Artpark: 1974–1984


September 25–December 18, 2010


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Artpark: 1974–1984 chronicles the seminal years of this innovative residency program located in Lewiston, New York, just north of Niagara Falls, in which artists spent summers creating temporary artworks outdoors. “The chief goal of the visual arts program,” Brian O’Doherty explained in a 1976 documentary about Artpark, “is to integrate artists, their methods, and works into the leisure activities of everyday people.” Owned and operated by New York State, Artpark opened in 1974 as an unprecedented experiment in artist-public interaction and site-specificity that balanced a populist mission with the commissioning of some of the most avant-garde, investigational art of its day.

About Artpark

Artpark’s visual arts program flourished between 1974 and 1984 with over two hundred artists and collectives making the trek to western New York during the eleven years in question. The park comprised 172 acres situated alongside the Niagara Gorge on the United States–Canadian border just below the escarpment where Niagara Falls began twelve thousand years ago before slowly eroding seven miles upstream. During the summer months, Artpark buzzed with indoor and outdoor, daytime and nighttime activity, featuring opera, symphony, modern music, jazz, and folk concerts; theatrical and dance performances; cooking demonstrations; fireworks; outdoor performances by storytellers and mimes; craftspeople conducting workshops on a communal elevated boardwalk known as the ArtEl; and contemporary artists creating work in situ.

Mindful of the land’s varied histories, artists often developed projects in response to its mythical and geological pasts, as well as to traces of human presence evidenced by a landfill known as the Spoils Pile, a chemical disposal site, a quarry, vestiges of nineteenth-century railroads and bridges, a portage trail, and an ancient Native American burial ground. Brock’s Monument penetrating the sky across the river in Canada (commemorating a British-American battle during the War of 1812) and the arc of the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge—with the Sir Adam Beck Power Plant just beyond—provided dramatic markers of Artpark’s place in an area characterized by transnationalism and an anomalous mix of tourism with the plumes of industry powered by hydroelectricity.

Artist Participants


Peter Campus, Ching-Yu Chang, Steve Gianakos, Suzanne Harris, Jene Highstein, Nancy Holt, Journeyman Press, Ray Kelly and William Dunas, Gordon Matta-Clark, Richard Nonas, Liz Phillips, Judith Shea, Charles Simonds, Richard Tuttle, Anne Waldman


Alley Friends, Ant Farm, Tony Bannon, Suzanne Benton, Jon Brooks, Canole, Dale Chihuly and Seaver Leslie, Roger Edwards, James Grigsby and Philip Yenawine, Robert Grosvenor, Nancy Holt, Catherine Jansen, Journeyman Press, Rockne Krebs, John Mills-Cockell and Michael Hayden, Forrest Myers, Max Neuhaus, Jerry Noe, Dennis Oppenheim, John Pfahl, Jody Pinto, Jim Roche, Colette Rossant, Alan Saret, Paul Sharits, Judith Shea, Phillips Simkin, Charles Simonds, Alan Sonfist. Bill Stewart, Michelle Stuart, Phyllis Thompson, Stan VanDerBeek, Woody Vasulka, An Whitlock


Lynda Benglis and Stanton Kaye, Jon Brooks, David Cadbury, Douglas Davis, Charles Fahlen, Richard Fleischner, Lloyd Hamrol, Linda Howard, Journeyman Press, Allan Kaprow, Tom Kovachevich, Mary Miss, Ree Morton, Pat Oleszko, Joseph Panone, Sig Rennels, Jim Roche, Abe Rothblatt, Barbara Schwartz, Yuri Schwebler, Phillips Simkin, George Smith, Marjorie Strider, James Surls, George Trakas, Helene Valentin, Bill Vazan, Margaret Wharton, Howard Woody, Connie Zehr, Michael Zwack


Laurie Anderson, Alice Aycock, Oscar Bailey, Cynthia Carlson, Clair Colquitt, Agnes Denes, Electron Movers, Harriet Feigenbaum, Sam Gilliam, Jr., Bruce Gunderson and Robert Clark,Newton, Helen, and Joshua Harrison, James Hill, Joe Ferrell Hobbs and John Alberty, Douglas Hollis, Brigid Kennedy, Lyman Kipp, Betty Klavun, Antoni Miralda, Richard Mock, Roland Poulin, Martin Puryear, Robert Rohm, Robert Stackhouse, Tim Whiten, Joan Zalenski


Alice Adams, James Benning, James Burton, Adele Cohen, Betty Goodwin, Suzanne Harris, Newton and Helen Harrison, Dennis Kowalski, Andrew Leicester, Story Mann, Antoni Milkowski, Aldo Moroni, Pat Oleszko, Robert Porter, Lewis (Buster) Simpson, Tal Streeter, John Toth, Robert Wade, John Willenbecher, Robert Younger, Elyn Zimmerman, Barbara Zucker


Neda Al Hilali, Lillian Ball, James Carpenter, Rosemarie Castoro, Elisa D’Arrigo, Gene Davis, Agnes Denes, Barry Le Va, John McQueen, Gladys Nilsson, Mark Peiser, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Carla Wilczak


Siah Armajani, Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade, Douglas E. Fuchs, Nene Humphrey, Carol Kapuza, Ray King, Robert Lyon, Richard Miles, Owen Morrel, Anne Sharp, Peter Shelton


Bill and Mary Buchen, Malcolm Cochran, Suzanne Cohan, Alan Finkel, Debra Frasier, Scott Gilliam, Nade Haley, Audrey Hemmenway, Bernard Hosey, Bruno LaVerdiere, Bob Natalini, Cindy Snodgrass, Robert Taplin, Merle Temkin, Julius Tobias


Mowry Baden and Michael Brewster, Andrea Blum, Elaine Crivelli, Eric Egas, Dan George, Cris Gianakos, Denny Griffith, Hera, Gerald Karlovec, John David Mooney, Wilma Needham, John Toth


Vito Acconci, Diane Bertolo, Robert Booth, Jeffrey Brosk, Scott Burton, James Casebere, Wendy Clarke, Jay Coogan, Robert Dick, Biff Henrich, Caspar Henselmann, Gerald Karlovec, Richard Kelley, Walter Kravitz, Susan Lyman, Ragnhild Reingardt, Miho Sawada, Buky Schwartz, Kit-Yin Snyder


John Borba, Chris Burden, Kendall Buster, Lauren Ewing, Brigid Kennedy, Bill Lundberg, Ed McGowin, John D. Morton, Dennis Oppenheim, Scott Pfaffman



Video Preservation services provided by The Standby Program and Migrating Media: Upstate Video Preservation Network.

Artpark: 1974–1984 is organized by UB Art Gallery Curator Sandra Q. Firmin and is presented in partnership with the international exhibition of contemporary art, Beyond/In Western New York 2010: Alternating Currents. A unique collaboration of 14 curators from 12 museums, galleries, and arts organizations, the exhibition will showcase the work of over 100 emerging and established artists.

A 256-page catalog co-published by Princeton Architectural Press accompanies the exhibition with essays by Sandra Q. Firmin, Kathy High, Richard Huntington, Mark Linder, and Rebecca Lee Reynolds.

Support for the catalog is provided by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. Additional generous support for the exhibition and publication is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, with programming support from the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission and the University at Buffalo’s Department of Visual Studies, The Poetry Collection, and the School of Architecture and Urban Planning. The UB Art Galleries recognize the Natural Heritage Trust and NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation for their support of the projects produced at Artpark during the years 1974 to 1984.