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ORCHARD


47orchard.org

This is one of two publishing projects with Orchard Gallery and R.H. Quaytman. The other may be viewed here.

Orchard was an artist run gallery in New York’s Lower East Side. With a pre-determined life-span of three years (2005–8), Orchard opted to be a commercial, for-profit business rather than an “alternative” not-for-profit. The gallery was undertaken with a tone of realism and with spirited intention to critique the economic relations and conditions of value in the art market. They supported art and intellectual traditions that weren’t then being financially backed. Along these lines, perhaps what they wagered is the idea that the most cogent way to critique a gallery is simply by starting one of your own. Messy business. Members were implicated at all times, as the gallery showed and sold the work of its own, as if to say caring for oneself is not self-indulgence; it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political conflict. Orchard gradually became the embodiment of a certain strain of critical artistic discourse, one that drew upon the differing, and sometimes mutually exclusive, perspectives of the members, whose debates and disagreements gave the project some elegance, damage, and pain.

In 2014, the ORCHARD WEBSITE lapsed and the resource was lost. With the help of Oskar Radon, Yale Union was able to reconstruct the WEBSITE in HTML5. It’s a clean rebuild, although some media has been lost along the way. Nothing has been added. Just a resurrection of the website R.H. Quaytman, the Director of Orchard, made with designer Geoff Kaplan in 2005–6. Still in place are the authors’ plain and personal writing, the fluidity of existences, grammatical slurs and all the irregularities of the original.

Orchard was run by Rhea Anastas, Moyra Davey, Andrea Fraser, Nicolás Guagnini, Gareth James, Christian Philipp Müller, Jeff Preiss, R.H. Quaytman, Karin Schneider, Jason Simon, John Yancy, Jr. and an anonymous member. They described the gallery as, “a cooperatively organized exhibition and event space in New York’s Lower East Side. The gallery was run by twelve partners of a for-profit limited liability corporation founded for the project. The partners include artists, filmmakers, critics, art historians, and curators, with several combining these activities in their practices. The partners of Orchard have been associated variously with New York experimental film and video scenes, institutional critique, 90s non-yBa practices in Britain, and political conceptualist traditions in North and South America. The partners do not have a univocal position in terms of their working methods or views on art. Instead, Orchard’s cooperative framework was intended to put the diversity of its members’ practices into discursive motion. The resulting exhibition program reflected these dialogs and the social, geographical and artistic conditions and contradictions of the positions taken within them. Orchard’s program largely eschewed solo exhibitions in favor of thematically, conceptually and politically driven group exhibitions and projects. It also represented a commitment to historically-based artistic criteria, as opposed to market criteria. This commitment was reflected in Orchard’s trans-generational mixing of established artists with lesser-known artists, and its re-examination of marginalized historical works in the context of contemporary issues and practices. […] Orchard was a three-year project which was completed on May 25, 2008.”

This publishing project was organized by Rhea Anastas and Yale Union. Thanks to Hope Svenson, Geoff Kaplan, Nic Tammens, Oskar Radon, and everyone at Orchard.