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Elizabeth Williams, Fake Rothko Sold To The DeSoles, 2016, jpg of crayon on paper of posterboard of fake painting on canvas

OK, I hope other artists are sketching at the Knoedler forgery trial, too, because if Elizabeth Williams' wonderful renditions of a fake Rothko installed in the courtroom is any indication, it is a rich and varied subject.

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Elizabeth Williams, Domenico DeSole and Fake Rothko, 2016, jpg of crayon on paper of fake painting on canvas getting treated like a poster in the courtroom

Then in addition to classic courtroom scenes and portraits we could, for example, get an artist's interpretation of the testimony of "red flags flying" and dealers "run[ning] like hell" at shady bargains.

The trial might not be over, so get on down there.

'Red flags were flying' around Knoedler fakes, experts testify [theartnewspaper]
Top US collector takes the stand in Knoedler trial

January 29, 2016

Untitled (Border), 2016

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Untitled (Border), 2016, two 4x6-in. blocks of Azul Platino granite from Home Depot, as installed in some apartment in Washington DC

I am stoked to announce a new work which, depending on how the real estate market operates, should be available for viewing during CAA.

Obviously, Untitled (Border) owes a debt to Richard Serra, but the confluence of form, site, and source material-Azul Platino granite is from Spain-put me in the mind of Serra's works at the Reina Sofia.

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There's Equal - Parallel: Guernica - Bengasi (1986), of course, which the museum somehow lost, and had to have refabricated in 2006.

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There's also his show at Reina Sofia in 1992 which included this pair of square steel slabs just owning the space in between and around them.

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image: linneawest

I just found this uncanny photo from the Met's Richard Serra Drawings show, which kind of gives me chills, it's so similar. Assuming Serra is swapped out for a bowl of lemons and bodega oranges. [Which are not to be considered part of the work, btw.]

What I like most about Untitled (Border) is the way it attempts to define an abject liminal space, in this case a kitchen passthru right by a door. Indeed, except for obvious, the word that came to mind the most when I was making this piece a few minutes ago is abject. It practically jumped out of the picture in the real estate listing, fully formed and perfect. Like the work itself.

Anyway, Untitled (Border) will be on view this Sunday, Jan. 31, from 1-4pm, or by appointment.

mekas_warhol_empire_premiere_flyer.jpg

Well this looks very nice. It's an original flyer for the premiere of Andy Warhol's film Empire, being sold by (or at least with the approval of) Jonas Mekas. It will be signed and shipped with a personalized letter of authentication. Which is a nice touch. Otherwise it's not clear to me what the going rate is for such ephemera, whether $1,300 for an 8.5 x 11 handout is ripoff or a steal.

Empire was made on July 25, 1964, but didn't premiere until March 6th, 1965. It was a Saturday, and the screening began at 8:30. [Does that mean it ran in real time? Not quite. Filming at 8:06 and ended at 2:42. Screening the film at 16fps draws it out to 8h5m.]

What's interesting to me is the credit, "by Andy Warhol and John Palmer." Palmer was an assistant to Jonas Mekas, and he is credited with the idea for Empire. [The 18yo had been using the Bolex his mom bought him to shoot the newly lit Empire State Building from the roof of Film Culture's offices on Park Avenue South.] Mekas pitched the project to Warhol and eventually helped run the camera, but it was Palmer who made the movie possible by securing the office in the Time-Life Building and the high-capacity camera needed to shoot nonstop for 6.5 hours.

Palmer's early equal billing on Empire has not survived the Warholian glare. MoMA's collection entry for Empire namechecks Mekas, but not Palmer; the film is credited solely to Warhol. It would be nice to straighten that out, History.

In her Screen Tests catalogue raisonné, Callie Angell wrote that Warhol "gave" Palmer co-director credit "because it was Palmer's idea to make a film of the [newly] floodlit skyscraper, because Palmer worked on the film, and also because his mother, Mary Palmer, donated money to get the film out of the lab."

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ST253, John Palmer, 1966, image: Screen Tests catalogue raisonné

He posed for Screen Tests along with his then-wife, Factory star Ivy Nicholson. Their daughter Penelope was three months old in 1966 when she became the only baby to sit for a Screen Test.

Though he went on to co-direct the tragicomic Edie Sedgwick film Ciao, Manhattan, Palmer's subsequent IMDb credits are primarily as a camera operator. I wonder if there are stories to hear, or perhaps more uncirculated flyers to procure.

UPDATE: Oh, it always gets better. greg.org reader Terry Wilfong sent a heads up for Palmer's interview with Steven Watson in Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties. They talked about making Empire, including the lab's refusal to return the film without payment in full:

[Palmer] called Warhol from a phone booth. "Ohhh, John, I don't have any money to pay for thaaaat," he said. "It will just have to stay in the lab." Palmer suggested he could try to get the $350 from his mother; if so, he would have to appear on the credits as codirector. The phone went silent for fifteen seconds, Palmer recalled, and than "Andy, in a voice I never heard and will never forget, said, 'Now you're learning.'"

very rare original World Premiere bill for Andy Warhol's EMPIRE 1964 [ebay]

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A Gerhard Richter squeegee painting is coming up for auction in February. It is CR:725-4 fourth in a series of five large paintings [225x200 cm] made in 1990, a very busy squeegee year. From The Art Newspaper:

"The years 1989 and 1990 are the most sought-after in Richter's works," says Isabelle Paagman, Sotheby's senior specialist, contemporary art. "During this time he really embraces the squeegee technique in his abstract paintings. More than half of Richter's works from that period are in museums."

Paagman says his use of grey in Abstraktes Bild also makes it highly sought after. Grey is of particular importance for Richter; in a 2004 interview he described it as "the ideal colour for indifference, fence-sitting, keeping quiet, despair".

I've been looking at these late 80s and early 90s squeegee paintings a lot lately and am intrigued by this kind of financial sifting. Equally interesting is the use of indifference, fence-sitting, keeping quiet, and despair as record-breaking selling points. I hope it sells for £100 million.

Abstraktes Bild CR:725-4, 1990, 225x200cm [gerhard-richter.com]
Gerhard Richter painting being auctioned by Malekis could topple record [theartnewspaper.com]
A 2004 interview with Jan Thorn-Prikker that doesn't include this quote was published in the NYT. [nyt]

January 15, 2016

Dust Breeding (Bull), 2016 -

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Dust Breeding (Bull), 2016, dust, museum, reflection of Picasso sculpture.

Last week I went to see the Picasso Sculpture show at the Modern again. That's when I noticed the extraordinary amount of dust on the window ledge in the last gallery. I took a picture of it with Picasso's Bull in the reflection because it was amazing, and because it obviously reminded me of Dust Breeding, Man Ray's photo of six months worth of studio dust and street grime settled on the surface of Duchamp's Large Glass.

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Man Ray, Dust Breeding, 1920, contact print, from Roxana Marcoci's Photography of Sculpture catalogue.

I've loved Dust Breeding for a long time. Colby Chamberlain wrote a nice piece on it and Anthony McCall's work in a 2009 issue of Cabinet on dust that has stayed with me for its conclusion: the antipathy between august art institutions and dust. I think MoMA has complicated Colby's thesis.

dust_breeding_bull_insta.jpgMy first comment on Instagram about wanting to donate a vacuum cleaner, but I kept thinking about Matt Connors' noticing the same ledge situation I had, and having it trigger a similar reaction. After a couple of days, I decided to make the situation a work.

And since then, I've been wondering what the existence of such an artwork might mean for someone, or more precisely, what knowing it exists might do for the experience of seeing that ledge.

On the one hand, it might be amazing to have people think of me and my work when they glance out the window into the atrium. Isn't that associative frisson better even than wanting to have an endowed Roomba drone named after me? Just think of the dialogues!

Right now the gallery is filled with jaw-dropping sculptures Picasso put together out of junk and scraps of wood, in a show that includes artworks made from cigarette-burned napkins. Dust blends right in. But in a few weeks, the Museum's permanent collection will return in some form. What interaction might happen then? Duchamp put a little sign next to Large Glass: "Dust Breeding. To be respected." Is it possible for that dust on MoMA's ledge to engender respect?

Though I'm willing to find out, I'm skeptical. A few years ago, I pointed out to a guard on the 2nd floor that someone had written on the wall. She smiled benignly and informed me it was a Yoko Ono instruction piece. Which, of course it was. How cute. I was annoyed, partly for not recognizing it, but mostly that my good intentions had flipped back on me. Instead of being thanked for my civic responsibility, I was being schooled on Ono's whimsy. I somehow doubt I was experiencing what the artist intended.

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Whisper Pieces installed at MoMA in 2010, image: moma

Claiming MoMA dust bunnies as art might be seen as even lamer than Banksy, who surreptitiously stuck his own work on a museum wall and gloated about how long it took the museum to take it down. It's just a stick in the eye of people who live to look.

Does declaring it an artwork just seem like so much ledge-half-full spin, a passive aggressive way to shame the Museum needs to break out the cherry picker and the Swiffer? Until I decided it was an artwork, I would have thought so. But now I feel actual dread knowing it'll be gone. Some unknown day soon, maybe as soon as Walid Raad's installation gets cleared out of the atrium, a Museum staffer is going to unceremoniously obliterate my piece. I'll walk into the 4th floor to see some Naumans or Hesses or Broodthaers or whatever, and it'll be gone.

But it will also be back; that's not ten years of dust we're looking at. And while Dust Breeding's parenthetical collabo right now is Picasso's Bull, that will change too. And as it comes and goes, I'll document its condition, and its neighbors. And if you see it, please take a picture and let me know. #dustbreeding

UPDATE WOW: From MTAA's Michael Sarff comes this bombshell of a project: the MoMA's Dust Windows Community on Facebook, established OVER TWO YEARS AGO to document and appreciate the dust that gives "voice to time, memory and entropy set against the ideals of what a museum is often thought to reflex."

I am the prodigal dust son, make me as one of thy dust-loving servants!

temkin_duchamp_100th_periscope.jpg

[LOL. As I write this, Ann Temkin is actually live on Periscope, offering invited guests to honor Duchamp and the 100th anniversary of the Readymade, a term which first appeared in a letter the artist wrote to his sister on 15 January, 1916. Perfect.]

Previously, related: Untitled (Andrion Attributed To Paul Revere, Jr.)

loewy_photomurals_penn_station_1943_archpaper.jpg

A couple of weeks ago, David Dunlap looked back at the bad old days of Penn Station before the wrecking ball made it even worse.

And I found myself thinking the same thing as Michael Bierut, that Lewis Mumford's "crowning horror," a modernist, curved steel and glass ticket counter installed in 1956, was actually pretty sweet.

A quick search revealed the "clamshell," as it was known, was designed by Lester Tischy, who had worked under Raymond Loewy.

In addition to designing the Coke bottle, Loewy was a consultant to the Pennsylvania Railroad. And as this 2011 Transit Museum exhibition of the history of Penn Station showed, Loewy filled the station's main hall with photo murals to honor the 25,000+ railroad workers serving in the US armed forces during WWII.

The Times reported that the 40x25-ft headshots went up in February 1943. The photo above shows five, an engineer, a conductor, a soldier, sailor, and a marine. The paper said there were six, including a Red Cap porter. Also that models were used for all but the marine; so it would be interesting to know if the model for the Red Cap was black. Because that would be quite a monumental public depiction of an African American for 1943.

Penn Station's History Lesson [archpaper]

January 5, 2016

Untitled (Re: Graham), 2016

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Richard Prince, "New Portraits," installation shot, Sept. 2014, Gagosian 976, image:richardprince.com

According to his copyright infringement lawsuit against Richard Prince, Rasta-fetishizing fashion photographer Donald Graham sells limited edition prints of his 1997 photo, Rastafarian Smoking a Joint in two sizes: 20x24 inches (ed. 25) and 48x60 inches (ed. 5).

A rasta/model/whatever named @indigoochild 'grammed Graham's image in February 2014. It was regrammed in May by another r/m/w, @rastajay92, three months later. In May Prince commented on it, then took a screenshot, which he eventually printed at 4x5' and showed in his "New Portraits" show at Gagosian Madison in September 2014.

donald_graham_rasta_print_20x24.jpg
Donald Graham, Rasta Smoking A Joint, 1997-, Lambda print, 20x24, ed. 5/25, sold at Heritage Auction in Nov. 2015

In his complaint, Graham's attorneys detail the alterations Prince made to Graham's image, including making a screenshot, cropping, adding text and emoji, adding all the UI and empty space, and printing at low resolution and large size on canvas. Prince's depiction is clearly of a photo on/in Instagram, with all that entails. It is clearly different in appearance, color, finish, and context, unless you're seeking a significant amount of money, in which case these differences become invisible or irrelevant.

Unfortunately for Mr. Graham, he only registered his copyright for the image after Prince's show, so even if he were able to prove infringement, he would only be able to recover actual damages. Since Prince sold his New Portrait to his dealer Larry Gagosian, those actual damages probably range between the profit from one 4x5 photo print and $18,500, Prince's half of the $37,000 retail price for the IG works at that time.

untitled_canal_zinian.jpg
greg.org, Study for Untitled (Re: Graham), 2016, Donald Graham Lambda print cut down and collaged on inkjet on canvas, 30x24 in., ed. up to 25, I guess

It strikes me that the quickest and easiest solution is to buy one of Graham's prints, cut it up, and collage it on top of the infringing Prince. They're already roughly the same size. For proof of concept, I'm glad to make a study using one of Graham's smaller, 20x24-inch prints. As it happens, the only two ever to come to auction surfaced after Prince's show: in November 2014 in Paris (EUR2600), and in Nov. 2015 in Dallas ($2,475). Delivery date's a little uncertain, but at these prices, I'm sure we can make it work. Win-win-win.

January 4, 2016

18,262 Days

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JAN. 4, 1966, New York's traffic strike

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just guessin', tbh

December 31, 2015

Craft + The World =

The Renwick Gallery's neon sign is utter garbage, and they're defending it like it's made of gold. It's a ridiculous institutional embarrassment.

The Washington Post reports that the Smithsonian is concocting its own legal theories for stiffarming DC's official preservationist fussbudgets, who are demanding the unapproved [and banal and tacky as hell] sign be removed immediately.

This groundless tantrum can only end badly. And for what? For WHAT? Some dumb slogan cooked up around some marketing department conference room, and then gee whizzed into existence at some misguided museum executive's whim? This is the fight you're going to pick, Smithsonian and Renwick?

Because it seems pretty clear where the Renwick got the idea for slapping a garish sign on a building: from Ugo Rondinone at the New Museum [lmao, Fred Bernstein sure hated the hell out of that sign, but wins for calling it "Hello, Kitschy."]

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image: dominiqueb/flickr

Or from Martin Creed at Tate Britain.

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Work No. 232, the whole world + the work = the whole world, 2000, installed on Tate Britain, image: kunstkritikk.no

Or from Martin Creed at the National Gallery of Scotland.

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Ibid., image: contentcatnip

Or from Martin Creed at the Christchurch Art Gallery (NZ).

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Work No. 2314, 2015, image: radionz.co.nz

The difference between these signs and the Renwick's is everything. Can they not see that? Is that what craft is now: arty minus artists? This will not end well, but it should end soon.

Signs of rebellion? Renwick Gallery is flouting signage rules, groups contend [washingtonpost]

Dan Duray has an excellent scoop on an unheralded auction last spring to liquidate the art collection of Glafira Rosales, the only person convicted so far in the Knoedler Gallery forgery scandal.

About 236 lots were sold by the US Marshals via their auction contractor. Only one, a portrait of Rosales herself, betrays any connection to the caper, but that doesn't mean they're unrelated. Most of the works were bought at auctions since 2010, which means they were presumably bought with proceeds from Rosales & co's fake postwar masterpieces.

The obscurity of the sale and the omission of the works' criminal connection practically demand a Glafira Rosales Provenance Project. Maybe in the new year.

kelly_david_herbert_glafira_104-1.jpg

Right now, though, I'll just call out two fascinating works:

This 1957 drawing by Ellsworth Kelly is of David Herbert, a dealer and gallery employee who worked with key NY figures like Betty Parsons, Sidney Janis, and Richard Feigen. Herbert was also dragged into the center of the Knoedler scam; Rosales claimed that Herbert, who died in 1995, was the source for the paintings, which she said belonged to an anonymous, but totally fictitious, European collector. As Patricia Cohen described it when the Knoedler forgeries began to surface:

Herbert planned to use the works to stock a new gallery that was to be financed by the original collector. But the two men had a falling out, and the art ended up in the collector's basement until his death.

Ms. Rosales does own a 1957 line drawing of Herbert by Ellsworth Kelly that was recently part of an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. What she does not seem to have, however, are any records that track the ownership of the two dozen or so Modernist paintings she brought to market.

Rosales had been introduced to Ann Freedman, Knoedler's president, Cohen reported, by a gallery employee Jaime Andrade. Andrade was Herbert's partner. He was, presumably, the one who sold or gave Kelly's portrait of Herbert to Rosales. This is how provenance is made: it is inferred along a chain of relationships.

warhol_poster_glafira_142-1.jpg

The other work is now my favorite. It is so perfect I have made it my own. Untitled (Glafira Warhol), 2015, is a poster for "Look at Warhol," a 1970 exhibition at Galerie Thomas in Dusseldorf. It's hard to top the Marshal's lot description

Sheet folded at text in top margin and hinged to mat, full sheet = 35.75'' x 26.75''. No frame, non-archival mat only.
That's right. The master forger and con artist who sold dozens of modern masters to the most venerable gallery in the country without detection also folded a Warhol poster into a mat from Michael's and tried to pass it off as a Warhol print.

warhol_galerie_thomas_1-2097326.jpg

In Glafira's defense, she is not alone. The web is littered with these posters, which art grifters pretend is worth $1,500 or more, even as they sell from vintage poster shops for less than fifty bucks. The Marshal appraised Glafira's handiwork at $85. It sold for $905. I can only assume it is because an astute connoisseur recognized the brazen shittiness of the hack as the ultimate souvenir of the whole Knoedler affair.

And while the original now resides in an unknown private collection, I will make Untitled (Glafira Warhol) as an authentic replica edition object as soon as the posters arrive.

Secret fire sale held of 250 works confiscated from dealer in Knoedler gallery scandal [theartnewspaper]
LOT: 104 (1) DRAWING: Ellsworth Kelly (1923 - ) Portrait of David Herbert 1957, sold for $15,200 [txauction]
LOT: 142 (1) SERIGRAPH POSTER: Andy Warhol [txauction]
Glafira Rosales' collection runs from Item number 18381 to number 18616 [txauction]

Previously, 2013: What You See Is What You Believe: Barnett Newmans From The Knoedler/Rosales Collection
2012: Here's that Knoedler Gallery Rothko

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 189 Next

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
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It Narratives, incl.
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