October 19, 2016

A GIF Martin

Oh my goodness.


Oh look, here is another one.


I have a feeling this series is going to grow, so I will refrain from laying some Practice down.

Previously, still trying to figure out if they're related, maybe I should lie down for a minute: On A Clear Day (2015 - )
Getting warmer: The Xerox Book, Infinite Loop


This interesting Polaroid from the Warhol Estate just turned up at Swann.

It's apparently titled Urinal (Homage to Marcel Duchamp), which would make it kind of fascinating. But there's nothing except an estate authentication stamp on it, no title, date, signature, nothing. So where did the title come from?

It's also on a previous owner's website, without the Urinal or the parentheses in the title. The provenance says it came from the tag sale portion of Sotheby's 1988 Warhol auction.

verso of this Warhol Polaroid, image via alpha 137

But it also says it's a photograph of a urinal, when it is in fact an awning over an arched window. And what looks like adhesive on the back runs along one side, here the left, which would normally be the top of a Polaroid image. So how was it oriented again?

Assuming it's what it says, though, it's interesting that Warhol made his homage to Duchamp's famously inverted sculpture by inverting an image. Or an object, a print (Polaroids are one-offs).

[Also worth noting: in 1973 Warhol bought the prototype for Arturo Schwartz's 1968 Fountain edition. And Dakis bought it from the 1988 auction.]

update: Homage To Marcel Duchamp is a lot of reference for one Polaroid to bear. And it is probably worth considering how many Polaroids Warhol shot in his lifetime: approximately fifty hundred bajillion. And do they all have titles? Do any of them? What is another Polaroid with a title?

Sale 2431 Lot 126 ANDY WARHOL, Urinal (Homage to Marcel Duchamp), est $3-5000 [swanngalleries]

untitled_erster_blick_probe_1.jpg 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 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.

Lot 76 | Gerhard Richter, Erster Blick, 2000, offset print, 18.2x15.1cm, 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.

Previously, related: Untitled (Tanya), 2014

October 15, 2016



Part of me wants to make this post about auction houses shooting coverage, or about editing-generated hype for off-season auctions of off-peak squeegees. But I think I really just wanted to register my disapproval that such videos of such sales of such paintings are now a sufficient hook for attention from the Times. Which even I don't care about at this point. So it must be the very existence of this video. But that is enough.

[sotheby's via nyt]


I cannot explain how I didn't catch this when I saw it many months ago, but re-reading Steve Roden's blog post about his return to painting after a year-long hiatus, this completely floors me:

Recently, I have also been obsessed with a photograph of two seemingly insignificant pieces of wood about the size of the inner part of a closed fist. The photograph appeared in an auction catalog, and I was fascinated to discover that these seemingly ordinary, or pathetic objects were pieces of George Washington's coffin, and as such, their presence transcends their objectness.
Probably! But right now it is their objectness that I'm obsessed with.

October 3, 2016

More Aaron Kuriloff, Please

Aaron Kuriloff, Two Pillows, 1963, image and caption from Walter Hopps' Boxes catalogue, Dwan Gallery, 1964, image:

In his Dwan Gallery catalogue essay, James Meyer calls him "a now-forgotten trader in readymades," but I recognized Aaron Kuriloff's name from Donald Judd: Complete Writings 1959-1975. Judd reviewed Kuriloff's April 1964 show at Fischbach Gallery for Arts Magazine. He did not like it, dismissing the artist's lightly assisted readymades as domestic misfires done better by George Brecht.

Now that I've seen some pictures, though, I'm kind of intrigued. For Boxes, the February 1964 group show organized by Dwan Gallery director John Weber, Andy Warhol sent three Brillos and a Heinz Ketchup, scooping the Stable Gallery by a month. And Kuriloff sent Two Pillows, 1963 [above], in which blue ticking-covered pillows were inserted in a blue-painted wood shelf.

No wonder Judd didn't like it. I bet Haim Steinbach would, though. And Mark Stahl, who had a similarly promising-but-brief career with similarly found objects in the 1980s.

No less than Brian O'Doherty liked Kuriloff's work, too. He reviewed the Fischbach show for the Times:

Both these shows, one [George Ortman] turn­ing symbols into objects, the other [Kuriloff] objects into symbols, make a new cross‐roads where the traffic is getting heavier --a cross‐roads at which Jas­per Johns originally planted his painted flags, breaking our reflex responses to the most loaded of symbols.
I'll add some more images of Kuriloff's works from 1963-67, the only period I've been able to find so far, and let's just have a fresh look.

Aaron Kuriloff, Three Switches, 1963, Thibaut Gallery, image via nyt

The Times has at least two other reviews of Kuriloff's work, both illustrated. In December 1963, he was in "Hard Center," a group show at Thibaut Gallery organized by Elena and Nicolas Calas. From Brian O'Doherty's review it sounds like it focused on the recontextualization as art of mass or consumer objects, an early example of Pop getting in formation. And the artist list shows just how far Pop has shifted since: Robert Breer, Nicolas Calas, Kuriloff, Walter de Maria, and Robert Morris. There's a catalogue out there somewhere.

Aaron Kuriloff, A Laundry Bag, installed in 1965 at The Four Seasons, image: nyt

In 1965 Kuriloff is mentioned in a benefit sale/exhibition held at the Four Seasons. It seems kind of a mess, frankly, and the Times report doesn't do it much justice, just sneering at now-acclimated art audiences not rioting over Pop Art. Kuriloff's A Laundry Bag was just that, mounted against a green background, with a label, Erased de Kooning Drawing-style. Priced at $500 for mental health charity, it's not clear if it sold.

September 23, 2016

What Is The Question?

Kelley Walker, Schema Aquafresh plus Crest with tartar control, 2003, digital file, image:

I am not at all ready to address the discussion and protests surrounding the exhibition of Kelley Walker's work at CAM St Louis, but the statement by Paula Cooper caught me up. "The role of the artist, it has been said, is to ask questions, not answer them." Chekhov said that, and he's not wrong, but not right enough, either.

And KareemEstefan responded, in a tweet exchange with Pedro Velez, "True--but does Walker know what Qs his art is asking?"

That reminded me of the paragraph I'd cut from the top of Mirta D'Argenzio's Rauschenberg essay I quoted yesterday. I am pretty sure this is the artist speaking:

"Gertrude Stein said on her death bed when they asked her what the answer was and she said, 'What is the question?' So I have to keep the question changing. The only way to do that is with an open mind." It's rather like the riddle of the sphinx. Rauschenberg, the insatiable, suggests that the riddle be left unsolved, and indicates that the very purpose of art is to keep changing its questions.
The very purpose of art is to keep changing its questions.

It seems to me that this is what is happening to Walker and his work in the 13 years since he made it. Not only have the questions changed, the audience has, too. And sounds like neither the artist, the curator, nor the institution understood that.

The sharpest thinking I've seen on Walker's work is still Glenn Ligon's essay in Parkett from 2010 [pdf]. Ligon finds the utter insufficiency of thought or discussion around Walker's use of black imagery to be significant in itself, both a "dilemma" and a source of "enormous vitality." He correctly identified "Kelley Walker's Negro Problem" as the art world's problem, too. And America's. He's still right.

September 22, 2016

'A True Short Circuit'

I'm not alone! It's not just me! In the introduction to the catalogue for her 2008-9 show, "Robert Rauschenberg | Travelling 70-76," curator Mirta D'Argenzio wrote:

His favorite means of self-expression were always inclusive of change, travel, and collaboration. He seems from the very beginning, paraphrasing words of his own, to have committed his entire activity to the task of defining an ever more ample concept of collaboration, always in a state of becoming, that nearly made it possible to do away with the very notion of subjective behavior on the part of the artist,

Rauschenberg made a decisive contribution to superseding the notion of the individuality of the author: a notion very much emphasized by modernism, and then virtually discarded by post-modernist thought. His absolute freedom in this respect found expression from the very beginning in the intersubjective approach that permitted him-- from his first works with Susan Weil, and then in his relationship with Cy Twombly, and immediately thereafter with Jasper Johns-- to set up a true short circuit that questioned the modus operandi of western art and the very concept of the individuality of the author. This attitude, however, was in any case to lead him to preserve a specific identity that found paradoxical reinforcement in its own self-negation.

In the discussion for Paper Monument's Social Medium anthology Sunday, I tried to make this exact point about Rauschenberg's collaborative works, especially in the earliest days of his career. And here it is/was, right there in 2008. 2009. In an Neapolitan exhibition catalogue about works from the early 70s, when Rauschenberg was traveling the world and absorbing influences and materials and references.

D'Argenzio goes on

Rauschenberg insisted: "Ideas are not real estate." And then he continued: " "In collaboration one can accept the fact that someone else can be so sympathetic and in tune with what you're doing that through this they move into depths which might not be obvious if that person had been working alone in a studio with the door shut...I think part of our uniqueness is the fact that we are ill-equipped.
Except that this is a quote from a 1974 interview with Rauschenberg about printmaking. Prints are inherently collaborative and technically contingent, and foundries are always good about namechecking. But that is not anything like questioning the concept of authorship. If anything, it's auteurist. As Walter Hopps saw it in the catalogue for the 1999 retrospective, "in collaborations, Rauschenberg simultaneously functions as composer, orchestra conductor, and first violinist."

Rauschenberg and Johns might have been hoping to question the modernist notion of authorship when they hid a flag painting behind the door of a work that was first known as, Construction with J.J. Flag. But when faced with the decision, rather than short circuit their individual careers, they ended up pulling the plug. It was self-negation as self-preservation. [h/t @andrewrusseth, whose tweet about that real estate quote set me on this hunt.]

Buy Robert Rauschenberg. Travelling '70-'76 [amazon]

Untitled (I'll Be Your Mirror), 2016, 70 x 46 in., feathered mirror by Bill Cunningham

The end credits for Richard Press's documentary Bill Cunningham New York run over Nico and the Velvet Underground's langorous, "I'll Be Your Mirror."

In the 1950s, before he took up a camera and changed the world, Cunningham designed hats for his own label, William J. He also created some unknown number of objets d'art and furniture. Well, at least one piece is known. The fashion illustrator Kenneth Paul Block considered this feather-covered mirror by Cunningham to be one of his most prized possessions.

It is large, 70 x 46 inches, and has an extraordinary patina. It holds the wall like a 50s Bruce Connor or Rauschenberg. I put #painting in there, but maybe it's #combine instead. Oh wow, I just found this photo of Merce Cunningham dancing Aeon (1961) in a pair of feathered chaps Rauschenberg designed.

Merce performing Aeon (1961) in Tokyo in 1964, photo: Yasuhiro Yoshioka/Sogestu Foundation, via walkerart

Block passed away in 2009 and his partner of over 50 years, artist and textile designer Morton Ribyat, died in March. If you're interested in buying this work, email or call me whenever you're ready. If you'd like to take physical custody of it, though, you'd better move fast. UPDATE: And have more than $13,000. Wow.

Previously, related: Untitled (Joan Collins Toile de Jouy), 2015


I'm kind of giddy even to type this, but I will be in a panel discussion this Sunday to talk about Social Medium: Artists Writing 2000-2015, an anthology published by Paper Monument and edited by Jennifer Liese. And yes, that means that I have an essay in the book. Technically, it's a revised version of the series of blog posts I wrote between 2011-13 about Erased de Kooning Drawing, but it still feels unreal to me that it's actually happening.

The talk will be held in conjunction with the preview of the book at the NY Art Book Fair Classroom, PS1, 3pm. Also in the discussion, which Jen will be leading: Ginger Brooks Takahashi, Josiah McElheny, John Miller, and Mira Schor. I mean, right? You should come back to NYABF just for these people.

Later I will write more about the anthology, which looks amazing; with 75 artist writers, it's easily 15x as amazing as our 5-person panel will be, and the official launch next month at The Kitchen should be great too. But for now, the point is, I am stoked for Sunday.

Social Medium: Artists Writing 2000-2015, published by Paper Monument Oct. 20, 2016 [papermonument]
NY Art Book Fair | The Classroom [nyartbookfair]

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Since 2001 here at, 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 that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

about this archive

Category: satelloons

recent projects, &c.

Social Medium:
artists writing, 2000-2015
Paper Monument, Oct. 2016< br /> ed. by Jennifer Liese
buy, $28

Madoff Provenance Project in
'Tell Me What I Mean' at
To__Bridges__, The Bronx
11 Sept - Oct 23 2016
show | beginnings

Chop Shop
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

eBay Test Listings
Mar – Dec 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
about | link

TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

"Exhibition Space"
Mar 20 - May 8 @apexart, NYC

HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.

Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

Canal Zone Richard
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99