SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

3007, Jackson Street, San Francisco

Lynn Hershman, The Floating Museum Phases I and II (November 1975-July 1978)

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The Floating Museum has no walls. It is an invisible system designed to exhibit works of art that do not fit into the traditional boundaries of museum and gallery situations. The Floating Museum facilitates and encourages artists whose work takes place directly in he environment. A fundamental concept of The Floating Museum is to recycle existing spaces and resources as well as to transform local areas into temporary exhibition sites. (Hershman 1977) The public art statement Lynn Hershman designed, The Floating Museum, was structured to be integrated into everyday life. It enabled artists to present works of art that they could not fit within he traditional boundaries of museum and gallery situations. The Floating Museum invited an artists and made the necessary arrangements for the presentation of the artist’s piece. Most of the works related to the environment or inter-media presentations. The projects developed in three phases in the three years of The Floating Museum’s operation (1975-1978).

The first year and a half, from the fall of 1975, twelve individual projects were commissioned. Over half were by Bay Area artists, and the others were by artists who came to present the work in the San Francisco area […] The program was inaugurated on November 6 1975, with two performance pieces by Eleanor Antin, a Southern California artist, who chose to present “King’s Meditation” at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco and the following day the “Ballerina” in the eighteenth-century French galleries at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor […] The second phase of The Floating Museum’s programming was called “Global Space Invasion: Phase I” and introduced into the Museum’s activity collaboration and extension beyond the Bay Area. In May 1977 nine artists went to Europe to create work together or individually in various cities. The following year, in July 1978, new work by these same artists, reflecting their European experience, was shown in “Global Space Invasion: Phase II” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the final event in The floating Museum’s life. (Foley 1980: 42)

Curator(s): Lynn Hershman

Participants: Lynn Hershman, Eleanor Antin, Bonnie Sherk, Darryl Sapien, Michael Asher, Newton and Helen Harrison, Terry Fox, Douglas Davis, Paul Cotton, Peter D’Agostino, Hilaire Dufresne, Robert Janz, Peter Wiehl, Robert Harris, Richard Lowenberg.

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