(ON HOLD): Colab. Times Square Show.
(New York, NY): Collaborative Projects, Inc., 1980. Handbill poster announcing the opening of the Times Square Show which opened on the 1st of June, 1980 at an abandoned building just off Times Square, at 41st Street and 7th Avenue. Approximately one hundred artists contributed to The Times Square Show. Some were selected on the basis of their applications, others installed their work guerrilla-style in the unsecured building. Alongside professional artists, untrained artists also participated, such as Willie (Bill) Neale who sculpted canes out of tree branches, and SAMO (soon to be better known as Jean-Michel Basquiat), whose gnomic graffiti were familiar sights on SoHo walls but here contributed an abstract canvas to the fourth floor Fashion Lounge. Anxiety about “selling out” alternated with a cynical embrace of cooptation in downtown art and its venues in the 1980s. The Times Square Show enacted this conflict on a large scale, and it influenced subsequent exhibitions that were similarly fraught, notably New York/New Wave at P.S. 1 in February 1981 where commercial artists whose work was made for mechanical reproduction showed alongside aspiring painters who produced one-of-a-kinds. The poster measures approx. 21.5cm by 28cm and is illustrated with a photograph of a naked woman and the strapline “Are Americans Afraid of Sex”. A near fine example of one the handbills for this iconic show that established a model for collaboration and a mode for addressing a broad audience that shaped the downtown art world of the early 1980s.