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Martha Wilson Alumna '74

Performance artist Martha Wilson is founding director of Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc., which, since its inception in 1976, has presented and preserved temporal art: artists’ books and other multiples produced internationally after 1960; temporary installations; and visual art performance. During Franklin Furnace’s 20th anniversary season, the organization "went virtual," its website,, becoming its public face; in 1998, Franklin Furnace presented its first program of live art on the Internet, viewing cyberspace as offering the same freedom of expression its loft space during the 1970s. She has developed exhibitions, publications, courses and pedagogical resources concerning the artistic movement and philosophy we now know as Postmodernism.

Trained in English Literature, Ms. Wilson was teaching Grammar at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design when she became fascinated by the intersection of text and image. She moved to New York in 1974, working at Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Artbook publishers, in an effort to combine her interests in art and literature. As an artist, she was a founding member in 1978 of DISBAND, the all-girl feminist punk rock band of artists who couldn’t play any instruments. Since DISBAND disbanded in 1982, she has performed in the guises of Alexander Haig, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Tipper Gore. In the spring of 2008, she had her first solo exhibition in New York, at Mitchell Algus Gallery, Martha Wilson: Photo/Text Works, 1971-74.


I make up the image of my perfection, 1974. (left)
I make up the image of my deformity, 1974. (right)
Photo by Alan Comfort


Posturing: Drag, 1972.
Photo by Doug Waterman


Posturing: Male Impersonator (Butch), 1973. 
Photo by Richards Jarden