Anarchitecture Show

March 9–20, 1974 112 Greene Street/Workshop

Jene Highstien, photo collage of natural spring on Spring Street, in Anarchitecture Show, 1974

Participating Artists

Laurie Anderson
Tina Girouard
Suzanne Harris
Jene Highstein
Bernard Kirschen-Baum
Richard Landry
Gordon Matta-Clark
Richard Nonas

Exhibition Description

With the exception of Richard Nonas and Laurie Anderson, who exhibited drawings, and Jene Highstein who made a photo collage, works shown were in 16×20″ photographic format. The works were presented anonymously, and the show represented the culmination of ideas and thinking formulated during weekly discussions throughout the year prior to the exhibition. Jene Highstein recalls, “Other artists and people who were interested in the show were disturbed that there were no names under each piece. This was kind of nice because we did want it to be a group collaboration. ” Tina Girouard remembers, “We met virtually through our exposure at 112 Greene Street, and we started meeting to talk about ‘architecture and architorture and arctic-vector and anartdeflector.’ It was that kind of dialogue. We’d just get together and toss around some ideas pertaining to space. . .We wanted to keep our personalities out of it. It was not an exhibition of objects but a visual reportage of our meetings.” Gordon Mara-Clark stated, “It was about something other than the established architectural vocabulary, without getting fixed into anything too formal. . .Our thinking about anarchitecture was more elusive than doing pieces that would demonstrate an alternative attitude to buildings, or rather more to the attitudes that determine the containerization of usable space. . .We were thinking more about metaphoric voids, gaps, leftover spaces, places that were not developed. . .For example, the places where you stop to tie your shoelaces, places that are just interruptions in your own dally movements. These places are also perceptually significant because they make a reference to movement space.” The process of putting up the show was anarchic as well. Suzanne Harris recalls, “If somebody didn’t like someone else’s piece they’d carry it out and put it in the street—and then we’d put it back up again.” Jene Highstein did a photo-collage of a natural spring on Spring Street which had broken through a basement of a building. Suzanne Harris recalls, “There was this hose coming out onto the street with beautiful clear spring water, even though in the basement it had destroyed the boiler. It was about a transition. This thing that once functioned as a spring that people used, now turned into a botheration.”

Excerpted from Brentano, R., & Savitt, M. (1981). 112 Workshop, 112 Greene Street: History, artists & artworks. New York: New York University Press.

Jene Highstien, photo collage of natural spring on Spring Street, in Anarchitecture Show, 1974