C_M_L in an interview with Gregory Sholette | January 2009
What follows are excerpts of an exchange between the editors of C_M_L and Gregory Sholette, one ofthe founders of Political Art Documentations/Distribution (PAD/D), a collective whose activitiesincluded the creation of an archive of politically agitational and socially progressive art centered inNew York City. The archive was initiated in 1979 by critic and curator Lucy R. Lippard as an open call.Other members of PAD/D included Barbara Moore, and Mimi Smith, Jerry Kearns, Vanalyne Greene,Mickie McGee, Janet Koenig, Herb Perr, Keith Christensen, Jerri Allyn, Beverly Naidus, Irving Wexler,Ed Eisenberg, Jody Wright, and Charles Frederick. The matter collected by PAD/D has been housed inthe archives of the Museum of Modern Art since 1989.
This poster was collectively conceived of during a meeting of the PAD/D Not For Sale anti-gentrification committeein 1984. Janet Koenig was responsible for realizing theactual design, and the posters themselves were silk-screenedat the Lower East Side Print Shop. Members of the NFSCommittee included: Janet Koenig, Michael Anderson, Jody Wright, Ed Eisenberg, Glenn Stevens, Karen Kowles,Eileen Whalen, and Gregory Sholette.
C_M_L: Judging from the multiplicity of projects that PADD realized over the years, it seems thatit was far more than being 'just' an archive? What role did the archive have in your activist work,and what role did art have in this context? Did you see your self at that time being part of a biggermovement?
Gregory Sholette: As you can tell from PAD/D’s occasionally grandiose mission statement the group didindeed perceive itself to be part of a larger social and political movement that was sometimes simply referred to as
, as if its existence was simply self-evident. But pinpointing the contours of thislarger Movement is not so easy. I would say that PAD/D mixed its identity together with elements drawnfrom the Civil Rights, Feminist, Anti-Vietnam War and the Anti-Nuclear movements of the 1960s and1970s. The group also sought to look beyond domestic politics. One of its bolder objectives was the forging of “an international, grass roots network of artist/activists who will support with their talents and their