Pioneers of the Downtown Scene
Performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson, choreographer Trisha Brown and artist Gordon Matta-Clark were friends and active participants in the New York art community, working fluidly between visual art and performance.
With the city as their backdrop, canvas, stage and inspiration, this exhibition is the first major presentation to examine the experimental and often daring approaches taken by these three key figures, both individually and collectively, in the burgeoning arts scene in downtown New York during the 1970s.
New York City provided a powerful context for the work of Anderson, Brown and Matta-Clark. On the verge of bankruptcy in the 1970s, the disappearance of manufacturing and other major industries and the withdrawal of public services were turning the city into a centre of widespread unemployment and lawlessness. Artists responded by taking over derelict spaces to make and exhibit their work, by using the city itself as the medium or setting for their work, by creating opportunities to engage directly with the public out of doors and by building a vibrant arts community.
Featuring sculptures, drawings, photographs, documentation of performances and mixed media works, the exhibition focuses on the intersections between their practices and explores their shared concerns – performance, the body, the urban environment and found spaces.