Category:art

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?)]

Untitled_For-Jeff_1992_mmk2011.jpg

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:

untitled_tanya_ap_pic.jpg

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.

cady_noland_tanya_as_bandit_moma.jpg
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

jay-z_napoleon_struthiness.jpg
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]

The Smithsonian has added the Hirshhorn Museum's audio archive to their digital library collection, and it's great. Too often in the art world, what happens in Washington not only stays in Washington, it's forgotten in Washington. So it's unsurprising that the Nation's Attic has interesting, even important stuff in it that really should be dusted off.

One of the first recordings I headed to this weekend was a lecture by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, in association with his Summer 1994 retrospective. I hadn't heard Felix's voice in almost 20 years, and I'd never heard him talk at length about his work. I was not prepared, either, to hear him say he was getting tired about an hour into the recording. After that, I couldn't not hear his exertion to complete what was clearly a difficult, but imperative task.

It turns out I was also not prepared for how unfamiliar his work sounded in his own words. And how different his practice was from the received, sort of calcified, canonical understanding of it. The things he emphasized vs the things we saw or now see as being elemental.

Felix read part of his 1993 interview with Tim Rollins, which we know. But he also talked along to a selection of slides, which I tried to follow along in my books. Easily half the works he discussed were not included in ostensibly definitive catalogues and anthologies. Many had different titles. Some weren't illustrated.

All of this is of a piece with Felix's work, though. He would change the titles of pieces. Works he showed and sold were, near the end of his life, recategorized as "additional materials" and "non-works." But some things, installations and site-specific projects in particular, seem to have been sorted out of his canon completely and/or ignored by critics.
We work with what we have, but we too often don't see what else there is. And when we find out we've been using incomplete or inaccurate info, we're slow to adapt.

So here's a single example. It's a piece Felix started his Hirshhorn talk with, and which he said "is a key to a lot of my work, and also the way I am." And it's piece I'd never heard of or seen, whose bare, incomplete, and contradictory references in the record so far I have completely overlooked. The artist called it "Untitled" (Quatrenium).

Here's what he had to say:

October 2, 2014

Untitled (Truitt EBAY)

truitt_ebay_sculpture.JPG

Anne Truitt's been an inspiration to me for a very long time, but I'd never wanted to make one of her works. Until now.

Previously: Truitt AMAZON, I guess

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

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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)
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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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