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Alternative Museum An exhibition space where politics often shared the wall with art, at 17 White Street in TriBeCa. Under its director, Geno Rodriguez, the museum has shown artists who are not widely known in the commercial gallery world, as well as a variety of exhibitions on social themes ranging from the threat to endangered animal species to political torture and concepts of liberty. (nytimes 1988) Geno Rodriguez, Janice Rooney, and Robert Browning all cofounded the Alternative museum, which opened in 1975. The museum’s mission statement promised that it will, “remain a museum in flux, responding to the changing needs of our society.” The original name of the museum was called, the Center for International Arts, and began as a non-profit organization. The Center for International Arts approached pluralistically “the arts and cultural activities of New York City” (Ault , 41). In 1979, the Center for International Art relocated from East Fourth Street to 17 White Street, and changed its name to the Alternative Museum. The museum stayed in 17 White Street until the 1980s.

Today the museum is an active cyber museum with no physical location. Before the physical location closed, the museum held annual Dia de los Muertos celebrations. By the year 2000 the Alternative Museum decided to abandon its a 4,000-square-foot gallery space on Broadway in SoHo. In an interview granted to Arts at Large magazine titled Art Museum Abandons Its Real-World Space Mr. Rodriguez stated: "By 1990, people were asking, 'What's the difference between you guys and theNew Museum or Exit Art?'" Rodriguez said, referring to two progressively minded art spaces in New York. "We realized that we'd done our job well enough that the new generation didn't see any difference. So we started thinking in terms of change."

In its heyday period the Alternative Museum presented “challenging solo, group, and thematic exhibitions that interrelate politics and art and sometimes foreground social themes”, (Ault, 42-43) The museum focused on artists that were not in the mainstream, in particularly to one-person artist exhibitions. Some of these artist included, Adrian Piper, Terry Berkowitz, Luis Camnitzer, Ming Fay, Dennis Adams, and Tseng Kwong Chi. The museum’s social themes alos included striving catalogs with important historical writings like, Artisit of Conscience: Sixteen Years if Social and Political Commentary (1992), Disinformation: The Manufacture of Consent (1985), and Foreign Affairs: Conflicts in the Global Village(1988)

http://www.alternativemuseum.org/info/information.html
http://www.alternativemuseum.org/info/pdf/nytimes.pdf

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