Joe Cardella Biography

Joe Cardella




Assemblage and visual artist, performance artist, publisher, and gallery director Joe Cardella was born in New Britain, Connecticut, in 1945. After a stint in the U.S. Navy from 1967-1969, he attended Syracuse University, graduating with a BFA in Design, Experimental Studios, and Advertising in 1971. Following graduation he worked for the Everson Museum in Syracuse while becoming involved with the avant-garde Fluxus art movement alongside Allan Kaprow, Yoko Ono, George Maciunas, and others. He relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1974 and eventually made his way down the coast, settling in Santa Barbara in 1981.

Finding the Santa Barbara art scene more insular than his previous artistic liasons, he reached out to artists and writers he knew throughout the country and abroad, asking for small works to add to a Xeroxed periodical that he would publish monthly in editions of 200, calling it ART/LIFE Limited Editions. By the mid 1980s ART/LIFE had become an institution, expanding into a gallery and museum. Artists who had been published in the periodical were invited to show at the gallery. ART/LIFE would become a 25 year long venture, with issues collected by the Getty Trust, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, Yale and Harvard Universities, Jeu de Paume in Paris, and a variety of libraries. It is considered one of the longest running continually published artists' periodicals in U.S. history.

While working as an artist and publisher, Cardella relocated to Ventura and continued to work for California museums including the Oakland Museum; the Mexican Museum, SF; Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History; and the Ventura County Museum of History and Art. He helped form the Ventura Artist Union, and prior to his death he set up the ARTLIFE Foundation with the aim of supporting the expansion of artistic ideas, theories, and dialogues, to "...challenge artists and thinkers to reconsider their preconceptions about the definition of art itself." (from ARTLIFE

Joe Cardella remained in Ventura until his death in 2018. His home and studio are now a museum and archive for Art/Life Limited Editions.