SOUTHFIRST 60 N6th Street  Brooklyn, NY  11211     ph 718 599 4884



MAIKA POLLACK in collaboration with COLLEEN O’CONNOR

June 14 – July 20, 2014

Events: Saturday, 14 June 3-5 PM

             Sunday, 20 July 6-8 PM


SOUTHFIRST is proud to present “Group Material: Reactivating Three ‘Unrealized’ Proposals,” an investigation of the curatorial practices of the American artist-run collective Group Material (1979-1996). Rather than re-present historical material, the exhibition presents a series of three previously unrealized curatorial projects from the Group Material archive: “Waiting Room,” “North/South of Bounds,” and “Transaction.” The exhibition re-activates these three proposals to pose an inquiry into Group Material’s influential and radical curatorial practices, and their role in the present moment. The show is on view from June 14 - July 20, 2014, and features several interactive components and a discussion.


In “Reactivating Three ‘Unrealized’ Proposals,” the archive—here literally located at Fales, at NYU—becomes a trail to lead to new possibilities for exhibitions and activism in the present. Rather than staging an antiquarian “recreation” of an exhibition, by presenting shows never realized as actual exhibitions, the project instead aims to explore the intellectual, aesthetic and political proposals of Group Material’s practice in a contemporary context. The unrealized project, as an incomplete idea or intention, becomes a new source of agency and action in the present.


The exhibition will begin with the interactive “Waiting Room,” on Saturday June 14; through questionnaires about sex and sexuality the work explores the liminal space of a medical office waiting room as the site of interaction between public and private life. In “Transaction,” on view throughout the exhibition, the installation, as Group Material described it in 1995, “will produce a series of visual presentations of the social relationships that can be described by examining the contents of an individual’s wallet.” The resulting display creates a “document of the relationship and/or confusion between democracy and capitalism.” “North/South of Bounds,” here reinterpreted as “American/Austrian Boundaries,” invites artists, writers, schoolchildren and other citizens of America and Austria to exhibit work analyzing their own education and outlook on foreign places.


On Sunday, July 20 from 6-8 pm, Maika Pollack and Colleen O’Connor will discuss the findings of this portion of their ongoing collaborative curatorial investigation of Group Material, and the gallery will hold a reception for the show.


Southfirst gratefully acknowledges Fales Library & Special Collections, Julie Ault and Doug Ashford, who generously gave permission for these archival scripts to be used as the basis for this exhibition. 


Maika Pollack is an art historian, curator and critic based in New York. Having studied modern and contemporary art history at Harvard (BA) and Princeton (MA, PhD A.B.D.), and art writing at Columbia, she is currently visiting assistant professor of Art History at Sarah Lawrence College and writes regularly as the museums critic for the New York Observer. She is a co-founder of Southfirst gallery.


Colleen O’Connor is a student studying Art History at Sarah Lawrence College. She is currently an intern at Algus Greenspon Gallery, NY.


SOUTHFIRST, founded in 2000, is located at 60 N6th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn between Wythe and Kent Avenues. Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday from 12 - 6 PM and by appointment. Subway: L train to Bedford Avenue.  For more information, please contact Camille Freeman at 718 599 4884 or