Lil Picard and Counterculture New York
Grey Art Gallery, NYU
April 20 - July 10, 2010
Like gaseous bubbles through the stagnant green waters over tar pits, forgotten artists from the past occasionally exhibit in New York. These exhibitions can often burst with noxious fumes of archival decomposition. Of course the art works of the dead are mangled and mishandled. Their messages – or for those you don't like that phrase, the living force of their life's work – is always and already misconstrued.
This was the powerful sense I had upon visiting the exhibition “Lil Picard and Counterculture New York” at the NYU Grey Gallery. I knew Lil Picard (1900-1994) first as a curious European antique – one of the grande dames of the Fluxus circle when I was a babe in the woods of NYC. Much later, I read her writing for the East Village Other, where she was an impassioned partisan of the anti-war avant garde of the 1960s. This show filled that picture in some by showing that Lil Picard also was part of this group. She wrote as a critic, for money (in German) and for love (in the EVO), but she was also an artist. That “also” got her slapped as a Sunday painter by the professionalized U.S. avant-garde.