The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this conversation between Nuyorican artist Papo Colo, and feminist performance artist Martha Wilson, Colo describes his performances from 1976 to 1986 in chronological order. The conversation with her provides succinct descriptions of the symbolism and personal meaning of his eclectic range of performances, interventions, and theatrical experiments, in his own words. Of his best-known performance, Superman—in 1977 he tied fifty-one sticks of wood to his body and ran through the West Side Highway until he collapsed in exhaustion,—Colo states that it was a premeditated act of defeat to symbolize a particular way in which Americans sometimes make sacrifices. He also describes his 1982 installation, titled Octopus, which was presented as part of his first exhibition at El Museo del Barrio. A book made of 4 x 8 foot plywood panels, Colo organized a piece in which for thirty days, at different times, forty different artists-poets, from Vito Acconci to Pedro Pietri, created a page to what became a public sculpture that was highly individualized on one hand, yet on the other, was also collective.
Papo Colo is a mixed-media artist of Puerto Rican origins. From 1982 to 2012, Colo directed Exit Art, an internationally-known cultural center, which he cofounded with his partner of many years, Jeanette Ingerman. At Exit Art, Colo also served as a curator who organized over one hundred shows. In 1998, he founded the Trickster Theater to expand his experiments as an interdisciplinary artist.Exit Art was a nonprofit cultural center whose mission was to explore the rich diversity of voices and cultures that continually shape contemporary art and ideas in America. Throughout its thirty-year history, Exit Art has been committed to programming that directly mirrors and reacts to the needs of the two interrelated communities they serve: the artists whose work is presented, and the audience that looks to them in order to interpret the work within a broader cultural context. Throughout its history, Exit Art took on many homes. It was one of the first galleries in New York City to move to SoHo, setting up a space there in 1982. In 2002, the gallery moved to a location in Hell’s Kitchen.