Artists Space is a non-profit art gallery and arts organization that was first founded in 1972 in the Tribeca area of New York City. It is now located in Soho. Artists Space has been the site of provocative discussion and experimentation within contemporary artistic debate, from the postmodern image (Douglas Crimp’s Pictures, 1977) to identity politics (Adrian Piper’s It’s Just Art, 1981), to institutional critique (Michael Asher’s Untitled, 1988) to post-conceptualism (Robert C. Morgan's Turkish Bath installation, 1976) and the AIDS Crisis (Nan Goldin’s Witnesses: Against our Vanishing, 1989).
Artists Space was founded in 1972 by arts administrator Trudie Grace and critic Irving Sandler as a pilot project for the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), with the goal of assisting young, emerging artists. Artists Space quickly became a leading organization in the downtown alternative arts scene in New York, which also included burgeoning institutions such as the 112 Workshop (later renamed White Columns), and the Institute for Art and Urban Resources (later named MoMA PS1).
During its first year, Artists Space exhibitions were organized under the strict guidelines of artists chosen to select other artists to exhibit. Other early efforts to engage and help artists included the Emergency Materials Fund, which assisted artists with the presentation of their work at an established nonprofit venue, and the Independent Exhibitions Program, which supported the needs of artists who were involved in the production and presentation of work outside the context of an existing institutional structure. Through the decades, Artists Space has adapted to the shifting needs and concerns of artists and audiences in and outside of New York.
Artists Space has introduced a number of artists to a wider public, amongst them Jack Smith, Joan Jonas, Cindy Sherman, Annette Lemieux, Jeff Koons, Sherrie Levine, Donald Sultan, Louise Lawler, Allan McCollum, Matt Mullican, Laurie Anderson, Barbara Bloom, John Baldessari, Haim Steinbach, Ashley Bickerton, Peter Halley, Lari Pittman, Stuart Sherman, Barbara Kruger, Laurie Simmons, Fred Wilson, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Mike Kelley, Robert Longo, and Jenny Holzer.
In 1978 a punk subculture-influenced noise series was held at Artists Space that led to the Brian Eno-produced recording No New York, documenting James Chance and the Contortions, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Mars, and DNA.
In March 2007, Artists Space hosted the exhibition REALLIFE Magazine: 1979–1990 curated by Kate Fowle. The show looked at the period 1979–1990 through the lens of this publication and its extraordinary roster of contributors; including Eric Bogosian, Glenn Branca, Critical Art Ensemble, Jack Goldstein, Kim Gordon, David Hammons, Ray Johnson, Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, Sol LeWitt, Robert Longo, Ken Lum, Allan McCollum, Richard Prince, David Robbins and Cindy Sherman.