Skip to main content

Distributed for Intellect Ltd

Franklin Furnace and the Spirit of the Avant-Garde

A History of the Future

Franklin Furnace is a renowned New York–based artsorganization whose mission is to preserve, document, and present works of avant-garde art by emerging artists—particularly those whose works may be vulnerable due to institutional neglect or politically unpopular content. Over more than thirty years, Franklin Furnace has exhibited works by hundreds of avant-garde artists, some of whom—Laurie Anderson, Vito Acconci, Karen Finley, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Jenny Holzer, and the Blue Man Group, to name a few—are now established names in contemporary art.

Here, for the first time, is a comprehensive history of this remarkable organization from its conception to the present. Organized around the major art genres that emerged in the second half of the twentieth century, this book intersperses first-person narratives with readings by artists and scholars on issues critical to the organization’s success as well as Franklin Furnace’s many contributions to avant-garde art.

184 pages | 45 halftones | 7 x 9 | © 2011

Art: Art--Biography

Intellect Ltd image

View all books from Intellect Ltd


"A riveting account of the evolution of one of the most innovative arts organizations of all time. An important and long overdue study, and essential reading for those interested in the interdisciplinary impulses of cutting-edge art and performance."—Steve Dixon, Brunel University

Steve Dixon, Brunel University

"In telling the story of Franklin Furnace, Toni Sant unfolds its long multifaceted history splendidly, revealing to us its many adventures in a very informative and interesting manner. This book deserves a place on the shelves of art history and should be thumbed by many a scholar and artist."—Brian Routh, multimedia performance artist

Brian Routh, multimedia performance artist

Table of Contents


Part I
Chapter 1: Franklin Furnace: A Timeline
Chapter 2: A Long Conversation with Martha Wilson
    Art and the Loft Law in Downtown New York City Paul M. Gulielmetti
    Money and Art at Franklin Furnace in the Early Years Barbara Quinn
    Some of My Performances in Retrospect Annie Sprinkle
    When Franklin Furnace Went Virtual Robert Galinsky
    Exemplary Quality Irreverence Adrianne Wortzel
    You Can’t Say Avant-Garde David S. Perlmutter
Part II
Chapter 3: Broadcasting Artists’ Ideas
Chapter 4: Virtually Live
Chapter 5: Preserving the Avant-Garde

Franklin Furnace Publications

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press