October 2017 Archives

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This installment of Better Read is the text of the found net artwork, Embroidery Trouble Shooting Page, which was repeated as untitled (etsg) in 2015.

When I first found the page, I marveled at its beautiful folly, and dreamed of printing it as a book. Then of using it as an abstract painting composition generator. Then I accepted responsibility to publish and preserve it after its original code changed. And since then, I've explored the possibilities and process for printing it as a single, giant page. I expect it would fill a wall. If you have any thoughts or tips for capturing a rendered webpage as a single image, I hope you'll get in touch.

Download better_read_017_etsg_20171018.mp3 from greg.org [mp3, 5:35, 2.7mb, via greg.org]
Previously: Untitled (Embroidery Trouble Shooting Guide)
untitled (etsg), 2015 [etsg.greg.org]

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"Tommy Hilfiger Judas Priest Jacket"

What's the opposite of a collection? The "Tommy Hilfiger Collection" is being auctioned this week, and it is as pure and empty and hollow and pointless as the man himself and everything he's ever done. In a way, maybe that achieves a certain level of genius, or whatever its opposite is. A thousand crappy livesful of junk goes up for sale every week, I'm sure, but there's something useful to understanding the concept of a brand to see how slapping the name Tommy Hilfiger on a thing somehow makes it worth less.

To save Martin Wong's amazing accumulation of tchotchkes and mementos from his mother's house, and keep it from being dumped on eBay, Danh Vo transformed the entire collection into a single artwork of his own, which was acquired by the Guggenheim. Vo cast a light on the failings of our cultural memory, and our institutions, even as he successfully navigated his and Wong's works through the gantlet of conceptual and procedural obstacles. This added depth, resonance, and interpretation to objects, a collection, which might otherwise be seen as insignificant.

This Tommy Hilfiger Collection is the diametric opposite: these objects were acquired and accumulated in the deluded, aspirational pursuit of luxury, fame and glory as ends in themselves, and they suck. They should be scattered to the wind, abandoned and forgotten. It's not that they don't have any meaning; they literally mean nothing. Nothing is their meaning. Even paying attention to them here, now, as I type, or as you read, causes only the regret of lost time, and foolish error to well up inside. But it's too late now, all we can do is try to move on.

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The Seal of the President of The United States is the official coat of arms of the U.S. Presidency, and is based on the Great Seal of the United States [below], which is used by the federal government to verify the authenticity of certain official documents. The basics of the current design go back to 1877. After a formal redesign was initiated by Franklin Roosevelt, it was taken up and finalized by Harry Truman in 1945.

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Counter-die for the Great Seal of the United States

In that redesign, based on a painting provided by US Naval Commodore Byron McCandless, the eagle was switched from facing to the left-in the forward direction when used on a mounted flag-to facing right, dexter, the standard direction in heraldry. A press release of October 25, 1945 says the eagle faces "right-the direction of honor-but also toward the olive branches of peace" it holds in its right talon.

The Seal design has been unchanged since 1960, when the 50th star was added to its border recognizing the inclusion of Hawai'i in the United States.

The Seal is used on the lectern for presidential press conferences. It appears on the side of Air Force One, Marine One, and presidential limousines. It is affixed to the balcony of the White House for state arrival ceremonies. The Secret Service is authorized to use the Seal of the President on merchandise it sells for charitable fundraising in its White House Online Gift Shop.

The law governing the use of the Presidential Seal is contained in Title 18 U.S. Code § 713. It is primarily concerned with using the Seal to falsely imply endorsement or support for commercial activities by the Government or the President, and with the wrongful exploitation of the Seal for commercial gain:

(a) Whoever knowingly displays any printed or other likeness of the great seal of the United States, or of the seals of the President or the Vice President of the United States, or the seal of the United States Senate, or the seal of the United States House of Representatives, or the seal of the United States Congress, or any facsimile thereof, in, or in connection with, any advertisement, poster, circular, book, pamphlet, or other publication, public meeting, play, motion picture, telecast, or other production, or on any building, monument, or stationery, for the purpose of conveying, or in a manner reasonably calculated to convey, a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States or by any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

(b) Whoever, except as authorized under regulations promulgated by the President and published in the Federal Register, knowingly manufactures, reproduces, sells, or purchases for resale, either separately or appended to any article manufactured or sold, any likeness of the seals of the President or Vice President, or any substantial part thereof, except for manufacture or sale of the article for the official use of the Government of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

In 1972 Richard Nixon promulgated regulations about authorized uses of the Presidential Seal by issuing Executive Order 11649. The Seal, it states, may be used by the President. It may be reproduced for "Use by way of photographic or electronic visual reproduction in pictures, moving pictures, or telecasts of bona fide news content." It is permitted "in libraries, museums, or educational facilities incident to descriptions or exhibits relating to seals, coats of arms, heraldry, or the Presidency."

In 1976 Gerald Ford amended EO 11649 by issuing EO 11916, further authorizing "Use in encyclopedias, dictionaries, books, journals, pamphlets, periodicals or magazines incident to a description or history of seals, coats of arms, heraldry, or the Presidency."

Section 2 of EO 11649 goes on to echo 18 U.S. Code § 713 (b) in constraining commercial exploitation of the Seal:

The manufacture, reproduction, sale, or purchase for resale, either separately or appended to any article manufactured or sold, of the Seals of the President or Vice President, or any likeness or substantial part thereof, except as provided in this Order or as otherwise provided by law, is prohibited.

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greg.org, Untitled (Presidential Seal), 2017, digital print on bond in acrylic message holder. Sheet: 14 x 8 in. Folded: 6 x 8 in., ed. 25 + 5 AP

An adaptation of this blog post incident to the description or history of seals, coats of arms, heraldry, or the Presidency is now published as a books, journals, pamphlets, periodicals or magazines, in a signed, stamped, limited edition of 25, with 5 artist proofs, three of which have been placed in or reserved for in libraries, museums, or educational facilities, with absolutely and unequivocally no impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States or by any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof.

Digitally printed in color on 14 x 8 inch white bond, it is folded by hand and stored in a decommissioned EZ-GO message holder in clear acrylic, so you can hang it on your fucking golf cart.

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Untitled (Presidential Seal) is $20, shipped.

[via PayPal]

ARTIST PROOF UPDATE: It works.

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No one sends me these, so I have to find them by chance, but I am still interested in the statement-as-question as a form. If the Q&A for panel discussion or public talk *you* experienced was waylaid by such a question, please send me a link.

Last night, while I was experimenting with polishing a painting, I listened to a particularly unsatisfying discussion from the Salon series at Art Basel 2013 titled, "How Is Art History Made?" Moderated by curator Monika Szewczyk, Seth Siegelaub and Adam Szymczyk talked about their Kunsthalle Basel project, which put a series of art world structure-related questions by Siegelaub, translated into six European languages, on posters around town during the fair.

Siegelaub began his remarks by admitting he didn't have any answers, he was just asking the questions, the main one being, basically, is Art History ultimately a history of the market? There was apparently an agreement not to name any artist names, so the discussion remained very general, which is not to say theoretical.

Ultimately, the only satisfying thing was that the panel's question-as-title about a question-as-project led directly to the frustrated audience member's statement-as-question. A woman off camera, unidentified, on the front row, with a Chinese accent, had apparently, and not unreasonably, assumed the officially organized event would answer the question of its title. It had not, and so she had just one simple question.

It begins at 37:00. My interest is to accurately document the experience of the text, so I have preserved grammatical usage. Linebreaks are intended to approximate pauses:

Previously:
Statement-As-Question from Fractures of the Civilization
'I'm Going To Fail,' or Protocols of Participation

October 3, 2017

RIP Vern Blosum

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Time Expired, 1962, MoMA, acquired, interestingly, in 1971.

The name is made up, but the art and the person are real, and so is their family. Tracking down and meeting Vern Blosum was a huge treat for me, and I'm saddened to learn the artist has passed away.

Several years after it acquired a Blosum painting, The Museum of Modern Art grew concerned that the artist did not exist, and that perhaps, as rumored, the painting was a prank. Leo Castelli, whose gallery had sold many Blosums to prominent collectors in the early days of Pop, but who never gave Blosum a show, provided the museum with an artist bio. The Modern went so far as to search local archives for birth announcements and certificates in Blosum's claimed home state of Colorado, around his claimed birth date in 1936. When they couldn't find any, they put the painting in storage, where it remained for nearly 50 years.

It's interesting that the brief announcement of Blosum's death put out by the artist's gallery contains this fictitious birth information. When I met the artist occasionally known as Blosum, I was assured that the MoMA bio was not untrue. So from the artist's view, there is apparently some significance in its details. I expect I will look into this delta, but now is not really the time.

Previously: 2010: Anyone tell me about Vern Blosum?
2011: Verne Blosum found, or rather, found by Verne Blossum

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Installation shot: Untitled (We Privatized All Of Versailles), 2017, embroidered carpet, est. 4m x 3m, ed. 15+3 or so AP, installed at l'Orangerie, Palais de Versailles, May 2017, image: vogue.com

Yesterday was a rough day to be a human being. Turning to art as a supposed respite from the outrages and insanities of the culture swirling around us proved only somewhat effective. Not in a position to handle the news of the day, I turned to the injustices and emotions wrought by Vogue.com's freshly published, half-baked writeup of a wedding four months past.

The couple, profligate European randoms, heirs to immense enough fortunes but seemingly bereft of wisdom or self-awareness, are made to sound like they think they invented the seven figure wedding. The illogics and contradictions of the narrative continued to bug me across the day: Kim & Kanye were not permitted to have their wedding in Versailles, and were forced to settle for a rehearsal dinner in l'Orangerie, but this former Lanvin intern is so well connected, she could pull it off? Except weddings are not permitted in public buildings in France, so they either had a stealth ceremony, in which case, are they legal? Or they got married in the mairie like everybody else, and had a little religious after-thing, followed by dinner, in one of the five event rental spaces at Versailles-l'Orangerie.

And the bride didn't have time to get shoes made, but she had time to fill the 156-meter long gallery with a rug, custom embroidered with an Erté-inspired design from the invitation. [Except she did get shoes made. And I have been staring at this rug, and is it really embroidered or just printed?]

On the bright side, karmically speaking, May 28th was brutally hot in Paris, 32 degrees, 12 degrees above average, so all 450 guests had to schlep from the entrance of Versailles, out across the garden, down the 100 Steps, and then double back, a 20 minute trip, in eveningwear, only to reach the historic greenhouse spaces that could not be air-conditioned because of "legalities." [The bride said the forecast had been for rain. Think about that for a second.]

But back to that rug. It is now my second textile work, with each repeat of the rug design comprising a separate example from the edition. Let's chop that thing up. Like those wheelie-marks-on-plywood paintings Aaron Young made at the Armory that one time, with the motorcycle gang. Or maybe the proper reference are the verre églomisé mural panels Jean-Théodore Dupas designed for the grand salon of the SS Normandie, an indeterminate number of which were salvaged and dispersed when the great French ocean liner burned and sank in New York harbor in 1942.

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History of Navigation reverse gilded glass panels from the SS Normandie, 1934, collection/image: the met

Anyway. 156m space, 450 guests, two tables, 110 meters long, 12 meter wide space, 3m wide rug, maybe 4m repeat? We may have lost a few sections when the wedding couple processed their horses down the aisle.

The happy couple gets one, of course, and the calligrapher, and the fashion show producer/wedding planner. Probably set aside one each for the parents, who, though presumably footing the bill, go entirely unmentioned. I'm going to err on the side of caution and say it's an edition of 15, with 3 or so APs.

I'd probably have a slightly easier time getting a hold of the rug if I held off posting this, but I'm fine to let it play out.

the wedding write-up and slideshow [vogue]
the calligrapher/graphic artist who did the invitation which was adapted for the carpet [stephaniefishwick.com]
previously: Untitled (I Can See Russia From My House), 2017

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 2017, in reverse chronological order

Older: September 2017

recent projects, &c.


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


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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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