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The Clocktower Oral History Project


For her participation in apexart’s AVANT-GUIDE TO NYC: Discovering Absence, a 2009 exhibition investigating the activities and documentation of some of New York City’s most unique cultural spaces, artist Nancy Hwang revisited the 37-year history of the Clocktower Gallery.

Remembering her earliest moments in the Clocktower, Hwang says:

"It was the third building I entered when I moved to New York in 1996. The first was my new apartment, and the second was the terribly generic Chinese restaurant around the corner. As a young art school graduate, I was pretty green. I didn't understand the Clocktower's special place in the history of the art world, and certainly couldn't figure out how to get to the 13th floor in a building with elevators that only went to 12."

"I met Alanna Heiss shortly before the 1997 re-opening of P.S.1 after a three-year renovation, and ended up working for her for three years. The people I met during that time were incredible art world personalities, whom I would encounter again and again in different situations after my P.S.1 years. One of Alanna's many gifts is to always have great people around her. She attracts with her energy and inspires mad genius—something of a superpower."

"Now that Alanna is back at the Clocktower with its galleries restored, engaged as the Director of AIR, Art International Radio, it's a new important moment. It offers the perfect opportunity for me to run around town asking icons of the art world to share their stories about the Clocktower, because as always, it's about the people."



Alanna Heiss & Martha Wilson, Alternative Spaces
A Slice of Pie with Alanna Heiss
Vito Acconci
Mary Heilmann
Joel Shapiro
Ellen Phelan
Bill Beirne
Ann Magnuson
Jeffrey Deitch
Alanna Heiss and Jene Highstein, Part 2
Alanna Heiss and Jene Highstein, Part 1
Richard Nonas