"SEE the originators of the first Artists Run Museum Scale art shows with 100 artists in 5 galleries in Soho in 1977, and on, responding loudly to the
Whitney Biennial. The Counterweight Provoked the Times Square Show, the Terminal Show, which engendered the East Village Phenom, as artists created the entire scene instead of waiting to be invited
by galleries and curators for their existence. We did it. We broke the stranglehold of the system. We drove to DC to Jimmy Carter's Art Czar to tell her artists can rule their own destiny. She went
for it, and Jim Melchert of the NEA dropped a check for 15,000$ on the spot for our action. That was money back then. As a matching grant, we doubled it with a dollar at the door, 15,000 showed up
the first day. The sleepy art world was suddenly hit with an avalanche of underground art and Leon Golub, Nancy Spero, David Hammons, Debbie Kass, Stuart Diamond, Randy Williams, Gil Coker among
others were brightly shining." Dr. Barnaby Ruhe, 2014
Grace Glueck, 1981, "If the Whitney Biennial comes, can the Whitney Counterweight be far behind? Since 1977, the big show on Madison Avenue has touched off a corresponding salon des refuses down on Grand Street,
and sure enough, the 1981 Counterweight - the third - opened Thursday. Spread out over six Grand Street spaces - galleries, artists' studios and a safe-manufacturing company - the artist-organized
Counterweight boasts the work of 56 painters, sculptors and mixed-media artists (with a smattering of such names as Elaine de Kooning, Alice Neel and George McNeil, but most not so well known),
plus performances, film and video showings, concerts and poetry readings. There'll even be a panel of artists discussing ''the cutting edge'' in esthetics next
Friday at 9 P.M. in the Landmark Gallery, 469 Broome Street. ''We've felt from the beginning that the idea of the Whitney Biennial as an overview of American art was a very limited concept,'' says
Vernita Nemec, who has organized a show of small-size works for this Counterweight. ''It's mostly an in-group of artists who are handled by a few galleries.''
''We still see ourselves as a balance to the Whitney,'' adds William Rabinovitch, an artist who is lending his gallery-studio at 74 Grand Street to house part of the show. ''Our work has more to do
with content than theirs, which is based on art more acceptable to the conservative tastes of corporations.'' The Counterweight art, he noted, tends to be ''less clean and minimal, more
Expressionistic, involved with strong colors and brushwork and a sense of pain and struggle.'' Not only are half of the Counterweight's 56 ''wall and floor'' artists women, he points out, but the show
also has a ''fairly good minority representation,'' including black, Hispanic and Japanese artists.
Money to mount the Counterweight comes partly from some downtown merchants, with exhibition space lent for free. It's viewable - free - through March 7 at Chuck Levitan, 42 Grand Street; William Rabinovitch, 74 Grand Street; Alex Heinrici, 81 Grand Street; Alain Bilhaud, 96 Grand Street; the Empire Safe Company, 103 Grand Street, and Arturo DiModica, 127 Grand Street. Call 226-2873 for word on performances and other events. "
Grace Glueck, N.Y.Times, 1981