Untitled (30.06 & 30.07), 2017

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Untitled (30.06 & 30.07), 2017, screen printed text on enamel on wood, est. 48 x 36 in., installation image via @soulellis
I’m psyched to announce the exhibition of new paintings at the Menil Collection in Houston. Untitled (30.06 & 30.07) (2017) are silk screened text on enamel on wood and on glass, and are installed at the entrances to the public buildings on the Menil’s campus.
untitled-3006-3007-2_soulellis.jpgUntitled (30.06 & 30.07), 2017, screen printed text on enamel on wood, est. 48 x 36 in., installation image via @soulellis
The works were documented for the first time this morning by Paul Soulellis who, not coincidentally, probably, was also one of the first people to document Untitled (Andiron Attributed To Paul Revere, Jr.) back in the day.
The parenthetical in the title, text, appearance, and dimensions of these paintings are derived from the Texas Penal Code sections 30.06 and 30.07, which went into effect January 1, 2016:

(i) includes the language described by Paragraph (A) in both English and Spanish;
(ii) appears in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height;  and
(iii) is displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public.

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Untitled (30.06 & 30.07), 2017, screen printed text on glass in aluminum frame, est. 86 x 76 in., installation view via google maps
In accordance with Sections 30.06 and 30.07 these works may also be realized in an alternate format, specifically “a card or other document” containing the same text. While these are not believed to be currently available at the Menil, interested viewers can watch this space for news of future editions.

Thank You

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It’s been a hard season to think of positive things, and sometimes looking back, it’s been difficult to see how or if things mattered at all. But I also look back at the year with immense gratitude, both for the opportunities I’ve had, but also for the people who helped make them possible. I’d probably still be doing a lot of what I’m doing here if no one else was paying attention; that’s how it often feels, actually. But I’ve come to know that sometimes people do take an interest in what I’m doing, whether writing, research, criticism, or artmaking, and they respond to it, react to it, challenge it, run with it, join in on it. And it makes it interesting, better, and more meaningful, and it is nice to feel that. But there are also things, some of my greatest, favorite things, that would not have existed at all without the interest, effort, and support of others.
So I’d like to give some specific thanks to some of the many people who engaged with and supported my work in 2016. Without them, these things I am so proud of would literally not have happened.
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Magda Sawon suggested we do a proposal for SPRING/BREAK. “Chop Shop” began as a glib sendup of Simchowitzian cash&carry speculecting. But in the last few weeks before the show, it grew exponentially in scale, which forced some real thinking about its meaning and ambition. With Ambre & Andrew’s flexibility, and the extraordinary efforts of Magda’s posse, Chop Shop somehow became what supposed to not be: a Basel-ian boothful of investment-grade masterpieces. [Some of which are still available, btw. Get in now at 2016, pre-boom prices.]
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Book deals come and go, but Jennifer Liese and her colleagues at Paper Monument offered what bloggers need most: a good editing. When PM first asked to include my 2+ years of posts about the history of Erased deKooning Drawing in their anthology Social Medium, I frankly thought they were nuts. But Jen’s vision and thoughtful editing helped me see my own writing and ideas anew, and she enabled them to reach people in an amazing, new context. I’ve never felt prouder of my writing than to have it included among the great work of so many artists who influence and inspire me already.
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Mark Leckey and John Garcia included my work in shows that were totally fascinating and different from anything I could have imagined, which let me think about it and the world it inhabits in a new way. Having my satelloon sculpture be subsumed into Leckey’s autobiographically inspired installation at MoMA PS1 turns out to be a rare privilege, to be able to help realize, almost literally, someone’s memory.
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And Garcia’s inclusion of the Madoff Provenance Project in his show about context’s impact on art at To___Bridges___ not only gave it a challenging context, it pushed me to figure out ways to make the project visible and understandable beyond its datalayer. This in turn helped me see how my work connects to, and was informed by, artists of earlier generations. [In this case, there’s an obvious shoutout due to Mel Bochner and his Working drawings and other visible things on paper not necessarily meant to be viewed as art, a project whose title has long resonated with my own ambivalence about calling myself an artist or what I do art.]
Sarah Douglas and Andrew Russeth at ArtNews invited me to write about one of my favorite, all-consuming blogtopics: the disappearance of the Johns flag in Short Circuit. And recently Eric Doeringer and I had a great public conversation about his work, and the early Johns/Rauschenberg era that I continue to find engrossing and misunderstood.
Collectors and supporters who engage in the oddball, time- and space-limited art projects I proposed around here literally made them happen. In the crazy-skewed art world of the moment, lowering the stakes and making and trading art for two figures feels refreshing. And most awesomely, these projects have been a catalyst for connecting with some inspiring people who share some interests, and who introduce me to their passions and practices, too. [I hope 2017 lasts long enough for me to do a book version of eBay Test Prints, btw.]
Most of all, I have to thank my wife, who is my smartest, most skeptical, yet most tireless supporter. She is so deeply disapproving of my #andiron-style art designation practice it is not even funny, but she also sees me wrestling with it myself and taking it seriously, so she does, too. And anyway, at the very least, when I’m dead and gone, and she doesn’t have to deal with a storing or tossing a studio or warehouseful of objects, she’ll come around. So thank you, and thank you all. I hope we all get through 2017 and beyond to do this again.

Untitled (Satelloon), 2007, In Mark Leckey: Containers and their Drivers at MoMAPS1

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via [instagram/365days_in_nyc]
I will have more to say about it because it is blowing my mind in unexpected ways, but it has already taken me too long to shout it out: Mark Leckey has included my piece, Untitled (Satelloon), in “Containers and their Drivers,” his survey at MoMA PS1.
The satelloon is incorporated into a new installation of Dream English Kid 1964-1999 AD (2015), an autobiographical piece Leckey assembles through what he calls “found memories.”
The satelloon is a refabrication of a Beacon satellite, the 12-foot Mylar inflatable that was shown publicly at the US Capitol and other sites in the run up for NASA’s Project Echo. Echo 1A, which launched in 1960, was 100 feet in diameter, and was the first visible manmade object in space. In Leckey’s installation, though, the satelloon serves as a reference, I believe, to Echo II, the 135-ft successor, which launched in 1964.
Satelloons have been big around here for nearly 10 years, and I’ve been engrossed by their aesthetic power, and what can only be called their exhibition and display. They are beautiful objects created to be seen, and they have many implications.
Part of this became the subject of “Exhibition Space,” a show I organized at apexart in 2013, which was the occasion for fabricating this particular object. At the time, I was reluctant for a whole host of reasons to declare the show, and the objects in it, to be artworks. But I’m chill with it now, thanks in no small part to Leckey’s own powerful and generous practice over the last several years of curation-as-art, as well as my own subsequent developments.
In any case, a huge thanks and congratulations to Mark Leckey, along with curators Stuart Comer and Peter Eleey, and the folks at PS1, who have been a pleasure to work with. I had no idea how Mark would end up incorporating the piece, but it looks utterly transfixing, and I cannot wait to see it in person.

Untitled (Erster Blick), 2016

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greg.org Untitled (Erster Blick), 2016, digital print and graphite on white bond, 38.6 x 27.3 cm (uncropped), ed. 100+20+10+6
I’m pleased to offer a limited edition, a sort of palate cleanser for Frieze London, an amuse bouche if you will, for FIAC.
Untitled (Erster Blick) is a digital inkjet print and graphite work on white bond. It is a slightly enlarged facsimile of a page from the press clippings archive of the Zentrum für Elektronische Korrelationen und Magnetismus at Universität Augsburg’s Institut für Physik.
It will be available until Thursday, October 27, when bidding opens at Christie’s Kensington for Gerhard Richter’s Erster Blick, a slightly enlarged illustration from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published on 26th July 2000. The First Open Prints & Multiples sale is scheduled to begin at 2:00PM London (1:00PM UTC), and Richter’s work is Lot 76, so perhaps a little after 3:00? But don’t dally. And don’t come looking for mine if you lose out on Richter’s, because it will be gone, and you will lose twice.
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Lot 76 | Gerhard Richter, Erster Blick, 2000, offset print, 18.2×15.1cm, ed. 100, plus 20, 10 TP, 6 TP, est. GBP 2000-3000. via Christie’s
Following Richter’s offset print, Untitled (Erster Blick) will be available in an edition of 100, plus 20 Roman numeral copies, plus 10 trial proofs, plus 6 other trial proofs, marked Probe. All will be numbered, signed, and stamped. It is the artist’s intention they remain uncropped, but who knows? It’s a wild world out there.
[UPDATE: Thanks to all, and to those getting more than one, that’s fine, awesome even, but please consider others in your voracious collecting frenzies. Also, the prints will be numbered/designated in the order listed above. So if fewer than 100 prints sell before the auction, there will be no proofs. So buy early, then buy late? I really have no idea how this thing will play out.
The price for Untitled (Erster Blick) is $US20, shipped. Or it was. The edition is closed and no longer available. Thanks to the collectors and connoisseurs who purchased prints, they will be produced and delivered promptly, stay tuned.
UPDATE: Oh wow, the Richter didn’t sell [either, ha].
Previously, related: Untitled (Tanya), 2014

Better Read #10 – Questlove: Trayvon Martin and I Ain’t Shit

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Has Questlove read this aloud himself? I don’t think so. I wish he would, because if I cry this much when the robot reads it…
Download: Better_Read_010_Questlove_Im_Still_Human_20160920.mp3 [11:27, 16.5mb mp3 via dropbox greg.org]
Read: Questlove: Trayvon Martin and I Ain’t Shit [nymag via @jamilahlemieux]
Questlove discussing racial profiling and his reaction to the Trayvon Martin verdict with Amy Goodman in Aug. 2013 [youtube]

The Madoff Provenance Project In ‘Tell Me What I Mean’, @ To___Bridges___ Thru 10/23

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installation view, “Tell Me What I Mean,” at To_____Bridges_____ 11 Sept – 23 Oct. 2016, image: John Garcia
I’m psyched to announce that The Madoff Provenance Project is included in a group show, “Tell Me What I Mean,” at To_____Bridges_____ in NYC, which opened Sept 11 and runs through October 23rd, 2016. The show, curated by artist John Garcia, considers the way context and metadata affect the way an artwork is experienced and understood.
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study for MPP-014-KEL, 2016, recto, 12×9 in., ink, pencil, and watercolor on Arches
John was thoughtful and intriguing in his invitation to include the Madoff project, which did not have any obvious physical manifestation. But meeting that challenge, and having the work seen among an interesting group of artists, made me say, “Hell, yeah” pretty quickly. Besides me, the show includes work by Sophie Calle, Sara Cwynar, Robert Heinecken, Rose Marcus, Alex Perweiler, Peter Piller, Michael Bell-Smith, and Colin Snap.
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study for MPP-020-MAT, 2016, recto, 12.875 x 9.25 in., ink, pencil, and marker on Arches
Unsurprising to most, no owner of an authenticated Madoff-provenance artwork has yet agreed to have their work stamped with the “ex collectio MADF” stamp I created. So for this show I made “studies,” 1:1 facsimiles of some Madoff works, properly stamped. In their stripped down nothingness, they definitely turned out more Stephen Prina’s The Complete Paintings of Manet than Vik Muniz’ Verso.
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“Tell Me What I Mean,” Installation view, The Madoff Provenance Project, 2014- , image: John Garcia
I also put together a few binders of court data and auction records, which serve as a comprehensive reference to all the artworks in the Madoff Provenance Project. I feel confident that if Mel Bochner could have had Zazzle custom print the binders for Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to be Viewed as Art, he totally would have.
To____Bridges_____ is a year-long project space in the Bronx run by The Still House Group. A second show of photographer Gary Perweiler’s 70s and 80s advertising images, recontextualized by his son (and TSHG member) Alex Perweiler, runs concurrently. The space is open by appointment.
To_____Bridges_____ [to-bridges.info]
Ex Collectio: The Bernard Madoff Provenance Project

Untitled (Gerda Taro Leipzig Monochromes), 2016

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Untitled (Gerda Taro Leipzig Monochromes), 2016, Gerda Taro photos, painted wood supports, tar. image: Anne König and Jan Wenzel
On the night of August 3rd, an outdoor installation of 18 photos by Gerda Taro in Leipzig, Germany, was vandalized, painted over with tar? Or aniline black dye? The photos were part of f/stop Leipzig, an annual photography festival, held in early July. Some of the public space components of the festival apparently continued beyond that date.
f/stop curators Anne König and Jan Wenzel included Taro, a pioneering war photographer, because of the confluence of her life, her work, and the city itself. She lived in Leipzig until 1933, when she fled as a Jewish refugee. She met up with another refugee, Robert Capa, in Paris, and they documented the Spanish Civil War together until Taro was killed in 1937. Leipzig is hosting many refugees from the Syrian war right now.
The curators note that effacing the images of refugees by a Jewish photographer with tar is inherently a political act, and they are calling on the city to discuss the implications. The Taro estate, in the form of the International Center for Photography, wants her images back on view in Leipzig.
I agree with all of that, but also wish to recognize the damning bluntness of the blacked out panels. Sometimes redactions and monochromes cannot be let off the hook. Declaring them an artwork of my own is no way of assuring anything, but It feels important that they will be preserved.
The 21 panels include three texts and at least five layouts from LIFE magazine. The bottom eleven were completely blacked out, while the tops of the five tallest appear to have been beyond the easy reach of the unknown redacter. In the event this work does get destroyed, I will try to identify the Taro images under the tar.
update: I’m still thinking this one through a bit.
Pioneering war photographer Gerda Taro’s images vandalised in Leipzig [theartnewspaper]
09. August 2016 Auch Gewalt gegen Fotografien ist Gewalt [f-stop-leipzig.de]

Sforzian Boardwalk

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Hillary Clinton speaking at the closed Trump Plaza in Atlantic City July 6, 2016, image: philly.com/Tom Gralsh
I missed this while I was out of town, but Hillary Clinton hit a Sforzian jackpot when she gave a campaign speech on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, in front of the closed and failed Trump Plaza Casino.
Carl Icahn owns the building now, and the vestiges of Trump’s failure are literally written on the wall, providing a readymade Sforzian backdrop.
Or two. According to Amy Rosenberg’s report at philly.com, the Clinton campaign had originally wanted to stage their event a block inland, with the casino’s de-Trumped tower in the background, but it would have blocked traffic to Caesar’s. So they wedged in to a less optimal but still effective corner of the boardwalk, the ghosts of T-R-U-M-P lingered on the classy, glassy marquee.
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same, this time via Asbury Park Press/USAT/Tom Costello
If you don’t count his kneejerk tweets blaming anyone else for his business’s failures while crowing about skating out of bankruptcy with a wad of investors’ dough, Trump’s reaction came Thursday. The Press of Atlantic City reports that the traces of Trump’s name were removed “for good” from the boardwalk facade. “Black paint has been applied to cover up any mention to Donald Trump.”
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Untitled (Trump Plaza Black) Nos. 1-3, 2016, paint on panel, collection: Trump Entertainment Resorts/Carl Icahn, installation photo via Press of Atlantic City
Actually, from Jack Tomczuk’s (or Michael Ein’s, I can’t tell) photos, the traces of Trump’s name were not painted over, but were covered by painted panels. Five black monochromes were affixed to Hillary’s Sforzian corner, and to the fenced off boardwalk entrance, where the ghost of Trump’s made up crest remains visible but illegible.
The exhibition will remain on view at least through November. I would be stoked if you visit it and post photos.
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Untitled (Trump Plaza Black) Nos. 4 & 5, 2016, paint on panel, each in two parts, collection: Trump Entertainment Resorts/Carl Icahn, installation photo via Press of Atlantic City
Hillary Clinton takes on Trump in A.C. [philly.com]
Faded ‘Trump Plaza’ removed after Clinton appearance [pressofatlanticcity.com]

Better Read #007: Spinoza’s Ethica From Sturtevant’s Vertical Monad

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Sturtevant’s Vertical Monad, 2008, installed at Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London
In case the last Better Read was too mainstream podcasty for you, here are the first few pages of Spinoza’s Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata, in Latin, which Sturtevant included in her 2008 installation Vertical Monad, read by a computer.
Better_Read_Sturtevant_Spinoza_20160610.mp3 [dropbox greg.org, 35Mb, 24:28]

Free As In America

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The thing about Cassandra was she was right.
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In the Summer of 1990 Michèle Cone talked with Cady Noland about the intimations of violence in her works:

Michèle Cone: Practically every piece I have seen of yours in group shows or in your one-person shows projects a sense of violence, via signs of confinement — enclosures, gates, boxes, or the aftermath of accident, murder, fighting, boxing, or as in your recent cut-out and pop-up pieces — bullet holes.
Cady Noland: Violence used to be part of life in America and had a positive reputation. Apparently, at least according to Lewis Coser who was writing about the transition of sociology in relation to violence, at a certain point violence used to describe sociology in a very positive way. There was a kind of righteousness about violence — the break with England, fighting for our rights, the Boston Tea Party. Now, in our culture as it is, there is one official social norm — and acts of violence, expressions of dissatisfaction are framed in an atomized view as being “abnormal.”
Cone: There are clear references to extreme cases of violence in the United States, Lincoln and Booth, Kennedy and Oswald, Patricia Hearst, etc. . . .
Noland: In the United States at present we don’t have a “language of dissension.” You might say people visit their frustrations on other individuals and that acts as a type of “safety valve” to “have steam let off.” People may complain about “all of the violence there is today,” but if there weren’t these more individual forms of venting, there would more likely be rioters or committees expressing dissatisfaction in a more collective way. Violence has always been around. The seeming randomness of it now actually indicates the lack of political organization representing different interests. “Inalienable rights” become something so inane that they break down into men believing that they have the right to be superior to women (there’s someone lower on the ladder than they) so if a woman won’t dare them any more they have a right to murder them. It’s called the peace in the feud. In this fashion, hostility and envy are vented without threatening the structures of society.

And so it is that in the Summer of 2016 Anheuser-Busch InBev has announced that, for promotional purposes, from Memorial Day until the US presidential election in November, it is renaming and relabeling Budweiser, its flagship beer, America.
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Budweiser bottles and cans are prominent elements of many of Noland’s works, from small baskets and milk crates of detritus to the epic 1989 installation, This Piece Has No Title Yet, where six-packs of Budweiser stacked 16 high line the walls. Noland saw already that Budweiser was America. Or that it inevitably would be.
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Bloody Mess, 1988, carpet, rubber mats, wire basket, headlamp, shock absorber, handcuffs, beer cans, headlight bulbs, chains and police equipment, dimensions variable
And so as a tribute to Noland’s foresight and to America’s future, I am honored to announce Untitled (Free As In America). For this series I will replicate any Noland sculpture that uses Budweiser, using America cans or bottles, and I’ll do it for cost. The series will be available during InBev’s America campaign, and will obviously be subject to the availability of America brand cans, bottles, and cartons.
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Chicken in a Basket, 1989, “twenty-seven elements, wire basket, rubber chicken, boxes, bottle, flags, baster, bungee and beer cans”, offered for sale this afternoon at Christies, image via Skarstedt
I am obviously not recreating Nolands a la Triple Candie, but I don’t want to merely approximate them, either. So I’ll only make pieces based on Nolands whose elements are suitably documented, such as in photographs and auction catalogue copy:

Noland once described America as a gestalt experience…In the case of Bloody Mess, disparate objects, including Budweiser cans, car parts, police equipment, and rubber mats collectively comprise a quintessential American image. These cans of “The Great American Lager,” for instance, are scattered to the outreaches of the piece, so as to provide a sort of abstract framework around the inner compilation of a paraphenalia [sic] law enforcement and an uncanny selection of automobile parts.

If substitutions are needed, they will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Every work, in fact, will be devised, specced and costed out individually, in consultation with the collector. So get in touch, and God Bless America.
A-B InBev Looks to Replace Budweiser With ‘America’ on Packs [adage]

Better Read: Frank Lloyd Wright Speaks Up

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examples of Taliesin Square Papers from the Frank Lloyd Wright Library at Steinerag
Welcome to Better Read, an intermittent experiment at greg.org to transform art-related texts into handy, entertaining, and informative audio. This text is excerpts from a pamphlet essay by Frank Lloyd Wright, “In the Cause of Architecture: The “International Style” (Soft Cover), published by Taliesin Fellowship in February 1953. It would be the last of what were called the Taliesen Square Paper Series. The editorial was republished in the July 1953 issue of House Beautiful magazine with the title, “Frank Lloyd Wright Speaks Up.” Wright was 85 years old at the time, and he hated hated the International Style.
I could not find print copies of either of these publications available anywhere. Library holdings of House Beautiful are spotty and incomplete. When I tried the authoritative-seeming, five-volume Frank Lloyd Wright Collected Writings, I also came up short. There are only five copies of Vol. 5 (1949-1959) listed in libraries in the US. How could this be? I ended up buying a used copy for a couple of bucks from Goodwill in Michigan, which turned out to have been deaccessioned by the library in a federal prison. Anyway, the text comes from there [pp. 66-69].
I wanted to find this text because it is the source of two popular zingers from Wright: the great opening line, “The ‘International Style’ is neither international, nor a style,” and saying supporters of modern architecture are not only totalitarians, fascists, or communists, they “are not wholesome people.” This line came up, for example, in a recent Atlas Obscura article about Hollin Hills, a nice but innocuous mid-century modernist subdivision near Washington DC.
I wanted to see the fuller context of Wright’s criticisms, partly because one of the objects of his scorn, the MoMA-affiliated architect Philip Johnson, was actually a Nazi and an aspiring leader of US fascism at one point. [I’ve come to think Johnson recognized the disadvantages of political affiliation for his real interest: himself and his career, and that his devotion for the rest of his life to establishment power was quite sincere, but that’s not the point right now.]
The main reason is because Wright’s communist and anti-modernist bogeymen sounded familiar, like they might resonate with the conservative or rightist campaigns against everything modern, from abstraction to Brutalism to Post-Modernism, to Tilted Arc to the Culture Wars, Wojnarowicz, you name it. Wright’s architecture has been generally assimilated into our historical narrative, but, I thought, it’s come at the cost of our understanding of the political context in which he created it, and from which he attacked those who didn’t ascribe to his own views, or pursue his particular agenda.
Anyway, Wright’s text is after the jump, or you can listen to the text read by a robot.
better_read_frank_lloyd_wright_intl_style_20160505.mp3 [dropbox greg.org, 18mb mp3, 13min or so]

Continue reading “Better Read: Frank Lloyd Wright Speaks Up”

⌘S

About five years ago I began collecting dead websites. It started in 2010 with Thomas Hirschhorn, after his first website, made for the Bijlmer Spinoza-Festival in Amsterdam, disappeared from the net. The Spinoza project was the third in a series of temporary projects dedicated to philosophers.
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Hirschhorn calls these “presence and production” works. Here is a 2009 interview with Ross Birrell:

“Presence” and “Production” are terms I use for specific projects which require my presence and my production. It means to make a physical statement here and now.
I believe that only with presence – my presence – and only with production – my production – can I provoke through my work, an impact on the field.

When the project is over, the programs end, the materials are dispersed, the artist moves on, and a couple of months later, the website where the entire thing had been documented disappears. Then the links go dead, the URL expires, and gets scooped up by some zombie ad network. All that remains are some jpgs illustrating Marcus Steinweg’s Bijlmer lectures.
I’d been to the first at Documenta, the Bataille Monument, in 2002, but not the Spinoza Festival, and so the website was it for me. I’d wanted to read and see more, longer. And then I discovered I couldn’t. It was gone.
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So when Hirschhorn launched his second website the next year, for CRYSTAL OF RESISTANCE, the Swiss Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale, I was ready. Almost. I grabbed the whole site several times, but l missed some galleries. And then it was gone.
The GRAMSCI MONUMENT site in 2013, I definitely got that one. And Hirschhorn’s project at the Palais de Tokyo in 2014, FLAMME ETERNELLE, I got that one too.
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When the greatest website in the world got edited into oblivion, I grabbed it from the Internet Archive and made a piece out of it last year: Untitled (Embroidery Trouble Shooting Guide).
Then a few months ago I heard MOCA had deleted the informative and interactive mini-site for Philipp Kaiser and Miwon Kwon’s Land Art show, so I rebuilt that one. Or I’m in process. I still have to reconnect the Google Earth links. [Google’s deprecated KML API may have led to the page’s demise.]
This is how I started posting them as subdomains, similar to found texts or found web objects. In the case of Hirschhorn, I was very aware since Venice that these were different, and very much not his work: “This website is neither an artwork, nor part of the artwork <>”, it said on the front of the site.
But wasn’t, but now it was, but of a different work. Hirschhorn’s projects required his presence and his production, and my sites had neither. They appeared the same but were the opposite.
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They weren’t just for me anymore. At least I didn’t have to think so.
I do edit them, leave my mark, track changes, in the text somewhere, or the source, in ways that are invisible or imperceptible, where I imagine literally no one will ever know or care. At one point, in a more cynical mood, I rewrote the entire Gramsci Monument to be entirely about me. But the more I consider Hirschhorn’s practice, the less sure I am that the gesture works as critique. [Of him, anyway. Of me, OTOH… At least I kept a clean version too.]
For example, here is something I wrote in the source of Ends of the Earth:

Though it is still available on the Internet Archive, this is the kind of thing that should, I feel, exist within an art context. It is too off-the-cuff to imagine these two mirrors as a site and non-site, but that is an apt reference, I won’t throw it out. What ultimately motivates this repetition of the site is a bafflement at why MOCA removed it in the first place. Huge shoutout to Kim Drew (@museummammy) for calling this to my attention.

I just feel like I have to grab these things, even the ones that get scraped into the Internet Archive. It’s an urge that I can’t dismiss, even when I can recognize the futility of it. I have to save them.

Actual Size

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Michael Heizer, Munich Rotary, 1970, transparencies and projectors, installed here at LACMA in 2012, but on view at the Whitney through Apr. 10, 2016
Michael Heizer talked about Munich Depression (1969) and Munich Rotary (1970) with Heiner Friedrich and the Whitney folks, and Interview Magazine is ON it.

HEIZER: I have a genius friend named Maris Ambats, whom I talked to about making a projector to project an image at the actual size. The deal was to let the camera be a translator between reality and a replicated reality, which means making the photograph as big as the thing itself. So here it is. It gets squeezed down through the camera, and then it’s blown back up to the same size.
…MANCUSI-UNGARO: And the first time you showed Munich Rotary was in 1971 in Detroit…
HEIZER: Sam Wagstaff [who was then the curator of contemporary art at the Detroit Institute of Arts] introduced photography to the modern-art market. He liked photography so much he wanted to show it in the grand hall in this classical museum. It’s a big, big classical building–it’s like the Louvre inside with huge rooms. He put my piece in this huge 200-foot room. It was really good, and it was intended to be a photographic offering, a photographic artwork. Wagstaff had the nerve to do that. The trustees wanted him to remove that sculpture of mine he exhibited, too, and he resigned because of it. But he had the nerve, and he believed in it. He was right. It’s become so insidious. Photography is everywhere now. Back then, it wasn’t an art-world technique. But, the thing is, you can’t separate the film derivation from the real thing. Munich Depression and Munich Rotary are different works of art, but they come from the real thing. So you can’t escape it.
DE SALVO: You can’t uncouple them.
HEIZER: No point in trying to.

This hits a lot of buttons for me, first because of what’s not really discussed: the full-scale photomurals of boulders Heizer showed alongside Munich Rotary at LACMA in 2012, in a show called “Actual Size.” [Actually, Munich Rotary is or has been called Actual Size: Munich Rotary, too.] This felt like a photo representational rebuke of MOCA’s 2012 Land Art show, which Heizer refused to participate in.
But it really all makes me rethink how photography operated in this era as both a mode of art production, and as a means of circulation. The difference between the image and what it depicts, photography’s built-in distortions of “the scale of the world,” as Sontag put it.
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Destroyed Richter Painting No. 013, 2016, installation shot
The double distortion by photography and the market is what drove me to make the Destroyed Richter Paintings. I want to experience the difference (or the similarities) between a photo of a painting (or a jpg of a 4×5 slide) and an actual size reproduction of that (image of that) painting. Some have size info attached, but at first all the Destroyed Richter Paintings dimensions were extrapolated from the painting in them, and the studio space they inhabited. While figuring this out, I definitely considered conceptualist folks like Joseph Kosuth or Mel Bochner when I looked back at these issues, but Heizer and his photos were unknown to me. I sure look at them now, though.
And apparently I need to look at Audubon, too, who insisted on illustrating his birds life-size, and letting the printing people just deal. William S. Smith discusses Audubon and Actual Size in Art in America, and looks at scale and representation as analogs for control:

Heizer’s actual-size photographs of Munich Depression establish control over the context in which they are viewed–a control he could never assert over the site on which it was made. Photographs of variable scale can be reprinted, republished, circulated and annotated in popular magazines. But the actual-size works have to be seen in person in a setting where the placement of the projectors can be tightly controlled. They are photographic oddities, resistant to reproduction and circulation. This resistance, too, comes at a cost, because it makes the work, conceived supposedly in innocence of “commercial and utilitarian concerns,” entirely dependent on institutions with the resources and space that Heizer requires.

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Huh, this installation view of Michael Heizer’s “Actual Size” show at LACMA in 2012 is really about the museum. Broad wins again. via x-traonline.org
This is not to just hitch my wagon to whatever 60s star is riding through town. I am actually in the middle of sending out photos of the Destroyed Richters, and unless it’s a flagrant installation shot, the works keep ending up looking like the photos. I find myself stuck in this same representational gap, in a hole, I have dug for myself. But at least I am not alone. While looking around for photos of Heizer’s “Actual Size” show, I realized they are really all about LACMA, and their giant pavilion. And though all those megaliths are presumably still where Heizer photographed them 46 years ago, the work that’s inextricably coupled with Munich Rotary, Munich Depression, created on an active suburban building site, was destroyed within months of its completion.
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Michael Heizer’s Munich Depression, May 1969, Perlach, Munich, Germany
Michael Heizer by Heiner Friedrich [interviewmagazine]
One to One [artinamericamagazine]

Untitled (Damaged Richter Poster), 2010-2016

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In 2010 the kid took a weekly studio class at the Hirshhorn with Dan Steinhilber. It was fantastic, but unfortunately, it was the last one the museum offered for non-teens. It was held in the education space in the sculpture garden, a space which could connect under the road to the museum, but for various logistical reasons, does not.
This incredible framed poster from Gerhard Richter’s 1987-8 exhibition was there. The painting in it, A B Dunkel, or Abstraktes Bild Dunkel (Dark), (CR: 613-2), 1986, is from what is considered Richter’s breakthrough year for squeegee painting. For me, though, it’s the gaffer’s tape that makes it special.
Now that I have declared it a work, I called the Hirshhorn. It is still there. There are no plans for it at this time. I called the museum shop, which has an endlessly interesting selection of books and exhibition catalogues for sale from the museum’s own library, but which does not, it turns out, have any 28-year-old Richter exhibition posters lying around.
It’s possible that it’s not even a product, but marketing material or signage; I couldn’t find another example of this poster mentioned online. So for now, it is ed. 1/1. Plus a study.
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On Listening To Phyllida Barlow

Now that I’m on the other side of it, I’m kind of amazed at how much the ideas that led me to Chop Shop resonated with the discussion Phyllida Barlow had at the Nasher Sculpture Center with Tyler Green. The live conversation was on MANPodcast in July 2015.
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Phyllida Barlow, tryst, 2015, installation at Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas [image: manpodcast.com]
I was listening to it again tonight on the way home and pulled some highlights: like this idea of fragments:

It always seems to me extraordinary that our lineage of Western art is dependent on broken fragments of things for which we have no proper-I mean, we look at torsos that don’t have limbs, that come from Hellenic times…and they’re iconic. ‘This is great.’ and Western art runs out of that greatness. And there doesn’t seem to be an issue that the arms are missing, or the legs are missing.
So the fragment and the half-finished has for everybody-it does for me-a certain beauty. it’s sublime. [9m00s]

This notion of the fate of art:

Really a question that emerged very early on, which is, ‘Where does art end up?’…Do you, as in my case, enjoy it, or as I was doing in the 80s and 90s and just putting it on the roof of our car, and taking it somewhere and just putting it on the street corner? And abandoning these things, and finally, after a few years of doing that, one night at 3 o’clock in the morning, I took them all to Blackfriars Bridge and chucked them in the Thames. [Laughing] Such is the way of artists, you know. It was one of the most liberating things I’d done. [13m15s]

Barlow talks about touch, and how the anticipation of touch is more powerful than touch itself:

I think this issue of touch is, for me, problematic. I think touch is a language, a non-verbal language, and how you imagine touching something seems to me to be more important than actually reaching out and touching it, where the minute you’ve touched it, the mystery, or the imaginative process, gets solved. You know, that’s closure on it.
I think there are…numerous art objects where there is a longing to touch, or an interest in what this thing is. But I think that it’s up to us to work out, what we then imagine what this might be? Is it hot or cold? There are artists who very much play that; Pierre Huyghe made a sculpture that is very much hot when you touch it. I think that’s a sort of fascinating game. I found that work, for me, you know, the minute you’d done that action, I didn’t know quite what else there was to discover about it. [51m00]

Just now I listened to this and the action I thought of was cutting the Barnett Newman painting and the Gursky Rhine. The thought of cutting, and the process of composition, the decisionmaking, the weighing, these all feel vital, and different from the actual chops.
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Chop Shop Newman Painting No. 1 [destroyed] and No. 2, both 2016
That experience is reserved for whoever buys it; by design it is not the same experience as the regular viewer. Taking Barlow’s perspective on touch would mean that considering the potential is more interesting. But I think what actually happens is that the decision to cut, crop, compose and define shifts a collector away from just seeing and toward creating. From the audience to the artist.