From Conceptualism to Feminism: Lucy Lippard’s Numbers Shows 1969–74

Four exhibitions of contemporary art curated by Lucy Lippard have become renowned as her ‘numbers shows’. Each took the population of the city in which it was shown as its title: ‘557,087’ in Seattle, ‘955,000’ in Vancouver, ‘2,972,453’ in Buenos Aires and ‘c.7,500’ opening in Valencia, California, before touring the US and to London. This third title in the Exhibition Histories series follows Lippard’s curatorial trajectory, analysing her transition from a writer about art to a maker of exhibitions, and tracing her growing political engagement and involvement with feminism.  Extensive photographic material is complemented by a major new essay by Cornelia Butler and interviews with Lucy Lippard, Seth Siegelaub and artists included in ‘c.7,500’, as well as critical responses written at the time by Peter Plagens and Griselda Pollock. The volume also includes an essay by Pip Day analysing artists’ initiatives in Argentina as a context for the emergence of Lippard’s political consciousness.

The Exhibition Histories series investigates exhibitions that have shaped the way contemporary art is experienced, made and discussed.