Construction in Process III
1990, Lodz, Poland

Construction in Process - Back in Lodz, 1990

hanging flags on Wschodnia Street The third Construction in Process was called back in Lodz, 1990, and was a large and extensive gathering; the entire city of Lodz became the field of activity for around 100 international artists. Several dozen of the sites of the artists' work were scattered throughout different parts of the city. Vigorous artistic energy and a spirit of co-operation, along with the great support and engagement of the people of Lodz, brought forth an exceptional creative process. During that event The Artists' Museum -international provisional artists' community was formed.

The concept of the 3rd "CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS - Back in Lodz, 1990" was based on the assumptions worked out in the previous events. The fundamental feature this time, different from the others, was a suggestion to expand it all over the city. Part of the prject description published and edited by the "Construction in Process" Association and sent to all the artists, reads:

"CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS - Back in Lodz, 1990" is a place for work and cooperation among the artists in a wide social context. It will take place during the so-called 'working days' from October 5th to Ocober 15th, 1990
The 'working days' period will be accessible and open to the public. The artists will be able to collaborate with workers, students, labor unions, various associations, galleries and social and cultural institutions. The whole space of the city will be taken over by the artists' activity. Some projects may also take place outside of Lodz. The starting time is not fixed, so artists may start their projects before the 'working days'.
"CONSTRUCTION IN PROCESS - Back in Lodz, 1990" is not a museum space, academy, workshop or educational workplace, but an open and living city-wide space for the artistic activity. It is intended to be a pulsating 'work place', a space for the never-ending process of creating and developing ideas in a changing social context. the flags of CiP - back in Lodz on Wschodnia Street
The conditions for participating are:

materials from the collection of The Archives of Contemporary Thought

Marcela AnselmettiRolf JuliusDaniel Reynolds
Ilan AverbuchWolf KahlenRafael Rheinsberg
Janusz BaldygaElzbieta KalinowskaJozef Robakowski
Reiner BarzenAndromahi KefalosIngrid Roscheck
Terry BerkowitzEdmund KieselbachNicolas Rowan
Tom BillsMarek KijewskiKarin Sander
Monika BrandmeierAdam KlimczakAnthony Sansotta
Jean Pierre BrigaudiotSvetlana KopystianskiEva Maria Schon
Wojciech BruszewskiIgor KopystianskiPhilip Smith
Hartmut BoehmAnna KuteraMikolaj Smoczynski
Peter D'AdostinoRomuald KuteraEric Snell
Jacqueline DauriacEmma J. LawtonMichael Snow
Barco DimitrijevicEdward LazikowskiPawel Sobczak
Peter DownsboroughLes LevineMarek Sobczyk
Kristian DubbickSol LeWittAnn Thulin
Bernd EickhorstEmilio Lopez-MencheroHanne Tierney
Wendy ElliottMilovan MarkovicSissel Tolaas
Lilli EngelJonas MekasFrancesc Torres
Gene FloresRune MieldsTout
Michael GalassoAntoni MikolajczykEndre Tot
Klaus GeldmacherTeresa MurakDagmar Uhde
Jochen GerzGiovanni NicoliniMicha Ullman
Leszek GolecJohn NixonKen Unsworth
Jerzy GrzegorskiRichard NonasIan Wallace
Ryszard GrzybAnn NoelMaria Wasko
Marcia HafifDennis OppenheimRyszard Wasko
Tadashi HashimotoErick OppenheimLawrence Weiner
Wolfgang HeinkePaul PanhuysenEmmet Williams
Marygold HodkinsonLuigi PasotelliXawery Wolski
Alexander HonoryBeverly PiersolBrigida Wrobel-Kulik
Peter HutchinsonAnna PlotnickaMarthe Wery
Taka IimuraDavid RabinowitchSofia Zezmer
Jean Luc JehanMargaret Raspe

in the office at Wschodnia Gallery dancing party at Wschodnia Gallery in the `Halka` restaurant

Richard Nonas had the idea that we should make a clear slogan in our head-quarters at Wschodnia Gallery. Its purpose would be to make clear to all participants the deficiencies and complications involved in organizing. We made a banner with just the words: "Local Standard". Another New York artist, Daniel Reynolds, added anothe slogan: "Chill out", and people accepted that. Everybody understood that perfect organizing was not the most important thing, but rather being together, co-operating and co-existing. Nobody complained. We worked all the time, often sleeping only one or two hours a day. After a full day of hard work we'd met together at Wschodnia Gallery, which had changed into an artistic salon swinging with discussions, parties and dancing to blues music. The atmosphere was wonderful and full of true joy. There were no quarrels, no aggressive ego-trips, no argument between artists. Everybody collaborated and helped each other. Even food was shared, because we didn't have enough tickets to the "Halka" restaurant that was rented for the event period.
Ryszard Wasko, fragments from the book; "The Artists' Museum: International Provisional Artists' Comunity Lodz"

"This week of making things, of working in factories, of working with all sorts of people in the city, working all over the city in order to make art is extraordinary. Most important about this show is that it's all over the city, and as you see many different kinds of art, many different parts of the city, many different times of things happen in this city. And, I think, it's very good taste of what lot of artists all over the world are thinking about and trying to do. I think, it would be very, very interesting for anybody who takes the trouble to look in all of these buildings in all over the city, you'll see a lot of very different things, some more interesting, some not interesting but that's fine. That's the way it should be. And, I think, the show will be a success on that level of it being enormusely complicated and very experienced of the art of our time. I think, as an exhibition, spread through this entire city, it's a very interesting experience, I think, both for those of us, who are involved in and also for the audience. I think, it's the best kind of show you can have it." - Richard Nonas in an interview in "Construction in Process - 1990", TV-film by Magda Olczyk

working days

"Construction in Process - back in Lodz" was remarkable as an initiative generated by artists and as a social and political project, carried out on a shoestring budget, which drew its strength from Poland's particular situation. (...) It is hard to imagine a comparable international exhibition, with access to so many sites throughout the city, taking place in the U.S., Europe or Australia without backing of official institutions (...)" - Sue Cramer,'Back to the future' in 'Art in America', March, 1991

the exhibition

view of 82 Zachodnia Street during the opening of the Artists' MuseumEmmet Williams cutting the ribbon during the opening of the Artists' Museum building at 82 Zachodnia StreetOn the sunny Sunday of October 14, at 12 noon, an unusual opening of the new artistic place in Lodz took place, at the entrance to the factory building at 82 Zachodnia Street. The Artists' Museum was officially opened. The first president of the Artists' Museum, the American artist Emmet Williams, ceremonially cut a ribbon stretched across the gateway. That act was a particular "homage to the fluxus artist, and Williams' friend, Bob Watts, an action titled "Three inches".

We should at this point remind ourselves of some of the aims described by the initiators of the Artists' Museum, to be seated in Lodz, from a bulletin of the Construction in Process Association, Nr.1/May 1990:
"The ambition of the Association is to create a permanent place in Lodz for activity and contacts between artists from all over the world. The Artists' Museum is intended to be an international center, an open space for the initiatives of artists, and directed by the artists. The uniqueness of its gallery will be that it will presentpieces of art which come into being right on the spot. The works will be realized especially for the Museum. This means that the direct contact between the artist, the living social structure and an actual place in Europe is concidered by us more important than warehousing and exhibiting valueable objects of art. The Artists' Museum is to be a museum 'without walls' that through its activities will transform the traditional definition of an art museum". (materials from the collection of the Archives of Contemporary Thought)

Emmet Williams, the first President of the Artists' Museum, published a book, "My life in Flux - and Vice Versa", in which he included a chapter, How I became a Director-President". He comments an invitational letter sent to him by Ryszard Wasko:
"... 'Hreby', the letter began, 'as Chairman of the Board of Trustees ...' Ah, I thought, they probably want a donation, like the museum in Norway that invited me to present to them, as a gift, representative works from all periods of my life as an artist.
'... of the International Foundation of Construction in Process in Lodz, I wish to propose that you accept our invitation to become the Director-President of the unprecedented International Provisional Association of Lodz - THE ARTISTS' MUSEUM.
This offer is made on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for the Artists' Museum and the Construction in Process Association. Through this declaration, members of the two bodies wish to express their great respect and appreciation for your important and valuable and uncompromising contribution to contemporary art. We also wish to underline here your extraordinary help to Polish art scene during the 'heavy days' with which the Polish artists were confronted until recently ...'
It was signed by my friend Ryszard Wasko. Of course it was entirely out of the question. I have little enough time for my own work as it is. And of course I said yes. I should know better, at my age. The fact is, I have never learned how to say no."
- Emmet Williams "How I became a Director-President" in "My life in Flux - and Vice Versa", p.410, Edition Hansjorg Mayer, Stuttgart-London, 1991

And Williams answered:

                                             1000 Berlin 11 
                                             5 May 1990 

To: The Board of Trustees 
    of the Foundation for the Artists' Museum 
    and the Construction in Process Association 

I accept with pleasure the invitation to participate as a member 
of the Board of Trustees of the International Foundation. 

And I accept with even more pleasure, and pride, the invitation 
to serve as Director President of the "unprecedented" 
(yes, it is unprecedented) International Artists' Provisional 
Association of Lodz -- The Artists' Museum. 

All right, and let's get to work! 

Very sincerely, and with great expectations, 

Emmet Williams

The opening of the Artists' Museum at 82 Zachodnia Street

Emmet Williams on the ladder during his opening-speech at The Artists' Museum Inside The Artists' Museum gallery during the opening

The hall on Zachodnia Street was full of artists and guests when Emmet Williams gave his ceremonial "Presidential" speech, standing on the ladder:

"Well, about one hour ago, when I was preparing these little notes I was trying to visualize the scene of this address. Welcome all of you distinguished sponsors. Welcome to you! They need you. And welcome distinguished guests! What it would the museum be without guests? First, congratulations to all of the artists involved in this third manifestation of 'Construction in Process'. I'm sure that it ends up to one of the best shows in town, in Poland, and probably in Europe. I'm here, I'm standing on this ladder because I've been chosen to be the first President of The International Artists' Museum. In this particular moment what I would call this museum is the International Artists' Museum in 'Construction in Process'. Long live the Artists' Museum!"

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