November 30, 2015


Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach are decluttering and downsizing, from Monaco/Surrey/Snowmass/Beverly Hills to LA and a London apartment. Nearly 1400 lots of furniture, art, clothing, memorabilia, and borderline boot sale junk will be auctioned this week in LA. Here are some of the things:


First up, Lot 79, Originally John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Refectory Table [est. $5-7,000]

"'This refectory table was left at Tittenhurst by John and Yoko when I took over the house. Enjoy!' - Ringo." That would be in 1971. Tittenhurst Park was outside London. Starr sold it to the Emir of Abu Dhabi in 1988, but took the table with him. Hey, here it is in the living room of Rydinghurst, Starr & Bach's Jacobean estate in Surrey, which they put up for sale last year. Look at how they lay down a Google-like blur on the artwork in estate agent photos.


And speaking of tables, what is up with that coffee table? It's big and moon-shaped and filled with gazing balls. Or giant Christmas ornaments? I cannot tell, and the designer Ringo Starr doesn't weigh in this time.


Lot 351, Moon Coffee Table Designed by Ringo Starr [est. $1,000-2,000]

And speaking of gazing balls, holy smokes. Lot 608, Two Monumental Gazing Spheres [est. $1,500-3,000] They're from Rydinghurst, and each one is 36 inches across. Let's see Jeff Koons try to handle those.


And finally, speaking of satelloon-looking things, Lot 411, Galaxy Theme Platform Bed [est. $800-1,200] "'When we bought the house in 1992 in LA, we had this bed made so we could sleep under the stars and moons, and surrounded by the stars and moons.' - Ringo." Will the presumably LA-based Master Of The Ringo Starr's Bed Starscape with the initials SWG please come forward and take a bow?

Lot 1005, **RINGO STARR'S UK 1st MONO PRESSING WHITE ALBUM NO.0000001 [est. $40-60,000]

Oh wait, no, one more: It turns out Ringo got the first numbered copy of the White Album, and he put it in a vault. Now it is selling for at leaset $55,000. What a world. #monochrome

Property from the Collection of Ringo Starr & Barbara Bach, 12/03/2015 [julienslive via jjdaddy-o]

Beer statue TEST - DO NOT BUY.JPG
Untitled (141831674795), formerly known as: Beer statue TEST - DO NOT BUY

I haven't written much about the eBay Test Listings project here since eBay shut it down and forced it into a different configuration. I'm happy to have it exist primarily on eBay, where it conspires against itself, making success and failure interchangeable.

ceci n'est pas 600px: just noticed it's actually 500px

They don't search well. The titles are opaque. The pricing across the series makes people wonder. And after surfing through the 800 even less expensive items in the "photographs > directly from artist" category, it turns out these aren't always even the most eye-popping.

NJB PADEBAY test auction do not bid:buy Track-1.jpg

So it really does come back to their unique situation, unlike literally every other thing on eBay: they were specifically made and chosen to not be sold. To not be found, and to not be found attractive. At least to a bidder or buyer. Yet they are still made and chosen in some way, for some surpassing reason beyond their function. [An image is required for every eBay listing, even a test listing with nothing to sell.] And so I'm intrigued by the otherwise invisible images made by otherwise invisible people, which are intended to be seen by no one but themselves and maybe their colleagues, and their bots.

Really I just wanted an excuse to post that [bear+deer=] beer statue picture.

eBay Test Listing prints for sale, only through Art Basel Miami, though [ebay]

Untitled (DO NOT BID OR BUY)
Proposte monocrome, ebay, rose

"Untitled" (L.A.), FKA "Untitled" (Rossmore) image via christies

Howard Rachofsky bought Felix Gonzalez-Torres' 1991 candy pour, "Untitled" (Rossmore)" in 1998. It consists of green wrapped candies spread on the floor with an ideal weight of 50 lbs. That was presumably the title when Ranbir Singh purchased it in 1991, and when he sold it in 1998, even though the 1997 catalogue raisonne lists it as "Untitled" (L.A.). [Another candy pour from 1991, also with green candies, but an ideal weight of 75 lbs., bears the orphan title "Untitled" (Rossmore II).] Rachofsky loaned his pour to the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, and exhibited in a bathtub of his Richard Meier-designed house.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, "Untitled" (L.A.), 1991, as installed in Howard Rachofsky's tub, image by Andrea Duffie via forthworthanewperspective

Rachofsky and his wife donated or pledged the house and much of his collection to the Dallas Museum in 2005-Cindy Rachofsky specifically mentions the Felix piece in this interview-so it's frankly baffling that he sold "Untitled" (L.A.) last week at Christie's, even if it did bring $7.7 million. But DFW's loss is Bentonville's gain.

ArtNEWS reports the buyer of "Untitled" (L.A.) is Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. I would imagine that the politics of the Wal-Mart heir would have pissed off and/or inspired Felix to no end. But after re-reading his 1995 interview with Rob Storr about politics and culture and audience, and how he wanted to operate like a spy, I think he'd see the acquisition of his work by Crystal Bridges as a triumph. He has successfully infiltrated the beating red state heart of America's conservative plutocracy.

Of course, in the 20 years after the artist's death, the cultural terrain has shifted, and if it doesn't exactly end up being the wrong one, the mountain Felix scaled offers views of still higher, more difficult peaks.

And so it occurred to me almost instantly to make another piece, inspired by Walton's "Untitled" (L.A.) acquisition: "Untitled" (Crystal Bridges) consists of Wal-Mart money, free for the taking and endlessly replenished, with an ideal installation weight of 50 lbs. It could be a pour, but it probably works best in Felix's other trademark form, as a stack piece. It looks a bit like "Untitled" (Passport #II), but with cash instead of little booklets.

"Untitled" (Passport #II), 1993

A US banknote weighs just under a gram, so 50 lbs is around 25,000 bills. They should all be of the same denomination, whether it's singles ($25,000) or $100s ($2.5 million), as long as there is an endless supply.

$207 million of Sinaloa drug cartel cash weighed 4,500 lbs, not an ideal weight for the sculpture, but I'll leave that to the owner's discretion.

Since the Walton family only has $147 billion right now, they'll have to manage the installation with an eye on both ROI and replenishment rates. I'm sure they can do it.

image of 1M Hauly from SDR Traveller

I've rebooted Felix works before, but I think the idea for this piece crystallized so immediately because I'd been primed to consider the spatial implications of a million dollars in cash. Just a few days ago, Michael Sippey tweeted about the 1M Hauly, a high-performance duffel bag by SDR Traveller optimized for the secure, discreet transport of $1 million, in 10,000 $100s.

fat v. flat, via SDR Traveller

Turns out used, street, dirty money takes up as much as 40% more space than crisp, fresh bank product, but the 1M Hauly can handle it all. When strapped, 10,000 bills fits into a 20.4 lb cube 18x12x6 inches. So if it were stacked, "Untitled" (Crystal Bridges) could be an 18x18-in square about 10 inches high. It's an adorable scale, domestic, almost intimate, which will provide endless [sic] enjoyment and engagement for museum visitors. As long as they don't get too grabby. And as long as the Waltons don't go broke.

[I haven't exactly asked, but I bet SDR Traveller would be willing to discuss the commission of a custom-sized travel bag for "Untitled" (Crystal Bridges). Interested collectors should get in touch with me for details.]

uncut sheets of new $100 bills at BEP in 2013, image: AP/LM Otero

UPDATE: OR, maybe there is another way. Uncut currency sheets sell for a premium from the Bureau of Printing & Engraving, but they'd really give the piece a Felixian feel. The ideal height for a stack of 32-note sheets like the ones above would be about 775 sheets, about 6 inches. The BEP online store only has 16-note sheets, though, for $1,800 each. See if you can get a volume discount, or a subscription.

Previously: On Politics and Art
suddenly related: "Untitled" (Orpheus, Twice), 2012

November 7, 2015



A few weeks ago Eric Doeringer asked me to contribute to a project, RPFleaMarket, that poured Richard Prince-related appropriation objects into the eBay mold of Rob Pruitt's Flea Market. It's pretty awesome, and like Rob's own joint, everything comes with an autographed photo of the item for sale.

So if a never-released Untitled (300x404) proof printed on aluminum is not enticing enough for you, this one comes with a glossy 8x10 photo of it, suitable for framing!

There are also a couple of one-off hand-altered editions of the Cariou v. Prince documents, and a whole host of interesting objects, artifacts, publications, and LMAO IDKs. Check it out on Eric's eBay page.

Cowboy Photograph by Greg Allen [sic] not RICHARD PRINCE Appropriation RPFleamarket, current bid $45.44, ends Nov. 12 [ebay]

November 4, 2015

More Vine, More Fig Trees

I have not touched on my Hamilton amazement here yet. I figured I'd save it for the review, which would follow soon after getting tickets. [insert gif of endless horizon retreating from me.]

But I have to write about one place in the score that tears me up, when Chris Jackson sings George Washington's final address over Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, who reads it aloud:

...Like the scripture says:
"Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid."
They'll be safe in the nation we've made

I want to sit under my own vine and fig tree
A moment alone in the shade
At home in this nation we've made
One last time


I anticipate with pleasing expectation
that retreat in which I promise myself
to realize the sweet enjoyment of partaking,
in the midst of my fellow-citizens,
the benign influence of good laws
Under a free government,

the ever-favorite object of my heart,
and the happy reward, as I trust,
Of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

Emphasis added for the lines that just do me in every time, even as I type about them now, as I think about the millions of people who don't feel safe in this nation we've made, or who find suffering, injustice, or even death, under the far-from-benign influence of our laws and government.

image: from the final page of the final manuscript of George Washington's Farewell Address, via

This was literally the kicker of Washington's parting address, his wrap-up, his mic drop. And to look around at this mess we've made, the Founding Fathers'd be like smdh.

One Last Time, from Hamilton [youtube, lyrics via genius]
Buy Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)(Explicit)(2CD or MP3) [amazon]
[note: fwiw, when I bought the album, I ended up swapping out the explicit tracks with the broadcast-safe versions I ripped from NPR. You know, for kids.]

Tanya, 1989

Until the small photocopy Tanya turned up last year and prompted me to do a related edition of it, I confess, I hadn't paid much attention to Cady Noland's works on paper. The silkscreen on aluminum pieces always felt graphic and photocopied enough, I guess. But that interchangeability is one thing that makes the works on paper interesting.

Untitled (Preparatory Drawing for Log Cabin), 1990

Then a few months ago, that whole mess about the unauthorizedly refabricated log cabin included mentions of blueprints, and so I looked back at Untitled (Preparatory Drawing for Log Cabin), which sold for not much a couple of years ago at Phillips. Which no one is saying is a blueprint or certificate for a sculpture, at least not publicly.

Last month Cristin Tierney showed a photocopy drawing at Expo Chicago. Mr. Automatic Drawing (1992) has colored pencil too, and this kind of great artist's frame made out of some hardware or other. I feel like I should recognize it from Home Depot.

Untitled, 1991-2, big silkscreen monotype on paper

There was a similar frame on a larger work from 1991-2, a 40x32-inch silkscreen of a blown-up fragment of a Tanya wirephoto. It was sold at Christie's. At a benefit auction. For Leo DiCaprio's foundation. It went for 5x the estimate. It is listed as a "gift of the artist." So Noland is donating work to benefit auctions. Fascinating.

Untitled, 1992, ditto, 40x32

A similar work came up in 2010, with a more elaborate, Woollian abstracted print/blur, but no picture of the frame. This one was described as unique, a 1/1 silkscreen. [It went for 1/16th of the DiCaprio piece.]

Untitled (Patty in Church), 1991

Oh hey, here's another one, Untitled (Patty in Church), sold in 2008, with what looks like a similar but sharper image, and an artist's frame. It's shown leaning against the wall, like some of the aluminum silkscreened pieces. Yes, it draws a connection, but does it also make you wonder what Ms. Noland might think of the apparently unframed image above?


Maybe she'd be fine with it on a case-by-case basis. In this installation shot from Noland's 1993 2-artist show at the Dallas Museum [with Dallas artist Doug Macwithey], at least one of the works up against the wall is unframed.


And yes, here is Untitled (Patty in Church) leaning next to an aluminum piece. [Looks fragile, watch the bending!] Noland's works on paper are integral, not ancillary.

Untitled Xerox Cut-Out (Squeaky Fromme/Gerald Ford), 1994

Not everything turns up for sale, though it was. This clipped-together assemblage of cropped photocopies is from 1993-94 has a title, Untitled Xerox Cut-Out (Squeaky Fromme/Gerald Ford), and is one of three purchased for MoMA as part of the big Judith Rothschild acquisition. The others are of Betty Ford and John Dillinger. The Rothschild Hoard also includes 22 more Noland drawings, including a set of big set of Untitled for The Tower of Terror Studies from 1994. I don't know anything about these.

Previously: Tanya; Untitled (Tanya)
Why Wasn't Cady Consulted?


They are not the kind of thing to get excited over, necessarily, but every time I think about Agnes Martin's 1973 screenprint portfolio On A Clear Day, I like them a lot. [I did not like seeing a complete set baking in the sun in someone's freshly renovated loft kitchen one time, though. Respect, people.]

Martin had given up painting for seven years, and the invitation from Luitpold Domberger to create a print portfolio was instrumental in Martin's decision to start making work again. [That she was also preparing for her first mid-career retrospective at the ICA in Philadelphia at the time might have helped. I guess we should read the new biography and find out.]


Anyway, On A Clear Day is 30 images Martin selected from over 300 drawings she'd done in 1971. So a subset, perhaps, more than a series. And a mechanical interpretation of her hand marking process.

The 8x8 prints on 12x12 sheets are printed in an edition of 50, plus 14 APs. It is not clear how many portfolios were kept together, but a bunch were broken up, and loosies show up at auction all the time. One's coming up at Doyle in a couple of weeks, in fact: plate 8 from ed. 49/50. The estimate seems a bit low, but it says there's a soft crease in the image.

I hate broken up sets, and have long wondered if you could put one back together. And by you, obviously, I mean me. How long would it take? Could you track them down, or do you just have to wait and watch? Which number should you work on? Should you keep a stash of loosies available anyway, to trade with reluctant sellers?

What have these prints been through since they've been apart? Have they been cared for, kept out of the sun? Framed nicely? Framed crappily? Lone silkscreens are not very precious. And there are nearly 2,000 of these things out there. Some might be shoved in drawers, or stuck inside a book. Isn't it likely that some might not have survived at all? If there are already a couple dozen complete sets around, what's the value to Martin's legacy of one more?

But I guess it's not really for or about Martin at all. She just provided the raw material for the project. If a reassembled Agnes Martin portfolio is a new work, Untitled (On A Clear Day), would an assemblage of mismatched Martin prints be a study?

I remember very well the set of ten On A Clear Day prints up top, which were at Phillips in 2008. They are a ragtag bunch of misfits, actually: three "a.p.s," six "p.p.s", and only one actual numbered print: plate 4 from, oh hey, 49/50. This project may start right now.

Oct. 27, 2015: Lot 125 Agnes Martin (1912-2004), ON A CLEAR DAY, est. $1,000-1,500 [doylenewyork]

Early work, commercial work, disowned work, and destroyed work are not relevant to an artist's work, except when they are.

Tiffany & Co. building on the corner of Fifth & 57th, c.1940 via nypl

I did not know that Bonwit Teller was owned by Walter Hoving, who bought it in 1946, and who also bought Tiffany & Co. next door in 1955. From the family. The store was in trouble, and he turned it around, turned it into the Tiffany's we know today. Hoving was a crack retail guy. His son Thomas became director of the Met. Hoving had Bonwit's window dresser Gene Moore take over Tiffany's windows, too. Bonwit's had 16 windows on Fifth Avenue & 56th St. Tiffany's had two on Fifth and three on 57th.

Bonwit Teller building, 721 Fifth Avenue, on the corner of 56th Street in 1956. Destroyed by Donald Trump.

Dali did some Bonwit's windows in 1938. Duchamp did a window display for Brentano's to promote Breton's book in 1945; it had to be moved to Gotham Book Mart. Here is a long discussion of shop windows, Benjamin, flaneurs, and capitalist spectacle. [Brentano's was Scribner's before, and is a Sephora now.]

Robert Rauschenberg and Susan Weil did windows for Moore at Bonwit's. And Rauschenberg and Johns did after that. Here is the set of amazing blueprint monotypes Bob and Jap did for Bonwit's in 1955, which Gene kept. [1955 was also when Warhol started doing Bonwit's windows.]

I'm going into this now because I finally got a copy of Gene Moore's 1990 coffee table memoir, My Time At Tiffany's, and it talks about the artists he worked with, and how he was the first window dresser [he preferred "window trimmer"] to give artists credit. And how he also showed their "'serious' work," with credit, a rental fee, and no commission if it sold. And he has a chronology of all the windows he did for Tiffany's.

Target with completely unrelated and painted Plaster Casts, why do you even ask?, 1955

So here are all the Tiffany windows Rauschenberg and Johns did under their pseudonym, Matson Jones, and what Moore said about the projects and working with the artists.

October 1, 2015

Elizabeth Warren, Filtered


I know she's not in the White House rn, but the tasty pixel pattern in this picture of Elizabeth Warren on Talking Points Memo caught my eye this morning. Until I noticed it was on her podium, too. And it's also on the edges of her hair and hands. So it's a Photoshop filter applied with a quick and somewhat dirty mask. Weird.


TPM doesn't give a photo credit, but I searched up the original. Looks like it was taken Saturday, Sept. 19 at the 2015 Massachusetts Democratic Convention by Dave Roback of The Republican [please, oldest joke in Springfield, I'm sure].

That is what digital projected video looks like in 2015. And anyway, those pixels aren't even pixels; it's the moire pattern from four-color offset printing. Which has been used to approximate visible RGB pixels on a television screen.

Have I already thought about this image more than whoever hacked this thing together, or whoever decided to use it? Or was there a moment of contemplation, a decision, to make an image look more retro? And if so, did it involve someone who's possibly too young to have seen either moire or visible pixels?

Why Wall Street Is Howling Over The Big New Reform Coming Down The Pike [talkingpointsmemo]
Sen. Elizabeth Warren blasts GOP presidential candidates with fiery speech at 2015 Massachusetts Democratic Convention in Springfield [masslive]

September 20, 2015

On Fukushima And Furecon Bags


Just to be clear, this Reuters photo of the 1-ton black bags full of radioactive debris that are being stacked all over Fukushima reminded me of the most terrible Hiroshi Sugimoto seascape ever before I cropped and greyscaled it.

But the more I see of them, the less I see of Sugimoto.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 34 Next

Since 2001 here at, 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 that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

about this archive

Category: art

recent projects, &c.

eBay Test Listings
Mar 2015 —
about | proposte monocrome, rose
bid or buy available prints on ebay

It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
about | link

TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

"Exhibition Space"
Mar 20 - May 8 @apexart, NYC

HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.

Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

Canal Zone Richard
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99