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Finding aid for the Michael Corris papers of the Art & Language New York group, 1965-2002
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Separated Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Michael Corris papers of the Art & Language New York group
    Date (inclusive): 1965-2002
    Number: 2003.M.32
    Creator/Collector: Corris, Michael
    Physical Description: 39.3 linear feet (19 boxes, 21 flatfiles, and 3 rolls)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The collection documents the activities of the conceptual art group Art & Language New York. Art & Language New York challenged the assumption that art is necessarily visual by questioning ideas of perception and the institutional stake of museums and the art market.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in English

    Biographical/Historical Note

    The conceptual art group Art & Language was originally established in Great Britain in 1967 by Terry Atkinson and Michael Baldwin. With expanding international membership and recognition for its publication Art-Language, as well as the relocation of several members to New York, the group established a New York section in 1971 called Art & Language New York. The papers of the Art & Language New York group were assembled by Michael Corris, an artist, writer and key group member. Art & Language New York's participating members also included Ian Burn, Mel Ramsden, Prestin Heller, Andrew Menard, Joseph Kosuth, and Bernar Venet. The New York group thrived from the early 1970's to its dissolution in 1977. During that time however it was entrenched in conflict with the United Kingdom Art & Language. Art & Language New York created its own journal called The Fox hoping to generate more exposure than Art-Language. Through critical dialog The Fox meant to clarify artistic relationships between ideologies and institutions to explicate the significant differences between the social and political conditions of New York and that of the English Midlands. Art & Language New York group also participated in exhibitions, lectures, and was devoted to political activities. The group made significant contributions to other organizations such as Artists Meeting for Cultural Change, Anti-Imperialist Cultural Union, and the art group Red-Herring. Art & Language New York challenged the assumption that art is necessarily visual by questioning ideas of perception and the institutional stake of museums and the art market. Thus the work of Art & Language New York contributed to the shaping of the practice and theorization of the conceptual art movement, which was particularly manifested in the divergence between Art & Language New York and Art & Language United Kingdom.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers, with the exception of unreformatted audiovisual materials.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Michael Corris papers of the Art & Language New York group, 1965-2002, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2003.M.32

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 2003.

    Processing History

    In 2009 with grant funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), Laura Schroffel processed the collection, made an inventory, devised the arrangement and wrote the descriptive notes under the supervision of Ann Harrison.

    Separated Materials

    An artist book by Bernar Venet was separated to the library.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection documents the activities of Art & Language New York. It contains correspondence, original circulated photocopies with remarks, transcripts, typescripts, audio cassette tapes, LP records, one videotape, photographic materials, announcements, publications, and artworks. Artworks include prints, drawings, and mock-ups. All materials in the collection were collated by key group member, Michael Corris. Circulating projects and texts among group members was a common practice which fostered discussion and garnered one of Art & Language's core principles of collaboration. Similarly, the many transcripts in the collection reflect the group's discursive nature and serve as documents and summaries of their many discussions.
    Series I of the collection focuses on the work of Art & Language New York's group activities from 1970 to 1976, including projects relating to indexing and mapping systems. Art & Language's indexing pieces were originally developed for Documenta V in 1972. Indexing and mapping projects were manifested in installations, art pieces, and publications. They comprise: Index 001, Index 002, Index 003, Blurting in Art & Language: An Index of Blurts, and Map of Annotations. Other significant work in this series includes the group's materials associated with Art & Language New York's own publication, The Fox. Original issues, illustrations and texts have been compiled. Art & Language New York's development of projects associated with artistic cultural-political movements in the national and international sphere included programs in Washington 1975-1976, Yugoslavia 1975-1976, Australia 1975-1976, and Venice, 1976. Letters, typescripts, photography and prints document their national and international initiatives.
    Series II and III contain materials related to Art & Language New York's involvement with other cultural-political groups. Art & Language New York participated in projects with the Artists Meeting for Cultural Change (AMCC), the Anti-Imperialist Cultural Union (AICU), and the art group Red-Herring. Significant items relating to the AMCC and the AICU are the broadsheets Boycott this museum, 1976, Boycott this show, 1976, and several transcripts of public speeches.
    Series IV comprises materials related to Art & Language following the dissolution of Art & Language New York in early 1977. Group members both from the UK and New York continued to be active within Art & Language. They produced the retrospective exhibition, The artist out of work: Art & Language, 1972-1981. The series contains photographs, manuscripts and files documenting the exhibition. This series also includes illustrative contributions to Art & Language's journal, Art-Language.
    The remaining collection materials are from key artist members of Art & Language New York with files representing work by Terry Atkinson, Ian Burn, Michael Corris, Joseph Kosuth and Bernar Venet.


    The collection is arranged in five series: Series I. Art & Language New York, 1971-1977; Series II. Materials relating to political/cultural organizations, 1968-1979; Series III. Red-Herring, 1975-1981; Series IV. Art & Language, 1977-2002; Series V. Individual artists, 1965-2002.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Topics

    Art, Modern--20th century
    Conceptual Art

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Gelatin silver prints--United States--20th century
    Phonograph records
    Printed ephemera


    Art & Language (Group)
    Art & Language (New York)
    Atkinson, Terry, 1939-
    Burn, Ian, 1939-
    Kosuth, Joseph
    Menard, Andrew
    Ramsden, Mel
    Venet, Bernar, 1941-