Thursday, December 20, 2012

Aspen Magazine | The Performative Art Issue (#6a)

The Judson Memorial Church, opposite Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, New York City, began what has been called "a radical arts ministry" in the 1950s. The church made space available to artists for exhibitions, rehearsals and performances, free from any form of censorship. In 1957 the church gallery exhibited work by Claes Oldenburg, Jim Dine and Robert Rauschenberg, all unknown at the time. Shortly afterwards Tom Wesselmann, Daniel Spoerri, and Yoko Ono presented projects there, also. Some of the most important figures in contemporary dance (Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, etc.) were part of the Judson Dance Theater, which began in 1962.

Jon Hendricks relocated from Vermont in 1965 to work with the church, primarily as a means to obtain Conscientious Objector status. In 1967, wanting to channel his opposition to the Vietnam War into critical art activism, he organized an event called The Twelve Evenings of Manipulations. Over a period of three weeks various artists would each be given a day to do what whatever they wanted, on the theme of destruction. Running from the 5th of October to the 22nd, the participants included: his brother Geoffrey Hendricks (best known for his involvement in Fluxus, his ritualistic performances and his incredible sky paintings); Geoff’s then-wife Bici Hendricks (an artist affiliated with Fluxus who now goes under the name Nye Ffarrabas); Puerto Rican artist Raphael Montañez Ortiz (who hosted the similarly themed Destruction in Art Symposium at Judson Church the following year), composers Malcolm Goldstein and Philip Corner, Kate Millett (later famous for her 1970 book Sexual Politics), performance artist Carolee Schneemann, activist and mail artist Jean Toche (who co-founded the Guerrilla Art Action Group [or GAAG] with Hendricks), regular collaborators Nam June Paik and Charlotte Mooreman, Allan Kaprow, Al Hansen and many others.

The Judson Gallery released a printed envelope containing loose-sheet documentation works and multiples, as the first and only issue of the Judson Church Art Magazine. The title was shortened from The Twelve Evenings of... to simply Manipulations and the cover was designed by Oritz, whose contribution was an Explode this War in Vietnam bag, which resembled an airline airsickness or ‘barf' bag, covered in media images of the military action in Vietnam. Other works included the bag and toothpick flag by Bici Hendricks, titled Deteriorations; a bag of ashes from Lil Picard’s burning piece; a sky postcard from Geoffrey Henricks; the Judson publications manifesto and notes by Jon Hendricks; a schedule of the 12 Evenings and a photo credits page.

It was released in an edition of 500 copies, produced on the church’s mimeograph. Hendricks insisted it be made available free of charge and when it was reprinted as Aspen 6a the following year, it was also sent to subscribers for free. With a slight alteration to the cover graphic and considerably fewer items, the Aspen version remains one of the most difficult issues to obtain, with copies typically selling for upwards of a thousand dollars.

The contents include:

Peace Object. Notes and collage by Lil Picard, dated 20 October 1967.

Sky/Change. Notes on a projected sky environment by Geoffrey Hendricks, dated Fall 1967. These include the instructions “paint sky on everything, 
project sky everywhere” which Hendricks famously continued doing.

No. Notes for an event arranged by Kate Millett.

Push and Pull: A Furniture Comedy for Hans Hoffman. Description and notes for a performance by Allan Kaprow.

Program Notes for "Soft Transformations." Performance notes by Paik, which closes with the following:

“I am just reluctant to endorse the superficial headlines of newspapers...... same thing goes also to my Opera Sextronique... I would like to call Charlotte Moorman rather a "top-FULL Cellist", although
although I consider my work necessary , her suffering important.  - - - - - - - - -
Critic left before the performance
Photographer came after the performance...
    was my pain in vain ?
           ha  ha  ha”

The Diagram of Projection of "White Calligraphy." Hand written notes and diagram by Takahiko Iimura.

Descriptive letter of our summer in Easthampton. A letter from Ken Jacobs to Jon Hendricks, describing a film experiment.

Viking Dada. Illustrated collage of newsclipping and memos by Al Hansen.

Divisions and Rubble. Performance notes by Carolee Schneemann

Heavy Yoga. Hand-written description of a performance by Steve Rose, dated 28 November 1967.

Destruction Theater Manifesto. Notes and Destruction Theatre Manifesto by Ralph Ortiz.

Labyrinths and Psychological Stress. Notes, scores and visual pieces by Jean Toche.

Deteriorations. Handwritten scores by Bici Hendricks, including the proto-Kay Rosen text work Destiny (see illustration above).

Some Notes. A text by Jon Hendricks, dated 7 February 1969. On the verso, a description of this issue's origin and a list of its contents.

Aspen Magazine
The Performative Art Issue (#6a)
New York City, USA: Roaring Fork Press, 1968
7.5 x 10.5”
Envelope with 14 items.
Edition size unknown.
Edited by Jon Hendricks.

Jon Hendricks (editor)
New York City, USA: A Judson Publication, 1967.
Contents in printed envelope with cover by Ralph Ortiz.
7.5 x 10.5”
Edition of 500

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