An Anti-Catalog was the work of the Catalog Committee of the group Artists Meeting for Cultural Change (AMCC). A landmark publication of the 1970s, its purpose was to protest the Whitney Museum of American Art’s bicentennial exhibition, which was titled “Three Centuries of American Art.” The Whitney show featured John D. Rockefeller III’s collection of mainly eighteenth and nineteenth-century American art–a collection that featured only one African American and one woman artist.

The Catalog Committee, which consisted of fifteen artists and two art historians, spent almost a year producing an eighty-page book containing articles and documents. Originally conceived as a critique of art historian E.P. Richardson’s catalog for the Whitney exhibition, the committee evolved ideas for pictorial essays that would encompass native American art, African-American art, art by women, critiques of pervasive class bias in the art world, and critical examinations of cultural institutions. As the committee wrote in its description of its project, “we share the belief that culture should no longer exist merely as an extension of the economic interests or the personal ‘tastes’ of the wealthy and powerful. Nor can we hope to transform culture outside of a struggle to transform the society from which it springs.” Strong words that have lost little of their relevance for today’s cultural scene.

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