Performance artist Martha Wilson is Founding Director of Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc., a museum she established in her TriBeCa storefront loft in lower Manhattan which, since its inception in 1976, has presented and preserved temporal art: artists’ books and other multiples produced internationally after 1960; temporary installations; and performance art. Franklin Furnace “went virtual” on its 20th anniversary, taking the Internet as its art medium and public venue to give artists the freedom of expression they had enjoyed in the loft in the 70s. Ms. Wilson lectures widely on the book as an art form, on performance art, and on “variable media art.”
Trained in English Literature, Ms. Wilson was teaching at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design when she became fascinated by artworks created at the intersection of text and image. In New York, she founded DISBAND, the all-girl punk 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, 1971-1974.” In 2009, “Martha Wilson: Staging the Self,” an exhibition of Ms. Wilson’s early photo/text work and one project from each of Franklin Furnace’s first 30 years, began international travel under the auspices of ICI (Independent Curators International); and in 2011, ICI published the Martha Wilson Sourcebook: 40 Years of Reconsidering Performance, Feminism, Alternative Spaces. Martha Wilson joined P.P.O.W Gallery, New York, and mounted a solo exhibition, “I have become my own worst fear,” in September, 2011.