Gay Cable Network - Demonstration at Grand Central Station

Archive Fever – Fales Library & Special Collections Series Documenting Free Speech: Judson Dance Theater’s People’s Flag Show (1970) and the Gay Cable Network Archive

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Fales Library & Special Collections hosts the first in a series of two talks and screenings, contextualizing and presenting material from its archival collections that respond to Performa 13 themes of the Voice, Citizenship, and Surrealism to illuminate them in new and unusual ways.

Documenting Free Speech presents video footage of the Judson Dance Theater’s 1970 performance of Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A (1966), when five members performed nude with the American flag tied around their necks like a bib as a critique of issues of censorship, patriotism, and obscenity during the Vietnam War. The footage is shown alongside an excerpt of a press conference with Reverend Ron Moody defending the show and material from the Judson Dance Theater’s archives, including letters, photographs, and other documentation, which creates a clearer understanding of the event. The program also features video documentation of the AIDS crisis from the Gay Cable Network Archive, including ACT UP shutting down Grand Central Terminal. Brent Phillips, Media Specialist and Processing Archivist of NYU's Fales Library, provides a context setting discussion.

The Fales Library & Special Collections serves as the repository for special collections in the Elmer Bobst Library at New York University and is committed to preserving the artistic expression of relevant cultural movements in their original formats, including books, manuscripts, archives, and other media. The Library’s Downtown Collection, which began in 1993, is such attempt to document the downtown arts scene that evolved in SoHo and the Lower East Side during the 1970s through the early 1990s. During this time, an explosion of artistic creativity radically challenged and changed tradition literature, music, theater, performance, film, activism, dance, photography, video, and other art practices.

Brent Phillips is a former soloist with the Joffrey Ballet and a graduate of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation at the George Eastman House. He joined the Fales Library and Special Collections as Media Specialist & Processing Archivist in 2003, and has worked on numerous film, video, and audio preservation projects safeguarding works by artists David Wojnarowicz, Frank Moore, Jaime Davidovich, Richard Foreman, as well as the Gay Cable Network Archive and the Bradshaw Smith Broadway and Off-Broadway Collection. His first book, What a Swell Party: The Musical World of Charles Walters, will be published by University Press of Kentucky in fall 2014.

Event Title
Date & Time
  • Thu. Nov 21, 1:00 pm
Working against interpretation, Queering the Archive presents an excerpt of David Wojnarowicz’s Fire in My Belly (1987) and Robert Blanchon’s let’s just kiss + say goodbye (1995) to explore questions of legitimacy and authenticity of the queer artist’s voice after death.
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