A Statement-As-Question From Fractures Of The Civilization

It’s taking longer to gather these things together, but I just found another fascinating statement-as-question from the Q&A session of a panel discussion. This time, it’s “Fractures of the Civilization,” a discussion by composer/philosophers C.C. Hennix and Henry Flynt, along with John Berndt, held in June 2013 at the Goethe Institut in NYC. The talk was organized in conjunction with a realization of Hennix & Flynt’s ‘The Illuminatory Sound Environment” at ISSUE Project Room.
I’ve been a fan of Flynt’s music for quite a while, but in the last couple of years I’ve also tried to step up my engagement with his writings, his talks, his ideas. I must say, it’s exasperating; there’s real genius and groundbreaking thought, action and insight there, but Flynt’s a maddening interviewee, and even more frustrating on a panel. My operating theory is that he’s been not listened to for so long, he can’t but vent. And his views often have that determined, hermetic brittleness of someone who’s had to figure out the world and what’s wrong with it by himself. His far-ranging intellect and the rapid vigor with which he makes leaps and pronouncements makes it basically impossible for anyone to ask a follow-up question, or to challenge or probe something further.
My hope is that someone smart enough and well-versed enough will go deep with him on the art and music where his contributions are still only feebly understood. Anyway.
ISSUE Project Room’s video of the talk is here; the question comes at around 1:19:00:
There’s like this thing that I think about sometimes–
oh, thanks [gets mic]
There’s this thing that we–about the Cold War, Progress science in the 20th century, there’s this fight between the superpowers in order to get to some,
you know, higher place
to prove some sort of animalistic thought
When that fell apart with the end of Communism,
with this idea that,
you know, Capitalism,
Neo-liberalism’s gonna go all through the world
people don’t have this thing to fight against, as far as this race,
we’ve kind of–
the science that we have–
the futurism that we’ve come to
it’s very social and helpful,
but it’s not the futurism that we had in the 60s and 70s that idea of what we’d be like
now.
So there’s this need
or something
for these
you know people,
Futurist Transhumanists,
to fill in this blank area, that’s sort of this faith area that I think you’re talking about
where,
you know
they’re taking this place of–
basically we work more, as humans now
at some point they thought
robots were gonna
DO most of the work
And people were actually worried
what the lower classes are going to do with all their free time.
But apparently, we work more
than we did in the 60s and 70s,
at least in this country.
So there’s this, like,
WANT
for
something to happen with futurism,
this futurism that might be based on a science fiction or something, but
essentially these people are running away with it
and it captures people like a relgious-type
experience.
So I just wanted to say
what do you have to say about that?
Previously: ‘I’m going to fail,’ or Protocols of Participation

Maybe I Should Paint Them

One of the quotes that sticks with me from Richard Prince’s deposition in Cariou v. Prince:

Q. All right. Now, you say you picked up a book on them?
RP: In — literally, yes, I picked up a book.
Q. Okay. And that’s the Yes Rasta book —
RP: Yes.
Q. — that we’ve been talking about, that’s in front of you? okay. now, down a few lines you said, But I love the look, comma, and I love the dreads. What did you mean by that?
RP: What do you mean what do I mean by that? I just said it. I love the look and I love the dreads.
Q. What did you love about the look?
RP: I love the way they looked.
Q. How so?
RP: I don’t know how to answer that question, how so. I love the way they looked. I mean that’s usually I get — that’s how I respond to images.
I think maybe I liked the way that they were so different.
Q. Than what?
RP: Than myself. I don’t have dreads. I wish I could. I mean I think that was some of the thinking or some of the — perhaps it goes back to the girlfriends.The reason why I took the girlfriends is I wanted to be a girlfriend.
I think some of the attraction that I had to some of these people who looked like Rastas in St. Barth, hanging out at the bars, I said to myself, Gee, I wish I could look like that some day.
So if I can’t tweet like that maybe I should paint them. Maybe that’s a way to substitute that desire. I mean that’s the only way I can answer that love question.

Then he goes on to talk about his stepson turning him onto the reggae cover band Radiodread. It’s really awesome.

Colored

gordon-parks-untitled_shady-grove_alabama_1956_arg.jpg
Gordon Parks, Untitled, Shady Grove, Alabama, 1956, image via arthurrogergallery
Hilarie M. Sheets’ recent Artnews article on black artists and abstraction includes Howardena Pindell, whose intensive work making paintings by punching out tiny circles in the 1970s triggered this childhood memory:

On a car ride through Kentucky in the 1950s, she and her father, who lived in Philadelphia, stopped at a root-beer stand and were served mugs with red circles on the bottom.
“I asked my father, ‘What is this red circle?'” she recalls. “He said, ‘That’s because we’re black and we cannot use the same utensils as the whites.’ I realized that’s really the origin of my being driven to try to change the circle in my mind, trying to take the sting out of that.”

And I realize I’ve never heard of this. Even though it makes sense within the perverse, racist logic of the segregated South. That discrimination would be manifest not just in signs over drinking fountains and bathroom doors, but that it would be in products, too, woven right the fabric of the material world.
flw_noritake_teacup.jpg
I looked around for examples of such discriminatory dishware, and I haven’t found any yet. I wonder what they looked like. The only red dot image I can muster is of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel tea cups, which were supposedly designed to mask ladies’ lipstick marks on the rim. I’m going to assume this was not like that.
Were the dishes sold with red circles on them, or did each diner paint them themselves? Is there a folk taxonomy of segregated china and utensils, the racist equivalent of the coded language of hobos? Were they on the bottom, only visible to the waitress, on the side, where everyone could see, or legible only to those who knew? Are they hidden in plain sight in photos of the era?
Do people collect these artifacts, or is it too fraught? Is taking too great an interest suspect, like collecting Nazi dishes or mammy cookie jars? Are these things buried in attics like Japanese-American internment camp objects, too painful to unearth or discuss? Am I just looking without knowing the proper ebay keywords?
blue_pullman_blanket.jpg
While searching, I did come across this: a Pullman Porter’s Blanket, at the National Museum of American History.

The standard Pullman blanket in the 20th century was dyed a salmon color, which became almost a trademark of the company. When a blanket became worn or damaged in service, it was assigned to those blankets reserved for porters’ use.
This wool blanket in use between the 1930s and the 1950s, was used by African American railroad porters. According to Pullman service rules, a porter’s blanket was never to be given to a passenger. Ostensibly to avoid mixing these with the passengers’ blankets, the porters’ blankets were dyed blue. This was to comply with statutes in the South that dealt with the segregation of blacks and whites.

og_pullman_blanket_collwk.jpg
Here’s a salmon-colored Pullman blanket [via collectorsweekly]. I can’t see how you could dye this to make the blanket up top. Which means these were dyed at the factory. Am I wrong, textile people?
The Changing Complex Profile of Black Abstract Painters [artnews]
Related: “Segregation,” an exhibition of Gordon Parks’ photos of the 1950s South, is at Arthur Roger Gallery through Sept. 20 [arthurrogergallery]

The Artist And The Frame

arthur_dove_snow_thaw_phillips.jpg
Arthur Dove, Snow Thaw, 1930, phillipscollection.org
In this interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Franz Erhard Walther talks about becoming interested in the early 1960s in frames:

The original idea was to have a frame with nothing in it. It asked the spectator to project his or her idea, image, object, whatever. So, a projection field. Through the decades, it’s a main theme for me, working with a frame, and the idea of projection, filling the frame by imagination.

Which I find particularly interesting because I’ve been looking at just the opposite: artists who paint frames around their work.
stuart_davis_blue_cafe_phillips.jpg
Stuart Davis, Blue Cafe, 1928, phillipscollection.org
Folks like Seurat painted his frames and considered them as integral elements of his works, of course. But at the Phillips Collection a few weeks ago, I noticed that American modernist painters like Stuart Davis and Arthur Dove were painting frames, and painting borders around their paintings. It gives the paintings a sense of self-containment, completion, wholeness, but it also sets them apart. With aluminum strips on each side Dove gave one later collage a window effect. ANd Davis did some kind of frame treatment on nearly every painting in the Phillips. [And on prints, the border of the paper beyond the stone serves the same formal function.]
I imagine it was something early modernists had to take on themselves because they didn’t want some collector or dealer slapping a pie-crusty traditional frame on there. It was a control thing. But also a gesture of breaking with the norms of the established painting and art world of their day.
In either case, frames were still the place where the terms on which the artist’s work met the world were set.
Also, I just love this Dove painting, even more than the many great Doves in the Phillips collection.

Danh Vo On ‘We The People (Detail)’


Here is an interview [in Danish, subtitled] with Danh Vo, on the making and exhibition of We The People (Detail), his full-scale copy of the Statue of Liberty. Many of the 400+ pieces of We The People were rotated and stored at the Statens Museum for Kunst in Denmark in 2012-13.
I am enthralled with this work; it strikes me as one of the smartest, most elegant, and provocative sculpture projects in years, and yet it didn’t occur to me until Vo mentioned it that Gustave Eiffel, who designed a steel armature to support Bartholdi’s copper repousse skin, did not see the Statue of Liberty installed in the US.
centennial_exhib_liberty_torch_stereogram.jpg
But reading up on the Statue’s history, it turns out the entire statue was assembled in Eifell’s factory in France, and then disassembled for shipping. Also–and I did know this and should have remembered it–the statue began as parts, exhibited. Bartholdi made the statue’s arm and torch, which traveled to the US for the 1876 US Centennial, and which remained installed in Madison Square Park for several years afterward. And the head was exhibited at the Paris World’s Fair in 1878, all as part of a fundraising, promotional effort for the project.
SMK TV: Danh Vo – We the People [smk.dk youtube via @aservais1]

Anxiety, Difference, The Limitations Of Resemblance

untitled_guyton_uu.jpg
When this arrived last week, I immediately thought of something Sturtevant said in her short Frieze video last year, how due to cybernetics, “Simulacra was becoming minor in terms of its force.”

Also: “Repetition is not repeating. Repetition is like interior movement, It’s also difference, and it’s also pushing the limitations of resemblance.”
Because all those things feel very, very true right now.
Previously: Wade Guyton and Anxiety In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction

‘I’m Going To Fail’, or Protocols of Participation


I like to keep up with the discussions and presentations at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts. They recently posted video of a panel I’d been waiting for from late April titled, “Protocols of Participation: Recent Models of Socially Engaged Art in the United States and Europe,” where Creative Time’s Laura Raicovich, and Xavier Douroux and Thérèse Legierse from Nouveaux Commanditaires, who commission and mediate public artist projects in France. IFA’s own professors Thomas Crow and Alexander Nagel participated as well. [It was organized as part of ART², a whole month’s worth of events I missed across the city.]
It was an interesting comparison of the two systems designed to facilitate artists’ engagement in their politics, culture, and communities. So watch the whole thing.
I had it playing in the background while I worked, and during the audience questions, I was suddenly alerted to the change in cadence. I knew what was coming: the long, winding, potentially discourse-derailing statement disguised as a question.
It’s a cliche of the panel discussion/public lecture format, the kind of interaction that organizers sometimes like to head off by explicitly warning against, or even by soliciting written questions. It’s almost always an uncomfortable, flow-breaking moment, met with either indulgence or annoyance. No one’s come to hear some rando bounce his pet theory off the headliners.
It breaks form, yet it is the form. Such questions and their possibility are intrinsic to the very format of open, public discourse. So when the breach of protocol came for an event titled, of all things, “Protocols of Participation,” I resisted the urge to close tab or tune out. And I was transfixed by this unseen, unidentified woman’s speech, how she said it, and even what she said. It occurred to me that probably no one would ever take her comment seriously, or even know about it.
[I vividly remember my first audience question in New York City. It was to Brice Marden at MoMA’s Cy Twombly artist panel. Years later, when WPS1 posted the audio of the event, it omitted the audience Q&A segment entirely. Which can be interpreted on several levels.]
In every panel or discussion I attend, I, like everyone else, always fantasize about revolutionizing the format. Or at least fixing it. It never feels optimal. And yet it never, ever changes. So I’m going to start collecting these marginalized, random, dodged, cut-off, derailing statement/questions from audience members and see what comes of it. Do you have a favorite? Send a link, let’s add it to the collection!
As you can see from the complete transcript of the audience member [with a couple of interjections and a response by Prof. Nagel], maybe these things should be written down and studied after all. Because as a text, I think it’s rather fascinating. Expectations and context.
Watch/listen to the question, beginning around 1:27:10. I wanted to capture the sense of hearing it, so I left in the ums and repetitions. Line breaks are pauses.
I’m going to fail
um I missed a little bit, but I was misdirected to the wrong place, sorry
um

Continue reading “‘I’m Going To Fail’, or Protocols of Participation”

Richard Prince’s Spiritual America, 1983, Executed In 1987 Or So

richard_prince_spiritual_america_ed_10.jpg
Christie’s is selling a 20×24-inch print of Richard Prince’s Spiritual America in their extra-edgy sale, titled “If I Live I’ll See You Tuesday….” Though apparently it’s not so edgy they feel comfortable running the image of the work. Maybe the added attention to the image that comes from a 100x increase in the pre-sale estimate–since 1999, the last time they sold the same print, 10/10 is it right that this is the only one of the 12 prints to ever come up for auction?–makes even auctioneers uncomfortable.
But the price spike has not spurred any new interest in when Prince actually made the object being sold. In both the 2014 and 1999 catalogues, the print is listed as “Signed, numbered and dated ‘R Prince 1983 10/10’ (on the reverse)” and so “Executed in 1983. This work is number ten from an edition of ten plus two artist’s proofs.”
Except it’s not. Christie’s quotes Prince’s recent bird talk post where he recounts the creation of Spiritual America in unprecedented and fascinating detail. He’d scored a copy of a “pamphlet” Gary Gross self-published, which included an image of the sexualized photos of a 10-yo Brooke Shields, from Gross’s agency. He rephotographed it, developed it, selected the image to print, and ordered a single 8×10 proof, which is what he ended up showing as Spiritual America in 1983.
Christie’s’ doesn’t quote the part further down, where Prince writes,

eventually gave the 8×10″ of Spiritual America to Myer Viceman. Frame and all.
In 1987, after I joined up with Barbara Gladstone, I editioned it. Ten copies and two APs. I had my lab print it on ektacolor paper at 20 x 24″.

Which clarifies, or changes a bit what Prince said in his 2009 deposition in the Cariou v. Prince case. Cariou’s lawyer was asking about a “settlement,” with Gross over the rephotography of his image:

I mean Mr. Kennedy is talking about a 1992 discussion at the Whitney, and I believe at that time I bought the rights to the image for $2,000.
Q. From Gary Gross?
A. Yes.
Q. Because he threatened to sue you?
A. No. I was told by the Whitney that I–in order to exhibit that image I made a concession, or they advised me that it would probably be best that–and I believe I sort of reached out to him at the time.
Because up until then, that image that I rephotographed from that pamphlet that he had produced in 1983, I made one copy, an 8 by10, and I gave it away. And it wasn’t until 1992 that it came back into the limelight, and I think my attitude changed a bit and I was sort of willing to become more part of the process I suppose.
Q. And at that time you made ten copies plus an artist proof?
A At the time there was ten copies and i believe two artist proofs, none of which I own.

So until just now, I’d thought this meant he made the edition to release in time for his Whitney show, but I think he’s actually not saying that. He’s saying that the Whitney was requiring him to get a license from Gross before they exhibited Spiritual America. But the editioned prints already existed. So maybe the right date is Executed in 1987. Or maybe, you know, call someone to confirm it. RP’s tweet about the execution:


Now let’s talk about the Whitney’s insistence on getting clearances before showing appropriated work. How often does that happen?

36 Links From My Life With Ubu

I’m really stoked to contribute a top ten list to UbuWeb this month.
When Kenny Goldsmith invited me to submit a list, I first tried to come up with some new, revealing, conceptual strategy for generating it. I thought of the top ten most viewed items, and then the ten least viewed. But then I learned that Ubu doesn’t keep logs. I thought of the ten largest files, but then figured it’d just be the longest movies, and big whoop. I thought of a top ten list of top ten lists. And when I worried that I would just be mirroring some taste or trend, I thought of identifying the ten items most frequently included in other peoples’ lists. Several more ideas were patiently disabused out of me, and I began running through my chance operations options.
Then I realized I’d already begun making my list, starting back in 2002, when I linked to ubu.com from my blog for the first time. Ubu at that point was still quite mysterious, and much smaller–mostly ancient and arcane concrete poetry reprints I frankly hadn’t heard of. But I kept coming back. A huge collection of video and audio appeared, Kenneth Goldsmith came out from behind the curtain, seeming much older and august in my mind than he turned out to be–I imagined he was a survivor of this lost underground scene, not an explorer.
Anyway, I assembled my list from twelve years links here at greg.org, highlights from my life with UbuWeb. They’re roughly chronological which has become an indispensable collaborator, not just a source of discovery and inspiration.

Continue reading “36 Links From My Life With Ubu”

A Report From The Las Vegas Piece Junket

Last summer I wondered about finding and visiting Walter de Maria’s Las Vegas Piece, three miles of trench bulldozed into the Nevada desert in 1969. [Technically, I wrote about the Center For Land Use Interpretation’s account of leading curator Miwon Kwon’s graduate seminar on a hunt for Las Vegas Piece, and about how the artist prepped people for visiting the piece, and about just recreating the damn thing already, we have the technology! Did you know Sturtevant worked on plans to make a double of Double Negative? On the ravine on the Mormon Mesa right next to Michael Heizer’s fresh original? Holy smokes, people, read Bruce Hainley’s book. But that’s another post.]
Yes, the piece is supposedly lost, and now de Maria is, too. And so all we’re left with is his description of Las Vegas Piece from his 1972 oral history interview with Paul Cumming.
But no, there is another. The late curator Jan van der Marck wrote about visiting Las Vegas Piece in the catalogue for an exhibition of “instruction Drawings” from the Gilbert and Lila Silverman collection at the Bergen (NO) Kunstverein in 2001. van der Marck was a founding curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and was involved in organizing artists’ response to the police violence at the 1968 Democratic Convention. But that’s another post, too. Here’s van der Marck’s crazy story of what amounts to an Earth Art junket: [with paragraph breaks added for the internet]:

Earth art turned into a personal experience for me in February 1970 when Virginia Dwan invited me and a few German art writers and museum directors to join her and the artists Michael Heizer and alter De Maria on a quick inspection of some new works in the Nevada Desert. From the Las Vegas airport our small band traveled ninety-five miles in north-northeastern direction on unpaved roads, in the back of Heizer’s pickup truck.
That afternoon was going to be devoted to De Maria’s Las Vegas Piece, which he would describe to us only as “an extensive linear work on a flat valley floor.” An hour before sundown we arrived at our destination and were gripped by the stillness of the landscape. Before us stretched a freshly dug, eight-foot deep ditch in the sage brush-covered desert soil, in the distance loomed the purplish mesas.
We had to lower ourselves into the bulldozed trench, which wind and erosion already had given a natural look, and we were to start walking. Other trenches would branch of, the artist warned us, and choices had to be made, but it would not take us long before the layout could be deduced from the turns with which we were faced. The first man or woman able to draw a mental map was encouraged to shout and would be declared the winner. And, by the way, De Maria added, ‘don’t go the full three miles, because if you do, you are not much of a mathematician!” The configuration we were to discover for ourselves in the least amount of steps was a one-mile incision into the landscape meeting another one-mile incision at a right angles [sic]. At the midpoint of each one-mile stretch a set of half-mile ditches branched off, meeting each other at a right angle and forming a perfect square. Walter De Maria’s Las Vegas Piece, long reclaimed by the desert and inaccurately described in the literature, was seen by a hand-full [sic] of people.

Yes, let’s take things in order. First, the hilarious image of Michael Heizer blazing down a dirt road in BF Nevada with a truckload of German museum directors. This is a thing that happened.
Next, “declared the winner”? De Maria apparently positioned the experience of his piece as a game and a competition, a mathematical mystery that visitors were supposed to calculate with their bodies and draw in their heads. What is that about? And anyway, who is going to judge this competition? If a curator cracks an earth art mystery in the desert, and no one’s within a mile of them to hear it, do they make a sound?
There’s a big point I’ll get to, but let’s jump to the end, where van der Marck calls out [in the footnotes] Carol Hall’s 1983 paper “Environmental Artists: Sources & Directions” for an inaccurate description of Las Vegas Piece. Well, my diagram above would need correcting, too. According to van der Marck, the two mile-long lines in Las Vegas Piece met, and each was bisected by a half-mile trench, which met in turn to form the square. Which would look more like a right angle bracket, like this:
demaria_las_vegas_piece_revised.jpg
But the artist himself needs correcting, too. Because the diagram I drew was based on de Maria’s explanation to Cumming. And the biggest difference of all, of course, is that de Maria told Cumming the trench was “about a foot deep, two feet deep and about eight feet wide.” Yet van der Marck said it was eight feet deep and that they had to lower themselves into it. This is a non-trivial difference. If it was the former, then visitors would be in constant sight of the surrounding landscape and each other. If it’s the latter, they’re completely cut off. From everything. All they have is the view along the trench, and the darkening sky. It’s the difference between a meditative labyrinth path, and an actual FPS-style labyrinth.
Also, if De Maria’s piece was really eight feet deep, it would relate more directly to Heizer’s nearby Double Negative–and it would still almost certainly be visible, or at least findable.
And now the fact that as august a scholar as Miwon Kwon relied on as ambiguous a guide as CLUI tells me that no one actually knows what the deal is with Las Vegas Piece. Except, perhaps Virginia Dwan.
UPDATE: Indeed. Virginia Dwan donated her gallery’s archives to the Smithsonian, but they are currently closed for processing. According to Margaret Iversen’s 2007 book on post-Freudianism, Dwan told Charles Stuckey in an 1984 interview that De Maria forbade any photographs or documentation of Las Vegas Piece, partly to abjure the work’s commodification.
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Yet an unsourced, undated aerial photo reproduced on this French webpage seems to depict Las Vegas Piece. The scale is about right. And when I flipped it 180-degrees, the geographic features look like they match the area just to the right/east of the map marker above. But what are we actually seeing? Isn’t that top line a road? And there’s a diagonal line. Yet if they’re not Las Vegas Piece, who would take this picture here, and why? If it’s really credible, I’d guess that the photo was the source of CLUI’s coordinates, identified by the same method I just did: by eyeballing.
When Dwan accompanied Calvin Tomkins on a visit to Las Vegas Piece in 1976, they followed a map De Maria made, but never located the work itself. This despite Dwan’s having visited the site before. Lawrence Alloway made it, though, for his October 1976 Artforum article, “Site Inspection.” [Both accounts are only online as excerpts in Iriz Amizlev’s 1999 dissertation, “Land Art: Layers of Memory,” from the Universite de Montreal. (pdf). Amizlev also ID’s Carlos Huber of Kunsthalle Basel and John Weber in the back seat of Heizer’s pickup.]

Rem Casafresca

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The Venice Architecture Biennale, which opens in June, held a press conference today with curator Rem Koolhaas and Paolo Baratta. The event was streamed live online. As @kieranlong pointed out on Twitter:


Intrigued, I quickly tuned in to the event, already in progress. The average age of the large crowd of press/reporters looked to be well over 60yo, and their questions were often longer than Koolhaas’s answers, which were simultaneously translated by a rotating cast of female voices. It really was a mess.
The first words I heard set the tone:


So I decided to livetweet it.
With a couple of brief exceptions the text comes only from Koolhaas. I don’t type very fast, and I can’t figure out the keyboard shortcuts for accents, but otherwise I think this transcript captures the experience of watching quite well:

Continue reading “Rem Casafresca”

The VW Years: Virginia Dwan Edition

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.]
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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

Thank You So Artist Much: Another Comment Spam Text, Annotated

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.

Continue reading “Thank You So Artist Much: Another Comment Spam Text, Annotated”

Olga (2007/2009-)


Recently 20th Century Fox asked me to make a short film to promote the upcoming release of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It would be about following your dreams or something, I don’t remember the details too well; there had just been a hurricane in the Philippines that was really bumming me out. So I said sure, dug up a short film no one’s seen yet anyway, and pocketed the entire budget myself.
And so, Olga of 67th Street. I made this short film several years ago, but it’s never really been seen by anyone except the subject, Ms. Olga Bogach. I happened to meet Olga in 2007, and I rough cut the footage together in 2009. I just pulled it off the old hard drive where it had been stuck, and decided to put it online.
Olga was for many years a muse, model, and secretary to artists living in her building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I really don’t want to say too much about the video at this point. Partly because it might get reworked a bit, but also because I’m really kind of swamped with other stuff. But mainly because I think the piece is a little complicated, and it hangs together [assuming it does, of course] by the slightest of threads, and to presplain it all would ruin its chances. Olga’s story and especially her telling of it, is so refined, so precise, I still find myself fascinated with listening to her every detail. The Calendar Artist.
Anyway, I do want to thank Olga, and my father-in-law, who invited me on very short notice to accompany him on his visit.
Olga of 67th Street (21:37), 2009-

‘That’s The Real [Gramsci] Monument’

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 [walkerart.org]