February 2014 Archives

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I'm fascinated to see the Harvey Quaytman show at McKee Gallery; I've only ever seen a couple of his paintings in person, and the range here is great. The painting above, Kufikind, 1970, is one of the earliest in the show.

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There's also a group/series of square paintings from the 1980s and '90s that have on a cross format. On the screen they feel a bit like Peter Halleys, variations on a set geometry. But there are plenty of other types of work that seem to prevent any one type of painting from becoming a Halley-like Quaytman brand.

Harvey Quaytman at McKee Gallery, Feb 19 - Mar 22, 2014 [mckeegallery.com]

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Who Owns This Image?

We got this.

Suddenly the New Yorker headline got me thinking, and I clicked on their little jpg of Graduation, and it's 290 x 404 pixels--and its original title says it's a screenshot-- almost exactly the same dimensions as Untitled (300 x 404), and I'm like, DONE. Frankly I'm kind of embarrassed it took this long.

No need for Chinese Paint Mill; I'm ordering test prints tonight. It'll be interesting to see what that little jpg looks like at Graduation-size. Prince's Untitled (Cowboy, 2003) set the maximum for that print, just 30x40 inches. But Graduation is six feet tall, (72 3/4 by 52 1/2 inches, 1.85 x 1.33m). Could be a real mess, but that's fair use for the rest of us.

Who Owns This Image? [newyorker]
Previously, related:

May 2009
the instigation: West Trademark F@*#(up
the concept: 300x404, the making of

June 2009:
proofs: Richard Prints, Untitled (300 x 404)

June 2010
published: Untitled (300 x 404) @ 20 x 200

the review/thinkpiece: the great debate: the value of greg allen's untitled (300 x 404) [artfcity]

I said it publicly a couple of times now, and I was more cynical about them then than I am now, but when I first saw Richard Prince's Canal Zone paintings, I thought he was trying to see how bad he could paint. I half-joked that he wanted to see if his new dealer Larry Gagosian could really sell whatever shit he literally slapped together.

The higher concept way of putting that, of course, is that Prince was interested in process over product, in setting constraints and parameters on his practice, and in destabilizing himself by experimenting with techniques he knew he hadn't mastered.

I really came to appreciate the paintings, not so much for themselves--they're still undeniably shitty--but for their catalytic effect, the way the Cariou lawsuit compelled Prince to talk at length and under oath, about his work. His deposition is really pure art historical gold, and the way art is discussed in the legal context is disorienting and exciting to me, language-wise.

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Still, as the legal case drags on, I find the paintings themselves--more precisely, the images of the paintings themselves, since almost no one's seen the actual objects for years now--kind of tedious, beside the point. And my interest wasn't rekindled by Banal Zone, Jomar Statkun show of Chinese Paint Mill copies of Prince's paintings. Literally any idiot can order Chinese Paint Mill paintings. Ask me how I know! And anyway, those joints were Inkjets by NancyScans.

But I am glad that Statkun's show serves as the catalyst for Prince to birdtalk about making the Canal Zone paintings. Because CALLED IT:

But aren't I curious about the "Chinese" paintings my anonymous friends ask? No I'm not. From what I've seen they look worst than some of the paintings I've already painted. You have to understand that when I started out painting my Canal Zone paintings I had no intention of making good paintings. In fact most of them were never finished and the majority were an experiment with new painting techniques. (This is the first time I've gone on the record about this stuff). Anyway... there are a couple of Canal Zone paintings that WERE aggressive and satisfying in ways that hard to describe... they were done quickly and under the influence of certain music I was listening to at the time... and part of this "screen play" I was toying around with. They started out as storyboards for a "pitch" called Eden Rock. (You got to start somewhere). They started off innocently enough when I found this Rasta book on vacation and I simply starting to use some of the images in the book for collages. (Early on I pasted a guitar over the body of one of the Rasta's, kind of lined it up so that the Rasta looked as if he was "wailing" away... and there you go... off to the races). I can't say it more simply. Wild History.
Expecting Good Paintings out of Richard Prince is as crazy as expecting Good Photographs. It's just not how he rolls.

BIRDTALK 2/12/2014 [richardprince.com]
Garis & Hahn Presents Jomar Statkun's 'Banal Zone' [hyperallergic sponsor; direct to garisandhahn]

Oh-ho, here is an awesome entry for The VW Years, greg.org's ongoing mission to collect firsthand accounts of John Cage and Merce Cunningham's VW Bus. The idea comes from the title of a chapter in dancer Carolyn Brown's fascinating memoir, Chance and Circumstance: Twenty Years With Cage And Cunningham.

But this account's from art dealer Virginia Dwan, in Artforum's 500 Words, as told to Lauren O'Neill-Butler:

In New York, I became very interested in and involved with Minimalism and gave solo shows to Sol LeWitt and Carl Andre, and later Robert Smithson. When I moved the gallery to West Fifty-Seventh Street, I didn't have enough space for them to do very large works, so I kept the gallery in Los Angeles with my assistant John Weber still working there, and I sent the artists out there to put up their shows. A favorite memory was when Merce Cunningham, John Cage, David Tudor, and Robert Rauschenberg drove from New York in a Volkswagen bus for one of Robert's shows. They parked it in front of my house in Malibu and out of this bus came nine people. It was like a circus bus with endless people emerging. They had all driven from New York to Los Angeles and stopped along the way giving performances. I didn't know how they all fit, yet there they all were in the bus.
The Robert she's referring to has to be Rauschenberg, not Smithson. And it looks like Rauschenberg showed twice at Dwan's Los Angeles gallery, in 1962, and 1965. The first show corresponds to what Brown called "the golden years" of touring, which ended in June 1964, when Rauschenberg won the Venice Bienale during the company's tour of Japan, and it became a problem, and there was a messy split, so the idea of all these now-celebrities piling back into a VW bus and dance-busking their way to Bob's show seems, at the very least, improbable.

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So it was 1962, before Dwan's New York gallery, and in her first LA space. Rauschenberg's show ran March 4-31. The Dwan Archives at the Smithsonian give the title, "Drawings," but there's a little installation photo in Terry Schimmel's Combines catalogue [above] that clearly shows Combines. From left: First Landing Jump (1961); Blue Eagle (1961); Black Market (1961); Navigator (1962); and Pantomime (1961). [Schimmel's appendix note that Co-existence (1961), Rigger (1961) and Wooden Gallop (1962) were also in the show.]

Rauschenberg_Black_Market_1961.jpg
Robert Rauschenberg, Black Market, 1961, collection Ludwig Museum, Cologne

Black Market is an amazing and important work, and one that relates directly to another ongoing greg.org topic: Short Circuit and Jasper Johns' Flag. Black Market contains a valise on the floor with various items and diagrams from Rauschenberg which viewers would exchange for a personally valuable item of their own. There's a little Rauschenberg stamp pad, too, so everything you put in would be(come) a Rauschenberg. Think about that for a while.

It was first viewed in 1961 at the Stedelijk, and had its US debut at Dwan. There's a lot more going on with this work, but it's already too tangential for words right now. Suffice it to say, Jasper Johns was not on the bus.

Virginia Dwan | 500 Words, fortunately part 1 of 2 [artforum]

Previously:
The VW Years: Ch. 1 - 1957 - The Italian gameshow mushroom boondoggle
Ch. 2 1956-62 - Remy Charlip & Steve Paxton
Ch. 3 - John Cage
Carolyn Brown, Part I
Carolyn Brown, Part II, the real inspiration
The VW Appears: a snapshot from the John Cage Trust
The VW Years: Appendix: Living Theatre

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OK, this is pretty sweet. For the Oval Office photo spray with Francois Hollande and Pres. Obama, the French press corps shot a bunch of selfies instead, with the world leaders in the background. The one above is from @ThomasWieder, Elysée correspondent for Le Monde, [via BBC Paris correspondent Christian Fraser, @ForeignCorresp]. It looks like he's being handled by his handler, too.

@Thornburgh suggests it might be a protest against Hollande's recent granting of an exclusive interview to Time Europe correspondent Vivienne Walter. Time's editor at large Catherine Mayer had gloated about the get by tweeting out a selfie from the Elysée Palace a few days ago.

catherine_mayer_elysee_selfie.jpg

And as we know from White House correspondents, including the media in your shot is an act of aggression, or protest, no matter who's doing the including.

Previously: Pete Souza, White House Photographer
Hell Yes, Francois Hollande!
Aujourd'hui c'est la rentree

OK, I really can't do this every day, but this is the second time the text of a comment spam has caught my attention, and I have to chase down its sources. Maybe the algorithms are getting smarter:

Aaaand we're done Thank you so artist much for joining my studio and then re-photographed these as a homage to James Van Der Zee [ and I had that camera everywhere. The screenshot below shows the progress so far. In terms of gender, pleasure and sexual politics well before the founding of the women's art movement, he said.
I was first thinking the text sources were uncannily coherent in their arty grouping. But maybe it's just what you'd expect for a comment spam for a Florida makeup artist left on a blog post about C-Section cakes. Anyway, see the list after the jump.

Yesterday at MoMA, I took extra time this time in David Platzker's 4'33" exhibit so I could dig into the Fluxus material a bit more. George Maciunas' extraordinary chart of the entire history of art as seen through the other end of the Fluxus telescope was especially awesome. [The site for last year's Fluxus exhibit has a huge image of Maciunas' chart for close-up study.]

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Fluxhouse™ model via Brooklyn Model Works

Trying to find a copy for myself, I headed to the Stendhal Gallery, the post-Fluxus home of the Maciunas/Fluxus legacy, as managed by Henry Stendhal. And that's where I found out you can now buy a license for a Fluxhouse™.

The Fluxhouse™ [always with the ™] was George Maciunas' concept for affordable, adaptable, lightweight, prefabricated housing to change the world The 1,900sf single-family house is raised on concrete piers, with structural flooring and cabinetry around the perimeter, a central kitchen/bath core, and with adaptable, non-loadbearing panels defining the spaces around a glassed-in courtyard garden. Originally, it was supposed to be made out of a cheap, environmentally friendly material like plastic.

When Stendhal's George Maciunas Foundation showed a model of the Fluxhouse™ last year [above, built by Brooklyn Model Works], the story was a bit more complex. From The Architects' Newspaper [via Fluxus Fndn]:

The Prefab Building System first appeared in plans that Maciunas and a sometime colleague, the pugnacious philosopher/musician/all-purpose gadfly Henry Flynt, devised in 1965 for a housing system in the Soviet Union, hoping to improve on the heavy concrete residences that Soviet builders had favored since 1960. Maciunas designed, and may have helped draft, Flynt's pamphlet, which urged a return to the revolutionary aesthetics of the 1920s and an adoption of certain technologies that could democratize cultural power, including electric guitars, Buckminster Fuller domes, and Citroen 2CV cars. The Prefab System was part of this document. The Stendhal Gallery's public presentation nearly erases this origin (thought a press-kit essay by Julia Robinson does mention it), perhaps to jettison what today appears as off-putting ideological baggage. It's easy to accuse Flynt and Maciunas of naivete in attaching egalitarian hopes to the post Stallinist Soviet regime, but abstracting the design idea from any utopian context seems naïve in a different way.
Henry Flynt's involvement, whatever it may have been, doesn't come up in the Fluxhouse™ pitch.

But when the Foundation still writes that "George Maciunas is best known as the 'Father of Soho' for colonizing and gentrifying this neighborhood from a post-industrial dystopia into a mecca for the arts," it's safe to say that building a Fluxhouse™ still involves a certain utopian naivete.

Which may or may not be described in the FluxCty™ Assessment Report, the product of a five-year effort to finally take the Fluxhouse™ beyond the concept sketch stage, and to turn it into a commercially viable prefab building system. And now, the next logical step in a universal housing solution: selling up to five licenses to build your own Fluxhouse™ Limited Edition [pdf]. With a 2012 estimate of construction costs at $7.50/sf,, or $14,250, the limited edition license may end being the most expensive part.

there are a lot of Fluxhouse-related links in the sidebar here [georgemaciunas.com]
Previously, and definitely related: Modernism's embrace of systems, including George Nelson's strikingly similar modular house system from 1958
Jan Kaplicky was a fan of Fritz Haller's steel framing system
Kocher & Frey's Aluminaire House, which, obv
From sketch to Vuitton marketing scheme: realizing Perriand's beach house
Muji Houses

The first line of this comment spam caught my eye as I was deleting it from another blog this morning:

Let me be the first panfish back on the piers in the spring and fall, the feeding trout will be moving very high in the pool, I pull on the oars and they dive under. The loss of fishing rod gimbal her mom and her passion for the sport any other time of the year.
Preserve the LandMake sure you fishing rod gimbal know the different varieties of fish
that can be had from the general fish market in you area.
I know people have used spam for poetry and such. My first thought is to see where this text actually originated.

But Googling for highly specific phrases turns up nothing but itself; no source, just the copy. It makes me wonder if unique texts are part of a feedback loop, key performance indicators for spammer. Do the Google results for "Let me be the first panfish back on the piers" [first 81, now 147] tell spammers something useful about the success or persistence of a deployment? Does it help identify sites that remain open to comment spamming?

Just as I was creating that link, I actually searched for a shorter phrase, "first panfish back on the piers in the spring," which turned up "Carolina saltwater anglers getting in a last blast of sea mullet fishing," a 2011 article from the Charlotte Examiner:

If the water stays warm whiting will continue to hit longer, if it gets too cold they will shut off. But they will be the first panfish back on the piers in the spring.
So the spam text generator's standard unit is shorter than a sentence, but longer than a phrase.

Searching for another phrase, "moving very high in the pool," somehow only turns up six results, and two of them are for a different sentence altogether:

Regardless of your exact location andd specific charter you
select, you will be moving very high in the pool as not to spook the holding fish. Hopefully we can start oout close and not have to despair because they cannot keep their trophy.

Bruce was having a great time, even if you did call me a ruin!

I make fishing estes park standard dishes every week,
but I could see it was murkier below annd the water was heavy.
Pink salmon are easy to catch, handle, hold, and release catfish will reduce stress and fishing estes park increase survival.

Here is one from the Grey Friars Pub in Ontario, whose second and last blog post, "How To Get Perfect Grill Marks," has accumulated over 56,000 comments in 14 months. The "high in the pool" comment spam was posted on Oct. 21, 2013. The other instance, from just a couple of weeks ago, doesn't have the typos. Do algo-generated comment spams have copyeditors?

The full text of my comment spam first turned up a month earlier, Sept. 28, 2013, in Honig Biene's Gästebuch, which I can't usefully link to, so I took a screenshot:

honig_panfish.jpg

I don't know what any of this means, if anything. Greater literary minds than I are probably putting together comment spam conferences as I type. But like the first panfish back on the piers in spring, I am gorging on the textual sand fleas of the internet, and I have been lured and caught by the text bait that has been dangled in front of me.

2014_01_601Artspace_ParaReal_Richters.jpg
Vic Muniz After Gerhard Richter (from pictures of color) (2001) and Greg Allen Destroyed Richter Painting No.2 (2012, left) and Destroyed Richter Painting No.4 (2012)

I'm really stoked to have the Destroyed Richter Paintings project included in "Para-Real," an exhibition at 601Artspace, that has been extended until this weekend [closes Feb. 8, cf. Ken Johnson's review in the NYTimes].

Magda Sawon curated the show with works from the 601 collection and others, and she paired Vik Muniz's big paint chip Portrait of Betty with one of the Destroyed Richters. I've been a big fan of Muniz's work for years and was particularly taken by his Pictures of Color series when we first saw them in Venice in August 2001. We barely knew how great we had it back then.

But anyway, that's just one of many interesting pairings of works that examine notions of the real. If you haven't seen the show already, I hope you'll put it on your itinerary.

Maybe you should put it on your calendar tomorrow, in fact, say, 7pm, when our rescheduled conversation takes place with Robert Blake, Director of Special Projects at 601 Artspace, Jennifer & Kevin McCoy, John Powers and I. I've been looking forward to it for weeks. Months, even.

A round table conversation on Para-Real moderated by Robert Blake and led by Magdalena Sawon with Greg Allen, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy and John Powers
Wednesday, February 5, 2014, 7-8:30p [601artspace.org]

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 February 2014, in reverse chronological order

Older: January 2014

Newer March 2014

recent projects, &c.


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

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

chop_shop_at_springbreak
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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