An open call to anyone who has any statement to make
Grey Art Gallery, NYU, 100 Washington Square East
Friday, January 20, 11 am–6 pm
The Fales Library, Bobst Library, NYU, 70 Washington Square South, Third Floor
Friday, January 20, Monday, January 22–Friday, January 27, 10 am–5 pm
“Sensing that today’s events, large and small, here and everywhere, afford as welcome to a structure for public expression as they did in 1960, when the Judson Church’s Hall of Issues was born, on the south side of Washington Square, we invite you to bring your “Issue,” large or small, in your chosen medium, to Inventing Downtown’s 2017 edition of the Hall of Issues, on the east side of Washington Square.”
In solidarity with the #J20 Art Strike on Friday, January 20, 2017—the day that Donald Trump will be sworn in as president of the United States—the Grey Art Gallery at New York University and The Fales Library, NYU, will present a pop-up version of Phyllis Yampolsky’s Hall of Issues, one of the fourteen spaces examined in the Grey’s current exhibition Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965. Originally staged in the Long Hall at Judson Memorial Church from December 1961 to January 1963, the Hall of Issues was a place where “anyone who has any statement to make about any social political or esthetic concern” was welcome to post topical statements and visual art. In addition, weekly dialogues brought together artists, community activists, and experts in a variety of fields. Among the Hall’s contributors were luminaries such as Aldo Tambellini, Dean Fleming, Yampolsky herself, and her husband, Peter Forakis.
Yampolsky has continued to recreate the Hall of Issues in many variations over the past 30 years, such as the “American Town Hall at America’s Reunion on the Mall” during President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration festival in 1993, which is now housed at the Clinton Library in Arkansas; the “U.N. Conference on Women” in Beijing China in 1995; and the “Union Square Town Hall Wall” in New York on the first annual commemoration of 9/11 in 2002.
Channeling the social-activist and open-call spirit of Yampolsky’s concept, the “Hall of Issues 2017: New York” will take place in the Grey’s entrance, which overlooks Washington Square Park, and in the foyer and hallway of NYU’s Fales Library. Using paper and markers provided, or bringing materials or works of any kind of their own, visitors are invited to express their emotions or concerns on the walls of both the Grey and Fales. Yampolsky—along with other artists, scholars, and activists—will be present to engage with participants.