press release

History of Disappearance examines the role of the institution in relation to the practice of live art, and the importance of recording and preserving this art form. The show offers a rare opportunity to view documentation of a diverse collection of time-based works from the fertile time in avant-garde art history during the 70s, the politically volatile time of the 80s, through to the early 90s and artists’ use of the Internet as an art medium and venue in the new millennium. The show comprises video footage, artists’ books, on-line works, artefacts from the archive and a new commission.

The exhibition draws on the wealth of experience of Franklin Furnace, a New York-based arts organisation established in 1976, to chronicle the transformation of live art from a form that is temporary into one that is preserved. History of Disappearance includes works by major international artists including Eleanor Antin, the Blue Man Group, Patty Chang, Coco Fusco, Karen Finley, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Ana Mendieta, Linda Montano, Matt Mullican, Claes Oldenburg, Reverend Billy and William Wegman.

Highlights of the exhibition include Swimming the Mississippi by Billy X. Curmano - an artist most widely recognised for eccentric performances such as being buried alive for three days, and becoming the first person in recorded history to swim from the source of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. Footage from The Crawl Project by William Pope.L from one of his famous street crawls alongside Reverend Billy’s peaceful protests against Starbucks and The Disney Store. Andrea Fraser offers an incisive and humorous guided tour through the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Museum Highlights: A Gallery Talk and Tehching Hsieh’s One Year Performance 1980 – 1981 informally known as the Time Piece where the artist punched a time clock, every hour on the hour, twenty-four hours a day, for an entire year.

A new commission is being produced for BALTIC by Britta Wheeler taking the form of a wall painting which maps the history of performance art and its institutionalisation. The exhibition will also include the C-Series artists’ books collection curated by Courtney J. Martin which presents works by collectives, community-based groups and individual artists working within various ideological stances, alongside a varied selection of ephemera from Franklin Furnace.

History of Disappearance forms part of BALTIC’s on-going programme of progressive live and performance art events and coincides with navigate - a four day festival of live art taking place from 30 June - 3 July. An accompanying seminar and a day of performances is taking place in collaboration with this exhibition.


History of Disappearance - Live Art from New York 1975-Present
Work selected from the Archives of Franklin Furnace

mit Eleanor Antin, Reverend Billy, Blue Man Group, Patty Chang, Coco Fusco, Karen Finley, Andrea Fraser, Coco Fusco, Jenny Holzer, Tehching Hsieh, Barbara Kruger, Ana Mendieta, Linda Montano, Susan Mogul, Linda Montano, Claes Oldenburg, William Pope L., Matt Mullican, William Wegman, u.a.