Collaborative Projects, Inc. (aka Colab) Archives (approximately 1977 - 1986)

Please note: Colab currently maintains its original membership and registered non-profit status

See People link to the left for original membership list. We are no longer accepting new members. Please feel free to contact us if you need additional information. This Colab wikispace is not complete and is currently in the process of being created by the membership.

''Colab'' is the commonly used abbreviation of the New York City artists' group, ''Collaborative Projects, Inc.'' Colab was formed in 1978 after a series of open meetings to determine new venues for showing and creating work. Throughout its first ten years of activity, Colab was distinguished from other contemporary New York artists' groups by its regular open meetings and open membership and collaborative production of art shows, a magazine, media production, performance, theater and film shows. Early group media efforts included the weekly live cable shows All Color News (non-fiction), 1978, Potato Wolf (fiction),1979-86, Red Curtain (fiction & non-fiction) 1979-83. During this period from 1978 through 1986 over 100 video shows were generated by the Colab membership in these group productions.

Colab's numerous accomplishments include X Magazine 1978-79; the New Cinema screening room for punk and no wave films 1979; the Real Estate Show, December, 1979, which created the ABC No Rio cultural center, 1980-82 (ABC is ongoing); the Times Square Show, a large open exhibition of over 150 artists near the center of New York's entertainment district, June, 1980; MWF Video Club, est'd 1986. See below for a complete list of Colab projects and member related projects.

Members of the group are presently involved in individual pursuits as artists, musicians, filmmakers and writers. Colab membership is also currently assisting in creating the Colab archival project.
A simultaneous project is the evolving Wikipedia entry on Colab.

Colab has a Facebook page

Check it for interesting factoids, and updates... A lot of links that don't get put here are there.

An online essay on ABC No Rio contains a brief, succinct description of the Colab group (from 1985).
Marc H. Miller's website launched a full dress online version of the 1985 book "ABC No Rio Dinero," edited by Miller and Alan Moore. The Colab section is here.

Some recent happenings:

The Summer 2013 "XFR STN" project at New Museum NYC transferred many of the MWF Video Club holdings of analog tapes to digital media. These were uploaded to, and a separate collection of MWF tapes you can download has been established here.

Fall 2012 --Hunter College Art Gallery show on the Times Square Show was produced. Printed Matter is preparing a book on Colab based on the show they did in late '11. (Artnet's Walter Robinson reviewed that before the e-zine got canned.) The Hunter College show surpassed expectations. There is a website -- which includes even more texts than the limited edition printed catalogue. Emily Colucci reviewed the show for Hyperallergic in October '12 -- John Reed also wrote up the show for Paris Review. Both are fine texts with lots of pictures.

Fall 2011 -- spectacular show on the walls of Printed Matter, Chelsea NYC -- reviews are here. (A book about the show is in the works...)
Colab office at 100 Church Street, the LMCC Swing Space studio, was open from November '08 through mid-January '09. Colab held a networking party and hung an exhibition. That was a lot of fun. Then we got kicked out. (Whew!) What's next? Hmmm....

Colab video titles All Color News sampler (1978) and Potato Wolf compilation (1980) now on Ubuweb...
Some 21st century Interviews and recollections by Alan Moore are here.


(in progress)

Formation of Colab:

In the 1970's hundreds of people in the arts lived in lower manhattan, which created a downtown milieu of exhibitions and group exchanges organized by artists, resulting in many collective and cooperative groups. Groups like the Judson Dance Group, 112 Greene St., Food, Artists Space, A.I.R., Artists for Cultural Change and the Fox collective, and others sprang up. In May 1977 Charlie Ahearn organized his Municipal Arcade show involving some of the artists who would later be in Colab; many of the Colab membership met at the Whitney Museum Study Program, the San Francisco and Chicago Art Institutes or lived in proximity to each other downtown.

The first Colab meetings started downtown in March 1978, which were held weekly at various artists' lofts as people discussed ways to work together. Betsy Sussler, Michael McClard, Eric Mitchel and James Nares had just produced one issue of a small magazine called X Motion Picture Magazine, which they talked about at the first meeting. The making of a larger magazine or joint effort inspired the group to start meeting on a regular basis. Michael McClard suggested the name Green Corporation (the color of money) and was soon elected president by a group of over thirty people. Unfortunately upon further investigation the name Green Corp. for the group had to be dropped as it already existed as NYC organization. Michael McClard and/pr Paula Longendyke suggested the name "Collaborative Projects" and the name stuck. In June 1978 the evolving group investigated forming a non-profit organization to create work and exhibitions collectively, and incorporated under the name Collaborative Projects, Inc. Colab voted that the charter for the non-profit Collaborative Projects, Inc. required that there be revolving unpaid officers who came from the membership and maintained the organization's fiscal requirements; that the membership of Colab required attending consecutive meetings and participating in group productions; and that all money gathered and distributed to projects be voted on and passed by a quorum of the membership. A project was considered a Colab project if it was open to all members, was funded by Colab and had received a quorum vote. A second president was elected, Beth B, and officers, and Colab began production on two more X Magazines, an X Magazine Benefit and All Color News cable show. These first shows were created from monies from the Colab members, later cable shows and other activities were supported by art grants, such as Potato Wolf and Red Curtain cable shows, the Real Estate Show and the Times Sq. Show.

During this time 1978-79 other shows were arising from the Colab membership but not paid for by Colab, though these shows were open to those that heard about them, which was essentially Colab members, such as the Batman Show, Income & Wealth Show, Doctors & Dentists Show, Manifesto Show, Dog Show, Just Another Asshole Show, 93 Grand Street Show, Jay St. Film Shows, Qwip and Slow Scan. Colabbers who spaces were used or organized these shows included Coleen Fitzgibbon (5 Bleecker St.), Robin Winters (591 Broadway), Liza Bear (93 Grand St.), Michael McClard (93 Grand St.), James Nares /Seth Tillet / Tim Burns (Jay St.), Diego Cortez, Jenny Holzer, Robert Cooney, Jane Sherri, Barbara Ess, Virginia Piersol.

Other influential publications and productions by members but not necessarily Colab include Art-Rite by Walter Robinson and Edit de Ak; Spanner Magazine by Dick Miller and Terri Slotkin; Nightshift theatre productions by Betsy Sussler, Lindsey Smith, Robert Cooney, Caz Porter; New Cinema by Eric Mitchell, James Nares, Becky Johnston.

Subsequent presidents were Coleen Fitzgibbon, Walter Robinson, Becky Howland, and others; officers included the same plus Andrea Callard, Tom Otterness, Ulli Rimkus, Alan Moore, Cara Perlman and others.

Further information needs to be posted by members

The ground floor and basement loft space at 93 Grand Street was also the HQ for Center for New Art Activities, Inc. (CNAA), the
not-for-profit umbrella * for Avalanche through 1976. CNAA sponsored the first National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant for the Green Corporation, prior to Colab acquiring its own tax-exempt status. This was a film/video workshop grant. (Scan of document TK)
Seed money from the NEA grant ($200 per artist in groups of three) was used to start independently-run projects such as New Cinema, which showed 3/4 inch video transfers of narrative Super 8 feature films on an Advent screen in a storefront at 12 St Mark's Place, East Village ; New Cinema operated for a period of about 6 months from 1978 to 1979, with screenings playing to packed houses, and served as a launching pad for a number of artist filmmakers, many (or most or possibly all) of whom participated in later Colab activities.

Early meetings:

Meetings run with a (roughly) parliamentary procedure. Officers were elected to call meetings, apply for grants, __. The structure of the organization was discussed and it evolved. One of the main things was: NO CURATORS. One of the policies that evolved was how to expand the membership. Every project that was funded by Collaborative Projects had to involve 3 or more people, two of whom must be from Collaborative Projects, Inc.
Membership Lists Meeting Announcements and Agendas Meeting Notes Officers

Many documents pertaining to Colab's administration are in the Fales Library, NYU, NYC, Andrea Callard Papers. See this finding aid.

Colab's Projects:

  • Cable TV Shows:


The first issue of X preceded the formation of Colab and was financed through a fundraising benefit.
  • Direct Mail Catalog


Batman Show (November 1977)

images articles

Exhibit A (November 1978?)

93 Grand Street
financed by CNAA, Colab, CVA

Doctors & Dentists Show (Jan. - Feb. 1979)

591 Broadway images articles
which ran concurrently with:

Income & Wealth Show (Jan. - Feb. 1979)

5 Bleecker Street
images articles

The Dog Show (May 1979)

591 Broadway
images articles
which ran concurrently with:

The Manifesto Show (May 1979)

5 Bleecker Street
images articles

Real Estate Show (Dec. 31, 1979 - Jan. 2, 1980)

images articles

Times Square Show (June 1980)

Gift Shop
images articles

ABC No Rio (1980-81)

images articles website

A. More Store (1981-84)

  • 529 Broome Street, organized by Ellen Cooper, Walter Robinson, & Kiki Smith Images Press
  • White Columns Images Press
  • Barbara Gladstone Gallery Images Press
  • Jack Tilton Gallery Images Press
  • Printed Matter Images Press

Gift Store at Documenta, 1982

organized by Stefan Eins and Jenny Holzer

Colab and W.P.A. at The Ritz Hotel, Washington D.C. (1983)

images articles

Colab at Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY (1984)

images articles

Colab at the Concord Gallery, NYC (1984)

Colab at the New Harmony Gallery, New Harmony, Indiana

  • Colab-related Projects

ie projects in which Colab members participated,
or which they initiated

X & Y (1977)

images articles

QWIP (1977-78)

images articles

Slow Scan (1978-1979)

images articles

MWF Video Club (1986-200?)

images articles website

Spanner Magazine

COLAB TV: Excerpts from Potato Wolf, M/W/F Club, XFR STN at the New Museum DVD Project