September 2013 Archives


So Knoedler Gallery's Ann Freedman didn't only traffick in forged Motherwells and Pollocks; she moved a couple of fake Barnett Newman paintings, too. But, I guess, because the owners of them didn't sue, we haven't seen images of those works. Which doesn't mean they're not out there. Or that they haven't been seen. In fact, at least one Newman painting was included in a high-profile gallery exhibition in New York, and at the Guggenheim in Bilbao, making it one of the most prominent paintings in the whole Knoedler forgery scandal.

The details come from the complaint filed by Freedman earlier this month as part of a defamation lawsuit against dealer Marco Grassi, which Art Market Monitor has posted. Freedman sued Grassi for giving a fairly nonspecific quote about how she hadn't done her due diligence before selling dozens of previously unknown AbEx masterpieces brought to Knoedler by Glafira Rosales. I'm struck by how incidental Grassi's actual comments are, especially compared to the extensive details which Freedman lays out in her complaint. It's almost like she is suing someone just so she can inject her version of the facts into the public discourse on the case, attempting to bolster her own claim that she's a victim of Rosales' deceptions, not a collaborator or enabler.


And so Freedman goes artist by artist, describing all her gallery's research efforts, and piling up the comments and credentials of the art world experts she says saw--and praised, i.e., authenticated--the Rosales paintings. She mentions two Newmans. For Untitled (1949, a 59x34-in Newman canvas, the list included Ann Temkin, who curated the Philadelphia Museum's Newman retrospective; Richard Shiff, who co-authored the artist's catalogue raisonne; directors and curators from the Albright-Knox, who she said tried to acquire the painting; and the National Gallery's Harry Cooper:

These experts and scholars likewise believed in the authenticity of this painting. For example, when Cooper viewed it, he stated that it was "beautiful" and "bore a relationship to the feeling in Stations of the Cross," a well-known Newman work.
"Believed in the authenticity of this painting." Imagine Freedman, the president of the oldest art gallery in the country, hosting a group of museum officials one evening in 2007, and then asking them what they thought of the Barnett Newman piece she'd just hung. If they asked where it had come from, she'd have said, what? From a private Swiss collection? Who would be the one to cast doubt on the authenticity of the painting in that context?


Another expert was even more deeply involved with the 1949 "Newman," though; art historian David Anfam included it in his 2008 show, "Abstract Expressionism: A World Elsewhere," that inaugurated Haunch of Venison's New York space after Christie's purchase of the gallery. The exhibition, stuffed with works borrowed from both museums and other dealers, was technically a non-selling show, though as Roberta Smith's scolding review noted, Haunch of Venison's statements on the matter were coy, dissembling, or both. Smith counted a dozen, but based on the number of gallery-organized loans, I figure at least 30 of the 62 works in the show could have been for sale. And sure enough, in Freedman's lawsuit, she says that Anfam had "eagerly marketed [the Newman he borrowed] to potential purchasers."

[MAY 2014 UPDATE: The NY Times' Patricia Cohen cites unspecified court documents to describe how fear of litigation kept skeptical scholars from speaking out publicly, but it didn't shut them up entirely:

And in June 2008, months after Dedalus started asking questions, three Barnett Newman experts -- John O'Neill, Carol Mancusi-Ungaro and Yves-Alain Bois -- concurred that what was said to be a Newman, from Knoedler, hanging at the Beyeler Foundation in Switzerland was a fake. But as Mr. Bois wrote in an email to the Beyeler, he and his colleagues were "told not to make a public announcement" by a lawyer for the Barnett Newman Foundation, who feared a lawsuit.
June 2008 would be Art Basel season. I can't see what exhibition at the Beyeler might have included a Newman, though.]

Smith's review mentioned "an unfamiliar Newman" as a worthwhile element of the Haunch of Venison show, but there was none visible in installation shots online. [And of course, Christie's deleted HoV's website after the gallery was folded into the auction house's private sales division.] So I headed to the Strand to pick up a remaindered copy of Anfam's catalogue for the show.

In his essay for a New York School show in New York, blocks from dozens of well-known masterpieces on constant view, Anfam said he sought works that provided "freshness and variety." So "a hitherto almost [sic] unknown Newman from his annus mirabilis of 1949" must have fit right in.

Whatever my original interest in seeing what a successful fake ur-Newman looked like, it couldn't compare to the odd sense of skeptical anticipation I had flipping through the catalogue. There were four Newman's in Anfam's show, and as I saw each one, I wondered if it was the fake.

It didn't matter that I had the title and dimensions of the forgery; suspicion still tainted that first look. The expectation of uncovering a forgery had me questioning every work, searching for anomalies. That zip didn't look right. The brushy, translucent fields are obviously off. That's just a poorly proportioned copy of a classic. And in each case, of course, the work turned out to be an authentic Newman with immediately unassailable provenance. The Newmans Newman had painted had been set at odds with my mental image of what a Newman "should" be.


It reminded me of Mel Bochner's contribution to the "Artists & Photographs" box published by Multples, Inc. in 1970, titled Misunderstandings ( A theory of photography). Bochner had been collecting quotes about photography on note cards, which no art magazine had wanted to publish. When Marian Goodman asked him for a piece, he mixed six of the quotes with three he made up on his own. As he told triplecanopy & rhizome in 2010:

To this day, I have never revealed which are which. Under the principle "One rotten apple spoils the barrel," the intention of this act of forgery was to undermine any possibility of belief in the text. The "groundlessness" of the quotations became the equivalent of what I viewed as the groundlessness of photography itself, focusing attention on the artificiality of any framing device. I saw this as an attack on one of the main tenets of minimalism, Frank Stella's claim that "what you see is what you see."
What you see is what you see. The Knoedler forgeries blow that up both coming and going.

I've tried to preserve, or at least approximate my sense of doubt here, by not captioning the images from the HoV catalogue. I'm sure you can figure it out, though, even without doing math or looking at img file names. It's one of those "Now that you mention it" moments. The others are, of course, unassailably authentic, with provenances and documentation and history that only emphasizes the Knoedler painting's complete lack of the same.

And meanwhile, the other Knoedler/Rosales Newman, Untitled (1950), is still a mystery. Like the 1949 forgery, it was selected for a 2007-8 show organized by the Guggenheim and Terra Foundations titled, "Art in the USA: 300 Years of Innovation," but it ended up staying home. [Though the show also traveled to Moscow, Shanghai, and Beijing, Freedman's complaint only says that Untitled (1949) went to the Guggenheim Bilbao.] Anyway, I hope (1950)'ll turn up, too.

Meanwhile, I'd like to make an open offer to the current owner(s) of the Knoedler/Rosales Newmans, to buy them for a fair price. Assuming they can be authenticated, of course.

September 27, 2013

Let's Crash

John Boehner pointing to the GOP target on the South Tower of Obamacare printouts, after a strategy meeting of House Republicans, I guess. image: AP/Rilley via TPM

Anxieties were rising on Capitol Hill with deep divisions (both within the GOP and between the two parties) just days before many federal services were set to close their doors. But in their private meeting, House Republicans agreed to unite on the goal that binds them together: wanting to unravel and defeat Obamacare.

"The whole room: 'Let's vote!'" Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) told reporters, according to MSNBC. "I said, like 9/11, 'let's roll!'" (The congressman was referring to the last words of a passenger aboard a flight that was hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001 and crashed in Pennsylvania.)

House GOPer Compares Delay Obamacare Bill To Fighting 9/11 Hijackers [tpm]
Related: Judging from the Boehner's flickr stream, the Speaker could use a Souza. [flickr]

I guess this is what the wider shot looked like:


September 26, 2013

On Dennis Johnson's November

On and off for the last several months, I've been soaking in an extraordinary piece of music, and trying to get up to speed on the series of minorly monumental circumstances that are bringing it out of obscurity.

In 1959 Dennis Johnson, a college friend of LaMonte Young, composed November, a six-hour piano piece that basically gave birth to the minimalist music movement as we know it. Young, never shy about his own importance, credits November as the source and inspiration for his own ur-minimalist composition, The Well Tuned Piano. It was all there in November first.

But except for a rough 2-hour recording from 1962, Johnson's work had faded from consciousness, discussion, performance, and history. And Johnson himself had disappeared from the music landscape. Until musicologist Kyle Gann began investigating it, and reconstructing the score. Then R. Andrew Lee recorded it. And it got released last spring on a 4CD box set.

I found November through musician Ben.Harper's blog, Boring Like A Drill. The unfolding of November's story across several years of posts is convoluted, but really wonderful. Here's a bit of his description of attending a live performance of November by Lee, timed to the CD release:

Over five hours, the music works a strange effect on the listener. The intervening decades of minimalist and ambient music have made us familiar with the concepts of long durations, tonal stasis, consistent dynamics, repetitions, but November uses these techniques in an unusual way. The sense of continuity is very strong, but there is no fixed pulse and few strict repetitions. The slowness, spareness and use of silence, with an organic sense of rhythm, make it seem very similar in many respects to Morton Feldman's late music. The harmonic language, however, is very different. Johnson's piece uses clear, familiar tonality to play with our expectations of the music's ultimate direction, whereas Feldman's chromatic ambiguity seeks to negate any feeling of movement in harmony or time.

The semi-improvised nature of November adds another element to a performance. It was interesting to watch Lee relax as he moved from the fully-notated transcription of the piece's first 100 minutes, into the more open notation that made up the next three hours of playing. He seemed to go into a serene state of focused timelessness, perfectly matching the music he was playing.

November reminds me of a CD by Gabriel Orozco titled "Clinton is Innocent," on which the artist improvised some random one-handed note clusters that were meant to evoke memories of the piano music of his childhood home. I used some of Orozco's music in my first short film, Souvenir (November 2001), but for these months now, the coincidence of Johnson's title has had me rethinking that score.

Late November [boring like a drill]
Gann talking about November on WNYC's Spinning on Air last August []
Buy R. Andrew Lee's recording of Dennis Johnson's November from Irritable Hedgehog []

UPDATE AN HOUR LATER: D'oh, there I go again, I just listened to the WNYC show again.

September 23, 2013

Lead & Glass

The High Priestess/Zweistromland, 1985-89, collection: astrum fearnley museet, best photo ever is actually here at

I fell hard for Anselm Kiefer's impossible but seductive lead books back in the day. I was in college and just making my way from religiously/symbolically loaded Italian Renaissance to contemporary art, when I found the lush catalogue for Kiefer's The High Priestess on a visit to Rizzoli in NYC. [NY was then still in the wake of a big Kiefer retrospective, which I'd missed.] It was like the guidebook to the historically saturated, emotionally fraught world Wim Wenders had just captured in his 1987 angels documentary, Wings of Desire.

The High Priestess, 1989, photos by the artist, image of a signed copy available from bythebooklc in Phoenix

After a few years, I cooled a bit on Kiefer, got a bit more context, began to recognize and be [a bit] skeptical of my own susceptibility to the allure of superlative materialism. So the show at Marian Goodman in 1993, which consisted of the contents of the vanished artist's abandoned studio in Germany--a teetering stack of once-valuable, ruined, dirt-encrusted paintings, and a long table strewn with semen-splattered ledger books--didn't hit me as hard as it did some folks.

20 Jahre Einsamkeit/20 Years of Loneliness, 1971-1991, image via schjeldahl/artnet

[Re-reading it now for the first time in 20+ years, I realize that Jack Flam's 1992 NYRB essay on Kiefer's work and the euphoric literature it spawned was the source of my unconscious reboot. I basically internalized Flam's argument in its entirety; I must have been a hit at parties, parroting that thing.]

Anyway, the point is, I guess, is I have a long and conflicted relationship with artist books, especially the most physically luxurious and sublime ones. I know this. I live this. I make books myself with as little aestheticizing consciousness as possible because of this.


And yet, here I am, swooning like an undergrad at the amazing video of Olafur Eliasson's A View Becomes A Window, an edition of nine handblown glass-and-leather books produced for Ivorypress, which is on view in Madrid through this week:

Seeing the colored glass samples stacked up around his studio for the last several years, AVBAW seems like the most normal, logical extension of Olafur's recent work. Which is just the cool, analytical inevitability it needed to get past my sublime defenses.

The idea that 10 years from now--10 months from now--people will keep talking about an artist from Switzerland who landed in the middle of Forest Houses and for 77 days brought a different image of reality, that's the real monument. It may not trigger a vocation, but it might trigger new ways of seeing reality and thinking that might not have been imaginable before. And maybe it'll give us all, residents and non-residents of Forest Houses, the confidence that we can have an idea, have a project of our own, have a mission in life.
From Paul Schmelzer's great q&a with Dia's Philippe Vergne about Thomas Hirschhorn's Gramsci Monument.

Vergne has interesting things to say about Dia, too, and how a seemingly temporary project like Gramsci fits into its core tradition of commissioning and exhibiting ambitious artist projects.

The Momentary Monument | Philippe Vergne on Thomas Hirschhorn's Ode to Gramsci []

September 20, 2013

WTF Fieldstone, Chevy Chase


This fieldstone house-metastasized-into-a-horrible-building in Chevy Chase, MD always bums me the hell right out whenever I pass by.


I think it's just a random office building, not even an Elks Lodge or anything. Anyone know who or what happened here? Is there a sad story, or does this count for a preservationist victory in these parts?

4533 Stanford St, I believe [google maps]

September 17, 2013

Gerhard Richter's Septembers

tl;dr version: Gerhard Richter made a small painting, September, based on a photo of the WTC getting hit by a plane, and gave it to MoMA, which has never shown it. Then he made a print version, which he sold here and there, and which has been seen in NYC once. The image is the same, but the experience of them is quite different, which is something no one really mentions or talks about. It's almost like the propagation of the image is more important than the actual objects, or than the particulars of seeing them in person. Which, in addition to being the kind of distancing tactic Richter's very fond of, is also a non-trivial observation that can be made about the WTC attacks themselves.


I had not wanted to write about the WTC attacks [or "September 11th"] on September 11th, and though it was the day I actually started thinking about this post, I didn't want to write about Gerhard Richter's September on September 11th, either. And I'm glad I've waited; my reflex was to be a bit cynical, and that has largely dissipated. So.

Richter was in the air on September 11th, traveling to New York and grounded/diverted to Nova Scotia. His eventual artistic engagement with the attacks was a small painting, September [CR: 891-5], above, which he made in 2005. Joe Hage, the collector who is also the instigator behind the artist's ambitious website, acquired a half interest in the painting in order, the story goes, to prevent Richter from deciding to destroy it.

The aura of ambivalence surrounding the painting's existence is of a piece with the painting itself, which is based on a FAZ photo of the hijacked UA175 hitting the South Tower. [A newspaper image the artist didn't see at the time, because he was stuck in Canada. Which means he hunted it down at some point.] Richter knifed and scraped the canvas, deploying abstraction to obscure or even erase the representational image.

As far as I can tell, the small painting, just 52x72cm, dimensions Rob Storr compared to a TV screen, but which I'd say is more computer monitor-size, has never been shown in New York.

It wasn't in Richter's solo show at Marian Goodman in 2005-6, even though squeegee paintings listed before and after it in the artist's roughly chronological CR were. MoMA acquired a dozen of them, a series of abstracts, CR 892-1 through 12, titled Wald/Forest.

When Goodman showed Richter's paintings again in 2009-10, September the painting was not among them. That's when the artist and Hage donated it to The Modern, and when Storr made a video about it. His take on the painting and its context were expanded into a book-length essay published in 2011.


But wait, wasn't it--no. That 2009 show did include a September. But it was a print. As the gallery checklist describes it, a "print between glass". September 2009 turns out to be an enlarged [66x90cm] inkjet on vinyl mounted between two sheets of glass, and published in an edition of 40.

September, 2009, CR 139, digital print between two panes of glass, image:

The gallery's own reproduction of the print leaves out the glass mount; and smooth, sealed surface; and the reflection it inevitably creates. Even though these have to be considered as central elements of this work, as different as can be from the scarred, textured surface of the painting it reproduces.

Here's an installation shot from We Heart New York that shows the gallery and other work reflected in the print's mirror-like surface:


And here's a shot of it installed last year at a retrospective of Richter's editions at Collectors Room, Berlin. It's big and glass and framed, and looks and feels completely different than a painting. Because it's a blown up, face-mounted photo of a painting.


Yet even here, in a show about editions, curator Hubertus Butin mostly talks about September as a painting. And so did Storr. And I confess, I'd seen the Goodman show, and read Storr's book, and seen his interview, but it wasn't until I saw this shot that it even registered with me that there was an edition. And that's what I'd seen, not the painting I thought I'd seen.

When I realized this last week, on September 11th, I felt a rush of cynicism, reading Richter's production of an edition as a sell-out. Just as he donated his Important Historical Image to the Modern, he'd quietly sold 40 copies of it to lesser [sic] museums and collectors. Dallas got one. But then I saw one in Beirut, and it occurred to me that an edition circulates the image in ways that transcend the painting itself. It puts September in more, wider, and more varied contexts than MoMA's loan policy could ever accommodate. [UPDATE: John from BR&S adds that a print was in this 2011 exhibition at Montserrat College of Art. Indeed, it's on the catalogue cover. Storr also spoke.]


In that video tour, Butin talked about Betty, calling Richter's painted portrait of his daughter the "most famous and probably the most successful picture that he has ever created." Successful, Butin continued, because "No other subject of his has been as frequently reproduced in books, catalogues, postcards and posters." The Betty in his show is, of course, an edition, not the original. It's a print of a photo of the painting [of a photo.] And as an image, at least one metric of its success, is its rate of reproduction.

September the print has exactly the same relationship to September the painting. And even more than a painting, a glassy digital print ends up capturing September's electronic screen essence that Storr originally identified. Which makes me wonder how, why, New York, of all places--of all places--has only seen the print, and not the painting. Not the visceral, physical experience of the original, but the distanced, reflective, mediated simulation. Or maybe it's all incidental to September achieving historic, Betty-scale "success".

September, CR| 891-5, 2005 []
September, CR 139, 2009]
September: A History Painting by Gerhard Richter, by Robert Storr [amazon]

September 13, 2013

The Enterprise School


In an extensive profile of the NSA Director, Foreign Policy reports that when Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander was head of Army Intelligence, he built out his "Information Dominance Center" to look like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise:

It had been designed by a Hollywood set designer...complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a 'whoosh' sound when they slid open and closed. Lawmakers and other important officials took turns sitting in a leather 'captain's chair' in the center of the room and watched as Alexander, a lover of science-fiction movies, showed off his data tools on the big screen.

"Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard," says a retired officer in charge of VIP visits.

Indeed. And here, I believe, it is.


The Information Dominance Center at Fort Belvoir, VA is featured in the portfolio of DBI Architects, a leading DC commercial architecture firm. The firm has done buildouts for absolutely everyone, but in the 1980s, they created a "Stealth Design" practice, focusing on computer rooms and "technology-oriented spaces, including network operation centers, switch sites, data centers, advanced concept laboratories, and video teleconferencing centers."


With several top-level command centers under their belt, DBI turns out to be one of the go-to architects for the post-9/11 Intelligence Industrial Complex. Their regional clients include Geo-Eye, the satellite imaging company which powers Google Maps; Lockheed Martin, for whom they build a 50,000-sf control center; various Army intelligence divisions; and even the White House itself. DBI remodeled the WH Situation Room in 2007. They also built the grand, cinematic nerve center of the Department of Homeland Security's National Counter-Terrorism Center, which was in an undisclosed suburban office park location until George Bush used it as a press corps backdrop in 2006.


The DBI look is part NASA, part Dr. Strangelove, to NORAD to War Games and on and on, back and forth. The big screened control center is part of the security theatrical tradition now. And in an era of Federation-inspired flip phones and iPads, where the fictional CIA of 24 enabled and rationalized torture at the actual CIA's hands, we probably shouldn't be surprised that politicians--of all people--are susceptible to intelligence industry set pieces that look and feel just like a movie.

Previously: But He'll-- He'll See The Big Board!

September 13, 2013

Hell Yes, Francois Hollande!

image: reuters via @noonz

My gosh, have I been wrong in trying to ignore French president Francois Hollande all this time?

Watch the video how the robot's handler, from Aldebaran Robotiques, turns its head toward the cameras. Presumably so it doesn't look like it's nursing. []

The robot told Hollande it's name was Nao, and that it is seven years old. I would have guessed at least eight:

Algorithm Exercise with QRIO by daisu

September 13, 2013

A Vested Interest

Josh Marshall solicited "What's Your 9/11" thoughts from the readers of Talking Points Memo. I've avoided reading them, and most such other efforts this week. But the title he gave to reader DE's submission really encapsulated my own ambivalence about what the Memorial Industrial Complex has metastasized into, and why I'm reluctant to turn myself over to it:

So my personal unease with 9/11 memorials is the feeling that there are a lot of people in this country with a vested interest in the country not moving on, even though the two main perpetrators of the attack are either dead or in US custody and the organization they led has been soundly defeated. They want our leaders to keep delivering the Gettysburg Address every year, to keep us on that war footing, so that they can misdirect our resources and some Americans' lives in the service of foreign and domestic policy goals that have nothing to do with what happened on 9/11.
This manipulation of memorialization by keeping the wounds open was quickly apparent to some, of course. For all the good that did.

"A Vested Interest in the Country Not Moving On." [tpm]

September 12, 2013

It's Not You; It's Me.


There's something kind of fantastic about Christie's selling this example of Koons's Parkett edition, Inflatable Balloon Flower, in the same season as Peter Brant's Balloon Dog.

With a radically tiny estimate [est. £500 - £700] and the giant, freaking caveat: "Please note that the present lot does not fully inflate."

In fact, there are only two lots in the sale with droopier estimates than the Koons. [The top estimate in the 95-lot sale, a private collection of all the Parkett editions from the journal's first 50 issues, is £150,000 - £250,000, for a Gerhard Richter squeegee painting, one of 120 unique works created in 1993 for Parkett 35.]

Which makes the Koons all the more attractive. Hasn't turgidity science progressed sufficiently since 1997 to fix this problem? Couldn't the skillful mouth of a trained fluffer help this aging Koons regain its youthful firmness and vigor? Maybe just a temporary fix for when you need it: the evening when the museum committee comes over for a collection visit, for example. And if your Koons inflation lasts more than four hours, then call your conservator.

And if all else fails, surely there are a million and one metaphorical uses for a deflating Koons balloon sculpture. There have to be a dozen newly minted MFAs who have been looking to fill that Koons-sized hole in their market-critiquing installations.

Sept. 26, 2013, Lot 50C: Jeff Koons Inflatable Balloon Flower - Yellow (Parkett 50/51) est, £500 - £700 []
Previously, related: Ghetto Erased de Kooning Drawing

In this set-up for After Art, his slim tome of theory on networked images, Yale's David Joselit argues that art's status as a luxury commodity is not a bug, but a feature, and the art world should get with the program:

Indeed, all over the world, from Bilbao to Abu Dhabi to Beijing, new contemporary museums are being established in order to consolidate local elites, and broadcast a global image of cultural progressiveness. Commenting on the Qatar Museum Authority's staggering budget of some $1 billion per year for art acquisitions, the New York Times recently declared, "it seems clear that, just as Qatar has used its oil riches to boost its influence in the Middle East with ventures like arming Syrian rebels, its wealth is also being deployed to help the country become a force in the world of culture." It is rather breathtaking -- and enormously revealing -- that arming Syrian rebels and building a sophisticated cultural infrastructure can be so seamlessly joined in the same sentence.

Paradoxically, artists, critics and historians too often disavow the art world's capacity as an economic engine and its political power as a marker of national development. The reasons for this are obvious: if one admits the real economic and cultural power of the art world, one must also give up on the enduring myth that works of art remain apart from that world, existing in a realm of detached criticality or extra-economic authenticity. In actuality, the art world has grown enormously in the post-World War II period and in its combination of knowledge production, public presentation, and patronage of powerful elites, it has begun to resemble institutions of higher learning on the one hand, and the entertainment industry on the other. It seems to me that art's worldly power, which tends to be veiled (or literally obscene), can be harnessed better and to more progressive ends by artists.

I guess I'll have to read the book, but a term like "art world" can obfuscate a whole lot of power-related detail, of who's doing the wielding and to what end. But I suspect neither art's power nor the enduring myth are quite as real IRL as they are in Joselit's thought experiment. And I don't know about revealing, but that whole Syrian thing just gets more breathtakingly timely by the week, doesn't it?

UPDATE: Joselit's piece ends by holding up Ai Weiwei as an example of an artist who wields this kind of art world/real world power. Which, interestingly, Jason Farago mentions Ai, too, in his BBC article on the timid Metropolitan Opera getting dragged into the controversy over Russia's shameful discrimination of LGBT people. Farago compares the Met's inaction to the institutional outcries and support given to Ai Weiwei during his imprisonment. [via @karenarchey]

Which might render Joselit's notion of art world power all the more quaint, and his call for action all the more damningly empty. His book came out in 2012, but the oppression and discrimination against lesbians and gays in Russia is surely the first test of Joselit's paradigm: a fundamental "progressive end" toward which the "art world"--not just artists and institutions, but presumably, the administrators, executives, trustees, collectors, dealers, fair organizers, magazines, philanthropists, and critics--should be harnessing "art's worldly power."

How's that going? Sure, there's tepid talk of boycotting the Moscow Biennial. But has anyone checked in with the Russian oligarchs and collectors [and the Ukranian one(s), for that matter, since Ukraine has already enacted similar discriminatory measures] who collect, show and sponsor? Who chair galas and sit on museum boards and invest in art-related Internet startups? It would make for an exciting Frieze VIP preview. But I'm not waiting up.

The Politics of Information | David Joselit []

It's almost four years now since I read this paper by Sturtevant--the first extended thing I'd actually read by her, not about her--when Tate Papers came online, and it's been rocking my world ever since. She'd prepared it in October 2007 for a symposium titled, Inherent Vice: The Replica and its Implications in Modern Sculpture Workshop.

Her crisp, verse-like text talks about replicas, copies, repeats, remakes, and re-dos, and where our "cyber" age has brought them. Here's a favorite part:

This trap, our obsession
of what lies on the surface,
is prevalent everywhere.
It is not a question of getting
rid of these potent elements as
not knowing it could be there.
Its blatant absence is in high gear
in most of our current art whose
push and shove is production
as meaning and consumption
as use.
Or burden by heavy subjectivity
hiding behind anonymity,
displaying our vast barren interior
by retreating to regressive teeny-bopper imagery.
The interior of art, the understructure,
is being concisely and brutally eliminated.
Ironically [because the next section of the talk is a criticism of listening instead of seeing], I've recently begun running art papers through my laptop's text-to-speech, turning them into artist talks, which I listen to while I work. For whatever reason, Sturtevant's text yields one of the robot's best [re-]performances.

So I just recorded a reading by Alex, the most naturalistic of OSX's default voices, which you can play here. It's about 7min. [mp3]

Or re-do it yourself with your favorite voice: Inherent Vice or Vice Versa | Sturtevant, from Tate Papers Issue 8 []

2013-09-05 18.42.31.jpg
Denis Charlet/AFP

Congratulations, François Hollande, you have made the dumbest on-camera face of any international leader since 2005, when George Bush tried to exit a Beijing press conference through a locked door.


Decision to withdraw unflattering photo of François Hollande is criticised [guardian]
Previously, 2005: Mandate of Heavens to Murgatroid

image of CK 0.9, the plywood mockup, c.2009, via sara hart archpaper

Where to start?

Mr. Haverland and Mr. Klein began meeting two to three times a week and bonded over a love of architects like Mies van der Rohe, Richard Neutra and Joe D'Urso.


Danish modern chairs by Poul Kjaerholm are in one of the sitting rooms downstairs. Other vintage pieces by Jean Prouvé and Le Corbusier have arrived.


After that, a life-size mock-up of the two-story house was built of plywood on the property. That project was so substantial that it required a building permit from the Village of Southampton and wound up costing approximately $350,000, according to two sources close to Mr. Klein. So that Mr. Klein could get an even better idea of what it was to be like, the furniture he had in mind was created out of foamcore.


"I think it's going to change the way we think about houses in the Hamptons," said Sam Shahid, an old friend of Mr. Klein's who has worked on many of his most famous ad campaigns. "Like when Charles Gwathmey built his house, and it changed everybody's idea of what the future was. I can't wait to see it."

First, Mies, Neutra and d'Urso?

And also, Kjaerholm, Prouvé, and Corbusier? Just no. No, no, and WTFLOL no.

if Calvin really wanted to change the way we think about houses in the Hamptons, he'd have stopped with the plywood mockup. Can you imagine how awesome that would've been? He could build a new one every spring. A new architect every year. He could spend a million dollars a year for life, on career-making commissions and still come out ahead. It would have been marvelous.

Instead we end up with just another $75 million OCD dream house.

The House That Calvin Built [nyt]
Image: Sara Hart/Archpaper

September 2, 2013

Pixels & Atomists

ホッフェンハイム戦の前半、先発出場しパスを出すシュツットガルトの酒井高=シュツットガルト(共同) originally via

This sweet image from Glitch News [via jwz] makes me want to inkjet print it life-size the way

Gabriel Orozco, Blindside Run, from the Atomists series, 1996

Gabriel Orozco printed the Atomists in 1996. He exhibited them at Empty Club, an installation organized by Artangel in a decommissioned gentleman's club in London, in 1997. []

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

Posts from September 2013, in reverse chronological order

Older: August 2013

Newer October 2013

recent projects, &c.

Our Guernica Cycle, 2017 –
about/kickstarter | exhibit, 2017

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

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

Chop Shop
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

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

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

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