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Multi-Media Exhibition at NYU’s Fales Library: “A Sanctuary for the Arts: Judson Memorial Church And the Avant Garde, 1954-1977” October 28, 2010 – January 7, 2011

October 6, 2010
N-62, 2010-11

The New York University Fales Library and Special Collections presents A Sanctuary for the Arts: Judson Memorial Church and the Avant-Garde, 1954-1977, opening October 28, 2010, and running through January 7, 2011 at NYU Bobst Library, 3rd Floor, 70 Washington Square South, NYC.  Exhibition hours are Monday through Thursday, 10am to 5:45pm, and Friday, 10am to 4:45pm The exhibition’s opening weekend features a roundtable discussion and dance performances—details below. The exhibition is free and open to the public.  For more information, the public should visit, or contact Joanna Steinberg at Subways: A, B, C, D, E, F (West 4th Street).

A Sanctuary for the Arts will explore the synergies between the artists who performed at Judson Memorial Church in the 1960s and 70s and the church ministry and congregation in Greenwich Village during this tumultuous period of political and social ferment. It offers social context for understanding this unique collaboration, against the background of the various social movements of the 1960s involving Free Speech, Women’s Liberation, Gay Rights, Liberation Theology, and the movement against the war in Vietnam.

The multi-media exhibition features original prints by photographers: Martha Holmes, Peter Moore, Al Giese, Jan Van Raay, Julie Abeles, Larry Fink, and Howard Smith among others; printed materials: programs, posters, graphic notations; and oral histories.  There are writings by Al Carmines and Howard Moody about Judson’s Arts Ministry, music recordings, and video recordings of dance performances, among other never-before-seen visuals that have been loaned from congregants’ personal collections. Featured subjects include artists Meredith Monk, Claes Oldenburg, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, and Carolee Schneemann, A complete list of artists featured in the exhibition is available upon request. A catalogue will be available for purchase in exchange for a suggested donation.

The exhibition kicks off with a roundtable discussion at Judson Church, Thursday, October 28th, at 6:30pm, with the exhibition opening and reception following directly after (around 7:45 p.m.) at Fales Library (one block east of Judson).  The discussion will be moderated by Deborah Jowitt, and participants will include Essie Borden, Malcolm Goldstein, Carolee Schneemann, and Yvonne Rainer.

On Friday and Saturday, October 29th  and 30th at 8:00 p.m. at Judson Church, a performance of dance is scheduled, entitled, Two Performances In Honor of Judson with work by Toby Armour, Arthur Aviles, Remy Charlip, Malcolm Goldstein, Aileen Passloff, Yvonne Rainer, Carolee Schneemann, EmmaGrace Skove-Epes, and Elaine Summers. Tickets for the performance are $20 (students/seniors $10). To reserve tickets go to:  or call 917-727-0431.

Media representatives wishing to attend the performance should contact Peter McDowell at

About Fales Library and Special Collections at New York University:

Fales Library and Special Collections at NYU was founded in 1957 with a donation of 50,000 volumes by DeCoursey Fales, President of the Bank of New York. In 1994, director Marvin J. Taylor established the Downtown Collection, which documents the Downtown New York scene from 1974 to the present. The collection includes media such as: paper, film, video, and approximately 50,000 photographs and over 12,000 printed items. The extensive collection at Fales Library supported “The Downtown Show: The New York Art Scene, 1974-1984” (2006), and the recent “Downtown Pix: Mining the Fales Archives 1961-1991” (2009) exhibitions at the Grey Art Gallery.                                                

About Judson:

Judson Memorial Church defines itself as "a church in the Christian tradition and a sanctuary for progressive activism and artistic expression." In the 1950s Judson reinvented many of its traditions and its liturgy, and integrated the arts into its mission, beginning with the Judson Gallery in 1957. The Judson Poets’ Theater and Judson Dance Theater followed in 1961 and 1962, transforming the church’s meeting room into a dynamic space where three communities came together: a congregation involved in the political, spiritual, and artistic activities of the church; the artists who created and performed innovative visual art, theater, and dance; and Greenwich Village neighbors and city residents, who provided the audience for Judson’s bold experiments.

Judson championed abortion rights, drug law reform, and gay/lesbian rights. It developed health care programs, including a Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion, a professional women’s clinic for prostitutes, and consultation services for those with cancer and HIV/AIDS, and counseling and support programs for troubled neighborhood teenagers, youth coping with drug addiction, and runaway children. During the 1960s Judson became active in the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War Movements, and was on the forefront of the struggles for gay and immigrant rights. Judson Church bridged the chasm between politics, art, and religion, finding intersection and resonance among all three.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Division of Libraries

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: Christopher James | (212) 998-6876

Multi-Media Exhibition at NYU’s Fales Library: “A Sanctuary for the Arts” Opens October 28, 2010

Judson Church

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