P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center opened in 1976 with its inaugural exhibition

ROOMS, a groundbreaking and seminal show that explored the current pulse

of painting, drawing, sculpture, video and site-specific installation art of the time.

Artists like Richard Artschwager, Richard Nonas, Lawrence Weiner and

Alan Saret did work that is still, almost 40 years later, part of MoMA PS1’s

‘Long-term Installations’ collection. Other ROOMS artists included Vito Acconci,

John Baldessari, Jennifer Bartlett, Ronald Bladen, Daniel Buren, Walter de Maria,

Ron Gorchov, Bill Jensen, Alan Kirili, Gordon Matta-Clark, Bruce Nauman,

Nam June Paik, Robert Ryman, Richard Serra, as well as many others.

Immediately following that exhibition, PS1 began its ‘International Studio Program’

and I was fortunate to have been awarded a two year lease for Room #209W at

$30 a month (that nominal rent was raised to a staggering $35 for my 1978-79

lease). The sculptor Ronald Bladen had exhibited large drawings/sculpture studies

for the ROOMS show and had left behind 3 large drawings that, with the help of sculptor/educator Sal Romano, I was able to return to Mr. Bladen a few years later at David Davis’s art supply store at its old Soho location on LaGuardia Place just north of Houston Street (NYC). Mr. Bladen thanked me with a blind choice of one of those three drawings.

Unfortunately, most of the slides and photographs taken at the time of various

interesting events, installations, open studio crowds, as well as images shot during my incessant  wanderings throughout the cavernous bowels of this immense space late at night when I was its sole occupant, were destroyed by water in a home/studio flood a few years ago.

Some vivid visual memories include: Jene Highstein constructing a large orb-like monumental sculpture in the courtyard just outside my studio window...

John Fekner applying paper pulp to numerous walls throughout the hallways,

imbedding rust stains and paint chips into his ‘wall blood series’....Don Leicht’s intensity...Andrew Lyght’s large scale canvas and rust circle assemblages...

Frank Olt’s ceramic arcs...Frances Hynes painting...Tadeusz Myslowski, Allen Bertoldi, Dennis Leder, Norman B. Colp, Rudy Montanez, Efrain de Jesus,

Phyllis Bilick, Louis Kunsch, Richard Thatcher, Karen Shaw...Bob Rakita...

It was a rare and fascinating experience.

© len bellinger 2014, All Rights Reserved

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