An Experimental Eviction

The Times has had a flurry of collecting, and even archiving, stories lately, so I plan on catching up over the next few posts.  Let’s work backwards for now.

Today’s story concerns the impending homelessness of the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, an experimental cinema group that maintains 5,000 films, by 900 different artists, on the thirteenth floor of P.S.1 in Queens.

The museum is giving the 8,200 square feet to a fledgling radio project called Art International Radio, which plans to produce poetry, music and theater in the space.

Now, does one of these seem drastically more important than the other? Personally, I call it a draw.  Both are fighting the good fight for non-commercial art. So, why is the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, and its archive, being unceremoniously ushered out?

Well, the Times doesn’t say.  But it does say that the founder of Art International Radio, Allanna Heiss,  happens to be the founder of P.S.1, who happened to serve as executive director of the museum until last year.

And while some on both sides are giving the usual cliches about a compromise, the Times has this gem from Ms. Heiss:

“I have enormous respect for the co-op, and we hope we can work together in the future,” she added. “When it moves, it should move very carefully.”

As in, don’t let the door hit you on the way out  and make you  drop all your precious little experimental movies.  No word yet on whether that compromise has been struck to let them use the elevator.


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