Non-Profit Spotlight: Artists Space

In 1972, Trudie Grace, an arts administrator, and Irving Sandler, an art critic founded Artists Space in the Tribeca section of New York City. The founding mission was to assist emerging artists. In the first year, Artists Space began organizing artist run exhibitions and quickly gained traction as one of the best artist non-profits in New York. As the non-profit continued to evolve, the Emergency Materials Fund was created to assist artists in the creation and exhibition of their work at established venues. Over the years, Artists Space has been the seat of both success and controversy and has helped launch the careers of countless now well-known artists.

Artists Space has been an inadvertently migrant operation through the decades. To date, the organization has relocated six times. Most recently, Artists Space was forced from its most recent location in SoHo due to development plans. The new Tribeca space is slated to open in 2018. In the meantime, the venerable non-profit is doing business from its satellite location, Artists Space Books & Talks on Walker Street in SoHo.

Artists Space offers internships best suited to recent college graduates and those enrolled in MA/MFA programs. The internship is designed for those wishing to pursue curation, art exhibition, or arts administration. Internships last four months and require a minimum commitment of three days a week including one weekend day. The internship may be extended if this is deemed appropriate and a chance to put an institution like Artists Space on a CV is well worth the application process.

As an intern, you will find yourself in the company of past greatness and the future of the arts scene. Some of the artists who have had their careers shaped by Artists Space include Barbara Bloom, Laurie Anderson, Stuart Sherman, and a lengthy roster of others.

In the late 1970s, Brian Eno partnered with Artists Space to produce No New York a defining record in the NYC punk underground scene. Eno became interested in the project after attending a concert at Artists Space featuring four bands: DNA, The Contortions, Mars, and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks. Following the show, he recorded the compilation album with the bands. No New York is one of the many ways in which Artists Space has had an influence on the arts scene as a whole over its tenure.

Artists Space and the National Endowment for the Arts awarded a grant to Thomas Lawson who, in 1979 co-founded REALLIFE Magazine. An important publication in the art world, REALLIFE has had a finger on the pulse of culture and politics since its inception. In 2007, Artists Space hosted an exhibition dedicated to the 1980s as seen through the lens of REALLIFE Magazine. Kate Fowle curated the exhibition which featured an impressive collection of world renowned artists including Eric Bogosian, Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler, Sol LeWitt, Sherrie Levine, and so many others.

Artists Space has known controversy during its history. In 1979 an exhibition of drawings by Donald Newman drew sharp criticism and sparked outrage and protests. A coalition of artists organized a teach-in to speak out against the exhibition while others voiced their support. The show was a hit regardless receiving positive critical feedback in the New York Times. International business man and collector Charles Saatchi purchased three pieces from Newman’s exhibition at Artists Space.

Currently, Artists Space is one of 13 venues participating in an exhibition event titled I Love John Giorno. The sweeping retrospective organized by Ugo Rondinone includes decades worth of art by or about the 80 year old iconic figure in the New York downtown arts scene. Artists Space has a series of events lined up including readings and a poetry jam.

Also at present, Artists Space is playing host to the launch of the People’s Cultural Plan. The longer title of this manifesto-based organization is The People’s Cultural Plan for Working Artists and Communities in New York City. The aim is to take action addressing the issues of affordable housing and hostile climates for artists and those of diverse backgrounds in New York. The plan targets gentrification in particular as one of the main enemies of those attempting to work and live in New York. The People’s Cultural Plan is directly in line with Artists Space’s long standing mission to support artists in all facets of their career journies.

Artists Space offers annual memberships for artists for $40. Regular memberships cost $60. With membership, you are guaranteed entry to exhibitions and events throughout the year each normally costing $5 per entry. Members also receive 10% off all store purchases as well as access to members-only events.

Artists Space has held high office in the New York City arts scene for 45 years. They’re responsible for bringing some of the best-loved and most impactful artists from the New York scene to the world at large and have committed themselves to supporting young and emerging artists every step of the way.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Brainard,

    It is so great to receive so much inside information on the mysteries of these art support groups. I know you are based in NY, but I am wondering are there like groups in other states as well? I am in California, and have not heard of to many things like this. Will you be posting information about other organizations across the country?

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