Rituals of Rented Island:
Object Theater, Loft Performance, and the New Psychodrama—Manhattan, 1970–1980
Oct 31, 2013–Feb 2, 2014

The artist Jared Bark, masked and wrapped in a string of light bulbs.

Jared Bark (b. 1944), LIGHTS: on/off, performance at The Clocktower, June 21, 1974. Photograph by Babette Mangolte; © 1974. All reproduction rights reserved

This exhibition illuminates a radical period of 1970s performance art that flourished in downtown Manhattan, or what filmmaker and performance artist Jack Smith called “Rented Island,” and still remains largely unknown today. Working in lofts, storefronts, and alternative spaces, this group of artists, with backgrounds in theater, dance, music, and visual art, created complex new forms of performance to embody and address contemporary media, commercial culture, and high art.

Rituals of Rented Island includes: Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Jared Bark, Ericka Beckman, Ralston Farina, Richard Foreman/Ontological-Hysteric Theater, Julia Heyward, Ken Jacobs Apparition Theater of New York, Mike Kelley, Kipper Kids, Jill Kroesen, Sylvia Palacios Whitman, Yvonne Rainer and Babette Mangolte, Stuart Sherman, Theodora Skipitares, Jack Smith, Michael Smith, Squat Theatre, Robert Wilson/Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds, and John Zorn/Theatre of Musical Optics. As part of the exhibition, performances will take place both within and outside the exhibition’s galleries, including reinvestigations of groundbreaking 1970s performances by Laurie Anderson, Jared Bark, Julia Heyward, Sylvia Palacios Whitman, and others. 

Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance, and the New Psychodrama—Manhattan, 1970–1980 is organized by Jay Sanders, Curator and Curator of Performance.

Significant support for this exhibition is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the National Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art.





In the News

Interview: "Rituals of Rented Island: Babette Mangolte"

"Like a time capsule, the show takes you back to the recent past in New York art history. But with enough patience, it becomes clear that work is as relevant today as it was then, defiantly edgy and challenging."
Time Out

"Rituals of Rented Island is an essential show."

"The radical performance-art period of the 1970s gets a multimedia rewind."

"A walk-in Wunderkammer whose curiosities include electrified costumes and glow-in-the-dark props as well as film footage, photographs, and ephemera."
The New Yorker

"Mr. Sanders is doing the right curatorial thing in bringing [certain figures] back to the spotlight."
The New York Times

"Those ’70s Shows: An Interview with Jay Sanders"
Art in America

Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance, and the New Psychodrama—Manhattan 1970–1980 . . . promises to revisit an era in New York when performance art was still a daringly ephemeral, market-challenging medium, not the big-ticket, deluxe, staged and restaged thing it has become.
The New York Times

"I Remember Ralston: J. Hoberman on the Art of Ralston Farina"

"8 Museum Shows You Need to See This Fall"
The L Magazine