Size: 8 sound files (5 hr.,4 min.), digital, wav; 88 Pages, Transcript
Summary: An interview with Martha Wilson conducted 2017 May 17-18, by Liza Zapol, for the Archives of American Art at Wilson's home, in Brooklyn, New York.
Wilson speaks of growing up in Philadelphia area on a houseboat; moving to Newtown, Pennsylvania to live with her grandparents; her Pennsylvania Quaker upbringing, philosophy and family lineage; her experiences rejecting Quakerism as a teenager; her school and camp experiences; her mother's background as an artist; the history of Native Americans in Newtown; her father's family, character, and sexual abuse; her studies in Nova Scotia and her transition from studying English Literature to her inclusion at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD); her early works, such as Breast Forms Permutated, and her drag pieces; the treatment of women at NSCAD and her identification as a feminist performance artist, inclusion in c. 7500 and relationship to Lucy Lippard; using her body in Conceptual Art; the influence of Erving Goffman in her understanding of performance; moving to New York; her interest and work in performance art and Artists' Books; decision to move to New York; working in publishing and learning organizational systems; the founding of Franklin Furnace; her home and real estate conflicts in Brooklyn and protesting the Atlantic Yards Barclay Center development in Brooklyn; the development of Tribeca in 1976 and collaboration with other art spaces. Spreading of the arts spaces to East Village and Chelsea in the early 1980s; the management of Franklin Furnace as an extension of her artistic career; the creation of Disband and their collaborative; the creation of her political characters: Alexander Plague, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Tipper Gore, Donald Trump; the way she approaches characters; audience reactions; the decision to go virtual with Franklin Furnace, and conflict with the board; being a member of the Guerrilla Girls; the use of humor; the process of working by concensus; the conflicts within the Guerrilla Girls about hierarchy, race, debates about mission of the Guerrilla Girls; her performance as Michelle Obama; institutional and NEA responses to Franklin Furnace in the 1970s and 1980s; the professionalization of the arts spaces; the "NEA Four" and fighting for freedom of expression; the lineage of Performance Art and the lineage of the avant-garde; her son's birth and meeting her partner; current work of Franklin Furnace at Pratt.Wilson also recalls: Simone Forti, David Askevold, Vito Acconci, Margaret Kaplan, Printed Matter, Exit Art, Diane Torr, Barbara Kruger, Jacki Apple, among others.