SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

Reese Palley Gallery, 140 Maiden Lane, now Xanadu Gallery

Howard Fried, ALLMYDIRTYBLUECLOTHES (16th June-11th July 1970)



Fried arranged the clothes on the floor and marked the symbols on the wall in a carefully reasoned sequence […] In summing up his description of the work “Allmydirtyblueclothes” Howard Fried also stated: “Everyactionisapotentialmistake.” (Jaszi 1970: 3)

Formerly, my blue clothing and the symbols that best identify them to me were in a position of constant arbitration. My object is to retire the elements of this piece and protect them from unsolicited physical arbitration. By tying the clothing one to the next and by drawing the symbols on the wall, a gesture to finalize their arrangement is made. Simply placing the clothes and symbols in a room wouldn’t reduce their mobility sufficiently. A shirt might be kicked across the room or symbols might be rearranged altering the function of the clothing and/or meaning of the symbols. While a tied shirt might be untied and then kicked across the room, this would be in conscious and direct violation of my implicit intentions which are apparent both in the performance and the resultant piece. A minor rearrangement such as a chance kick without first untying the clothes would not castrate my intention or alter the piece’s function. A more drastic measure to render the relationship static would only serve to enunciate my intent while actually still failing to achieve it since total control is impossible. (Fried in Loeffler and Tong 1980: 18-19)