I love history. I never get to do as much research as I want to. To feed my craving as well as to supplement my reporting for The Stranger, I started writing for HistoryLink.org this year and the first project I took on involved diving into cardboard-box archives at the UW Special Collections Library to write about a legendary arts organization. The organization was and/or. It was founded by artists in the now-seemingly-halcyon days of the 1970s, then killed by its founders—who never wanted it to become an institution—in the 1980s.
And/or brought everybody to Seattle to show. Its roster of artists—visual, music, and performing—is nuts:
An alphabetized sampling of those based outside Seattle: Vito Acconci (b. 1940), Kathy Acker (1948-1997), John Adams (b. 1947), Judy Baca (b. 1946), John Baldessari (b. 1931), Lynda Benglis (b. 1941), Robert Bly (b. 1926), Chris Burden (b. 1946), Germano Celant (b. 1940), Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker (now director of the Frye Art Museum in Seattle), Constance DeJong (b. 1950), Agnes Denes (b. 1931), Philip Glass (b. 1937), Hans Haacke (b. 1936), Alanna Heiss (b. 1943), Gary Hill (b. 1951) (before he moved to Seattle in 1985 to establish the video program at Cornish College of the Arts), Nancy Holt (b. 1938), Robert Irwin (b. 1928), Ed Kienholz (1927-1994), Nancy Reddin Kienholz (b. 1943), Rem Koolhaas (b. 1944), Suzanne Lacy (b. 1945), George Maciunas (1931-1978), Tom Marioni (b. 1937), Meredith Monk (b. 1942), N.E. Thing Co., Pauline Oliveros (b. 1932), Nam June Paik (1932-2006), Adrian Piper (b. 1948), Martha Rosler (b. 1943), Royal Chicano Air Force, Morton Subotnick (b. 1933), Marcia Tucker (1940-2006), Mierle Laderman Ukeles (b. 1939), Stan VanDerBeek (1927-1984), Steina Vasulka (b. 1940), Bill Viola (b. 1951), Jackie Winsor (b. 1941), Krzysztof Wodiczko (b. 1943).
Those people all showed in Seattle in those days, and most also visited, because and/or put a premium on artists actually showing up. Of course, there's also an impressive list of Seattle artists involved with and/or in my full HistoryLink story on and/or's life and death, which was originally published back in June. I thought maybe it would make a good holiday-season read, or a decent bookmark for some slow period later. Nerds forever.