EXHIBITION AT NYU’S TRACEY/BARRY GALLERY TO EXPLORE POSTMODERN WRITER’S LEGACY November 7, 2002 February 1, 2003 Discipline and Anarchy, an exhibition of experimental writer Kathy Acker’s manuscripts, correspondences, and original drawings, opens in the Tracey/Barry Gallery at The Fales Collection, 3rd floor of the New York University Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square on November 7, 2002, and runs until February 1, 2003. It is free and open to the public with photo ID. Gallery hours are: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday by appointment only. For information call (212) 998-2596.
Discipline and Anarchy puts on display, for the first time, a number of unpublished notebooks and journals by the late writer; original “dream map” sketches; important correspondences with Eleanor Antin, Dennis Cooper, and Ira Silverberg, among others; and The Blue Tape, a rarely-screened film made by Kathy Acker and the poet Alan Sondheim in 1974. This exhibition attempts to avoid the inaccuracies that often surround the life and work of Kathy Acker, illuminating the writer through an emphasis on primary texts and her own words for didactic panels, and teasing out various threads of her work through a thematic time-line.
Kathy Acker’s output was vast. Her publications include the posthumously released Essential Acker and Rip-Off Red, published by Grove Press in October 2002, as well as Bodies of Work, 1997; Pussy, King of the Pirates, 1996; My Mother Demonology, 1993; Literal Madness: Kathy Goes to Haiti/My Death My Life by Pier Paolo Pasolini/Florida, 1989; Portrait of an Eye: Three Novels, 1992; Empire of the Senseless, 1988; Blood and Guts in High School, 1984; Hannibal Lecter, My Father, 1991; In Memoriam to Identity, 1990; Don Quixote, 1986; Great Expectations, 1983; Hello, I’m Erica Jong, 1982; The Adult Life of Toulouse-Lautrec, 1980; I Dreamt I Became A Nymphomaniac: Imagining, 1980; and Kathy Goes to Haiti, 1978.
Acker was also an opera librettist, a playwright, a performer, a journalist, and a screenwriter. In the 1980’s she worked with Richard Foreman on a play version of My Life, My Death, which was presented at the Theatre de la Bastille, Paris, and on the opera, The Birth of a Poet. In the 1990s she collaborated with the punk group Tribe 8 and the underground rock group The Mekons.
Discipline and Anarchy opens in conjunction with “Lust for Life: The Writings of Kathy Acker,” a two-day symposium (November 7-8) exploring Acker’s work as a postmodern writer and feminist and her legacy for writers and artists today, featuring a reading from Acker’s work with Richard Foreman, Kim Gordon, Rick Moody, Sapphire and others. Both events were planned in celebration of the publication of Essential Acker: The Kathy Acker Reader, edited by Amy Scholder and Dennis Cooper and published by Grove Press. Symposium events are free and open to the public. Space is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.
Discipline and Anarchy was curated by Brandon Stosuy, a writer, musician, and video/filmmaker. He is currently composing Caught, a screenplay based on Dennis Cooper’s five-novel cycle. He plays in The Thunder Perfect, an apocalyptic new wave collective, writes rock criticism regularly for Jersey Beat and Signum, and recently wrote a text on David Bowie for Gallery 16 in San Francisco, along with Douglas Coupland, Gary Indiana, and Rick Moody, among others. He publishes his journals and fictions in white bread, a magazine he edits. Stosuy is at work now on his first novel, a travel narrative based on single-frames from pornographic films, and is collaborating with Jane Laros Lea on a multi-media project investigating the cultural significance of New York City water towers.
The Fales Collection is especially renowned for its Downtown Collection, which documents the Downtown New York art and literary scene from 1975 to the present and is the only collection of its kind at a major university. Included in the collection are the papers of such writers and artists as David Wojnarowicz, Dennis Cooper, Tim Dlugos, Ron Kolm, John Watts, and many others. Fales, located on the 3rd floor of Bobst Library, is also home to NYU Libraries’ special collections.