Artists in the 1980s had a lot to say but not necessarily with a work hanging on a wall. The downtown art space Franklin Furnace (founded by Martha Wilson in 1976) was one of the first galleries to recognize this reality with programming centered around performance art, artists books and other new formats. In 1980 they created the Flue as “a printed space in which anything might happen.” This open-ended format found memorable expression in the unedited “Artist’s Pages” present in most issues of the always evolving publication.
Ana Mendieta’s page in Flue vol. 2 no. 1, 1981 drew upon the artist’s Cuban background. She found her inspiration in an unusual story from the mythology of the Taíno, the original inhabitants of Cuba, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands. As Mendieta inscribed, “They captured the woodpecker, which in their tongue is called INRIRI. And taking the women who had no sex, they bound their hands and feet and tied the bird to their bodies. The woodpecker began the work it is accustomed to do, pecking and piercing in the place where the sex of women is ordinarily located.”
David Hammons also had an artist’s page in the same issue of Flue. “Pissed Off” provides documentation by photographer Dawoud Bey of a fleeting Hammons “performance” when he peed on a graffiti-covered outdoor sculpture by Richard Serra and then received a ticket from a policeman. Exactly what Hammons was pissed off about is unknown, but the possibilities come easily to mind.
In addition to Mendieta and Hammons Flue Volume 2 Number 1 also features an artist page by Agnes Denes and cover art by Louise Lawler. It is part of a small collection of Flue Magazines available at Gallery 98.