Taking a Different Tack

Maggie Sherwood and the Floating Foundation of Photography

By Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art

Subjects: Art
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9780615258331, 68 pages, April 2009

Table of contents

Preface / Intro
Sara Pasti / Brian Wallace

Moored and Adrift: Maggie Sherwood and the Floating Foundation of Photography
A. D. Coleman

Captain Maggie and the Boat: A Brief History of the Floating Foundation of Photography
Beth E. Wilson

“Photography is a magical medium. ..”
Steven C. Schoen

Freedom isn’t only for the birds
Beth E. Wilson

Exhibition Checklist

Beth E. Wilson

An overview of an innovative and influential arts organization of the 1970s and early 1980s.


In 1969, photographer Maggie Sherwood—whose circle included notables such as W. Eugene Smith, Lisette Model, Arthur Tress, Lilo Raymond, and David Vestal—bought and renovated a houseboat where she staged photography shows that received significant critical attention. Painted purple and moored at the 79th Street Boat Basin, the Floating Foundation of Photography, as it came to be known, was not only a unique space for artists to meet and discuss their work, but also became a mobile exhibit space as it chugged (or was towed) to just about any community with a functional dock along the Hudson River. Taken together, the Foundation's collection documents the historical, political, and aesthetic contexts of the turbulent 1970s and early 80s, and this exhibition catalog includes more than 50 photographs as well as essays by well-known photography critic A. D. Coleman and exhibition curator Beth E. Wilson, a writer and lecturer in New Paltz's Art History department.