Many of the criticisms levelled at ‘c.7,500’ echoed Plagens’s criticisms of the lack of visual interest and the use of too much text.

But in the case of ‘c.7,500’, through this ‘classic’ Conceptual format the artists addressed issues very different from those of their male counterparts. Lippard remarks upon this in her notes: ‘All the artists, incidentally, are women, many of them never shown before. The work is interestingly different from the primarily male Conceptual art I’ve had in the other shows.’ 181

The relationship between artistic language and subject matter or attitude was a contested issue in feminism, especially in what related to the ability of Conceptual codes to express female concerns. In this respect, Kuffler reports that ‘from women’s work here there is more post-post-studio art than “hard core” Conceptual work’. 182 In the background of Kuffler’s assessment is ‘Womanhouse’, a multidisciplinary occupation of a house in Los Angeles as an extension of CalArts’s Feminist Art Program. 183 The Feminist Art Program existed there from 1971 through the Spring of 1973, when it disbanded and decamped to the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles, where the activities would continue until 1991. The presence and activities of the programme at CalArts challenged the institution’s commitment to interdisciplinarity and radical art practice. But the type of work developed by Shapiro, Chicago and their students was very different from that included by Lippard in ‘c.7,500’ – and instead closer to the combination of softness and texture that she had explored in ‘Eccentric Abstraction’ (but combined with an emphasis in figuration). Faith Wilding, a student of Judy Chicago’s at Fresno State University (where the programme started) and later at CalArts, has written about her peers’ attempts to defy high modernist privileging of form. 184 Wilding also recalls the confusion and urgency in the use of terms in the emergent language of feminist art:

While working to expand, enrich or re-invent the visual languages of painting and drawing as viable mediums for our new emphasis on the body as content, we began to speculate about a ‘female touch’ or ‘female sensibility’. The terms ‘feminist art’ and ‘female sensibility’ need to be distinguished from each other. We began to use ‘feminist art’ in the early 1970s to refer to art that consciously focused on the political, social and/or personal experiences of women. 185

In a discussion in Ms. magazine in 1975, Lippard stakes her own claim vis- à-vis the problem of terms and categories:

‘Female imagery’ was first used … to mean female sexual imagery. That wasn’t understood and it got all confused. I prefer ‘female sensibility’ because it is vaguer. There is a lot of sexual imagery in women’s art – circles, domes, eggs, spheres, boxes, biomorphic shapes, maybe a certain striation or layering. But that’s too specific [] I like fragments, networks, everything about everything. 186

But these two different types of feminist formalisation prove not to be mutually exclusive. In a wrap-up letter from Lippard to Kuffler, the curator reports, ‘Judy Chicago liked the show very much, which was nice as she’s been very opposed to “Conceptual art” as “unfemale” fundamentally and had to change her mind, she admitted!’ 187

Sorting through the card catalogue for ‘c.7,500’ it is possible to appreciate a new subjectivity at play, both in the selection and in the way that selection is framed. First, the process of looking and apprehending the artists and works in the exhibition, true to each of Lippard’s index card publications, becomes an exercise in personalising the information into a unique and open-ended narrative. The artists speak from the individual entries on the cards that they author. The stack of index cards boils down to a schematic representation of images accompanied by minimal texts, including basic biographical information on the artists. Three introductory cards constitute a curatorial statement; the first of these lays out four categories into which Lippard groups the artists’ contributions:

1) the work dealing with perception of exterior natural phenomena (Aycock, Dunlap, Holt) 2) the work re-framing or re-locating relatively factual material into personal patterns (Darboven, Kozlov, Denes, Anderson) 3) the work with biography, usually autobiography (Altenrath, Bartlett, Laasch, Johnson, Ukeles, Antin, N.E. Thing Co., Mayer and 4) the work dealing with transformation, primarily of the self (Wilson, Nahum, Myers, Möbus, Nolden, Apple, Stein, Piper, Tacha, Kitchel, Kuffler), with some overlaps in the latter two groupings. 188

Unlike her Seattle and Vancouver projects, here she is constructing an argument, her categories functioning as evidence that women indeed made Conceptual art. Striking first is how generic and familiar the list of subjects reads to a contemporary eye. And although they may now seem obvious, modes of Conceptual practice had not been formulated in this way at the time that Lippard wrote. Part of her originality and outstanding achievement as a writer about art was (still is) her ability to think analytically about what works of art have in common, and to come up with clearly expressed and immediately recognisable descriptions that arise out of close looking. Unlike many of her colleagues, both at the time and now, Lippard’s thinking grew from the art rather than ex post facto imposition of authority.

While clearly related to the work of their male counterparts, Lippard articulates these artists’ subject positions quite differently. About the artists’ gender and how it might or might not impact an articulation of difference, Lippard devotes one of her introductory cards, stating:

There will also, inevitably, be curiosity as to the differences, if any, between ‘women’s art’ and ‘men’s art’. The question is a fascinating one. There are, obviously, differences, since all art, no matter how ‘rational’, comes from inside the artist and the social and biological experience of any woman is very different from that of any man in this society. Art of course has no sex. But artists do. So far the sorting out of aesthetic differences is wide open. 189

Perception of natural phenomena; reframing of factual material in personal patterns; biography; and transformation, primarily of the self – these are the categories Lippard identifies as core delineators of Conceptual work produced by women artists. The same year she curated ‘c.7,500’ she published Six Years, her extraordinarily prescient and subjective complication of activities in the realm of art made, curated and written about between 1966 and 1972. Unlike a traditional art history, Six Years might be described as a form of exhibition history, laid out by Lippard as a multitude of events unfolding as fast and fulsome as she can generate her report. Like the introductory texts for the joint catalogue of ‘557,087’ and ‘955,000’, her own writing appears as just another fragment in a collage drawn from many different sources. And yet, there are moments in the volume where her struggle to articulate a new, woman-centric Conceptual art is expressed with blunt urgency. Among the mass of material she covers and practices she attempts to summarise, two women artists appear whose work clearly provoked her and helped her formulate a language for the brand of Conceptual art made by women. In terms that indicate a critical and curatorial struggle, she parses Lee Lozano’s Dialogue Piece (1969) and Hanne Darboven’s One Century in One Year (1971), seeing in each of them a Conceptual art that emanates from life.

In these words, like in many of her texts from the time as well as in her curatorial projects (including ‘c,7,500’), it is possible to see a reflection of the self-awareness that I quoted above – a self-awareness that is necessary for knowledge and for change. For Lippard, this self-awareness implied the need to make her personal biography as a woman the starting point for all her actions, of finding a voice as a writer, as a curator and also as a person:

The personal is political because if we don’t know who we are and where we come from we are going to be singularly ineffective at knowing anyone else, at working together for change. On the other hand, the danger in an overemphasis on the politics of the personal is yet another wave of bourgeois narcissism – the trap into which women have already been plunged by a consumer society. Our emphasis on autobiography and self is not, hopefully, about self-indulgence, but about an expressive feminist analysis of our common lives as women. Art can reflect to a larger audience the best that feminism has to offer – not just aesthetic quality, but caring and content too – elements without which so-called quality is ‘merely’ aesthetic. The days in the lives of the participants in this show will be very different, by knowing our own days will help us to recognise similar threads in others’ lives, and once this is recognised, it will help us to shed the sexist and classist and too often racist conditioning that has built obstacles between women. Taking responsibility for one’s own images and their effect (whether those images are ‘abstract’ or brutally realist), deciding for oneself whether contact is being made – these are important aspects of art-making that the feminist consciousness-raising and self-criticism techniques make more accessible. 190


  • VALIE EXPORT, ‘Woman’s Art: A Manifesto’ (trans. Resigna Haslinger), in Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz (ed.), Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996, pp.755–56; originally published in German in Neues Forum, no.228, January 1973, p.47.
  • Lucy R. Lippard, ‘New York Times IV’, A Day in the Life, Chicago: A.R.C. Gallery, 1979; reprinted in L.R. Lippard, The Pink Glass Swan: Selected Feminist Essays on Art, New York: The New Press, 1995, p.198.
  • Lippard was a early member of the Art Workers’ Coalition in New York, 1969.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Prefatory Notes’, Changing: Essays in Art Criticism, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1971, p.11.
  • Ibid. , p.12.
  • See L.R. Lippard, ‘Absentee Information And Or Criticism’, in Kynaston McShine (ed.), Information (exh. cat.), New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1970, pp.74–81.
  • L.R. Lippard, Changing, op. cit., p.12.
  • See Ad Reinhardt: Paintings (exh. cat.), New York: The Jewish Museum, 1966. See also L.R. Lippard, ‘Intersections’, in Olle Granath and Margareta Helleberg (ed.), Flykpunkter/Vanishing Points (exh. cat.), Stockholm: Moderna Museet, 1984, pp.11–29; reprinted in Nadja Rottner and Peter Weibel (ed.), Thinking the Line, Ruth Vollmer, 1961–1978, Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz, 2006, p.39.
  • Eva Hesse: A Memorial Exhibition (exh. cat.), New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1972.
  • V. EXPORT, ‘Woman’s Art: A Manifesto’, op. cit., p.756.
  • See L.R. Lippard, ‘Change and Criticism: Consistency and Small Minds’, Changing, op. cit., pp.23–34.
  • Ibid. , p.32. Here Lippard also describes the atmosphere of formalism that dominated the critical climate in New York.
  • ‘I for one, would rather supply an arena, in which my own and others’ opinions can meet, than make taste.’ Ibid., p.33.
  • Sharon Zane, ‘Interview with Lucy Lippard’, MoMA Oral History Project, New York: Museum of Modern Art Archives, 1999, unpublished transcript, p.17.
  • Ibid. Lippard recalls, ‘Karpel wanted to do categories like “transparency”. As I remember, they were fairly simple but [they were] the kind of words that art critics would use about art and [were] categorised by that… it still had a visual, really three-dimensional feel to what the subject headings could be.’
  • Ibid., p.6. Not only did Lippard shuttle books for scholars in the MoMA library, but, in conversation with the author in August 2010, she recalled reading all the time, particularly at the outset of her career.
  • In MoMA’s records for circulating exhibitions Lippard is listed as having organised ‘Max Ernst: Works on Paper’ (1968) and ‘Richard Pousete-Dart: Presences’ (1969–70), both selected from MoMA’s collection. See ‘Series II: Exhibitions, 1931–1990’, Department of Circulating Exhibition Records, Museum of Modern Art Archives; also available online at resources/archives/EAD/CEf (last accessed on 31 May 2012). Lippard also contributed notes to The School of Paris: Paintings from the Florence May Schoenborn and Samuel A. Marx Collections (exh. cat.), New York: Doubleday & Company, 1965.
  • See The Art of Assemblage (exh. cat.), New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1961.
  • Lippard later authored an essay for the MoMA exhibition ‘Two Decades of American Painting’, organised by Waldo Rasmussen in 1966. In conversation with the author in July 2011, Kynaston McShine recalled Lippard, Sol LeWitt, Robert Ryman and other artists working at MoMA as young and intensely ambitious, willing to do any kind of writing or other work that could be passed their way. He acknowledged how much they influenced one another at this time.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Curating by Numbers’, contribution to the symposium ‘Conceptual Art and its Exhibitions’, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in association with Afterall, 28 May 2008. A subsequent version, presented at the ‘Landmark Exhibitions’ symposium at Tate Modern, London (10–11 October 2008), was published in Tate Papers, issue 12 (Landmark Exhibitions issue), Autumn 2009; and is also available at 09autumn/lippard.shtm (last accessed on 31 May 2012).
  • Lippard has written: ‘We [Lippard and Ryman] lived on Avenue A and Avenue D and then on the Bowery. Sol LeWitt was a close friend of ours, and my major intellectual influence at the time. (We had all worked at the Museum of Modern Art in the late 1950s. Ryman was a guard; LeWitt was at the night desk; I was a page in the library.’ She further recalls meeting or seeing the work of Art & Language, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Mel Bochner, Hanne Darboven, Dan Graham, Joseph Kosuth and Robert Smithson. See L.R. Lippard, ‘Escape Attempts’, in Ann Goldstein and Anne Rorimer (ed.), Reconsidering the Object of Art: 1965– 1975 (exh. cat.), Los Angeles, Cambridge, MA and London: Museum of Con- temporary Art and The MIT Press, 1995; reprinted as the introduction to the second edition of L.R. Lippard, Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object 1966 to 1972, Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1997, p.viii.
  • S. Zane, ‘Interview with Lucy Lippard’, op. cit., p.17.
  • ‘Eccentric Abstraction’, Fischbach Gallery, New York, 20 September–8 October 1966, organised by Lippard at the invitation of Donald Droll.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Eccentric Abstraction’, Art International, vol.10, no.9, November 1966, pp.28–40; reprinted in L.R. Lippard, Changing, op. cit., pp.99–111.
  • Ibid. , p.98. Morris published his article ‘Anti-Form’ in Artforum, vol.6, no.8, April 1968, pp.33–35, the same year Lippard organised ‘Soft and Apparently Soft Sculpture’, a touring exhibition for the American Federation of Arts. This project included work by, among others, Iain Baxter, Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, Stephen Kaltenbach, Yayoi Kusama, Richard Lindner, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenburg, Richard Serra, Keith Sonnier, Frank Lincoln Viner and Jackie Winsor.
  • ‘Primary Structures: Younger American and British Sculptors’, The Jewish Museum, New York, 27 April–12 June 1966, organised by Kynaston McShine and including work by Carl Andre, Larry Bell, Anthony Caro, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd and Phillip King, among others.
  • See Ad Reinhardt: Paintings, op. cit.
  • In 1940, for example, a group of New York artists led by Ad Reinhardt picketed MoMA and distributed leaflets with the title ‘How Modern is the Museum of Modern Art?’, opposing the Museum’s tendency to favour Modern European rather than art from the US.
  • See S. Zane, ‘Interview with Lucy Lippard’, op. cit., p.58. The Art Workers’ Coalition was formed in January 1969 following an incident at MoMA in which Greek artist Takis Vassilakis attempted to remove his work from the exhibition ‘The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age’. Although the work was part of the museum’s permanent collection, Vassilakis was unhappy that the museum had not consulted him before including the work in the show. Two weeks later, the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition demanded the cancellation and boycott of ‘Harlem on My Mind’, an exhibition of photography at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that, according to the Coalition, had ‘either ignored or, even worse, unsubstantially represented the advisory resources of the Black artistic and intellectual community’. Artists’ meetings followed both events, and the AWC was formed; it was active through May 1971. For Lippard’s account of the history of the AWC and her own involvement, see L.R. Lippard, ‘Biting the Hand: Artists and Museums in New York since 1969’, in Julie Ault (ed.), Alternative Art: New York 1965–1985, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003, pp.79–114.
  • For a thorough discussion of Lippard’s work on Reinhardt and specifically her contribution to his retrospective catalogue, see John A. Kaufman, ‘The Sixties: Gendering Critical Perception’, Lucy Lippard: Becoming Feminist, unpublished doctoral thesis, New York: The City University of New York, 1997.
  • See Lippard’s response to three statements by David Lamelas in ‘Publication’, a text published as an exhibition, September 1970, reprinted in L.R. Lippard, Six Years, op. cit., pp.187–88.
  • See Richard Sieburth, ‘A Heap of Language: Robert Smithson and American Hieroglyphics’, in Eugenie Tsai and Cornelia Butler (ed.), Robert Smithson (exh. cat.), Los Angeles and Berkeley: Museum of Contemporary Art and University of California Press, 2004, pp.218–22.
  • This quote comes from a grant application Lippard submitted just as she finished her graduate degree in art history and, in the words of her proposal, ‘in order to make a study of the interrelationships of word and image as exhibited in American modern art periodicals’. See L.R. Lippard, Box 12/58, Series 1: Alphabetical Files, Ford Foundation Grant, Archives of American Art.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Curating by Numbers’, op. cit.
  • See Julia Bryan-Wilson’s discussion of the notion of labour in the construction of the term ‘art worker’, in particular in relation to AWC activities, in ‘From Artists to Art Workers’, Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2009, pp.21–22 and pp.129–31.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Curating by Numbers’, op. cit.
  • At this time MoMA was still evolving as a highly departmentalised institution, dividing itself according to media: Painting and Sculpture; Prints and Illustrated Books; Film; and Drawings, which was established as a separate department in 1972. It was within this new department that the experimental works of many of Lippard’s colleagues and friends, such as Sol LeWitt, Dorothea Rockburne and others, became categorised.
  • The Seattle show was estimated to cost no more than $8,000 in total, including $1,500 for production of the catalogue; the same sum as a fee for Lippard; $1,000 for ‘packing, printing and business in general’ by Seth Siegelaub; and $750 for their travel and organisational expenses. The crating estimate for Eva Hesse’s sculpture Accretion (1968) is $36, and other charges, like film rentals, are equally modest, from $10 to $30. See ‘Proposed Expenses Seattle Exhibition’, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘955,000’: Notes and lists, Archives of American Art.
  • See Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, ‘Conceptual Art 1962–1969: From the Aesthetic of Administration to the Critique of Institutions’, October, vol.55, Winter 1990, pp.105–43.
  • ‘Number 7’, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, 18 May–15 June 1969. The number seven may have been site-specific to the city of New York, but there is no record of how Lippard came up with it and she herself does not recall its origin, only that ‘it had a factual base of some kind and may have been Paula Cooper’s seventh show’. L.R. Lippard in conversation with the author, August 2010.
  • The artists included were Carl Andre, Richard Artschwager, Conrad Atkinson, Michael Baldwin, Robert Barry, Frederick Barthelme, Iain Baxter, Gene Beery, Mel Bochner, Bill Bollinger, Jonathan Borofsky, Donald Burgy, Rosemarie Castoro, Hanne Darboven, Walter De Maria, Jan Dibbets, Dan Graham, Hans Haacke, Douglas Huebler, Robert Huot, Stephen Kaltenbach, On Kawara, Michael Kirby, Joseph Kosuth, Christine Kozlov, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Duane Lunden, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Adrian Piper, Allen Ruppersberg, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Bernard Venet, Lawrence Weiner and Martha Wilson.
  • See Christian Rattemeyer et al., Exhibiting the New Art: ‘Op Losse Schroeven’ and ‘When Attitudes Become Form: Works–Concepts–Processes–Information’ 1969, London: Afterall Books, 2010. All three exhibitions bear comparison with Marcia Tucker’s ‘Anti-Illusion: Procedures/Materials’, which opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in May 1969, the same month as ‘Number 7’. Tucker included two female artists: Lynda Benglis and Eva Hesse. ‘Op Losse Schroeven’, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 15 March–27 April 1969 and ‘When Attitudes Become Form’, Kunsthalle Bern, 22 March–23 April 1969.
  • See John Perreault, ‘“Para-visual” Art’, Village Voice, 5 June 1969, pp.16–18.
  • See Trevor Fairbrother, ‘Virginia and Bagley Wright’s Campaign for Contem- porary Art in Seattle’, The Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, Seattle and London: Seattle Art Museum and University of Washington Press, 1999, pp.27–40.
  • In 1974, Anne Focke became the founding director of the alternative space And/Or Gallery, Seattle. Lippard’s show ‘c.7,500’ toured to this venue in September 1974.
  • Ibid. , p.36.
  • Letter from Thomas Maytham to L.R. Lippard, 16 June 1969, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘955,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • In Philadelphia, Eleanor Biddle Lloyd was a founder (in 1963) and long-time chair of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania. In New York, in 1971, Alanna Heiss founded the Institute for Art and Urban Resources, which later became PS1 Contemporary Art Center; in 1976, Martha Wilson founded Franklin Furnace; and, in 1977, Marcia Tucker founded the New Museum of Contemporary Art.
  • Letter to L.R. Lippard and Seth Siegelaub from Anne Gerber, 24 June 1969, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘955,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • Jenny Sorkin, ‘The Feminist Nomad: The All-Women Group Show’, in C. Butler and L.G. Mark (ed.), WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (exh. cat.), Los Angeles, Cambridge, MA and London: Museum of Contemporary Art and The MIT Press, 2007, p.460. In this text, Sorkin uses Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s ‘Treatise on Nomadology: The War Machine’, from A Thousand Plateaux: Capitalism & Schizophrenia (1980), to theorise the all-women exhibition and its relationship both to the nomadic and to geographies outside the mainstream.
  • See L.R. Lippard, ‘Proposed Expenses Seattle Exhibition’, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘955,000’: Notes and lists, Archives of American Art.
  • Ibid.
  • Letter from Naomi Spector to L.R. Lippard, 19 June 1969, Lippard Archives, ‘557, 089’/‘995,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Insurance and Price List for “557,087”’, 6 September 1969, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘995,000’: Notes and lists, Archives of American Art. Ellipsis is in the original.
  • Letter from L.R. Lippard to T. Maytham, 21 April 1969, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘995,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • Ibid .
  • For Siegelaub’s own account concerning his work with Lucy Lippard, see pp.250–62 in this volume.
  • L.R. Lippard (ed.), 557,087 (exh. cat.), self-published, 1969, unnumbered card. 59 Letter from L.R. Lippard to Doris Shadbolt, Curator, Vancouver Art Gallery (where the exhibition would be reconfigured as ‘955,000’), 21 February 1969, Lippard Archives, ‘955,000’, Archives of American Art.
  • Letter to L.R. Lippard from A. Gerber, 13 December 1968, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘955,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • Letter from Anne Gerber to Lippard, 28 February 1969, Lippard Archives, ‘955,000’, Archives of American Art.
  • Letter to L.R. Lippard from A. Gerber, 13 December 1968, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘955,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • Letter from L.R. Lippard dated 14 March 1969, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/ ‘955,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • Peter Plagens, ‘557,087: Seattle’, Artforum, vol.8, no.3, November 1969, pp.64– 67, and reproduced in this volume, pp.244–47. Lippard excerpts these and further sentences from the interview, in order to respond to them, in L.R. Lippard, Six Years, op. cit., p.111.
  • Ibid .
  • Ibid .
  • See, for instance, the letter from L.R. Lippard to Gene Beery, 4 June 1969, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘955,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • See Michael Asher, Michael Asher Writings 1973–1983 on Works 1969–1979 (ed. B.H.D. Buchloh), Halifax and Los Angeles: The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and Museum of Contemporary Art, 1983, p.12.
  • Ibid ., p.13.
  • Ibid. Immediately following his installation in Seattle, Asher participated in MoMA’s landmark exhibition ‘Spaces’, curated by Jennifer Licht, which included the work of Franz Erhard Walther, Robert Morris, Larry Bell and Dan Flavin, all of whom were in dialogue with Lippard.
  • Ibid.
  • ‘Letter from Fred Sandback to Lucy Lippard’, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/ ‘955,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • LeWitt’s proposed painted square was deemed too hard to repaint after the exhibition and was vetoed by the administration. In a letter from Jan Dibbets to Seth Siegelaub, the artist gives instructions for the making of ‘a shadow piece’, which went unrealised. ‘Letter from Jan Dibbets to S. Siegelaub’, 28 March 1969, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘955,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • Letter from Ann Focke to L.R. Lippard and S. Siegelaub, 19 September 1969, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘955,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art. All the following details are taken from this letter.
  • Letter from L.R. Lippard to D. Shadboldt, 29 September 1969, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘955,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • Ibid .
  • Land Art was broadcast on Sender Freies Berlin (SFB) on 15 April 1969. Gerry Schum wrote to Lippard, apparently in response to a request from her for information, on 2 July 1969. Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘955,000’: Correspon- dence, Archives of American Art.
  • Letter from Gerry Schum to Gene Youngblood, 29 June 1969, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘955,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art. This letter was written in response to an enquiry by Youngblood, who wanted Schum to author a text representing the programme in his forthcoming book, Expanded Cinema (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1970).
  • It included Marinus Boezem, Sand Fountain (1969); Jan Dibbets, 12 Hours Tide and Object with Correction of Perspective (1969); Barry Flanagan, A Hole in the Sea (1969); Michael Heizer, Coyote (1969); Richard Long, Walking a Straight 10 Mile Line Forward and Back Shooting Every Half Mile (1969); Walter De Maria, Two Lines Three Circles on the Desert (1969); Dennis Oppenheim, Time Track (1969); and Robert Smithson, Fossil Quarry Mirror with Four Mirror Displacements (1969).
  • They included Hollis Frampton, Surface Tension (1968); Ernie Gehr, Reverberation (1969); Ken Jacobs, Soft Rain (1969); George Landow, The Film That Rises to the Surface of Clarified Butter (1968); Paul Sharits, 22 Touching (1969); Michael Snow, Standard Time (1967) and One Second in Montreal (1969); Joyce Wieland, Cat Food (1969); and Wieland and Snow, Dripping Water (1969).
  • Letter from L.R. Lippard to G. Schum, 16 February 1970, Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘955,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art. ‘Information’ (2 July–20 September 1970) included work by Vito Acconci, Carl Andre, Siah Armajani, Keith Arnatt, Art & Language Press, Art & Project, Richard Artschwager, David Askevold, Terry Atkinson, David Bainbridge, John Baldessari, Michael Baldwin, Artur Barrio, Robert Barry, Frederick Barthelme, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Joseph Beuys, Mel Bochner, Bill Bollinger, George Brecht, Stig Broegger, Stanley Brouwn, Daniel Buren, Victor Burgin, Donald Burgy, Ian Burn and Mel Ramsden, James Lee Byars, Jorge Luis Carballa, Christopher Cook, Roger Cutforth, Carlos D’Alessio, Hanne Darboven, Walter De Maria, Jan Dibbets, Gerald Ferguson, Rafael Ferrer, Barry Flanagan, Grupo Frontera, Hamish Fulton, Gilbert & George, Giorno Poetry Systems, Dan Graham, Hans Haacke, Ira Joel Haber, Randy Hardy, Michael Heizer, Hans Hollein, Douglas Huebler, Robert Huot, Peter Hutchinson, Richards Jarden, Stephen Kaltenbach, On Kawara, Joseph Kosuth, Christine Kozlov, John Latham, Barry Le Va, Sol LeWitt, Lucy R. Lippard, Richard Long, Bruce McLean, Cildo Meireles, Marta Minujín, Robert Morris, N.E. Thing Co. Ltd., Bruce Nauman, New York Graphic Workshop, Newspaper, Group OHO, Hélio Oiticica, Yoko Ono, Dennis Oppenheim, Panamarenko, Giulio Paolini, Paul Pechter, Giuseppe Penone, Adrian Piper, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Emilio Prini, Alejandro Puente, Markus Raetz, Yvonne Rainer, Klaus Rinke, Ed Ruscha, J.M. Sanejouand, Richard Sladden, Robert Smithson, Keith Sonnier, Ettore Sottsass Jr., Erik Thygesen, John Van Saun, Guilherme Magalhães Vaz, Bernar Venet, Jeff Wall, Lawrence Weiner and Ian Wilson.
  • In McShine’s catalogue acknowledgments, which stand as both the introduction and curatorial text for the publication, he writes: ‘I especially wish to acknowledge the “presence” in this book of the “critic” Lucy R. Lippard, who also made available to me her “information” on so many of the people represented here.’ See K. McShine (ed.), Information, op. cit., p.137. Note that Lippard is included in the list of artists for the exhibition, on the title page of the catalogue.
  • L.R. Lippard in conversation with the author, August 2010. In May 1970, Lippard sent a postcard from Spain to McShine with the opening line ‘The list is great. Glad a lot of those people are in (Canadians, etc.). What happened to David Lamelas?’ See ‘Lucy Lippard’, Artist File for ‘Information’, Series IV, 53, Kynaston McShine ‘Information’ Exhibition Research, Museum of Modern Art Archives, 1970. Lippard’s novel I See/You Mean was published by Chrysalis Books, Los Angeles in 1979.
  • Kynaston McShine wrote to William Lieberman, then Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA, on 17 November 1969, about his intention to visit ‘955,000’, because it would be ‘dealing with many of the concepts that I hope to deal with in June’ (when ‘Information’ would open), and would therefore allow him to ‘not only see her show and some of the problems of its installation, but also many of the artists whom I shall probably use’. Letter from K. McShine to W. Lieberman, ‘Articles by and References to Lippard’, ‘Information’ Exhibition Research, Museum of Modern Art Archives, 1970.
  • Four names plus the curator’s appear in the artists’ list for Seattle but not Vancouver. However, this is because they each installed elements of Daniel Buren’s work for ‘557,087’: Robert Dootson, Anne Gerber, Lucy R. Lippard, Thomas Maytham and Polly Rawn.
  • Letter from L.R. Lippard to D. Shadbolt, 21 February 1969, Lippard Archives, ‘955,000’, Archives of American Art.
  • Ibid.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Imagine Being Here Now: Towards a Multicentered Exhibition Process’, paper presented at The Falmouth Convention, Falmouth, Cornwall, 20 May 2010, available at: lucy-lippard (last accessed on 31 May 2012).
  • See Coosje van Bruggen (ed.), John Baldessari (exh. cat.), Los Angeles and New York: Museum of Contemporary Art and Rizzoli, 1990, pp.44–47.
  • Regarding Smithson’s photographic piece for ‘557,087’, see Robert Sobieszek, ‘Montages, Grids and Alagons’, in R. Sobieszek (ed.), Robert Smithson: Photo Works (exh. cat.), Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1993, pp.23–27.
  • For information on Glue Pour and Smithson’s time in Vancouver, see Grant Arnold (ed.), Robert Smithson in Vancouver: A Fragment of a Greater Fragmentation (exh. cat.), Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery, 2003, pp.43–44.
  • File 7: Correspondence from September 1969, Museum of Modern Art Archives, 1970. In letters the following summer, Siegelaub is in correspondence with Charles Harrison about installing the exhibition ‘When Attitudes Become Form’ at the ICA in London.
  • For more on the relationship between Lippard and Siegelaub, see the conversation between the latter and Jo Melvin in this volume, pp.250–62.
  • 19 May–19 June 1969. See Siegelaub Archives, Box 4, File 73, Museum of Modern Art Archives; and also L.R. Lippard, Six Years, op. cit., p.98.
  • 19 May–19 June 1969. See Siegelaub Archives, Box 4, File 73, Museum of Modern Art Archives; and also L.R. Lippard, Six Years, op. cit., p.98.
  • In ‘Curating by Numbers’, Lippard says her numbers shows ‘weren’t nearly as innovative as Siegelaub’s dematerialised exhibitions’, specifically referencing his The Xerox Book (with John, later Jack, Wendler, 1968) and the ‘One Month’, or ‘March 1969’, show (1969) – the first exhibition to exist in catalogue form alone. The four artists included in The Xerox Book (Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris and Lawrence Weiner) and eighteen of the 24 involved in ‘March 1969’ (Terry Atkinson, Michael Baldwin, Robert Barry, Rick Barthelme, N.E. Thing Co., James Lee Byars, John Chamberlain, Ron Cooper, Barry Flanagan, Alex Hay, Douglas Huebler, Robert Huot, Stephen Kaltenbach, Joseph Kosuth, Christine Kozlov, Richard Long, Robert Morris, Claes Oldenburg, Dennis Oppenheim, Allen Ruppersberg, Robert Smithson, De Wain Valentine, Lawrence Weiner and Ian Wilson) also participated in ‘955,000’.
  • P. Plagens, Sunshine Muse: Contemporary Art on the West Coast 1945–1970, New York: Praeger, 1974, p.89.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Eccentric Abstraction’, Changing, op. cit., p.99.
  • See L.R. Lippard, Six Years, op. cit., p.8.
  • Attachment to a letter from Morrie Alhadeff to L.R. Lippard, 2 July 1969, ‘557,089’/‘955,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • Foreword to the exhibition catalogue for ‘3,025’, as seen in Lippard Archives, ‘557,089’/‘955,000’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • Lippard emphasised that the relationship to New York was now of less interest than the specificity of exhibition’s location in a letter to D. Shadbolt, 4 June 1969, Vancouver Art Gallery Archives, file #1517, ‘955,000’, 1970.
  • See L.R. Lippard, The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society, New York: The New Press, 1997.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Imagine Being Here Now’, op. cit.
  • From photocopies of visitor comment sheets sent to L.R. Lippard in January 1970, file #1517 ‘955,000’, Vancouver Art Gallery Archives.
  • Whether or not these artists interested Lippard, their work was visible in New York at the time, and their documentary images arguably functioned like Thomas Cole’s landscape paintings in the nineteenth century, showing the wilderness of the West for the East Coast viewer.
  • L.R. Lippard, From the Center: Feminist Essays on Women’s Art, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1976, colophon.
  • Ibid. , p.4.
  • S. Zane, ‘Interview with Lucy Lippard’, op. cit., pp.49–50.
  • Lippard was in Spain, staying at the house of Jean Clay. Note from L.R. Lippard to the author, 24 March 2012.
  • Johnson, Miller and Ringgold had already started working and invited Lippard to join them in autumn 1970, for what would become the Ad Hoc Women Artist’s Committee. Note from L.R. Lippard to the author, 24 March 2012.
  • See Lawrence Alloway, ‘Robert Smithson’s Development,’ Artforum, vol.11, no.3, November 1972, p.54. Smithson described Passaic as ‘that kind of New Jersey ambience where everything is chewed up. New Jersey is like a kind of destroyed California, a derelict California’. Smithson in converation with Gianni Pettena, 25 January 1972, in R. Smithson, The Writings of Robert Smithson (ed. Nancy Holt), New York: New York University Press, 1979, p.187.
  • Craig Owens, ‘Earthwords’, Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power, and Culture, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992, pp.45–46 and 50.
  • For further discussion of East Coast/West Coast, see James Meyer, ‘Another Minimalism’, in A. Goldstein and L.G. Mark (ed.), A Minimal Future: Art as Object, 1958–1968 (exh. cat.), Los Angeles, Cambridge, MA and London: Museum of Contemporary Art and The MIT Press, 2004, pp.32–49. Lippard first saw East Coast/West Coast fifty or so years after it was made. Note from L.R. Lippard to the author, 24 March 2012.
  • ‘Earth Art’, Andrew Dickson White Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 11 February–16 March 1969. The exhibition included work by Jan Dibbets, Hans Haacke, Neil Jenney, Richard Long, David Medalla, Robert Morris, Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Smithson and Gunther Uecker. Walter De Maria and Michael Heizer participated in the project but eventually withdrew their work.
  • Letter from L.R. Lippard to D. Shadbolt, 21 February 1969, file #1517, ‘955,000’, 1970, Vancouver Art Gallery Archives.
  • Letter from L.R. Lippard to D. Shadbolt, 21 February 1969, file #1517, ‘955,000’, 1970, Vancouver Art Gallery Archives.
  • L.R. Lippard, Six Years , op. cit. , p.111.
  • See L.R. Lippard in conversation with Ursula Meyer, December 1969, published in L.R. Lippard, Six Years, op. cit., p.6. Julia Bryan-Wilson gives an account of Lippard’s trip to Argentina and her subsequent antiwar exhibitions, curated between 1968 and 1970, in Art Workers, op. cit., pp.132–38. Pip Day gives a detailed account of the Argentinean artistic context of the time and Lippard’s activities in the country in this volume, pp.78–97.
  • With Glusberg, Lippard met some of the members of the Rosario Group, who were at Tucumán at the time. She went on alone to Peru – to Lima, Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Note from L.R. Lippard to the author, 24 March 2012.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Escape Attempts’, Six Years, op. cit., p.ix.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Absentee Information’, from an unpaginated draft version of the published text, Artist File for ‘Information’, Series IV, 53, Kynaston McShine ‘Information’ Exhibition Research, Museum of Modern Art Archives, 1970.
  • Ibid.
  • Ibid.
  • L.R. Lippard in conversation with the author, August 2010.
  • Quoted in Russell Lynes, ‘Living Dangerously in the Seventies’, Good Old Modern: An Intimate Portrait of The Museum of Modern Art, New York: Atheneum, 1973, p.441. While Lynes does not use footnotes in his book, he says that Lippard’s quote is from three years prior to his publication.
  • Quoted in Russell Lynes, ‘Living Dangerously in the Seventies’, Good Old Modern: An Intimate Portrait of The Museum of Modern Art, New York: Atheneum, 1973, p.441. While Lynes does not use footnotes in his book, he says that Lippard’s quote is from three years prior to his publication.
  • Ibid ., p.1. The only analysis of I See/You Mean that exists, to the author’s knowledge, is in J.A. Kaufman, ‘The Sixties: Gendering Critical Perception’, op. cit., pp.66–78.
  • See L.R. Lippard, ‘Change and Criticism: Consistency and Small Minds’, Changing, op. cit., pp.23–24.
  • Ibid ., particulary pp.25 and 29.
  • See L.R. Lippard, ‘Changing Since Changing’, op. cit., p.4. She has repeated this in a number of texts and public talks since the mid-1970s.
  • Ibid ., p.4.
  • Ibid ., p.3.
  • From a conversation with the author, August 2011.
  • See Julia Kristeva, ‘Women’s Time’ (1979, trans. Alice Jardine and Harry Blake), Signs, vol.7, no.1, Autumn 1981, pp.13–35.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Art Workers’ Coalition: Not a History’, Studio International, vol.180, no.927, November 1970, pp.171–74.
  • Siegelaub Archives, Miscellaneous Files, Amsterdam #7, 3/8, Museum of Modern Art Archives. See also Siegelaub interviewed by Jo Melvin, in this volume, pp.250–62.
  • Siegelaub Archives, Miscellaneous Files, Amsterdam #7, 3/8, Museum of Modern Art Archives.
  • S. Zane, ‘Interview with Lucy Lippard’, op. cit., p.49.
  • Linda Nochlin, ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’, ARTnews, no.69, January 1971, pp.22–39, 67–71.
  • See Rosalind Krauss and Yve-Alain Bois, Formless: A User’s Guide, New York: Zone Books, 1997; and R. Krauss, ‘“Informe” without Conclusion’, October, vol.78, Fall 1996, pp.89–105.
  • See L.R. Lippard, ‘Eccentric Abstraction’, op. cit.
  • ‘Erotic Art ’66’, Sidney Janis Gallery, 3–29 October 1966. The exhibition featured works by Arman, Enrique Castro-Cid, Jim Dine, Öyvind Fahlström, Martin Hoffman, Allen Jones, Ronald Kitaj, Yves Klein, Richard Lindner, Marisol, Larry Rivers, Mimmo Rotella, James Rosenquist, George Segal, Saul Steinberg, Harold Stevenson, Andy Warhol, Robert Watts, Tom Wesselman and Robert Whitman. A catalogue of the same title was published by the gallery. The New York Teachers Art Dealers Association exhibition, according to Joyce Greller (whose work was included in the show), was titled ‘Heterox Is’. It took place at the NYCATA Gallery, opening on 4 December 1966, and included works by Arthur Bardo, Barbara Bluestain, Al DiLauro, Rosalyn Drexler, Don Dugga, Irene Duggs, Charlie Frazier, Mordi Gerstein, Joyce Greller, Walter Gutman, June Hildebrand, Mario Jorin, Robert Rapulis, Joe Roman, Dick Ruben, Bob Stanley, Sherman Stark, Anita Steckel, Tomi Ungerer, Hannah Wilke and others. See Joyce Greller, ‘Aesthetical Fuck’, The East Village Other, 15 December 1966; reprinted in Jerry Hopkins (ed.), The Hippie Papers: Notes from the Underground Press, New York: New American Library, 1968, pp.135–36; also available at (last accessed on 31 May 2012
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Eros Presumptive’, The Hudson Review, vol.20, no.1, Spring 1967, p.91. Another clipping in her archive contains a swipe at her own devotion to abstraction as prudish. Reviewing the ‘Erotic Art ’66’ show in the Evergreen Review – a periodical that was, throughout the 1960s, a stalwart for a Marcusian articulation of political and sexual liberation – Douglas M. Davis refers to Lippard’s ‘Eros Presumptive’: ‘Lucy Lippard, while arguing the superiority of abstract over direct eroticism, reaches the incredible conclusion that realism in such matters doesn’t turn us on (come now, Lucy) […] Alas for poor Lucy Lippard, the use of eroticism in the arts is sure to become even blunter and more direct in time […] There are generational lessons, I am afraid, in all of this. Most of the older critics find it difficult to admit that anything can be both erotic and a work of art.’ D.M. Davis, ‘The New Eroticism’, Evergreen Review, no.58, September 1968, p.53. The clipping is in Lippard Archives, Box 12/58, Alphabetical Files: Erotic Art. There are also photographs from an exhibition titled ‘Arena of Love’ at the Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles, 5 January–1 February 1965.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Eccentric Abstraction’, op. cit., p.99
  • Ibid ., p.111.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Issue and Taboo’, The Pink Glass Swan, op. cit., p.155. Lippard used this phrase in 1971 in a text on Eva Hesse to describe the artist’s peers. While organising ‘Eccentric Abstraction’, she is clearly in dialogue with some works in the ‘Primary Structures’ exhibition of Minimal sculpture at The Jewish Museum, which opened in the spring of 1966, a few months before Lippard’s exhibition opening in the autumn. Lippard worked with McShine on ‘Primary Structures’, selecting some of the works, and they named the show together. Note from L.R. Lippard to the author, 24 March 2012.
  • See, for example, Arnold Wells, ‘Raw Sex Art Exhibit’, The National Insider, 19 March 1967.
  • The exhibition was on view from 18 April to 13 June 1971.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Prefaces to Catalogues of Three Women’s Exhibitions’, From the Center, op. cit., pp.38–55; reprinted in The Pink Glass Swan, op. cit., pp.50 and 52.
  • I have Lea Vergine, VALIE EXPORT and Annemarie Sauzeau Boetti particularly in mind here, all prominent organisers of all-women exhibitions in Europe, who championed women artists and claimed feminism to define their practices. See Judith Russi Kirshner, ‘Voices and Images of Italian Feminism’, in C. Butler and L.G. Mark (ed.), WACK!, op. cit., pp.385–99.
  • It was on view from 17 November 1972 to 14 January 1973, and later toured to the Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center Gallery in Fredonia, New York, were it ran from 19 January to 18 February 1973.
  • At CalArts, ‘c.7,500’ took place at Gallery A-402 from 14 to 18 May 1973. The tour schedule was: The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT, 19 June–31 July 1973; Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, 21 September–9 October 1973; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 16 November–16 December 1973; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 23 December 1973–14 January 1974; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA, 17 January–10 February 1974; 48 Earlham Street, London, 8–26 April 1974; A.I.R. Gallery, New York, 1–15 June 1974; And/Or Gallery, Seattle, 19 September–6 October 1974; and Vassar College Art Gallery, Poughkeepsie, NY, 16 October–14 November, 1974.
  • For a history, see Jenny Sorkin and Linda Theung, ‘Selected Chronology of All Women Group Exhibitions 1943–1983’, in C. Butler and L.G. Mark (ed.), WACK!, op. cit., pp.473–99. By 1976, Lippard herself commented on the usefulness of all-women exhibitions. See ‘Prefaces to Catalogues of Three Women’s Exhibitions’, op. cit., p.53.
  • Eleanor Antin and Mierle Laderman Ukeles are just two artists based in the US whose work examined domestic and maternal labour to problematise culturally fixed notions of women’s work within the home. See interviews in this volume, respectively pp.264–66 and pp.280–88. In the UK, Mary Kelly and Margaret Harrison, in their individual practices and with the Berwick Street Film Collective, addressed issues of parity in the work force, among others.
  • Siegelaub Archives, File 11: Art Workers Coalition, Museum of Modern Art Archives.
  • Ibid. Lippard’s remarks were delivered at the meeting ‘An Open Public Hearing on the Subject: What should be the program of the Art Workers regarding museum reform and to establish the program of an open art workers coalition’. Lippard put most of her energy into the ‘Action Committee’ and the ‘Decentralization Committee’. Note from L.R. Lippard to the author, 24 March 2012.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Why Separate Women’s Art?’, Art and Artists, vol.8, no.7, October 1973, p.8.
  • Letter from L.R. Lippard to Harald Szeemann, 3 July 1972, reprinted in Tobia Bezzola and Roman Kurzmeyer (ed.), Harald Szeemann – with by through because towards despite: Catalogue of All Exhibitions 1957–2005, Zürich, Vienna and New York: Edition Voldemeer and Springer Wien, 2007, p.365. The letter was copied to Gloria Steinem (Ms.); John Coplans (Artforum); Betsy Baker (ARTnews); Hilton Kramer (The New York Times); Judy Chicago (WEB, or West-East Bag); Ad Hoc Women Artists Committee; Women in the Arts; Feminist Journal; Der Spiegel; and other publications and organisations.
  • See, for example, L.R. Lippard, ‘Sexual Politics: Art Style’, Art in America, vol.59, no.5, September 1971; the original, longer version is printed in L.R. Lippard, From the Center, op. cit., pp.28–37, and in L.R. Lippard, The Pink Glass Swan, op. cit., pp.42–49.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘New York Times IV’, op. cit., p.197.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘The Feminist Future: Theory and Practice in the Visual Arts’ symposium, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 26 January 2007.
  • Letter from L.R. Lippard to Helen Winer, 20 November 1972, Lippard Archives ‘c.7,500’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • Letter from L.R. Lippard to Christiane Möbus, 29 January 1973, Lippard Archives ‘c.7,500’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art. On the same day she also wrote about the title to artist Suzanne Lacy: ‘I guess the show should be called “c.7,500” as a compromise between 7,000 and 8,000 for Valencia. I rather like the “circa”.’ Letter from L.R. Lippard to S. Lacy, 29 January 1973, Lippard Archives ‘c.7,500’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • It is interesting to note that in Alexander Alberro and Blake Stimson’s Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology (Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 1999), arguably still the authoritative compendium on Conceptual art’s primary documents, Lippard is represented with three texts: ‘The Demater- ialization of Art’, co-authored with John Chandler (pp.46–50); her introduction to the ‘557,087’ catalogue (pp.178–85); and the postface to Six Years (pp.294– 95). No writing connected to ‘c.7,500’, her only explicitly Conceptual project, was included.
  • L.R. Lippard in conversation with the author, August 2010.
  • Press release draft, 9 May 1973, Lippard Archives, ‘c.7,500’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • ‘Lee Lozano was long gone out of the scene by then.’ Note from L.R. Lippard to the author, 24 March 2012.
  • Ulrike Nolden (now Rosenbach), one of the artists included, suggested that Rebecca Horn and Hilla Becher might take part in the exhibition. Becher responded by postcard to Lippard’s invitation to participate, saying that her husband and collaborator Bernd Becher did not want to be part of the show and that she therefore was opting out (Lippard was open to his inclusion, as she was to Iain Baxter’s as part of N.E. Thing Co.). Letter from U. Nolden to L.R. Lippard, undated, Lippard Archives, ‘c.7,500’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art. The interesting problem of the male collaborator is a sub-narrative in the history of feminist art. There are a few noteworthy examples of men who publicly supported women artists and their cause, or did so behind the scenes, including Lawrence Alloway, the critic and husband of Sylvia Sleigh, and Paul Brach, husband of Miriam Shapiro and president of CalArts, who invited Judy Chicago and the Feminist Art Program to make a home there.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘Yvonne Rainer on Feminism and Her Film’, From the Center, op. cit., pp.266–67.
  • Ibid ., p.267.
  • Letter from Christiane Möbus to L.R. Lippard, 8 January 1973, Lippard Archives, ‘c.7,500’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • Letter from C. Möbus to L.R. Lippard, 12 December 1972, Lippard Archives, ‘c.7,500’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • Letter from Suzanne Kuffler to L.R. Lippard, 7 June (no year), Lippard ‘c.7,500’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • Letters from S. Kuffler to L.R. Lippard, 10 and 26 October 1972, Lippard Archives, ‘c.7,500’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • Ibid .
  • Letter from L.R. Lippard to H. Winer, 20 November 1972, Lippard Archives, ‘c.7,500’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art. Winer was director and curator at the Pomona College Museum of Art from autumn 1970 to spring 1972, where she organised exhibitions by Bas Jan Ader, John Baldessari, Ger van Elk, Jack Goldstein, Joe Goode, William Leavitt, John McCracken, Ed Moses, Allen Ruppersberg and William Wegman. In the cases of Goldstein and Wegman, these were their first solo exhibitions.
  • Letter from H. Winer to L.R. Lippard, 4 December 1972, Lippard Archives, ‘c.7,500’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • The works of N.E. Thing Co., Bernadette Mayer and Eleanor Antin did not arrive in time for the five-day show, and Hanne Darboven’s arrived late in the mail.
  • Letter from L.R. Lippard to Anthony Stokes, 30 March 1974, Lippard Archives, ‘c.7,500’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art. Stokes was at that time running Garage gallery in Earlham Street in Covent Garden. According to Roszika Parker’s account, published in Spare Rib, curator RoseLee Goldberg, then based in London, tried to bring the exhibition to the Royal College of Art, but the institution ‘refused to supply the small space and meagre sum of money required for it’. R. Parker, ‘Art of course has no sex, but artists do’, Spare Rib, no.25, 1974, pp.34– 35; reprinted in R. Parker and Griselda Pollock (ed.), Framing Feminism: Art and The Women’s Movement 1970–1985, London: Rivers Oram Press, 1995, pp.194–96.
  • P. Plagens, ‘557,087: Seattle’, op. cit.
  • Letter from L.R. Lippard to ‘Steve’, 2 February 1973, Lippard Archives, ‘c.7,500’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • Letter from S. Kuffler to L.R. Lippard, 8 February 1973, Lippard Archives, ‘c.7,500’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • The collaborative art environment made by twenty women artists was open to the public from 30 January to 28 February 1972, and was seen by approximately 9,000 visitors. See Arelene Raven, ‘Womanhouse’, in Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard (ed.), The Power of Feminist Art, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994, pp.48–65.
  • ‘Our methodology of arriving at imagery defied the high modernist (Greenber- gian) banishment of non-formal content – be it literary, political or personal.’ Faith Wilding, ‘The Feminist Art Programs at Fresno and CalArts, 1970–1975’, inibid., p.42.
  • Ibid ., p.45.
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘What Is Female Imagery?’, Ms., vol.3, no.11, May 1975; reprinted in L.R. Lippard, From the Center, op. cit., p.81.
  • Letter from L.R. Lippard to S. Kuffler, 28 May 1973, Lippard Archives, ‘c.7,500’: Correspondence, Archives of American Art.
  • L.R. Lippard, introductory index card, in L.R. Lippard (ed.), c.7,500 (exh. cat.), self-published, 1973, unnumbered card.
  • Ibid .
  • L.R. Lippard, ‘New York Times IV’, op. cit., p.197.
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