Skip to content

Avalanche Magazine

The short-lived New York based art magazine Avalanche, which existed between 1970 and 1976, captured a sense of its time, but also engaged critically with the relationship between printed matter (books, samizdat, etc.) and artwork. Founded by Liza Bear and Willoughby Sharp Avalanche pushed artistic ideas, via interviews with artists and artists’ projects being the mainstays of the magazine.

Which brings us to the present.

Primary Information has reprinted Avalanche as a complete set for the first time in three decades. Originally published in magazine format for the first eight issues, Avalanche switched to a newsprint format for the final five issues. This facsimile edition is a boxed set that houses the individual magazine issues and the newspapers bound in a single book form.

Avalanche focused on new forms of art-making (of it’s day), providing a timely format for art’s movement away from galleries and museums and towards the printed page and emerging discourses surrounding Performance and Land art. The interviews, all conducted by Bear and Sharp, employ a loose but thoughtful approach. Often the articles ran as large as 16 pages. The featured artists were at the time relatively unknown, today they read like a Who’s Who of the avant-garde (in particular as defined by Dia:). The square covers of the early issues feature now iconic portraits of artists; Joseph Beuys, Lawrence Weiner, Yvonne Rainer, Vito Acconci (who had the entire Issue of #6 dedicated to him) and Bruce Nauman.

Featured artists were Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Bill Beckley, Joseph Beuys, Chris Burden, Daniel Buren, Hanne Darboven, Walter De Maria, Jan Dibbets, Barbara Dilley, Simone Forti, Gilbert & George, the Philip Glass Ensemble, Grand Union, Hans Haacke, Jannis Kounellis, Meredith Monk, Barry Le Va, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Gordon Matta-Clark, Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, Klaus Rinke, Joel Shapiro, Jack Smith, Keith Sonnier, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, George Trakas, William Wegman, Lawrence Weiner, the Western Front and Jackie Winsor.

Avalanche by Primary Information is available at Printed Matter.


  1. Thank you Matthew.
    For the record, one interview in Avalanche 8, summer/Fall1973, was done by someone other than Willoughy or myself. (incidentally we did 10 interviews jointly) the rest individually) We had intended to feature Robert Smithson in that issue discussing Amarillo Ramp. Tragically, he was killed in a plane crash on the way to the site. We were able to publishe an interview done by sculptor Nancy Holt with Sid Feck, a construction engineer who had worked on the Amarillo Ramp.

    In later versions of the reprint press release, in the interests of accuracy, I added a footnote mentioning Holt’s interview.

  2. Matthew Langley

    Thanks for taking the time to comment on the post and set the record straight.

    I picked up my copy of the Avalache set Saturday afternoon before the festivities and I have to admit – it’s an amazing body of work. I’m glad it was able to get back in circulation. I hope you are as happy as I am with it.

    Curious – what are you doing now? I’d love to hear about current projects.

  3. I write, I make films and I’m a contributing editor at Bomb . A couple of years ago Beyond the Frame: Dialogues with World Filmmakers, a collection of my film writings, was published by Praeger, That’s still around at places like MoMA and St Marks Bookshop. You can see my films at my other blog or at

    My most recent print interview was with Agnes Varda in Interview June/July 2009

    • Matthew Langley

      Thanks for the note – I used to love to read Bomb – and don’t know why I slowed down. I’ll take a look at your films as well.

      Thanks again for posting and the follow up.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *