The Art Workers Coalition (revisited):
a call to participate

by Kirsten Forkert


Here are a collection of documents from the Art Workers Coalition 1969 Open Hearing, which took place at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. To view the documents, please click on the following links, which will allow you to download them as PDFs:


Architects Resistance

Carl Andre

Dan Graham

David Lee

Naomi Levine

Faith Ringgold

Frank Hewitt

Frederick Castle

Gary Smith

Selma Brody

Gene Swenson

Hans Haacke

Iain Whitecross

Iris Crump

Seth Siegelaub

Jean Toche

John Denmark

John Perrault

Lee Lozano

Lucy Lippard

The activities of the Art Workers' Coalition began when the artist George Takis removed one of his sculptures from the Museum of Modern Art, in 1969. This act drew attention to the conditions for artistic production, within the broader context of feminist, anti-racist and anti-Vietnam War movements, and the critiques of artistic autonomy that were beginning to emerge out of Conceptual Art and Minimalism. The Art Workers' Coalition presented the director of MOMA with a list of 13 demands, one of them being an open hearing on museum reform. They were refused, so they instead held the meeting at the School of Visual Arts. These documents are from this meeting; they raise questions around the artist's place in society, the role of art institutions and the market, especially their implication in the military-industrial complex. The documents reflected a range of demands, ranging from the specific to the general, from calls for minor reforms to total revolution.

NOTE: this does not reflect the entire range of participants. To see a list of everyone who participated, follow this link.


I asked people to select and read aloud one of the documents which they thought had an interesting relationship to the present, perhaps because it struck them as still relevant today. The performative act of reading aloud allowed for a reconsideration of the ways the roles of the artist or the function of the art world might be the same or different now. Moreover, it called on readers and listeners to reconsider how the language we use to talk about social change might be different now.

I recorded each reading, and also asked each person to comment on why they had chosen this particular texts, and their reflections on what might have changed (or not changed) between 1969 and the present.

To listen to the recordings, follow this link.

To participate in the project, follow this link.



about the project/call for participation listen participants and credits links and more information