Throughout the 1970s, the radical American group Ant Farm cultivated a subversive and underground stance (like the ants that inspired their name). Influenced by the research of Buckminster Fuller, Paolo Soleri and Archigram as well as the choreographed performances of Anna and Lawrence Halprin, Ant Farm’s projects were enlivened by the current of protest and the call of the nomadic life that characterized the Beat Generation. Operating in Houston Texas and San Fransico on the west coast of the United States, the group produced its videos, performances and other spectacular installations, reproducing contemporary Amercian culture and denouncing its obsession with consumerism. Naturally, their critical and conceptual projects focused on iconic objects of pop culture (cars, television, leisure and advertising).
Ant Farm was founded in 1968 by Doug Michels and Chip Lord, who were joined shortly thereafter by Curtis Schreier, Douglas Hurr and Hudson Marquez. They ended their collaboration after their sutdio burned down in 1978. In 2004, the University of California Berkeley was the first to hold a retrospective of Ant Farm’s works, whose archives are now shared among three collections: The University of California (Berkeley Art Museum), the MoMA in New York and the FRAC Centre, which organized the group’s first show in France in 2007.