During the New Langton Arts debate a few weeks ago, Renny Pritikin, who with his wife Judy Moran directed the organization in its first decade and more, mentioned to me an essay he’d written that elaborated some of the early ideas behind the institution. I asked him to send it my way, and a week later it arrived by mail. Called “The Port Huron Statement and the Origin of Artists’ Organizations,” the essay connects the student movements of the 1960s — in particular, ideas of participatory democracy espoused by the Students for a Democratic Society in 1962 — with the impulses and modes that defined Langton’s founding and first decade. You can find the original essay here; what follows below is a dialogue about the essay in retrospect. Renny is Director of the Richard L. Nelson Gallery and the Fine Arts Collection at the University of California, Davis.
JM: So, thanks again for this document. It’s interesting, and I think the reading you put fo... More