Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Village Voice Archive: Conflicts of Interest and Gallery Ads

Advertisement in the Village Voice, January 17, 1974

While hunting around for essays by the late critic David Bourdon earlier today, I had the happy pleasure of discovering that Google has kindly scanned a good chunk of the Village Voice's archive. It's not complete, and it's not searchable, but it's still a wonderful resource.

It turns out that Bourdon, who earned a spot in art history by helping Warhol make Elvis silk screens in 1963, was also a hell of a writer, capable of free-spirited whimsy and deadpan humor. In a 1976 column, more than 30 years before the recent New Museum debacle, he reports on the Guggenheim's decision to feature work by eight artists Castelli artists in "20th-Century American Drawing," as the show's lone contemporary artists. "Diane Waldman's husband is a painter who also happens to be represented by Castelli," he notes. "In some sectors of the business world, this would be called conflict of interest."

That bit of history-repeating-itself aside, it's amazing to see the amount of space the Voice once gave to criticism, classifieds, and gallery advertisements. Even Gordon Matta-Clark's 112 Greene Street space (which later became White Columns) was placing ads, like this one for a series of "video performances" at its SoHo space in 1974. Classy line-up: Acconci, Beuys, Burden, etc. Classy start time: 9 p.m., when even the heartiest of today's openings are being brought to a close. Keith Sonnier, of course, one-ups everyone with a formidable 10:30 p.m. start.

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