Printed Matter Plans Show About Colab Artist Collective

Courtesy of New York University

Printed Matter will organize a show about Colab, the artist collective that included Jenny Holzer, Tom Otterness (who, if you haven’t heard, is having a rough time) and Kiki Smith. The folks at Printed Matter say, “The group remains an under-explored and appreciated phenomenon in the cultural history of New York City.” Indeed.

Artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith haring participated in their events. They formed in 1978 as a way of seeking new venues for artists to create and exhibit.Their participants were mostly from the burgeoning downtown scene, which was gaining momentum from the brief supernova flash of No Wave. Printed Matter’s show runs October 15 to November 30. There will be an opening reception on the 15th from 6-8pm.

Colab’s papers are in the collection of New York University’s Fales library, which we’ve been lucky enough to have a look at. They’re really something else. They have the original press materials, now yellow with age, for what is likely the goup’s most famous event, The Times Square Show. The press release says the group exhibition in an old massage parlor in Times Square was “more than you bargained for.” For his contribution, a 19-year-old Basquiat wrote the words “FREE SEX” over the entrance.