Sign-Up Sheet for Destruction: DIAS Symposium, 1966

Detail from the Prospectus for the DIAS Symposium. London, 1966

Detail from the Prospectus for the DIAS Symposium. London, 1966

The Destruction in Art Symposium took place from September 9-11, 1966 at the Africa Centre in Covent Garden in connection with a number of happenings throughout the month in London. The Honororary Committee, led by Gustav Metzger, brought a great deal of international attention to various artists and groups then working in obscurity.

This call for entries, issued in advance of the Symposium, is fascinating not only for giving a brief overview of antecedents on this theme, with reference to actions by the Gutai Group, John Latham and the Skoob Towers project, Jean Tingueley, Wolf Vostell, and Millares, but also exemplifying the inclusive nature of the project. The various prospective subjects listed on the form show how extensive the Committee understood this theme to be by that point in the 1960’s. Rather than present the theme as an outlier or exotic subject, the Symposium treated destruction in various guises as being a common vantage point from which a number of seemingly disparate strands of activity had a common zeitgeist.




Metzger, Gustav et al. Call for Submissions for the Destruction in Art Symposium. London: DIAS Honorary Committee, 1966. 7 7.8 x 11 1/8″ invitation, mimeographed from typescript.

This copy with the response form intact.

Folded twice for mailing, with toning and a couple of small stains. Very good.


The San Francisco Zookeeper Who Let Michael McClure and Bruce Conner in to see the Lions



The San Francisco Keeper’s Voice, edited by zookeeper Alexander Weiss, was one of the most unusual little magazines of the 60′s. The magazine was actually a zine devoted to the art of being a zookeeper, with contributions from zookeepers, though some issues included poetry, including a contribution from Richard Brautigan in a different issue.

One of the most interesting poetry happenings of the 60′s was when Michael McClure read to the lions in the San Francisco zoo, which was filmed by Bruce Conner – clips can be seen on Youtube. I’ve always wondered how McClure and Conner got into the zoo, and on the back of this copy, which McClure had mailed to Marshall Clements, he lets the cat out of the bag (or the lion out of the cage) –

“Marshall, Alex Weiss the ed. of this paper is the lion keeper who opened up the lion house for Bruce Conner & I… ”

McClure has a poem in this issue, and in the editor’s note to the poem Weiss seems to also obliquely hint at the event – “Michael McClure is a poet of inter-organic importance. His “Beast-Language” Poems have created quite a stir among mammals of all kinds.“




Weiss, Alexander, ed. San Francisco Keeper’s Voice, Vol. 1 No. 2. San Francisco: Alexander Weiss, 1965. First edition. 4to, 8 pp, offset printed and stab-stapled. Addressed to Marshall Clements in McClure’s hand, with six line holograph note.  [23978]