October 2012 Archives

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image: Brian Snyder/Reuters via Buzzfeed

Mitt Romney's campaign had already printed the "Victory Rally" press passes when they hastily decided to turn an Ohio stump speech into a "storm relief event" yesterday. So Romney could be photographed receiving canned food and other supplies donated by his supporters. Which would be loaded onto a waiting Penske truck and, presumably, driven to New Jersey or wherever.

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image of Mitt getting crosswise via Jonathan Crowley/NYT

As Buzzfeed reports, though,

the last-minute nature of the call for donations left some in the campaign concerned that they would end up with an empty truck. So the night before the event, campaign aides went to a local Wal Mart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food, and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in.
Those prop supplies came in handy when supporters who didn't have something to 'donate' still lined up, wanting to meet their man; a campaign staffer. "Just grab something," they were told. And they did.

I would love to find photos of the same case of Gatorade being re-donated several times.

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But it sounds like Mitt only actually worked the line for 30 minutes, so the campaign's Walmart stash probably held up. And I guess it's not important at what kind of shelter Mitt's Penske truckload of storm relief props ends up, as long as Paul Ryan is on hand to restack them.

The Making of Romney's Storm Relief Event [buzzfeed]

October 29, 2012

Sforzian Pano

Oh, Romney, Romney, Romney.

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This Romney staffer's Instragrammed collage of a Las Vegas rally has been making the rounds because, holy smokes, people, everyone knows that the Republican tent is not that big, and anyway, right now it only has one pole: just cold say and do whatever the )$#( it takes to beat the black guy.

Which, even so, should put such a baldly distorted, manipulated image on the far side of WTF. So far, in fact, that it makes me think it really has to be attributed not, for once, to their propagandistic lying, but to a glitch from an auto-pano-stitching algorithm.

I tried to find the link again, but I've seen the iPhone 5's new panorama function occasionally erases moving cars. Do any non-partisan panorama people recognize this as typical of a particular app, or smartphone?

Previously and definitely related, and wow, really? "Whatever It Takes?" on 10/28/2004? Sforza now spelled with a CTRL-V

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I recently came across this photo of Louis Kahn's "Monument To The Six Million Jewish Martyrs," which, I had no idea. And it was to be built in New York City, Battery Park, to be exact, and was perhaps the last best chance for an apparently serially disastrous effort to build a Holocaust memorial in the city. Ultimately, of course, the city did get the Jewish Memorial Museum in the 1990s, in Battery Park.

There is no doubt a story to tell about the tumultuous history of that process. And I'm sure someone has already written a decisive history of how people attempted to grapple with the Shoah and Holocaust as history, and how and when those concepts took hold. Because they're absent from the contemporary discussion of this memorial. But what really sticks with me is the story and particulars of Kahn's memorial design, and how resonant it seems with memorials followed it.

Kahn was recommended by an Art Advisory Committee [via Philip Johnson] that had been brought in in 1966 to help the Committee to Commemorate the Six Million Jewish Martyrs solve their seemingly impossible charge: creating a suitable memorial to genocide. The NY Times' architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable complained that the previous designs were full of "wrenching angst" in which "the agony and the art were almost too much to bear."

After the City Art Commission approved it, Kahn's 6-foot model was put on impromptu display in the lobby of the Museum of Modern Art for month, from Oct-Nov. 1968. Which is when Huxtable praised as architecture and sculpture "of the highest order":

In an age that has made a flat mockery of conventional memorial values and platitudes, Mr. Kahn's solution is a cool, abstract, poetic, powerful and absolute statement of the unspeakable tragedy. It could rank with the great works of commemorative art in which man has attempted to capture spirit, in symbol. for the ages.
And in case you needed any more reminder that memorials are as much an expression of the time they're created, not just the history they mark, here's Huxtable's final judgment:
The generation that lived through the time and events the monument proposes to commemorate will never forget them. We have that memorial seared in our souls.

The generations that are innocent of this kind of totalitarianism and ultimate tragedy will find no monument meaningful. That is one of the anachronisms of art and history in an age of violence.

This memorial could work, as art and as history, and as a lasting expression of the human spirit. In a nihilistic, value-destroying society, that is no mean artistic accomplishment.

Yow, no Summer of Love here.

Kahn's Monument was to consist of seven 10x10 squares, 11 feet high, made entirely of elongated, cast glass brick, and arranged 2-3-2 on a 66-ft square grey granite plinth. [His original design, presented to the Committee in 1967, called for nine 12x12x15 squares in a grid. I think the switch to 6+1 was a way to Judaize and particularlize the memorial's content.] The translucent bricks meant that the blocks would change with light, weather, and the presence and movement of people around the site. Only the center cube would be inscribed and accessible; as Kahn put it, "The one, the chapel, speaks; the other six are silent."

I think Kahn's 1967 proposal is at least one of the earliest, if not the first, deployments of Minimalism in a memorial context. Or maybe Post-Minimalism is more accurate, since Kahn's evocative forms and their deliberate emotional and experiential evocations were anathema to the objective Gestaltism of orthodox Minimalism as it was being argued out at the time.

If the history of using a Minimalist formal vocabulary for intractable memorials typically began with Maya Lin's Vietnam Memorial, then Kahn's Monument pushes it back 15 years--to the conflict-torn heart of the Vietnam era. And though it wasn't realized as he envisioned, Kahn's proposal was influential. It's the best explanation I can see for for the use of glass block in New York State's disappointing Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Water Street in lower Manhattan. [That memorial's plaza siting was probably also influenced by Huxtable's unequivocal condemnation of the Battery Park site for Kahn's memorial, an insurmountable criticism which probably doomed the design she praised so highly.] More directly, though, Kahn seems like a direct progenitor for the two most prominent Holocaust memorials built in Europe to date.

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Kahn's formal references to the silenced, the room-scale, and the bookshelf-like bands of glass brick are all echoed in Rachel Whiteread's Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial, where a ghostly library of books the city's murdered Jews will never write stands on a plinth in a public square in Vienna. Whiteread's memorial has obvious precedents in her own sculptural practice, and I've never seen her mention Kahn as an inspiration, so it's entirely possible that these resonances are natural and widely held, and which the artist and architect arrived at separately.

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Amazing shot of Peter Eisenman at the 2004 opening of his Berlin Memorial from Mark Godfrey's book, Abstraction and The Holocaust

I can't believe that's what went down, however, with Peter Eisenman and Richard Serra. From its central formal device--passages between impenetrable, figure-dwarfing blocks--to its title, Memorial to the Six MIllion Murdered Jews of Europe, Eisenman and Serra [who subsquently removed his name from the project] had to have been very familiar with Kahn's proposal, and with the politically fraught development process that spawned it.


Oh, look, Mark Godfrey's 2007 book Abstraction and the Holocaust has an entire chapter on Kahn's Monument. [amazon, google books]
Anthony Vidler wrote about Kahn's memorials [cooper.edu]
The Louis Kahn Collection at UPenn has drawings and a different model of the memorial. [upenn.edu]

I've been listening to [relatively] a lot of La Monte Young lately, and [slightly less] Tony Conrad--which is harder to work to. And the Cage, of course, because he's the composer this month in the kids' school [!]. So it's all so much that when the radiator kicked in the other day, the kid asked if that was my music.

But is there any other group who's not so on board with the all-sound-is-music concept than classical orchestra musicians? Perhaps not. Which is a bummer.

Though I doubt a Cageian centennial revolution is the justification for the budget cuts to Southwest German Radio orchestras that have spawned several protests at the Donaueschinger Musiktage new music festival.

Like this amazing protest which New Yorker music guy Alex Ross posted on his blog. Oh, and on YouTube, he is the poster, not just the linker.

A violinist playing a continuous tritone as political protest.

Ich war ein Orchester [therestisnoise]

I really shouldn't do this, but there are just too many for me to hoover up by myself.

eBay seller Lexibell currently has a big stash of vintage press photos from the Denver Post that includes hundreds of pictures from and about the Denver Art Museum.

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Among the highlights, this March 1970 shot of the Museum's highly anticipated, Gio Ponti--designed art fortress. Post staff photographer Duane Howell's photo ran with a story that in fact, the museum folks were so excited they couldn't wait until the building's scheduled completion in 1971, so they were holding their gala there in April.

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Stunning Judd aluminum boxes on the roof of Ponti's completed building in 1971. You're only seeing this now because I bought it, obviously.

Here's Ed Sielsky's 1969 photo of Don Bell looking through a chromium & glass "cube" by "designer" Larry Bell:

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Several shots of Carol Walmsley ["Carol Walmsley likes her job."]

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and her Colorado Artrek big rig, a museum-in-a-semi that she drove around the state, bringing exhibitions and educational programs to citizens beyond Denver.

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Which is perhaps inspired by the NEA's 1971 project, Art Fleet, which was supposed to take masterpieces around to the people in trucks and inflatable dome pavilions. But which never happened.

Meanwhile, back in Denver, there are other party pics, including lots of shots of festive hats from the 1951 Mad Hatters Ball. This one looks postively Calder tin can Christmas Tree-esque:

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And to close it out, here's a Jan. 1987 shot by Brian Brainerd captioned, "Celebrities ponder art at the Denver Art Museum." And yes, that is then-museum director Richard Teitz with/near Ted McGinley with Shawn Weatherly, at a pivotal moment in their careers between Revenge of the Nerds and Married With Children and Police Academy 3 and Baywatch, respectively:

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And there are currently 700 more like this.

October 15, 2012

Homeless Hotspot

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From the Washington Post report, "Charity president unhappy about Paul Ryan soup kitchen 'photo op'":

He added: "The photo-op they did wasn't even accurate. He did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall."

Ryan had stopped by the soup kitchen for about 15 minutes on his way to the airport after his Saturday morning town hall in Youngstown. By the time he arrived, the food had already been served, the patrons had left, and the hall had been cleaned.

Upon entering the soup kitchen, Ryan, his wife and three young children greeted and thanked several volunteers, then donned white aprons and offered to clean some dishes. Photographers snapped photos and TV cameras shot footage of Ryan and his family washing pots and pans that did not appear to be dirty.

Verily he hath his reward.


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Wendy Lesser's essay on the installation of Gerhard Richter's Baader Meinhof series amidst the historical paintings at Berlin's Alte Nationalgalerie is long, but very worthwhile.

She writes about how, along with MoMA's 15 October 18 paintings, the exhibition included Blanket [above, right], a related painting that Richter squeegeed over and renamed sometime after finishing the series in the summer of 1988:

That is the end of October 18, 1977. But in this exhibit in the Schinkelsaal, there is a final sixteenth painting, a vertical canvas the size and shape of Cell or Hanged [above, left]. It is called Blanket, and it consists largely of white paint covering a darker (but still monochrome) undersurface. The white has been thickly pulled over the entire canvas--presumably from right to left, since the upper and lower corners on the lefthand side have escaped full coverage and still remain black. There are black patches and streaks amid the rest of the white too, but we have no way of knowing what is underneath; or rather, we would have no way of knowing, except that the wall caption tells us this was once a painting of Gudrun Ensslin hanging in her cell, a near twin of Hanged. What has merely been blurred in the other paintings has here been obliterated, as if even the oblique and indefinite sight of things proved too much.
As if. Because like blurring, squeegeeing ends up being a strategy for Richter to signal this kind of judgment without actually making it. We can know, or at least presume, what is under Blanket precisely because of its blurred doppelganger.

It's worth noting, though, that even though Blanket has been exhibited extensively over the years, including in Rob Storr's "40 Years of Painting" retrospective in 2003, this appears to be the first time it has actually been placed directly in the context of the 18. Oktober 1977 paintings.

Richter's Masterpiece [threepennyreview]
Previously, and very much related: Overpainted Gerhard Richter Painting

The "The Girls Of Berlusconi" collection makes it rather NSFW, but The Spectacle of The Tragedy, Dutch designer Noortje van Eekelen's "visual database of the European Show and its Leading Actors is pretty amazing.

Don't you worry none about that link above, though, because it overlays this epic Pantone Matching System-style spectrum of Angela Merkel blazers over everything, no problem.

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It's almost enough to make me want to make a 100-piece monochrome painting set, with the color for each piece derived from each of van Eekelen's appropriated news photos. Or maybe it's enough to eliminate doubling, and just do each discernible color.

Or maybe it's a screenprint portfolio, a politicized, EU-trainwreck-inspired riff on the inspiring Kayrock Color System, which I nabbed from the NY Artist Book Fair a couple of weeks ago. A beautiful work.

The Spectacle of The Tragedy [thespectacleofthetragedy.eu via guardian, thanks peteykins]
Noortje Van Eekelen portfolio site [noortjevaneekelen.nl]
Kayrock Screenprinting [kayrockscreenprinting]

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Giacomo Balla, Futurist Flowers, Hirshhorn Museum, image via artobserver

They've been on view at the Hirshhorn for most of the year, but it's only in the last couple of visits that I've started wondering just what is up with Giacomo Balla's Futurist Flowers?

I mean, I like them well enough; they're even kind of great. Marinetti and Boccioni occupy a lot of the Futurist mindshare, because of iconic painting and sculpture respectively, but Balla's no slouch. If anything, his stage sets and fashion and furniture--and these and his other sculptures--make him the populist Futurist. The trendy one. And of course, he is the one who named is daughters Elica [Propeller] and Luce [Light].

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"Il Giardini Futurista," installation view, at Galerie Nordenhake in Berlin, 2003

So it's not necessarily the concept behind Fiore Futurista, or the bigger project, Il Gardino Futurista, which seems to have occupied Balla's attention for most of a decade following WWI, sort of a second wave Futurism. Which even gets its own manifesto

It's literally these objects, these flowers, which were made, not in 1918, but in 1968, ten years after Balla's own death. It was Balla's daughters who authorized dealer Gaspero del Corso and his Galleria dell'Obelisco to produce painted wood editions of their father's various Fiore Futurista designs. These were based on actual, existing sculptures, paper models left in Balla's studio after his death, and possibly photodocumentation of lost flowers There were at least two sizes: human-scale and tabletop size, in editions of 40.

Curator Anne Ellegood told the Smithsonian Magazine that Joseph Hirshhorn--who, remember that inner hallway, had a real thing for tabletop sculpture--bought a complete set of smaller Fiori in 1969.

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And I suppose you could, too. Futurist Flowers turn up for sale occasionally, though maybe not as frequently as their numbers might suggest. A big one, Fiore Grande D sort of shaped like a truffula tree, in pretty rough condition, didn't sell at Doyle last year, even with just an $800-1200 estimate.

Which, if they're not really valuable, and they're not rare, then what was the point? Were Balla's daughters operating under similar motivations as Degas' heirs, who set about casting posthumous bronze editions of all the wax maquettes left in the studio?

My own theory is bolstered by this timeline item in the Galleria dell'Obelisco archive: "1968: Rediscovering Giacomo Balla and Futurism."

It's easy to forget that our art history hasn't been static, and that there might have been a time when Futurism needed rediscovering. And it can be hard on estates when an artist swings back into critical fashion, but there's no merch to support or engage the new attention. Just ask the Smithson people.

So maybe Balla's Fiori were a way of not just presenting these key ideas and objects anew, but in propagating them, in getting them out there, to be shown, and seen.

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None of which explains Dino Gavina, though; these chrome Fiore, created as early as 1969 in editions of 400, seem like good, old-fashioned capitalism at work.

Ian Volner's spec-heavy article in Architecture Magazine gives a nice hook to finally post about Lo-Tek's shipping container project, the Whitney Studio.

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image: Ian Allen, no relation, via archmag

As pioneers in the medium, Ada and Giuseppe know how awful shipping containers can be as built spaces, and they are very skilled at countering the geometric claustrophobia. The diagonal slices of the window and mezzanine are somehow unexpected and obvious, and they really work nicely shoehorned all into and against Breuer's building.

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Which is kind of a bummer, because, where's it going to go when the Whitney decamps for the meatpacking district? As an object, it has its own validity, but it really does get a lot from its crazy site, and that tension will be lost when it is plopped down on some trustee's rolling lawn.

And don't look at me to buy it: the Whitney Studio's just one more in a series of post-museum modular houses I am not collecting. Besides, I think stacking the bedroom containers on top of the Whitney Studio would ruin its cube-y goodness.

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Please tell me I haven't had this sitting on my computer desktop for six-plus months.

Though I can't tell whether he was actually in or just petitioned to be in the USMC's camouflage division during WWII, Alexander Calder's autobiography tells about how in 1942, he was asked by a nurse friend to make small objects and toys for convalescing soldiers in a Staten Island military hospital.

One of those objects: this awesome little, 5-inch Christmas tree made from a tin can.

It sold at Sotheby's last March for $31,250. [sothebys]

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I really don't know what to say, except that Jean-Luc Parant's got a lot of balls to bury Alexander Calder's custom-painted 1968 Citroen DS ID Break like that.

Which, well.

This is Parant's schtick, and this work, titled « Animobiles et Autonimaux », un hommage à Calder, was installed in front of the Hotel Dassault, home to the auction house Artcurial, in the Summer of 2005. The occasion was a big Calder sale and the 50th anniversary of the DS.

None of which do I care about in the least. Because, hey ho, there's Alexander freakin' Calder's freakin' Citroen DS station wagon, people. What else matters, nothing, is my point.

This is not the car one associates with Calder, who very famously painted an early BMW Art Car. For me, Artist Cars are much more interesting.

Grey was, for Calder, a color for utilitarian objects, so as to not interfere with the art objects. I don't know if that's true. Or, frankly, if this really is Calder's car. The plaque does come from Indre-et-Loire, where Calder's Saché studio is located. But so far I have received no response from the Calder Foundation to my inquiries about the car. So we are free to speculate.

This and several other installation photos from the seductive DS color variant site: Gris Calder (1968) [nuancierds.fr]
Thanks to Artcurial for details of Jean-Luc Parant's installation.

Previously/related: Richard Serra's Suburban
Olafur's gnarly rigs

October 6, 2012

Sforzian Trophy

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Rep. Paul Broun, a physician, with an MD, and a BS in Chemistry, who is a Republican member of the House Science Committee, was speaking at the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman's Banquet in September when he called out evolution and the Big Bang as "lies straight from the pit of Hell," and revealed there was a global atheist/science conspiracy to cover up the true age of the--I'm sorry, did you say something? Because I can't stop staring at the most amazing Sforzian backdrop in the entire 9,000-year history of planet Earth.

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA): Evolution, Big Bang 'Lies Straight From The Pit Of Hell' [tpm]

October 3, 2012

Crusoe Umbrella X Satellite

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On the eve of the first presidential debate, I gank this photo, taken in March 1988:

The Claes Oldenburg sculpture, Crusoe Umbrella, on Nollen Plaza in Des Moines, Iowa, is surrounded by satellite dishes and equipment trucks beaming live video from the Iowa caucuses earlier this year. The demand for satellite video technology has gone far beyond television. (MUST CREDIT: Los Angeles Times Photo by Larry Davis)
You can buy this photo, in fact, for like $28. [ebay]

OK, wow, so this is a music video by Michelangelo Antonioni, one of the first/few things he shot on video. It's a song called "Fotoromanza" from "Puzzle," the first hit album by the Italian pop singer Gianna Nannini. As you can tell just by looking at it, it's from 1984:

Here is Antonioni discussing the music video with Aldo Tassone, in a 1985 interview that first ran in the French cinema magazine Positif, but which is published in English in The Antonioni Project's 1995 compilation, The Architecture of Vision: Writings and Interviews on Cinema

You have shot a feature film and a few shorts on video: how did you find that experience?

It was a very interesting experience, even if at the time, in 1980, the techniques of transferring videotape to film weren't highly developed. The copy--on tape--of The Mistery of Oberwald is very beautiful. I don't understand why the French television didn't distribute it more widely. In America, the commercial I shot for the Renault 9 [!? -ed.] was judged the best commercial of the year. It cost eight hundred million lire to make. For the video I shot for the rock singer Gianna Nannini (the song is called "Fotoromanza"), I only had forty million lire to work with--and in fact I don't much like the end result. To make intelligent videos you need seri­ous money.

I think video is the future of cinema. To shoot on video has so many advantages. To begin with, you have total control over color. The impor­tant thing is to work with a good group of technicians. Video reproduces what you put in front of the camera with almost total fidelity. The range of effects you can achieve is not even comparable to cinema. In the lab, you always have to compromise. On video, in contrast, you have complete control--you always know where you are because you can play it back at any stage, and if you don't like it you can redo it.

The Internet tells me this is Antonioni's spot for the Renault 9. Which looks to me like at least 600 million of those lire went to Jacques Tati:

Which, apologies to the professore, is only the second best driverless Renault commercial I've seen.

Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone drop mic and leave the stage.

[via @filmstudiesff and @Coburn73]

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Illustration from Ed Meneeley's Tender Buttons, 1964

You may know Edward Meneeley from such art historical blog posts as, "The guy who published the subscription art slide library and newsletter which Rauschenberg refused to allow to reproduce Short Circuit in 1962 because of the agreement Rauschenberg and Johns had come to after their messy breakup," and "The guy who told me how Johns really transformed an erased de Kooning drawing into Erased De Kooning Drawing," and "The guy who was hooking up with at least Bob at the time, yow, small world."

But he also turns out to be one of the first artists to use the then-new technology of photocopying to make prints. Starting in 1964, when a friend took him to IBM's offices, where he saw a copy machine for the first time.

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Edward Meneeley, IBM Drawings

Meneeley made three print portfolios using a photocopier: Tender Buttons (1965) [top] was a suite of illustrations for Gertrude Stein's work of the same name. IBM Drawings (1966) was an exploration of the medium and its context, abstract, collaged images composed from computer tapes and other office ephemera that Meneeley found at hand. There was also a hairy, photocopied butt, presumably the artist's.

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And then in 1968, the year Seth Siegelaub instigated his highly influential, photocopied-book-as-exhibition project, The Xerox Book, Meneeley made Portraits: People and Objects, which included a reassembled photo collage portrait of his friend Jasper Johns. But where Siegelaub and his crew were skewing to the conceptual aspects of copying, Meneeley was very attuned to the technical subtleties of photostatic reproduction, which he interpreted as a unique printmaking medium, an updated form of lithography.

Great stuff.

Edward Meneeley and the advent of the electrostatic artist's print [rectoversoblog, which has many more images, not just the 2nd & 3rd images above]

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
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

about this archive

Posts from October 2012, in reverse chronological order

Older: September 2012

Newer November 2012

recent projects, &c.


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Social Medium:
artists writing, 2000-2015
Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
ed. by Jennifer Liese
buy, $28

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Madoff Provenance Project in
'Tell Me What I Mean' at
To__Bridges__, The Bronx
11 Sept - Oct 23 2016
show | beginnings

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Chop Shop
at SPRING/BREAK Art Show
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

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eBay Test Listings
Armory – ABMB 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

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

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TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -
about

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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

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"Exhibition Space" @ apexart, NYC
Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
about, brochure | installation shots


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


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

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

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