Category:art

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Installation shots from one of two shows currently on, this one titled "Challenging the law without Infringing the law," curated by Primavera di Filippi, is at Glitch Gallery in Charlestown, MA for another couple of weeks. Those are Brian Dupont's text paintings front and center there, with some Untitled (300x404) print versions to the right. They're slightly different from the 20x200 edition, both in dimensions and medium, but like those editions, they look best when shown in multiple sizes.

There are more images atGlitch's FB page.

Previously: 9/20: Opening in Charlestown

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Ray Johnson, The Paper Snake, 1965, published by Dick Higgins, image: rayjohnsonestate

I've been thinking of various audio projects, something this side of an actual podcast, perhaps, but something useful and interesting that's not necessarily being done already by someone else.

And so I'm experimenting with a series I'm calling Better Read, art-related texts transformed into audio. While I'm working, I'll often use text-to-speech to listen to papers, interviews, essays, and other various longform writings. It's imperfect, but also an improvement. In the car, we've been listening to Moby Dick | Big Read, in which each chapter is read by a different person. It generally works.

So for Better Read, I am envisioning a mix of live and computer readers. Sometimes I'll get the author herself; other times, someone can read from a text they really like. I might read a few myself, but to be honest, I really don't like listening to me. Maybe you do? We may find out!

That W.H. Auden poem I posted the other day may become Better Read #1, and once I figure out the frequency, &c., I'll set up a dedicated URL

But for now, please enjoy this 1968 interview with Ray Johnson, recorded for the Archives of American Art's Oral History project. It really is a standout among an invaluable collection. And I especially like the idea of using a transcription of a recording as a script for another recording; fine tuning this process will be useful before I tackle any large, intense deposition transcripts [*cough* Canal Zone/Yes Rasta]

So definitely let me know your thoughts, advice, feedback, suggestions, requests, &c., and we'll see how this thing shapes up.

Better Read: An Interview with Ray Johnson [45min, 22mb, dropbox.com]

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Thirteen Most Wanted Men overpainted and covered by tarp, 1964. Photo: Peter Warner, via Richard Meyer's Outlaw Representation

From the amount of attention it gets, you'd think Andy Warhol's 13 Most Wanted Men was the biggest art deal at the 1964 New York World's Fair. And it wasn't even there for more than a couple of days.

But there was actually other art in the fair, and organizer Robert Moses was not into it. Countries could show art if they wanted, of course--Italy brought Michelangelo's Pieta, and Franco's Spain brought some El Greco. But Moses rejected petitions for a dedicated art exhibition at the fair, and he intervened in at least one other situation besides Warhol's to nix art that attracted criticism. I've dug around a bit in the New York Times' coverage of art and the fair, mostly from the cranky conservative critic John Canaday, and it has broadened and definitely complicated my view of the era, the venue, and the outsize parties involved.

If you do nothing else, read Canaday's various acidic takedowns of the consumerist banality and kitschy circus of the World's Fair, and how Art shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath. His column, "The Fair As Art," tries to stretch the definition of folk art to cover the what we'd now recognize as late capitalist spectacle, and it's interesting how he can't quite get the nascent Pop Art movement to sync up with the populist source of its content.

No, first read about Canaday's Feb. 1964 evisceration of the announcement that Tomorrow Forever would be the "theme painting" the Hall of Education. The landscape was filled with the trademark Big-Eyed Children of Walter Keane, the Thomas Kinkade of his day, who, it turned out, couldn't paint a fence, and instead passed his enslaved, abused wife's paintings off as his own.

This extraordinary profile of Margaret Keane in The Guardian yetserday led me to Canaday's review. [Tim Burton's biopic of Keane comes out in a couple of weeks.] But the piece also says that "Stung by the review, the World's Fair took down the painting." Actually, Tomorrow Forever never made it into the fair. Robert Moses intervened almost immediately after Canaday's attack, more than two months out from the opening, saying, "The fair does not censor exhibitions except in cases of extreme bad taste or low standards. This was such a case."

[Ouch. Moses's willingness to boot one reviled painting makes his central role in the Case of the Destroyed Warhol Mugshots seem all the more plausible. For his part, Warhol praised Keane and his outsized commercialism. LIFE Magazine asked Warhol about Keane in 1965: "It has to be good," he said. "If it were bad, so many people wouldn't like it."]

Anyway, Warhol's World's Fair piece can't have been too much of a surprise. Though his name is misspelled, "13 Wanted Men" is mentioned by title in a NYT report from October 1963, "Avant-Garde Art Going To Fair". The other nine artists Philip Johnson commissioned are also listed, and I realized I never registered that Ellsworth Kelly had been involved. But he produced a work on painted aluminum.

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And here it was. Untitled at the time, Kelly's 18-foot curves projected from the wall of the New York State pavilion, where they were installed next to James Rosenquist's mural, which was next to Warhol's. Except the Rosenquist is either covered or gone in this Nov. 1966 photo from World's Fair enthusiast Randy Treadway. So is Robert Indiana's EAT, which was on the right of Kelly.

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A bunch of the NYS Pavilion pieces ended up in the Weisman collection at UMinn., but in 1967 Johnson apparently donated the Kelly to Harvard, where it was known as either Two Curves or Blue Red. In 2001, a campus-wide survey of culturally important objects found "Blue Red" on the side of the parking garage at Peabody Terrace. The super was about to repaint the deteriorated sculpture with Rust-o-leum when conservators intervened. The Google Streetview image from this summer [above] shows it looking much better.

October 22, 2014

Two Hands

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It hadn't occurred to me at all until yesterday, but a still of Richard Serra's first film, Hand Catching Lead (1968) suddenly reminded me of Felix Gonzalez-Torres' 1992 billboard, "Untitled" (for Jeff). [the installation below in a Frankfurt U-bahn station was for MMK's 2011 show of G-T's work. (what is up with your impermanent links, MMK?)]

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As if the association couldn't be any more un-Serra, the title of that show, "Specific Objects without Specific Form," was co-curated in Frankfurt by Tino Sehgal.

But in a 1973 interview with Liza Bear originally published in Avalanche, Serra dismissed intention and emphasized experience:

The focus of art for me is the experience of living through the pieces, and that experience may have very little to do with the physical facts...Art's a state of being, and it's continuous. You're not just an artist when you're making art.
And in his talk at the Hirshhorn in 1994, Felix recounted how, regardless of whatever his intention for the image, the reactions to a billboard with an open hand varied dramatically depending on the culture and context in which it was shown.

Normally this is the point in a blog post where I make a profound or definitive conclusion, or at least a witty wrapup. But I put all my effort into the title, and so I have none.

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About two weeks ago, artists from the Sage Coalition in Trenton, New Jersey, sought and obtained permission from the Trenton Downtown Association to paint a mural on the metal shutters of a vacant storefront. They decided to paint a large portrait of Michael Brown and the text, "Sagging pants...is not probable cause." The artists saw it as relevant to both the memory of Brown and his killing in Ferguson, Missouri, and to their own experience with racial profiling at the hands of the police in Trenton.

Yesterday, according to NJ.com, "The Trenton Downtown Association elected to remove the image after hearing concern from police officers that the mural sends a negative message about the relationship between police and the community." TDA director Christian Martin "said police said the painting did not promote peace in the community."

The image was buffed by a municipal graffiti blasting crew yesterday. Sage collaborator Byron Marshall shot and narrated the scene.

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David Hammons, How Ya Like Me Now?, reinstalled inside at WPA, 1988

The situation feels like an inversion of the destruction of How Ya Like Me Now?, a 1988 billboard-sized painting by David Hammons of a blonde, blue-eyed Jesse Jackson, which was momentarily installed across the street from the National Portrait Gallery in DC. It was almost immediately set upon by sledgehammer-wielding locals who did not care for its negative message.

'Sagging Pants is Not Probable Cause' Mural Removed After Concerns From Trenton Police [nj.com]
Previously: How Ya Like How Ya Like Me Now?

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Here is an ad for Aspen Magazine in which The Madisons are composited all over their living room with pieces of various Aspens, including Brian O'Doherty's "Museum in a Box," Aspen 5+6 (1967). Actually, the text calls it a "museum of the moment."

And here are a bunch of awesome-sounding Aspens which really did not happen like this.

Our next issue on Far Eastern Thought will be brimful with five rolled scrolls, miniature screens, Zen parable cards, even a dragon kite. All scented with incense. It's the issue you'll hang all over the house.

Other issues-in-the-works: an English Christmas Box edited and designed in London by Britain's top artists and writers...a Buckminster Fuller issues with each article folding into a geodesic dome or other geometric construction...a Wilderness issue complete with Gourmet Survival Kit...a Cybernetic Art issue documenting the merger of art and science...and Much More.

O'Doherty's 5+6 really turned out to be Aspen's peak. That British box took at least two Christmases to arrive, and the Far East issue finally appeared, sans incense, four years later, the last one. Which is too bad; I'd love to see these other issues realized.

October 14, 2014

Untitled (Tanya), 2014

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Study for Untitled (Tanya), 2014, lasercopy and graphite on white paper, 11x8.5 in., ed. 50

In honor of Frieze London, and all the awesome sales going down this week, I have created a special edition.

Untitled (Tanya) is a black & white lasercopy printed on 11 x 8.5 in. paper. It is titled, dated, stamped, and numbered in an edition of 50. Untitled (Tanya) depicts at actual size Tanya, the photocopy work of Cady Noland, which is being sold at Christie's contemporary day sale Thursday Friday morning. Purely for reference, the dimensions of that work (7 5/8 x 6 1/8 in.) are marked in pencil.

Untitled (Tanya) will be available only during Frieze London week for $US10 each, shipped. [Update: Wow, nice, thanks. Definitely get a couple if you like, but please leave some prints for others, too.]

[UPDATE UPDATE: Unless it sells out beforehand, Untitled (Tanya) will only be available up until Cady Noland's Tanya sells at Christie's in London, around 2:30 UTC. So don't underbid on Cady's and then come slinking around here looking for photocopied consolation when you lose. Cuz you won't get any.]

10/17 update: the edition is no longer available for purchase. thanks though.

Thanks again, all the prints are on the way. Unless they are cut down, this is what they look like:

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October 13, 2014

Cady Noland Photocopy

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What even is this? I flipped by it without noticing until now, but Christie's is selling this Cady Noland photocopy in London this week. It's actually a trimmed photocopy [7 5/8 x 6 1/8 inches] with the title Tanya, and it's dated 1989. The estimate is £15,000 - £20,000.

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Cady Noland, Tanya as Bandit, 1989, collection: moma.org

At first I figured it was some kind of production document, an intermediate step between the wire service photo of Patty Hearst and the giant silkscreen on aluminum sculpture of her, which is at MoMA.

But as you see, it's nothing of the sort. The photocopy looks to be at least one generation lower resolution than the sculpture. It's derived from the sculpture's source image, a fork in that image's road.

Maybe this is how Noland explored ideas and form: making copies, and cutting and sizing them into various configurations. Maybe she makes some copies, cuts them, and then recopies the results.

Or maybe it's a souvenir of some kind. An edition? Who knows? But if you wondered what it's like in person, I've made an edition related to it.

Oct. 17, 2104, Lot 291 | Cady Noland, Tanya, est. £15,000 - £20,000 [christies]
Related: Daphne, as photocopied by Sigmar Polke
Higgs-era White Columns has been making "Xerox print" editions for fundraising since around 2007.

October 12, 2014

Struth Baby

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Jay has a Struth Complex.

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Veronese my name

I got a billion of 'em, and I'm here all week, but only after hours.

Previously, related, c. 2009: The Da Vinci Crowd

Here is a Robert Gober story I have not heard before:

Already enamored of art, but largely ignorant of it, Gober was thunderstruck by a visit, at the age of eleven, to the Yale Art Gallery, in New Haven. A spare abstract painting by Ellsworth Kelly so baffled and intrigued him that he remade it in his family's basement.
Obviously, now, for the moment, even more than to wanting to make Kellys myself, I want to see the Kelly Gober made.

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Ellsworth Kelly, Charter, 1959, collection: artgallery.yale.edu

But I can't immediately find the exhibition history for the Yale University Art Gallery for the general time of Gober's visit, 1965-6. Yale got its first Kelly in 1966, though, a large (95x60 in.) painting from 1959 called Charter. It was a gift, but it's not clear if it was shown in 1966. From newspaper announcements, Yale's practice seems to have been to show selected acquisitions from the previous year in Jan-Feb.

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Ellsworth Kelly, Red Blue Green, 1963, collection mcasd.org

Maybe I was also interested because Gober's recollection reminded me of some influential childhood experiences of Kelly himself, which I'd read last year, in a talk given by Yve-Alain Bois:

On Halloween night in 1935, in rural Oradell, New Jersey, the twelve-year-old Ellsworth Kelly was trick-or-treating with friends in their neighborhood after dark. Upon approaching a house from a distance, he said: "I saw three colored shapes--red, black, and blue--in a ground-floor window. It confused me and I thought: 'What is that?' When I got close to the window, it was too high to look in easily and I didn't want to be peeking. I was very curious and came at the window obliquely, and chinned myself up, only to look into a normal furnished living room. When I backed off to a distance, there it was again. I now realize that this was probably my first abstract vision--something like the three shapes in your Red Blue Green painting."
The "your" in this story is Hugh Davies, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art of San Diego. But The Broad also has one which looks like an inverted, zoomed out variation of the MCASD's.

Which is fine. Bois' talk is about Kelly's extraordinary ability to draw upon forms and perceptions from his life and to transfer them to his work. This was one of five possible strategies Kelly had developed in seeking an alternative for composition, a way to "invent how not to invent."

Maybe Gober's sculptural verisimilitude operates in a similar way. I don't know, and I have only just begun thinking about it. But it's interesting to think about these two artists, who each see childhood experience as formative to the development of their work.

Found Meanings, Peter Schjeldahl [newyorker.com]
Ellsworth Kelly's Dream of Impersonality, by Yve-Alain Bois [ias.edu]

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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

Category: art

recent projects, &c.


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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
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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"
Mar 20 - May 8 @apexart, NYC


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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