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Project Inc. Archive

Identifier: MSS-006

Scope and Contents note:

The Project Inc. Archive contains records that document the exhibitions and events organized by Paul McMahon at Project Inc. from 1972 – 1975. This includes exhibition invitations, correspondence between Paul McMahon and the exhibiting artists, artist statements and floor plans. Slides, negatives and contact sheets provide photo documentation of the space, the exhibition, and events. Also included in the archives is a collection of postcards from various artists which were part of the exhibition, Postcards (November 10, 1973) which subsequently traveled to Oberlin College, an original piece “Tales from the Vienna Woods” by Laurie Anderson, a wall installation by Matt Mullican for the Indian Summer exhibition, as well as a number of artists' books.

In 2013 an accretion consisting of primarily correspondence related to the coordinating of exhibitions was received, along with additional documentation of select exhibitions and events.


  • 1972-1976


Access Restrictions

The collection is open to researchers without restrictions. Appointments are necessary to consult manuscript and archival materials. Access copies for media materials may not be available yet. Please contact the CCS Archivist for further details.

Use Restrictions

Collection use is subject to all copyright laws. Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the Director of the Library & Archives at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. Please contact or 845-758-7567 for more information.

Historical note:

Project Inc. was founded in 1972 by Paul McMahon, a young conceptual artist who had recently spent time at Pomona College in California where he met a number of contemporary artists interested in conceptual and performance art. Upon returning to Boston, he sought to create a space where people could view conceptual art and to showcase the work of young artists whose work he felt needed to be seen. He convinced Project Inc., a small community art space in Cambridge, MA to let him use the space as a venue for a night or two each month. From 1972 to 1975 he organized one night exhibitions and events that featured conceptual art, performance, films, video, sculpture, photography and painting.

Funded by Paul McMahon on a very limited budget, for each event he printed an invitation on a 4” x 5” card that was sent to a small mailing list across the US, Canada and Europe. The number of attendees ranged anywhere from a few to 60 people. Listings of the exhibitions were posted in local newspapers.

Many of the artists who showed at Project Inc. went on to become well known contemporary artists. Events and exhibitions of note include Essex (Details of an Imaginary Life from Birth to Death), a performance by Matt Mullican held at the Boston Center for Adult Education and Indian Summer, a group exhibition where the visual image was given equal importance to the text in conceptual art.

In 2010 the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College acquired the archive from Paul McMahon.


2.5 Linear Feet (in six boxes)

Language of Materials



The Project Inc. Archive contains the records for the exhibitions and events organized by Paul McMahon from 1972-1975 at the small community art center of the same name (Project Inc.) in Cambridge, MA. For the most part lasting just one day, the exhibitions and events showcased the work of a range of well-known conceptual artists including: Matt Mullican, Dan Graham, Laurie Anderson, Jack Goldstein, Lawrence Weiner, and Michael Asher, among many others.

Arrangement note:

The archive has been kept in the order it was in when acquired from Paul McMahon by the Center for Curatorial Studies in 2010. The collection is divided into four series.

Series I: Project Inc. Organizational Files

Series II: Exhibition/Event Documentation , arranged chronologically.

Series III: Material unrelated to Project Inc. exhibitions

Series IV: Artists' Books, arranged alphabetically by artist's last name.

Oversize Series II: Exhibition/Event Documentation

Accretions 2013 Series I: Project Inc. Organizational Files, with correspondence arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

Accretions 2013 Series II: Exhibition/Event Documentation, arranged chronologically.


The Project Inc. Archive was acquired from Paul McMahon, founder of Project Inc, in 2010.

Separated Materials note:

Click here for a list of separated materials.

Guide to the Project Inc. Archive
In Progress
Lydia Aikenhead and Ann Butler; Collection processed by Lydia Aikenhead under the supervision of Ann Butler, 2011 with additional processing by Polly Giragosian in August 2012. 2013 Accretions were processed by Ryan Evans in April 2014.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Center for Curatorial Studies Library & Archives Repository

Bard College
Annandale-on-Hudson 12504-5000 USA
845-758-2442 (Fax)