Monday, January 12, 2009

A look into the Uranian Phalanstery; the place i have worked for the past 5 years

The Uranian Phalanstery was conceived in 1959, by the Rev Relytor alias Richard Oviet Tyler. "The organization was his Magna Opus" declares his wife and co-founder Dorothea Bear Tyler alias Mm. Reab. Since its conception the Uranian Phalanstery has been a translucent harbor for the conjecture of art and gnosis. Establishing a home in the Lower East Side of New York City in the early 70's amongst a then dwindling population of Hungarian Orthodox Jews, and an incoming of a Puerto Rican nationals; the Phalanstery came to life.

Now, to understand the Phalanstery one has to discover a little about its Prime Organizer, and founder, the person who would preside over the circles of music and dance. Richard Tyler was born in Lansing, Michigan April 1st, 1926. He was the only child to an Artist Father and Mystic Mother. "Richard thought that life was a joke" Dorothea chuckles as she tells me of Richard's days of service during WWII in Japan as a Paratrooper. He was the kind of personality that would end up in the brig for robbing a Japanese bank, "disappearing with piles of void paper money. Guns, blazing to the sky".
He first met Dorothea at the Chicago Art Institute (CAI), where he was amongst the select few, to have had his own show at the Institute while still a student. After graduating from the CAI the couple moved to New York, and created the Uranian Phalanstery (UP). The first flower of the organization was the free press pushcart. Richard, a painter, would sell his publications of Art Gnosis, works similar to that of William Blake books, via his pushcart. Woodblock, set-type, and collage all found expression in his publications.

Both of the founders were heavily influenced by "Tibetanism". Richard was an initiate of Tibetan Tatoo Healing, and coordinated therapy's with The Dalai Lama's Medical advisor. He had a tattoo healing practice at the Phalanstery, along side another Tibetan practice: reading the 49 day "Bardo of the Dead" for deceased members. The UP Burial Society offered inexpensive burial services for Members.

The UP established a home to the First Gnostic Lyceum of New York, 328 East 4th Street, in 1974. The Lyceum a growing bush of archival art works and rare musical instruments, guided and guarded by cosmological factors; fueled the music and dance circles held on the holy days of multiple calenders."This was Richard greatest art work" Dorotea enthusiastically repeats. Granted, Richard was a well liked high class artist, selling work to the Rockefeller Collection, The Smithsonian, and the Moma.
Monroe Wheeler the curator of art at the Moma then, for print, came to ask Richard whether he would like to show, and was declined indicating that "the cosmological factors were not currently in favor". Mr. Wheeler in tune with an intuitive perspective, saw the quality of a deep visionary, in the work of Richard Tyler.

Along with Richard there stands a growing group of Uranian Phalanstery Agent Artists shared their creative energies at the UP circles, The events are still going strong 26 years after the Rev's departure. Some one once said "You can kill a man but you can not kill an Idea"; i apply this quote to the UP, which is an incubator of social and personal creativity(s). Many artist both famous and infamous, alive and dead are still being displayed in multiple mediums of manifestation at the UP, with no hype and little pretention elemenst so often used as devices in the Art "world" at large.

I arrived at the UP door, close to five years ago. Dorothea has been my teacher and God Mother. Through her i have been quided to discover the strange and timeless colors of the Uranian Phalanstery.

1 sun


  1. I am very interested in learning more about the Uranian Phalanstery and Richard Tyler. Is there a formal website for the UP?


  2. Does Rev Relytor have anything to do with Project Camelot?

  3. Could you let me know how Dorothea is doing? I would be interested in what she is doing now as a teacher in her advanced age?

  4. Hello. I would like to send a message to Mr. Matin. Saw the article about you in this Sunday's Times. I am the assistant editor of an online art magazine called HaHaMag ( I was fascinated by your story, and being a Native New Yorker,I feel this is a part of my history, too. I would like to do a story on your collective and your artists. Please contact me at Thanks and hope to hear from you soon. Good luck with your move.

  5. Richard taught me how to make woodcuts when I was 8 years old in the mid-1960's. He took a number of neighborhood children under his wing to teach them art. The neighborhood (east 4th st.) was still mostly northern European immigrants and bohemians (pre-hippy invasion). My older brother was an apprentice in his basement shop and learned woodcutting, type setting and helped print the broadsides sold on the pushcarts. Richard also was a musician with a group called the Alchemy Players. My brother, Michael, played bass fiddle in his group. I still have my official membership card for the Phalanstery and joined the burial society at some point in the 70's. I'm glad to hear Dorothea is still around. I would love to get visit. Kate Martin

  6. One summer in the early 1960s some fellow City College students and I printed a radical poetry anthology/pamphlet called "Streets" in Richard's Uranus printing shop. We were helped by Richard's assistant because, we were told, Richard was out of town vacationing in what seemed to our New York-provincial ears an impossibly exotic land: Nova Scotia. Sounded like a cool idea. A few years later I spent my honeymoon camping in amazingly beautiful Nova Scotia... just one miniscule example of how (it seems) Richard could inspire even indirectly and from a great distance. Walking into that basement print shop was like stepping inside Richard Tyler's cranium. His woodcuts, poetry, collages, broadsides were everywhere... every square inch of wall space was in use, and in use by a wonderfully crazed and playful creative intelligence. Although Richard wasn't there he could not have been more present, and it would be hard to put into words all the ways those few days in his "presence" inspired my work over the next near-half-century. Though I remember many of the art pieces, some conceptual before the term came into common use and some otherwise, this isn't the place to list them. But here's one that wants to be mentioned: In a shop cabinet there was a bunch of cheap cardboard attache cases each filled with cheap Asian click-toys and novelties. A broadsheet described these attache cases as being "The Anarchist Game." The game naturally had no rules. A final note and question: I remember being told that Richard was one of the original art directors for Hefner's Playboy magazine. In the mid-1990s I interviewed Hefner for a magazine, and asked him if he remembered a Richard Tyler. Hef said he did not. Does anyone have any knowledge about this?

  7. I went to the Phalanstary many times in the 80's for solstice and equinox reveries and they were always very amazing. This was after the Rev had passed and Dorothea was managing it all very bravely. An inspirational and mystical place!

  8. Does anyone know where in Nova Scotia Dorothea and Richard had the house? I used to live at the Phalanstery in the late '80s and Dorothea invited me up to Nova Scotia with her but I never went. Has the house been sold or does it still belong to the Phalanstery. I have been searching on line and there does not seem to be any UP activity in a few years. --Sandra K.

  9. PS, I mean has Dorothea's house in Nova Scotia been sold, I know of course that the E 4th place, where I lived, was sold years ago. Anyway, I would like to know where the house in Nova Scotia was/is situated as it Dorothea said it was very beautiful. -- Sandra K.

    1. I'm trying myself to find out information about this house's in Hampton north mountain Nova Scotia ....someone told me thatshe passed away and the son is now fixing it up ....I was up there this summer ...something keeps me coming here and I always walk around it ...but I feel I shouldn't walk in and look around...but it keeps calling to me for some reason ....would you or anybody know why I would feel this way ?