Re: FMC in the NY Times

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
ps 1
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
>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
>a work.
>"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
>amicable resolution."
>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>.