The New York Spanner took flight in the late 1970s as an artists’ periodical intent on capturing the energy of the New York art scene. Edited by Colab members Richard Miller and Teri Slotkin, the periodical featured artworks that defied a collective theme and displayed a range of artistic disciplines that oftentimes were experimental and eclectic. Although Richard Miller initially requested print-specific submissions, the criteria for publication typically hinged on the degree to which each artwork conveyed the cultural phenomena of New York at the time. In his own words, Richard Miller explains: “I selected people because of their energies, their compulsions, and the enthusiasms that they have in respect to the visions they make.” The result is a three-piece set ordered by color rather than enumeration, with Red being the first issue of the publication, followed by Green (1979) and Blue (1980). Having published artworks both by Colab members and figures active in other pockets of the New York art scene, The New York Spanner is a rich collection of underground art of the period that features now-household names like Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith and Jenny Holzer. It furthermore provides a salient record of the emerging cultural scene in downtown Manhattan, and a definitive chronicle of the radical voices and visions that have effectively shaped the state of cultural activism today.
Red Issue: Kathy Acker interprets Mallarme’s “Un Coup de Des” on her own terms, Judy Rifka exhibits her gestural drawings in a four-page spread and Peter Fend explores the notion of art as an evolutionary mediator. Other contributors include Colleen Fitzgibbons, Robin Winters, Judy Rifka, Mitch Corber, and more.
Green Issue: Tom Otterness exhibits two small sculptures named “Work” and “Music”, Kiki Smith shares photography situated before Jackson Pollock works and Cara Pearlman presents two seasonal drawings. Other contributors include Beth B and Scott B, Terise Slotkin, Dick Miller, and more.
Blue Issue: Cindy Sherman shares a number of Untitled Film Stills in a four-page spread, Jenny Holzer and Peter Nadin propose direct action in a brief text and Anne Messner documents her performance art in a series of photographs. Other contributors include Colab regulars Walter Robinson, Jane Sherry, Christof Kohlhoefer, and more.