Ant Farm: 1968-1978 (Opening)
Fri, April 29, 2005 7 pm CEST, Opening
When we started in 1968 we called what we were doing
»underground architecture«.
»Like an Ant Farm?« asked a friend.
Yes, like an Ant Farm, a self-contained community,
plastic architecture on the outside,
free form organic spaces on the inside.
It's a slice of life.

The ZKM shows the first exhibition to survey the work of the legendary architecture and art collective, Ant Farm. A group of radical architects who were also video, performance and installation artists - but above all, visionaries and cultural commentators.

Ant Farm was founded by Chip Lord and Doug Michaels in 1968 amidst the hot-house of San Francisco's counter-culture. Influenced by »alternative« architects like Buckminster Fuller, Archigram, and Superstudio, Ant Farm's early inflatable structures were suited to a nomadic, communal lifestyle, divergent from the mainstream Brutalist architecture of the 1960s. The group was also known for spectacular performance events like »Media Burn« [1975], for which Curtis Schreier and Doug Michaels dressed up like astronauts and sped a customized Cadillac El Dorado through a pyramid of burning televisions.

Organized by the Berkeley Art Museum, this exhibition is centered around a visual »timeline« of the group, which includes ephemera, blueprints, publications, documents, drawings, collages, photographs, architectural models, and documentary video clips. Ant Farm disbanded in 1978 after a fire in their San Francisco studio destroyed a great deal of their work. Much of their photographic documentation and videotapes survived, however, and this, along with a wide range of Ant Farm materials organized into a visual »timeline«, form the core of the exhibition.

A comprehensive catalogue in English will accompany the exhibition. Locations of the exhibition before ZKM: Berkeley Art Museum, University of California, Santa Monica Museum of Art, the ICA Institute of Contemporary Art and University of Houston, Blaffer Art Gallery. After its presentation at ZKM the show will travel to University of Houston, Blaffer Art Gallery, USA.

»Ant Farm 1968-1978« is organized by the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and is cosponsored by the College of Environmental Design and Department of Architecture. The catalog for »Ant Farm 1968-1978« is supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. The catalog and the exhibition have also been made possible by the Judith Rothschild Foundation, in recognition of Doug Michels; the National Endowment for the Arts; Rena Bransten; Marilyn Oshman; the Consortium for the Arts at UC Berkeley; the Windfall Foundation; and Joan Roebuck. Special thanks to Robert and Caroline Michels.
Organization / Institution