Photo Essays

Highlights From the PAD/D Archive

10.Fight Speculation
A stencil designed by Michael Anderson (all photographs by the author for Hyperallergic except where noted)

Editorial note: This is the second of two posts dedicated to the history of PAD/D (Political Art Documentation & Distribution) an activist group of New York based artists and writers active between 1979–1988.

1.Queens Library Exterior
Exterior of MoMA QNS, Long Island City, New York

Briefly used as the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition space during the renovation and rebuilding of the museum’s Manhattan venue (2002–2004), MoMA QNS now serves as the museum’s storage and archival space.

The PAD/D archive is comprised of over 2,700 items, split into two sections: Regular files made up of documents, flyers, photographs and slides, and large flat files for posters, prints, and stencils.

Aside from material related directly to PAD/D, countless files are dedicated to socially conscious arts organizations active between 1979–1990. Alongside familiar names such as the Guerrilla Girls, Group Material, Gran Fury, and the Art Workers Coalition (AWC), one will discover a myriad of lesser known collectives such as Angry Arts and Carnival Knowledge. Were it not for the efforts of PAD/D, the histories of many of these groups would have gone undocumented. The archive was formally donated to MoMA in 1994 by PAD/D members Barbara Moore and Mimi Smith. The photographs below represent a tiny portion of the archive.

Special thanks to Jennifer Tobias, librarian at the Museum of Modern Art, for her help with my research.

2.Assorted PAD:D files
Assorted archive files
3.PADD:D Card File
The original index system devised by PAD/D members Barbara Moore and Mimi Smith in 1994, has since become part of the archive. Visitors can now search for material using MoMA’s online ‘DADABASE
4.Barbara and Mimi
Barbara Moore (left) and Mimi Smith (right) examine original stencils from the archive
6.Comfort in the Streets
Alfred Martinez, “Comfort ?…in the Streets” (1987), screenprint
6.1 Balance your Brain
Rachael Romero, “New York-Balance Your Brain” (1986), screenprint
8.NFS Logo
The logo of the NFS/Anti-gentrification committee, one of PAD/D’s ten subcommittees
Building Stencil
Anton Van Dalen’s stencil of a burning house. Numerous stencils were used for the NFS Committee’s outdoor exhibits in the Lower East Side


11. NFS Shirt
T-shirt designed by the NFS/Anti-Gentrification committee
Exhibition proposal flyers produced by PAD/D’s “Not For Sale (NFS)/Anti-gentrification committee (click to enlarge)
Exhibition proposal flyers produced by PAD/D’s “Not For Sale (NFS)/Anti-gentrification committee (click to enlarge)
12.New Yorker Magazine
Cover of New York Magazine, May 28, 1984
13.Protest Photography
Assorted protest photographs documenting PAD/D’s “Image War on The Pentagon” project, part of the “Hands Off El Salvador” march in Washington D.C., May 3,1981
14.Death and Taxes Flyer
Flyer for PAD/D’s “Death and Taxes” exhibition, April, 1981.
15.Herb Perr Poster
Poster for PAD/D’s “Death and Taxes” exhibition
16.Tax Dollars
Herb Perr & Irving Wexler, “New Money” (1981)
17.Death and Taxes Opening
Photograph from the opening of “Death and Taxes” at the 345 Gallery, 1981
18.Death and Taxes interior
Interior of the “Death and Taxes” exhibition
19. Letter to PAD:D
One of numerous letters addressed to PAD/D.
19.1 Chicago
Flyer for an exhibition of art work inspired by the “Chicago Conspiracy Trial” of 1969
20.GG letter to LRL
Letter from the Guerrilla Girls to Lucy Lippard (1986). The group admonished Lippard for using the term ‘terrorist’ in an article whilst thanking her for her interest (annotations by Lippard)
21.Jenny Holzer GG
Poster designed by Jenny Holzer for an exhibition curated by the Guerrilla Girls
22.GG letter to MS
Letter from the Guerrilla Girls addressed to PAD/D member Mimi Smith, February 1989
Flyer by Artists Meeting For Cultural Change (AMCC)
24.Angry Ants
Ephemera from an archive file dedicated to ‘Angry Arts’
25.Red Peril
Lucy R. Lippard with lettering by Mike Glier, poster for “Red Peril, the Return of the Anti-commies: From Red-Baiting to Red-Hating in Film 1950 to Now”, a film-screening and panel event, February 1982
26.Acting Out
Lucy R. Lippard, poster for “Acting Out: The First Political Performance Art Series”, held at the Elizabeth Irwin High School, March 1981
Mimi Smith, “No Taxes For Bombs” (1981), xerox poster (courtesy of Mimi Smith)

MoMA QNS (45-20 33 Street in Long Island City, Queens) is open Mondays, 11am–5pm, by prior appointment. 

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