Observing the Avant-Garde will provide an overview of photographer Peter Moore’s (1932–1993) unique documentation of avant-garde performances: Happenings, Fluxus, Judson Dance Theater, multimedia, and other forms of live art that he instinctively and obsessively recorded in the belief that they would be lost to history unless fully documented. Because of his archive’s depth and breadth, these photographs form a visual history of this material. Surprisingly few images from this archive have been exhibited or published. Barbara Moore’s book will also discuss photography’s evolving relationship to performance and integrate a memoir of her own experiences participating in this history as the artist’s wife, archivist, and general collaborator. The book will also introduce lesser known artists and lesser known works by famous artists into the canon.
Barbara Moore has been the administrative director of the Peter Moore archive since 1962. From 1976 to 2004 she was a rare book dealer specializing in alternatives to or subversions of the traditional gallery and commercial entertainment systems, such as artists’ books, multiples, conceptual art, Fluxus, Happenings, Judson Dance Theater, mail art, Cage-influenced music, and performance art. She is the editor of The Destruction of Penn Station: Photographs by Peter Moore (2004) and The World of Charlotte Moorman: Archive Catalogue (2000).