P E R F O R M A N C E  Metropolitan Museum Fire Hose

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The artist claimed  the NW corner firehose, Great Hall Balcony, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, by affixing a guerilla label next to it identifying it as her work. Armed with a replacement, she checked her label whenever visiting the museum. Invariably it would be removed.

One day two years later Bradshaw discovered that someone had carefully placed the label inside the glass case. Emboldened, she produced a postcard edition imitating a museum card, and quietly placed a stack in the postcard rack amongst the 20th Century artists.

Twelve years later the museum published an official card. In 2007 the Museum acquired the Fire Hose for their permanent collection.

(A)claimed Object, 1979, a humidity monitoring hygrometer in the Kunstmuseum, Dusseldorf, was the second and only other work claimed by the artist.


Performance, 1976
The NW corner fire hose in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

"I see your work everywhere." John Cage





Performance, 1976
Silver gelatin print
8 x 10 inches

In 1980 the silver gelatin print was acquired by Department of Photography, Permanent Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1978 one thousand self-published postcards were produced by the artist and supplied to the Metroploitan shop, about fifty at a time. Bradshaw purchased two the first day; the clerk charged 28 cents apiece. After awhile the Museum staff realized that it was not theirs, but continued selling them until nearly all thousand were sold.


In 1979 a Saks Fifth Avenue designer purchased a card from the Metropolitan shop, blew it up to a 4 foot height and produced various color editions for a store-wide display. The artist was given a 100 dollar gift certificate to the store when she appealed to a copywrite lawyer, however all the posters were given to workers, so she created her own versions in 2012. Six are included here.






In 1992 the Metropolitan Museum published an official version from her original silver gelatin print adding the above text which the artist was given the chance to review.


Performance, 1976-Present, self-published on-line, 2008
continulally updated
Print version: Edition of 10 [see MULTIPLES] Bradshaw made a small book telling the story of the Metropolitan Museum Fire Hose from its 1976 guerrilla claim to its acceptance into the museum's permanent collection in 2007, accompanied by reactions from artists, the Fire Commando of the 85th Street Fire Station, art historians and critics.

The Metropolitan Museum, New York, Permanent Collection
The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Permanent Collection



Performance Burned, 2004, postcard version
The Metropolitan Museum, New York, Permanent Collection
Gift of Barbara Schwartz, New York

In 2004 the artist burned the Metropolitan Museum's postcard titling it Performance Burned. In 2012 the Metropolitan acquired one of the edition of 4 for their permanent collection. In 2011 Stalke Gallery, Copenhagen published a photogravure edition of 36 of the fire hose, printed by Niels Borch Jensen, Copenhagen. Each print was burned individually.


Performance Burned, 2012
DVD, 4'30"
Music: Musiques Sculpturale by Marcel Duchamp performed by John Cage

The artist burns her 1978 guerrilla and 1992 Metropolitan Museum postcards
You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMcUfkUE8bs


In 2006 Bradshaw printed an updated label for the fire hose. Rosalind Jacobs acquired the label and donated it to the Metropolitan Musem. In 2007 with the acceptance of this label the Museum finally acquired Performance as a sculpture (not a photograph) into its permanent collection, 31 years after the artist's initial claim. In the ten years since the museum has not posted its label, so in 2017 inspired by a remark by gallerist Jose Bienvenue the artist posted copies of it on all the fire hoses in the museum.


2012: The Esbjerg Museum of Modern Art, Denmark invited Bradshaw to claim fire hose and included it into the exhbiition Humor.


(A)claimed Object, 1979, hygrometer, 10 x 8 ½ x 7 inches
A claimed object in the Kunstmuseum, Dusseldorf