The storied avant-garde performance art nonprofit Franklin Furnace has relocated to the Pratt Institute campus under an agreement that will see the organization “nest” at the institution on a long-term basis. The deal affords the public continued access to Franklin Furnace’s extensive archives, which will migrate to the Pratt library after initially being housed in a dedicated on-campus office. Franklin Furnace moved into the space at Pratt on December 6; most recently based in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, the organization had been nomadic since it sold its Tribeca location in 1996.
“We started thinking about [the partnership with Pratt] in 2011, approaching my 65th birthday, and the board got a grant to look at long-term models for a sustainable future,” artist and Franklin Furnace founder Martha Wilson told Hyperallergic. According to Wilson, the “small, in-your-face arts organization” she created in 1976 then decided to pursue a “nesting” relationship with “a larger, hopefully educational edifice”: Pratt. The decision accompanied the university’s announcement of a new Master of Fine Arts program in performance and performance studies, which is launching in 2016 and will focus on the type of work for which Franklin Furnace has long been known.
The deal, spearheaded by Wilson and Franklin Furnace board chair Coco Fusco, coincides with a separate, ongoing initiative that will see the digitization of much of their archives. A National Endowment for the Humanities grant was procured in 2009 to digitize the first 10 years of the organization’s archives, with two further grants pending for the following two decades. “The goal is to be able to do research all by yourself online,” Wilson said.
Andrew W. Barnes, dean of of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Pratt, announced the nesting agreement in a November 4 newsletter to faculty and staff. Barnes told Hyperallergic that the terms of the partnership consist of a preliminary five-year agreement during which the fit of the two institutions will be assessed as Franklin Furnace negotiates the process of permanently integrating its archives with the Pratt library.
“We haven’t put a timeline on when the [library] migration happens, because it’s up to Franklin Furnace to determine the condition of archive and where it will fit into environmental conditions of library, hopefully within the five-year window of the initial agreement,” Barnes said.
The primary Franklin Furnace collection of 13,500 artists books is currently housed at the Museum of Modern Art’s Queens archive facility. Sold to MoMA in 1993, those volumes comprised first and second copies, with third copies left in Franklin Furnace’s possession. Wilson estimates that this tertiary set encompasses 2,000 unique items — not all titles had third copies — describing it as a “teaching collection” that need not be treated with the same level of archival care accorded to the primary collection at MoMA. (The second copies were, per Wilson, sold by MoMA to “float the deal.”)
The new relationship with Pratt will also prompt joint initiatives between the two organizations. “In addition to the archives, we’ll be working together on artist projects, either doing joint grants to organizations or funding artists and artworks on or outside campus,” Barnes said. “They’re going to continue doing their independent work, but we will try to collaborate.”
Performing Franklin Furnace, an exhibition spanning Franklin Furnace’s 40-year history organized by Independent Curators International, will be on view at Pratt’s 14th street gallery in Manhattan from February 20 through April 20, 2015.
Did You Know These Museums Were Free for New Yorkers?
The “Free Admission” campaign is advocating to make ticket pricing information more transparent to visitors, who may be confused or misled by institutions’ language.
AI Images Visualizing Trump’s Arrest Send Internet Into a Frenzy
The pictures, created using Midjourney, depict the former president’s greatest fantasy: being dragged away by police in front of the cameras.
Haggerty Museum of Art Presents Tomás Saraceno in Dialogue With Dr. Somesh Roy
The artist and researcher will explore soot’s effects on climate change and public health in this online conversation.
Some AI Artworks Now Eligible for Copyright
New guidance from the US Copyright Office sets some policies around AI-generated images.
NYC Hispanic Society Workers to Strike Indefinitely
One worker said the museum’s “skeletal” workforce bars the institution from functioning to its potential.
McKnight Visual Artist Fellows Discussion Series at the Minneapolis Institute of Art
The series features 2021 Fellows David Bowen, Mara Duvra, Rotem Tamir, Ben Moren, and Dyani White Hawk in conversation with renowned curators and critics.
In Search of Inclusive South Asian Futurisms
We have been dangerously siloed for far too long by colonial constructs of race, nation, and time that separate, divide, and deny us our very being.
What Do Shtreimels and Cowboy Hats Have in Common?
A chance meeting on the subway introduced photographer Francesca Magnani to the multicultural world of Brooklyn milliner Richard Faison.
Nevada Museum of Art Presents Adaline Kent: The Click of Authenticity
For the first time in nearly 60 years, the innovative yet under-recognized artist is the subject of a retrospective exhibition. On view in Reno, Nevada.
Richard Hull Completes the Picture
Once known for his abstracted portraits, the Chicago artist is now exploring new directions.
You Too Can Have Your Art on a Postage Stamp
The process isn’t complicated, and thousands of people submit themselves for the talent pool every year.
The Public Theater in NYC Presents Plays for the Plague Year
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’s theatrical concert chronicles the 2020 lockdown and the hope and perseverance that emerged from it.
Bobby Wilson Combats Indigenous Stereotypes Through Humor
The artist-performer’s career undulates, ever so gracefully, across multiple mediums and registers of generational pain, healing laughter, and Indigenous joy.
Rare 19th-Century Silhouette Album’s Secrets Unlocked
Traveling portrait artist William Bache’s album depicts famous figures like Thomas Jefferson as well as people whose identity was previously unknown.