Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Michael Corris papers of the Art & Language New York group
Date (inclusive): 1965-2002
39.3 linear feet
(19 boxes, 21 flatfiles, and 3 rolls)
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
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.
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Language: Collection material is in
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.
Open for use by qualified researchers, with the exception of unreformatted audiovisual materials.
Michael Corris papers of the Art & Language New York group, 1965-2002, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession
Acquired in 2003.
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.
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:
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,
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.
Subjects - Topics
Art, Modern--20th century
Genres and Forms of Material
Gelatin silver prints--United States--20th century
Art & Language (Group)
Art & Language (New York)
Atkinson, Terry, 1939-
Burn, Ian, 1939-
Venet, Bernar, 1941-