2ND ANNUAL NEW YORK AVANT GARDE FESTIVAL, Judson Hall , New York, 1964

Artists: Robert Ashley, David Behrman, Robert Breer, Lette Eisenhauer, Allen Ginsberg, Jacob Glick, Malcolm Goldstein, Allan Kaprow, Olga Kluver, Alvin Lucier, Jacob Maxin, Charlotte Moorman, Gordon Mumma, Max Neuhaus, Nam June Paik, Paul Price, James Tenney, Christian Wolff, Florence Wightman

Organized by: Charlotte Moorman

Venue: Judson Hall at Judson Memorial Church

Duration: August 30 – September 13, 1964

Dimensions: 35.5 x 12.7 cm

Further Information: Organized by Charlotte Moorman for 15 years in total, the second Annual New York Avant Garde Festival took place at Judson Hall next to Judson Memorial Church, which was an important non-profit location for the early avant-garde performance and Postmodern Dance movements, often referred to as the Judson Group. Performing events, theater plays or concerts each evening for two weeks, the festival also showed the US-American premiere of the play ORIGINALE by experimental musician Karlheinz Stockhausen. During the festival Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman met for the first time developing a close friendship, which resulted in several mutual performances. Their first mutual concert took place under the title Variations on a Theme by Saint-Saëns shortly after the festival.

Yoko Ono, Moorman’s former roommate, recalled meeting Moorman in 1961, when Ono needed a performer for her piece Of a Grapefruit in the World of Park at the Carnegie Recital Hall. They became friends, and Ono encouraged Moorman to enter the Fluxus movement. In 2005, Ono remembered: “In early 1962, I went back to Tokyo. When I returned to New York in 1964, I discovered that Charlotte had produced concerts of all the other avant-garde composers while I was gone. Most of them were guys who were rather mean and nasty to me. She knew that. So I was hurt. I felt like she had betrayed me. So I said, ‘Charlotte, why did you do that?’ She looked at me, wide eyed, and said ‘ Yoko, I was lonely.'” (Yoko Ono, “Foreward,” (from 2005) in Joan Ruthfuss, Topless Cellist: The Improbable Life of Charlotte Moorman, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2014).

ALW, HR

Further Links: https://www.judson.org/#welcome

Image: Images of the invitation and all other archival documents shown on this page are part of the online collection of Archiv der Avantgarden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.

Allan KaprowCharlotte MoormanNam June PaikYoko Ono


Planning the 14th Annual Avant Garde Festival, which took place from May 14th to 20th of 1978, Moorman sent her preparatory material, suggestions and a questionnaire to the artists who she wanted to participate in the festival. The festival traveled to Cambridge that year and took place in conjunction with the Cambridge River Festival.


Plans for the 14th ANNUAL NEW YORK AVANT GARDE FESTIVAL, Letter by Charlotte Moorman; Archiv der Avantgarden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Plans for the 14th ANNUAL NEW YORK AVANT GARDE FESTIVAL, Letter by Charlotte Moorman; Archiv der Avantgarden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

The New York Avant Garde Festival, which took place the last time in 1980, had always been organized by Charlotte Moorman. When she suffered from breast cancer and could not afford her treatment, her friends Joe Jones and Anna-Christa Funk sent out a letter to her friends and previous participants of the festival, asking to help Moorman with a financial contribution. Although she was eventually treated and helped organize one more festival, she passed away in 1991.

Charlotte Moorman, Joe Jones and Anna Christina Funk, Letter to Charlotte Moorman's friends, 1979; Archiv der Avantgarden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Charlotte Moorman, Joe Jones and Anna-Christa Funk, Letter to Charlotte Moorman’s friends, 1979; Archiv der Avantgarden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden