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Alanna Heiss

Alanna Heiss, Director of Clocktower Productions, is a leader of the groundbreaking early 1970’s alternative spaces movement in New York City, which radically changed the way large-scale art projects were produced, shown, and seen.

In 1972 she founded the legendary Clocktower Gallery, and in 1976 she founded P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1) which she directed for 32 years and transformed into an internationally renowned non-collecting center for the production and presentation of contemporary art. Heiss has organized over 700 exhibitions at P.S.1 and in art spaces around the world.

In 2003 founded Art Radio, the Internet radio station of P.S.1 and first ever all-art museum station. Among her numerous publications are catalogues of the work of Janet Cardiff, Alex Katz, Dennis Oppenheim, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Katharina Sieverding, and John Wesley.

Heiss was Commissioner of the 1985 Paris Biennial, and Commissioner of the 1986 American Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. She served as Chief Curator of the Tribute for John Cage, organized for the 1993 Venice Biennial, and as the Curatorial Director of the 2002 Shanghai Biennale, and she was a panelist for the 2005 Yokohama Triennial.

She is the recipient of the Mayor’s Award for Contributions to the Artistic Viability of New York City, France’s Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in the Légion d’Honneur, the Royal Swedish Order of the Polar Star, the Skowhegan Award for outstanding work in the arts, and the CCS Bard Award for Curatorial Excellence.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1943, Ms. Heiss resides in New York City with her husband, Fredrick Sherman.

Image Courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh for The New York Times, 2012.



Times Square Arts

This channel features a selection of programs produced in collaboration with our partner organization Times Square Arts, a division of New York's Times Square Alliance.


Anxious Spaces: Performance Festival 2015

Live performances by Aurora HalalLucas Abela, and Prince Rama, who use video, sculpture, and sound artwork in site-specific installations at Knockdown Center as a point of departure for their exploratory performances.


Focus On Puerto Rico

Clocktower has partnered with Mana Miami to produce a residency program for Puerto Rican diaspora artists, and/or artists presently living and working in Puerto Rico.


Papo Colo: Assorted Times in Singular Spaces at Liga de Arte, San Juan

Clocktower presents Papo Colo: Assorted Times in Singular Spaces, an intimate selection of works on paper and poetry by Puerto Rican artist Papo Colo, presented at the Liga de Arte, in San Juan, PR. A large exhibition of these works was originally organized by Curator Beatrice Johnson for the Clocktower Gallery, in New York, NY.



Antony's artworks open up landscapes that are at once otherworldly and confessional. Often fragmentary in appearance, these images map his dreams and liminal states; polymorphic realms give way to indicated spirits; pen marks and scratches conjure archetypes and invite the fear and grace of the unconscious to emerge. The primary elements go through many stages - drawn on, burned, soaked in the rain, thrown away and reclaimed, drawn on again, stained or dried over a fire. These are then arranged and photographed. The intimacy of this unique gallery space then heightens the focus and clarity of these spells. Recalling the notebooks of William S. Burroughs and Antonin Artaud, Antony’s works employ a transgender intervention to readjust the colonial topography of the American Dream. Taken as a whole, these collages and drawings describe the arc of a dream atlas in which each diverse aspect is unified through the desire for healing. (excerpted from Isis Gallery statement)


Anxious Spaces: Installation as Catalyst II

Clocktower presents the second annual group exhibition Anxious Spaces: Installation as Catalyst, featuring a selection of artists whose work incorporates dynamic and time-based elements, ranging from robotic interactivity to performance events to social intervention. Knockdown Center's cathedral-like complex, with its breathtaking expanse, mysterious sub-chambers, surprise annexes, and hidden pockets is a dream environment for site-specific and installation art. Taken together, the architecture and the artworks transform the space into a surreal bazaar of curiosities for the adventurous. Anxious Spaces exhibits and installations by Will Ryman, Molly Lowe, Tim Bruniges, Aurora Halal, Lucas Abela, Prince Rama, Audra Wolowiec, and Ben Mortimer are on view at Knockdown Center through July 26, 2015 Saturdays and Sundays, from 2 to 6pm. Or by appointment. More on the installations:


Shoplifter's Nervescape

Nervescape is a colorful, organic, and beastly installation by Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir aka Shoplifter with sound by Kría Brekkan in the Clocktower's upper gallery. Arnardottir makes sculptures, drawings and installations with various materials, including large amounts of multi-colored synthetic hair, which explore themes of vanity, self-image, beauty and beastly mythology, as well as notions of obsession and fetish. For her installation at the Clocktower, Arnardottir uses an existing metal structure in the upstairs gallery as a skeleton for a colorful, organic, and at times beastly installation that engulfs the space, and creates a fantastical landscape which viewers can enter and interact with. Mythology from Arnardottir’s upbringing in Iceland serves as an abstract inspiration for her work, along with the idyllic landscape of American painting, and notions of fairytale drama. The installation will be the site for opening performances, and invite viewers to dwell in the artist’s imaginary world of paradoxical impressions such as beauty and horror, nature and the supernatural. Icelandic vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Kría Brekkan provides an elusive, environmental soundscape which will evolve over the course of the exhibition.


Dale Henry: The Artist Who Left New York at Pioneer Works

The Clocktower Gallery and Pioneer Works, Center for Art and Innovation present Dale Henry: The Artist Who Left New York, an exhibition of painting, sculptural works and writing by Dale Henry opening Saturday, January 18th, 2014 and running into March. EXTENDED to March 30, 2014. First presented in fall 2013 at the historic Clocktower Gallery, the exhibition marks the Clocktower's exit from its historic Lower Manhattan building, where the institution was founded in 1972. This second incarnation celebrates the Clocktower's arrival at Pioneer Works as an institutional resident. Presented in the Red Hook space’s vast brick and timber galleries, the show includes works installed at the Clocktower as well as new pieces not seen since the 1970’s, and in several cases, never shown.


Canyon Candy

Canyon Candy is a site-specific installation and immersive soundscape bringing to life a Western-themed music video collaboration between filmmaker Mike Anderson and the band Javelin. Canyon Candy features the debut screening of a 16-minute film of the same title by Mike Anderson, the result of a year-long collaboration between the artist and the band Javelin. Spaghetti westerns, cowboy fashion, and the sights and sounds of the Wild West inspired the band to create a themed song suite released on 7-inch vinyl. Anderson's installation at the Clocktower transports the viewer into the set of the film through a sprawling installation in the Main Gallery. Beginning with an entrance through a wind-washed cabin, followed by a winding walk in the canyon’s termite hills and cactus fields, visitors will encounter coyotes, campsites, big sky, and vignette sequences from the film. All paths lead to a saloon-style theater space featuring the full Canyon Candy film – the ideal cowboy den after a long walk through the canyon, complete with strawbale seating, gingham tablecloths, and sasparilla. Javelin has created a multi-channel surround-sound environment embedded in Anderson’s installation, both recreating the film's ambiance and animating the canyon’s vistas through sound effects including crickets, howling winds, and yodeling.


James Franco: The Dangerous Book Four Boys

In June of 2010, the Clocktower Gallery presented The Dangerous Book Four Boys , a gallery-wide multi-disciplinary show by James Franco bringing together a large selection of experimental films, photographs and drawings, and exploring themes of childhood and nostalgia, games and destruction, and the American landscape. The opening was attended by 450 guests, the exhibition was visited by hundreds, and was reviewed in the New York Times, Art in America, the Wall Street Journal, the Daily News, and Esquire, among many others.


Nicholas Chatfield-Taylor, Do The Devo

As part of the Clocktower’s music video production program, Nicholas Chatfield-Taylor paired up with Brooklyn-based band Unstoppable Death Machines to produce an animated music video for their single, “Do The Devo.” Taking a live performance, filmed in the main gallery of the Tribeca space in 2012, as its’ starting point, Chatfield-Taylor transformed his project space into an animation studio, complete with a custom-built light table for large drawing sessions, and inspirational ephemera from both his and the bands’ lives. Throughout the duration of the residency, groups of friends and illustrators were invited into the workspace to converse and collaborate on the process of hand-drawing every one of the thousands of individual frames, culminating in a massively chaotic and beautiful distillation of his entire community’s creative efforts.



Clocktower's Founder, Alanna Heiss, and Program Director, Joe Ahearn, sit down with Catherine Gund ("Cat Gun"), Filmmaker and Founder of Aubin Pictures, to discuss her career as a documentarian and her film Chavela.


Focus On Puerto Rico at Miami Art Week

Clocktower is pleased to announce our event showcase at Miami Art Week 2017-- an extension of our Focus On Puerto Rico, Fall program.


Yokohama Trienniale 2005, host

Yoga For Two, curator

Warper Party and DJ Shakey's Audio Control Adventure, curator

Video Program, Come Home, curator

Venice Music Special: Caged/Uncaged, host

Venice in Venice, Jacqueline Miro & Tim Nye, host

Venice 2005: WPS1 Venice interviews, host

Times Square Arts: Gamelatron Bunga Kota, curator

Thu Tran & Christopher Duffy, Thanksgiving Deux, Dinnervisuals, curator

Thomas Dozol, curator

The Now Age, curator

The Island Studio Sessions: Haroon Mirza, curator

The Gamelatron Jalan Jiwo: Opening Reception, curator

The Gamelatron Jalan Jiwo, curator

The Babies, curator

Thanksgiving Deux, Dinnervisuals, curator

Tara Jane O'Neil Performs, curator

Sumi Ink Club, curator

Streamcast, Concert & Open Studios: Weekend , curator

Shrine, A Performance by Marja Samsom, curator

Shoplifter's Nervescape Opening, Kria Brekkan Performance , curator

Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels, Crystal Cavern, curator

September Open House, Open Studios, curator

Samba na Casa do Gato, curator

Sabisha Friedberg: Interstice, curator

Sabisha Friedberg, Interstice, curator

Ry Rocklen: Trophy Modern, National Work Table, curator

Ry Rocklen: Office Party, curator

Ry Rocklen, host

Regional de NY (Brazilian Choro and Samba), host

Reception: Ranjit Bhatnagar, Singing Room, curator

Ranjit Bhatnagar, Singing Room for a Shy Person, curator

Prisoner Fantasies: Photos from the Inside, curator

Performance & Open Studios: MV Carbon, Ganjatronics, curator

People Get Ready , curator

Paradise II: Dream Driver , curator

Papo Colo: Assorted Times in Singular Spaces at Liga de Arte, San Juan , curator

Papo Colo: Assorted Times in Singular Spaces at Liga de Arte, San Juan , curator

Oyama Enrico Isamu Letter: Aeromural, curator

Open House, Open Studios 24 January, curator

Open House, Open Studios 13 August , curator

Open House Open Studios, 27 March 2012, curator

Open House Open Studios 7 August 2012, curator

Open House Open Studios 13 December 2011, curator

November Open House, Open Studios , curator

New Musical Instruments, host

MV Carbon, Beyond the Dimensional Slope, curator

Muck Performance, curator

Muck, curator

Mikkel Hess & the Hess Is More Ministry of Integration, curator

Michael Nyman, Beyond Music for Film, host

Miami 2008: Ry Rocklen, host

Maya Hayuk , curator

Maximillian Lawrence , curator

Marja Samsom: Shrine, curator

Marja Samsom: Shrine, curator

Malcolm McLaren: The Look of Music and the Sound of Fashion, host

Malcolm McLaren Special Edition, host

Lary 7, A Tip of the Hat, curator

Kría Brekkan, curator

Kazue Kobata on Performance, host

Judith Supine Reception with Ed Schrader's Music Beat , curator

John Mejias, I'm Wurried, curator

Jene Highstein: Early Works, curator

Jay Buim , curator

James Mercer, Landfill, curator

James Franco, host

James Franco, host

How's It Going? Live Preview Greater New York Show Installation Update: Alanna Heiss/Brett Littman, host

Holiday Giveaway Party, curator

Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Stranger Visions, curator

Haroon Mirza Live Streamcast, curator

Hannah Sawtell: The Island Studio Sessions, curator

Guardian Alien in Times Square, host

Gilbert & George, London Pictures, host

Gamelatron Bunga Kota Opening Reception, curator

Frieze: Downtown Night, curator

Flock House Living System Pods, curator

Fischerspooner 2009, host

Elliott Sharp, Beneath the Valley of Gwangi, host

Ebe Oke , curator

Dumpling Academy , curator

Dumpling Academy , curator

Drew Conrad, curator

DJ Shakey's Audio Control Adventure, curator

DJ Shakey's Audio Control Adventure, curator

Dennis Oppenheim, host

Dale Henry: The Artist Who Left New York, curator

Dale Henry Opening Reception at Pioneer Works , curator

Dale Henry Opening Reception, curator

Dale Henry at Jones Day, curator

Crystal Stokowski Reception and Concert, curator

Crystal Stokowski, curator

Crystal Cavern Opening Reception, curator

Crystal Cavern - Closing, curator

Cross-Cuts Opening Reception , curator

Cross-Cuts, curator

Concert & Open Studios: Hess Is More (& More), curator

Collectors: Angels or Devils? , host

Collapse Into Now Film Project exhibition opening, curator

Collapse Into Now Film Project , curator

Closing Celebration for Shoplifter's Nervescape with Hess is More and Listening Center, curator

Clocktower Launch at Pioneer Works, Interviews 1, host

Cibelle Performs, curator

Caroline Cox, Spin, curator

Canyon of Burning Water, curator

Canyon Candy Installation Crew, curator

Canyon Candy exhibition opening, curator

Borden Capalino, Ballyjamesduff, curator

Beneath The Valley Of Gwangi, curator

Babyharvester, Opening Reception, curator

Babyharvester, curator

Babycalzones Pizza Potluck #23, curator

Armory Show 2006: Heiss, Deitch, Gladstone & Von Habsburg, host

Armory Show 2005: Alanna Heiss with David Teiger and Amalia Dayan, host

Armory Show 2005: Alanna Heiss with Carlo Bach, host

Anxious Spaces: Performance Festival, curator

Anxious Spaces: Installation as Catalyst , curator

Anxious Spaces 2015: On View , curator

Anxious Spaces 2015 Closing Party , curator

Andrew Mount, A Lecture In & Around Dale Henry, curator

Alex Katz, Hard Days Ahead Opening, curator

Alex Katz, Hard Days Ahead, curator

Alanna Heiss on Malcolm McLaren, host

Alaina Stamatis: Strife Lessons, curator

After Hours: Cabin Fever, An Alpine Fantasy, curator

After Hours, The Drums , curator

After Hours, Sky Lines , curator

After Hours, Room Mate Grace Hotel, curator

After Hours, Nomi Ruiz at BB Kings!, curator

After Hours, Ebe Oke , curator

After Hours, Bouquet , curator

After Hours, An Evening at the Lambs Club , curator

Aeromural Open Studio & Talk, curator

Aatish Taseer, host

A Slice of Pie with Alanna Heiss, host

A Light Sound Words Collaboration, curator

A farewell dance to the Clocktower Gallery by Min Tanaka, curator