Art Workers' Coalition

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A short-lived association of art activists founded in New York in 1969. One of the founders, Carl Andre, explained that the term ‘art worker’ was chosen in preference to ‘artist’ because it included all those who made ‘a productive contribution to art’; other leading figures of the association included Lucy Lippard, Robert Morris, and Robert Smithson. In February 1969 the AWC presented a list of ‘13 Demands' to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, dealing with issues of artists’ rights and the representation of female and ethnic minority artists. The association soon broadened its scope to include protests against the Vietnam War. It organized demonstrations and pickets of various kinds, including the New York Art Strike Against War, Racism, Fascism, Sexism and Repression, which closed the city's museums for a day in May 1970. Such activities encouraged two smaller but more militant American groups, Art Workers United and Guerrilla Art Action, as well as a related group in Britain, the International Coalition for the Abolition of Art, which disrupted the opening of the *‘Young Contemporaries’ exhibition in 1970. Opponents of the AWC included Donald Judd, who thought that ‘citizens are equal’, but not artists. Several of the association's members became disenchanted with its militancy and it broke up in the early 1970s.

Subjects: Art.

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