Satellite Communication: Untitled (YOUR NAME HERE), Study for Dasha
Previously: If I Were A Sculptor, But Then Again
December 16, 2014
Satellite Communication: Untitled (YOUR NAME HERE), Study for Dasha
Previously: If I Were A Sculptor, But Then Again
December 14, 2014
Amazing, how did I never know this? Gio Ponti designed a business pavilion and auditorium for Time-Life in 1958, and it's still there, perched mostly out of view on the north side of the 8th floor setback of 1271 6th Avenue. It's covered with crystalline facets and triangles on the roof and terrace [though the photo above also seems to include some overpainted elements. Also it was flipped, so I fixed it.]
Dubbed "the most versatile and complete business-meeting facility in Manhattan," the pavilion was commissioned by Henry Luce at the instigation of his wife Clare Boothe Luce, who wanted to make Ponti a thing. Writing about a 2010 show of Ponti in New York curated by Germano Celant, Suzanne LaBarre described the pavilion as "the closest thing to a playground a stark, midcentury office building had seen: green-and-blue marbleized floors; saucers and brass strapwork in the ceiling; obelisk sconces; and a smattering of irregular nooks, foyers, and bars." Green & blue marbleized floors? Yow. Sounds like proto-Memphis to me, and makes me curse black and white photography.
Gio Ponti Time-Life Pavilion/Auditorium, on the north side of 1271 6th Ave, looking S/SE on bing
Unfortunately, LaBarre reports that Ponti's interior has been destroyed and remodeled two times over. [The top two images come from Esoteric Survey's extraordinary survey of the 1958 Time-Life Building's interiors, from the likes of, basically, everybody.] Time is out of or leaving the building this year, so who gets the Ponti?
What is most surprising to me, though, is the similarity of Ponti's design to the Unfinished Business Pavilion, created in for the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels. In an attempt to head off Soviet criticism of the US's discrimination against African Americans and the civil rights protests it spawned, the State Dept. and USAID asked Luce's Fortune Magazine to create a pavilion addressing 'the Negro Problem.' Fortune creative director Leo Lionni's three-part design moves from the "chaotic crystal" of the past to the bright happy square future where children of all races play together in harmony. Which was considered such an insult to the segregationist Dixiecrats in Congress, they demanded Fortune close the pavilion as soon as they got wind of it.
Which is interesting that in color and form, Ponti's pavilion most closely resembles the chaotic crystal section, or vice versa. Maybe Ponti's came first, and Leonni used it as a stand-in for the shameful past we were all trying to overcome. Anyway, this warrants further investigation.
Time-Life [esoteric survey]
Gio Ponti's New York [metropolis]
Previously, related, and devastatingly, depressingly timely: The Unfinished Business Pavilion, by Leo Leonni
None of Your 'Unfinished Business'
December 9, 2014
RadioWest, the local public radio talk show on KUER in Salt Lake, devoted an hour to Spiral Jetty this morning. Most of the time was spent talking with art historian Ann Reynolds, Dia's Jetty curator and Utah liaison Kelly Kivland, but there were segments from local earthwriter Terry Tempest Williams and director Skylar Nielsen. It was the debut of Nielsen's short film Jetty, commissioned by KUER, that was the hook for the discussion. Jetty had been conceived and shot one morning in September when the actor Julian Sands was coming to town to do Pinter, and he wanted to visit the artwork, which he'd heard about from his friend in LA, Michael Govan.
But this is all backing into the story. Which nonetheless feels necessary, because it was a fascinating and perplexing conversation that, the main guests' credentials notwithstanding, felt utterly detached from the art [historical] context, and its theoretical discourses. Instead of that construct, Spiral Jetty exists, in a public place, in the open, in a culture, and that is Utah. Utah is the site. Which makes the art world the non-site, I guess?
First, they didn't discuss Robert Smithson's film Spiral Jetty at all. Reynolds made one reference to a photo of oil derricks, but that was it. Which is amazing. In 1993, the last year before it resurfaced, curator Robert Sobieszek wrote of Spiral Jetty "coevally manifesting itself as a sculpture, a film, and a text," In practice, though, for two decades, the film was the work; the site was irrelevant. This perspective reflected the physical reality of the submerged, i.e. basically lost/destroyed, sculpture, far off in BF Utah, which, New York and the art world were central, check out the view from up here, and Utah's marginality was the self-reinforcing reason Smithson had picked it. With the re-emergence of the jetty, the enlightened pilgrimage through the chain restaurant cultural desert to the abandoned, entropic wasteland kicked in.
If this morning's discussion was any indication, Spiral Jetty has been pulled to Utah's bosom and squeezed, hard. Redeemed from its oil-drilling & tar-seeping failures, it is a manmade monument at one with nature that offers spiritual solace and communion with the land, sky, and water. It is experiential above all, an engine of personal transformation and enlightenment for all who walk or contemplate it. Reynolds' top tip for visiting Spiral Jetty is to camp out there. And if you can't at least spend 24 hours. Kivland, whose first visit to Spiral Jetty was in October 2011, with Nancy Holt, as part of the lease renegotiation process, agreed, and committed to visiting for the long haul. [Note: there are no facilities for camping at Spiral Jetty, and all the land you hike on is privately owned. Is Dia contemplating some infrastructure to turn Spiral Jetty into a more Lightning Field Experience?]
Smithson's pseudo-mystical writing is used to support this reconfiguration of Spiral Jetty into a devotional labyrinth for psychic discovery. Tempest-Williams gave perhaps the most highly evolved expression when she talked about how the submerged Jetty gave her solace when her mother died in 1987, and how it walking its re-emerged path with her adopted Rwandan son gave courage that life will go on when she finally visited it, in 2011. Which, I'm two degrees from Tempest-Williams and respect her and her work, but this strikes me as a pristine example of her ability to refit something, anything, into a deeply felt reflection on the landscape of her self.
Or maybe the apotheosis here is actually the Jetty film, created seemingly on a whim, with a helicopter and a dronecam, when the radio folks heard their famous actor/guest wanted to visit the site. In 3-minutes Nielsen puts Smithson's film through a Fincher filter, with distorted titles, non-spatial edits, and Sands trudging around the landbound jetty, literalizing the Smithson text he intones in a voiceover:
On the slopes of Rozzle PointThen "improvising as he saw fit," Sands begins reciting lines from "The Windmills of Your Mind":
[AERIAL SHOT OF SLOPES]
I closed my eyes and
[CUT TO FAST ZOOM ON SANDS STANDING AT APEX OF JETTY, EYES CLOSED, ARMS OUTSTRETCHED TAKING IN THE]
the sun burned crimson through the lids.
[ZOOM TIGHT ON HIS FACE]
I opened them
[SUDDENLY OPENS EYES]
and the Great Salt Lake was bleeding scarlet streaks.
Like a circle in a spiralIt reminds me of nothing so much as Sands' portrayal of George Emerson in A Room With A View, who climbed a Tuscan tree to shout his creed and the Eternal Yes to Nature herself.
like a wheel within a wheel
never ending of beginning
on an ever-spinning reel
Actually, I saw A Room With A View as an impressionable freshman in Salt Lake City, though I wanted to be Freddie. And I was the only one in the packed theater to laugh out loud at Daniel Day-Lewis's garden party scene. I may have to reshoot this movie.
Oh man, or just mash it up.
"Mr. Sands, Mr. Nielsen, and Mr. Fletcher fly out in helicopters to see a view. Utahans fly them."
"I have a theory," said Judi Dench's Eleanor Lavish, "there is something in the Rozel Point landscape that inclines even the most stolid nature to romance."
December 2, 2014
Installation view: Protestors' Folding Item (LRAD 500X/500X-RE), ink on Cordura, nylon webbing, LRAD, 2014, Collection: NYPD Order Control Unit
Installation view: Protestors' Folding Item (LRAD 500X/500X-RE), 2014, Collection: NYPD Order Control Unit
This is related to this: Traveler's Folding Item or, in French, Pliant de Voyage, an Underwood typewriter cover as Readymade by Marcel Duchamp.
Traveler's Folding Item/Pliant de Voyage, 1964 Schwartz replica of the lost 1916 original
From Tout Fait,
On the most basic level, Traveler's Folding Item stands as a typical Readymade. It demonstrates the clear displacement of an everyday object from its original context and function. A cover with no typewriter for it to protect is utterly useless. It tempts the viewer to look underneath its skirt, and suddenly it takes on some very sexual meanings. Museums often strategically display the typewriter cover in a manner so as to tempt the viewer in this manner as if it were a woman's skirt. Joselit explains, "This item, which Duchamp identifies with a feminine skirt, should be exhibited on a stand high enough to induce the onlooker to bend and see what is hidden by the cover" (90). In this way, this Readymade acts as an invitation to voyeurism.You know what else is utterly useless and tempting? An LRAD with a cover on it. Which is why I am stoked to announce my latest work, Protestors' Folding Item, a series of LRAD covers, installed on LRADs.
What does it mean to declare LRAD covers a Readymade? Such a designation definitely does not hinge on my making them, or my cashing the checks for their sale. Sorry, flippers, they're only available to institutions. [Carlyle & Co. folks and the Zabludowiczes, call me, we can probably work something out.] If anything, it's a relief not having to worry about fabrication or sales. I can really just focus on the work. True, it takes some effort to gather documentation on venues and edition size, but it's not something a diligent registrar can't handle.
Given the interest my institutional collectors have in control, it also might be difficult to arrange loans to show them in galleries or museums. Which doesn't mean they won't be seen publicly. In fact, at the apparently increasing rate LRADs are being deployed, I'd say my CV is about to explode.
What would the legal implications be for my declaration of these Readymades? Could copyright or VARA or droit moral be used to assert control over the public display of these, my works?
In Alberta, Canada, an artist has fended off gas drilling and pipelines on his farm for eight years by copyrighting his land as an artwork [and by charging oil & gas companies $500/hr to discuss it]. Yves Klein once signed the sky.
According to my fabricator's website, "The LRAD 500X / 500X-RE systems [underneath Protestors' Folding Item] produces a sound pattern that provides clear communication over long distances. The deterrent tone can reach a maximum of 149 dB (at one meter) to influence behavior or determine intent." My work, too, is designed to provide clear communication, influence behavior, and determine intent. That's why they go so well together, like a glove on a hand. Really, they're inseparable. You can't have one without the other.
L: You Hear Me, 2007, R: Eye See You, 2006
"The art world underestimates its own relevance when it insists on always staying inside the art world. Maybe one can take some of the tools, methodologies, and see if one can apply them to something outside the art world," said Olafur Eliasson. In T Magazine. "If we don't believe that creativity as a language can be as powerful as the language of the politicians, we would be very sad -- and I would have failed. I am convinced that creativity is a fierce weapon."
I hope LRAD cover readymades, are too, and that collectors of my work will preserve its integrity by exhibiting it only as originally intended, with the covers on the LRADs.
November 25, 2014
Flags, 1968, image metmuseum.org
In 1968 Jasper Johns produced an edition, Flags, with ULAE featuring two American flags and an optical phenomenon. After staring at the inverted spectrum flag, green, black and orange, on the top, a viewer would then switch to the bottom flag, which would momentarily appear red, white and blue.
American Flag in Negative Colors of the Spectrum, 1968, image: juddfoundation.org
This was more than a visual trick. It carried symbolic and political meaning. Or at least such things could be ascribed to an inverted flag. In 1968 Donald Judd had American Flag in Negative Colors of the Spectrum made. It was included in "The Public Life," a 2011 show at the Judd Foundation about the artist's civic and political engagement. I have not been able to find out much background for this object or its creation.
Flag (Moratorium), 1969
In 1969, Johns again used the inverted flag, for Flag (Moratorium), a fundraising/protest poster for the Committee Against The War In Vietnam. The small white focal point in the center facilitates the same optical phenomenon as the ULAE edition, in which the viewer is called to action to envision, produce, and correct the flag in her own mind.
African American Flag, 1990, image: moma.org
David Hammons' 1990 African American Flag is different. It's red, black and green colors derive from the Pan-African or Black Liberation Flag designed by Marcus Garvey in the 1920s. Miami collector Craig Robins has a Hammons flag; Rirkrit installed it for Design Miami Basel in 2011. It is also in MoMA's collection, and one flies over the Studio Museum in Harlem.
November 25, 2014
Police in Hong Kong have deployed a new mobile pepper spray platform against protestors near Mong Kok.
I start with this image via @krislc, Kris Cheng, because it gives nice context, also the guy is watermarking it with his face? I'm filing that trick away for future use.
At first it looked like it's made out of PVC pipe, but it's surely painted steel. Actually, it looks like a smaller variation of the stairs in Home Depot.
Most of the info comes from @galileo44, Galileo Cheng. Like this picture of the police conferring on Portland St. With their pepper spray cannons on their backs. Unless those are #umbrellas.
Here is krislcc's Vine of the new platforms in use on her. Galileo calls them castles. They're hand pumped. Like Super Soakers or something. Incredible.
Here's another. What is most striking to me about this one is how the two police officers move together: one with the pepper spray, the other with a video camera. Kris Cheng says the the pepper spray isn't that strong; the effects didn't last more than 45 minutes. But the police will play a long game with those images.
Speaking of long game, holy smokes. I thought I'd scout out the Mong Kok streetscape on Google Maps, and this is what came up:
It was startling to be met by an unblurred face. And the vantage point was so high. But turn around. This is a pano. Or a "Photo Sphere." From September, of the intersection blocked by a sit-in. It's credited to nJohn.
There are more recent Photo Spheres, too. Including November, by Kau Lam. The protestor-decorated police barricades are stitched together pano-style. Google Maps as a reporting platform. When will it go live? Will Google get castles of its own, or will cameras on long sticks suffice?
November 25, 2014
November 24, 2014
This is just so fantastic. Last month Eugene, OR photographer Blake Andrews wrote about this 2004 photo by Lyza Danger, which has gradually become confused and conflated with Andreas Gursky's 99 Cent photos.
Danger's photo, an unaltered image of a Fred Meyer in Portland, is CC-licensed on flickr, which has aided its circulation and re-use. Andrews discovered several instances where Danger was accused of both ripping Gursky off, and of claiming Gursky's image as her own. But the best part is that Google Images include Danger's photo in searches for Gursky's 99 Cent. The authoritativeness of Google, coupled with the plausible Gurskyness of Danger's image, create a virtuous cycle of re/mis-attribution that may or may not be slowed by Andrews' investigation.
And basically, I love it. Clearly, it's Gursky enough. Or rather, Danger's verite' image shifts what makes a Gursky a Gursky from the grand scale of globalist capitalism to the artist's manipulation of the same.
Danger's photo is not a Ghetto Gursky, or a Shanzhai Gursky either; those terms don't fit this scenario. It's an image made in the wild, a Found Gursky, which we now recognize and appreciate because of Gursky's influence. It's an example of a shift from Gursky as author to Gursky as worldview. It's of a piece with the photo that Brent Burket flagged last year, Taylor Swift's selfie with a Dallas stadiumful of people.
Andreas Gursky photo of a Madonna concert in Los Angeles on Sept 13, 2001, image via centre pompidou
And now I see a connection to the ruins of the World Trade Center I'd wanted to see Gursky photograph in September 2001, except he was touring with Madonna.
Auguste Rodin, The Three Shades, plaster, for The Gates of Hell
This edition of Better Read, an experiment in transforming art-related texts into audio works, is awesome. I really feel like the kinks are working out, and this whole computer voice-generated pseudo-podcast thing is really going to take off in a big way very soon.
Like an hour from now, when you've finished listening to "Sincerely Yours," by powerhouse art historian Rosalind Krauss. In 1981 Krauss published one of her foundational texts, "The Originality of The Avant-Garde," in October Magazine, which prompted a long, irate response from Rodin scholar and curator Albert Elsen. "Sincerely Yours" is Krauss's fierce, icy, and vigorously argued, 9,200-word response to Elsen's criticisms. It was originally published in October 20, in the spring of 1982. And it is performed here by Ava, an American English synthetic voice from Apple with a surprisingly good grasp of French pronunciation. The 80mb mp3 file lasts around 56 minutes. Like I said, this is going to be big, I can feel it.
Sincerely Yours, Rosalind Krauss (1982), read by a computer [dropbox]
Previously: Better Read: A Lively Interview with Ray Johnson c. 1968
The ur-text: W.H. Auden's poem "The Shield of Achilles" read by a machine
November 19, 2014
I was very happy to donate this study to the benefit auction last week for Franklin Street Works, the Stamford, CT art space where some Destroyed Richter Paintings and Shanzhai Gursky photos were in a show.
FSW had asked for furniture- or design-related works on paper. I have been trying for a couple of years to figure out how to make sense of the real-world, real object anomalies of Google Art Project panos, like the blurred out paintings, and especially the blurred out Noguchi game table [furniture!] at the Art Institute of Chicago. And I thought this would be a good opportunity to experiment, rather than simply print out the GSV image [not that there's anything wrong with that, as Paul Soulellis's very nice Webdriver Torso-related print demonstrates].
What mattered to me was getting the blur just right. Years ago, in the early Iris Print era, I'd seen some amazing Gabriel Orozco works--which I can't find a trace of now--where he'd dripped and brushed water onto inkjets of lush Baroque paintings of the Madonna, dissolving the center into an abstract mess. Very non-archival, but very beautiful.
And all but unreproducible. In terms of inkjet and paper coating technology, we've come a long way, baby. I tried several printer & paper setups, but nothing would bleed like I wanted. Finally, in desperation, I emailed my sister, who had a clanky old  desktop printer in her basement, and she printed some images for me. Even this modern paper resists staining and dissolving like the inkjets of old. After several test, though, I found if I let water sit on the paper long enough, it'd give me a blur. Study #3 was the first one to be successful enough to let out of the house. I don't know where it went yet, but I hope it stays out of the rain.