From: Shelly Silver (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Feb 11 2009 - 10:09:51 PST
this is great. does anyone has any ideas of ways to add pressure,
which could include letter writing or a petition (ex: where is alanna
heise's funding coming from for the new 'art radio' coming from?)
an open letter to
whoever is administering the clocktower
and again, art radio funders
any settlement should include a real sublease.
is the situation truly being negotiated?
>Frameworkers: Best to read story online for accompanying Jonas Mekas
>picture, etc., but in any case find it pasted below. Caroline
>On 2/10/09 10:37 PM, "Rick Prelinger" <email suppressed> wrote:
>February 11, 2009
>Distributor of Avant-Garde Films Threatened With Eviction
>By LARRY ROHTER
>For nearly 50 years, the Film-Makers' Cooperative has been one of the main
>guardians of American experimental cinema, championing the works of
>directors like Stan Brakhage and Maya Deren.
>But a real estate dispute has imperiled the future of the financially
>troubled organization. Last month the Film-Makers' Cooperative received an
>eviction notice that would force it out of its office and archive in a
>building in TriBeCa, space that is controlled by the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art
>Center, another bulwark of the city's avant-garde artistic establishment.
>P.S. 1, which is based in Long Island City, Queens, and sponsors exhibitions
>and provides artists with studio space, intends to give up the 8,200 square
>feet on the 13th floor at 108 Leonard Street and turn it over to Alanna
>Heiss, who founded P.S. 1 in 1971 and until her departure at the end of last
>year was its executive director. Ms. Heiss, in turn, wants to use the
>location as a base for her latest project, an Internet radio station called
>Art International Radio.
>"All we want is a corner," said Jonas Mekas, the director and poet who is
>one of the patriarchs of American avant-garde cinema. "We can't understand
>why they are giving her so much space for a project that is just being
>formed and has not proved itself of any service to the arts community, and
>at the same time throwing out the only organization that independent
>filmmakers have to distribute their work."
>Founded in 1962 by a group of experimental filmmakers that included Mr.
>Mekas, the Film-Makers' Cooperative now holds a collection of about 5,000
>titles made by some 900 artists. Most of the work is by Americans, but the
>archive also includes some hard-to-find foreign works from periods as early
>as 1920s Dada and German experimentalism. Directors of noncommercial
>experimental films typically deposit copies of their work with the
>cooperative, which then rents them to museums, universities, libraries and
>galleries in the United States and abroad.
>The organization also repairs and restores films made in formats ranging
>from eight millimeter to video, and in some cases has the only known copy of
>"We are a totally artist-owned and artist-run nonprofit institution," said
>M. M. Serra, the movie group's executive director. "Our mission is to keep
>the filmmakers' work visible."
>Several significant cultural institutions have written letters supporting
>the cooperative, arguing that the cost of such a move would be financially
>onerous to a nonprofit entity with a small budget and could also endanger
>films in the collection. The New York Public Library, the American Film
>Institute in Los Angeles, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and the Fine
>Arts Library at Harvard are among those who have issued statements of
>"The co-op set the model for artists' control over distribution of their own
>films, and continues to mean a tremendous amount to people working
>completely outside the commercial system," said P. Adams Sitney, author of
>"Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde, 1943-2000" (Oxford University
>Press) and a professor of visual arts at Princeton. "They need space for all
>those films, especially in this difficult economic environment. This
>couldn't be happening at a worse time."
>In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Ms. Heiss was reluctant to discuss the
>dispute, though she said she was "cautiously optimistic" that an agreement
>could be reached. "Some very productive discussion" would start on Tuesday
>evening, she said.
>But Ms. Heiss also seemed unwilling to accept an arrangement that would
>allow the film cooperative to remain where it is. She said the Internet
>radio station had "enormously big plans" with "new productions planned right
>away" and needed the space "so we can have people producing works of poetry,
>music and theater" for broadcast on its newly revamped Web site
>"I have enormous respect for the co-op, and we hope we can work together in
>the future," she added. "When it moves, it should move very carefully."
>For many years the film cooperative operated out of an office on Lexington
>Avenue at 31st Street, which it had to leave in 2000 because of
>redevelopment. It then moved to the TriBeCa site, known as the Clocktower
>Building, as part of an arrangement brokered by the Museum of Modern Art,
>which is affiliated with P.S. 1.
>The cooperative occupies about 900 square feet, paying a rent of about $1
>per square foot, considerably below market rates. But it does not have a
>formal sublease, only a month-to-month arrangement. Members of the
>cooperative said that they had requested a sublease.
>"As Art Radio is a spinoff of P.S. 1 and MoMA, they are trying to sever the
>relationship they had with the Clocktower space," Ms. Heiss said. "It's not
>romantic or exciting, and it's not just my decision. The eviction by P.S. 1
>is not intended to be anything other than procedural."
>Kim Mitchell, a spokeswoman for MoMA, said on Tuesday, "P.S. 1 is
>sympathetic to the needs of cultural organizations such as Art Radio and the
>Film Co-op, and is confident that the two organizations will come to an
>The city, which owns the property, has thus far declined to intervene in the
>dispute, on the grounds that there has been no violation of the lease.
>"We have asked Art Radio to work with Film-Makers' Cooperative to come to a
>resolution on the space," said Kate D. Levin, the commissioner of cultural
>For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.