Category:etc.

Well that's kind of fantastic, like Victorian- era Rauschenberg.

queen_victoria_silk_newspaper.jpg

Apparently, to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen's to the Isle of Jersey, The Jersey Herald printed copies of the September 11, 1846 edition of the newspaper on silk panels, which were then stitched together with beaded pearls. Here's a detail shot:

victoria_silk_paper_detail.jpg

Did they only make the one copy? Is this the only printed silk newspaper facsimile out there? Can I find these in any boot sale of dead queen paraphernalia, or only Malcolm Forbes's?

UPDATE AFTER TEN MINUTES OF GOOGLING So printing newspapers on silk is/was a commemorative thing. The first copy of the first issue of the Grand Rapids Times was printed on silk in 1837 and presented to its largest subscriber/investor, while additional souvenir copies were printed on cloth. A silk copy of an 1852 edition of the San Francisco Daily Whig came across book conservator Nicole Wolfersberger's desk [and into her flickr stream] a couple of years ago. The Upper Hunter Courier made a silk presentation copy of their paper for Lord Belmore after he came to open a section of railway in Scone in 1871. It was not nearly as nice as Queen Victoria's.

scone_silk_newspaper.jpg

And in 2007, the Jiefang Daily Press Group gave the V&A a copy of the 2005 silk front page which was carried into orbit on China's second manned space flight.

The Forbes Collection at Old Battersea House - Sale 338 - Lot 415
TWO PRINTED COMMEMORATIVE SILK FACSIMILE NEWSPAPER SHEETS
Est. £500-800
[lyonandturnbull.com]
Previously: Rauschenberg Currents Event

October 17, 2011

Camo USS Recruit

I'm not sure what's cooler:

That during World War I, John Purroy Mitchel, "The Boy Mayor of New York," built a giant plywood battleship called the USS Recruit in the center of Union Square to drum up volunteers for the Navy,

uss_recruit.jpg

That it was repainted overnight by the Women's Reserve Camouflage Corps in brightly colored dazzle camouflage to get more business,

Or that there's a site--and a book!--called Camoupedia.

Camoupedia: A Compendium of Research on Art, Architecture and Camouflage, by Roy R. Behrens (Bobolink Books, 2009) [camoupedia]

ellsworth_kelly_meschers_moma.jpg
ce ci n'est pas un Razzle Dazzle? Ellsworth Kelly, Study for Meschers, 1951, moma

When tiny scans of Gwyneth Paltrow's Interview interview with Ellsworth Kelly first appeared on tumblr, the only thing you could read was his pullquote about his tour of duty in World War II:

I was in what they called the camouflage secret army. The people at Fort Meade got the idea to make rubber dummies of tanks, which we inflated on the spot and waited for Germans to see.
Which, nuts, right? I guess I'd heard of Kelly's camouflage involvement before, and I remembered somewhere that Bill Blass had also been in a camouflage division, but I'd never put it all together that these guys were in the Ghost Army, whose operations remained largely classified and unknown until the mid-1990s.

Here is Kelly's fuller quote, and his photo of himself standing next to a burlap jeep:

ellsworth_kelly_burlap_jeep.jpgPALTROW: Did you design camouflage while in the army?

KELLY: I did posters. I was in what they called the camouflage secret army. This was in 1943. The people at Fort Meade got the idea to make rubber dummies of tanks, which we inflated on the spot and waited for Germans to see through their night photography or spies. We were in Normandy, for example, pretending to be a big, strong armored division which, in fact, was still in England. That way, even though the tanks were only inflated, the Germans would think there were a lot of them there, a lot of guns, a whole big infantry. We just blew them up and put them in a field. Then all of the German forces would move toward us, and we'd get the call to get out quick. So we had to whsssh [sound of deflating] package them up and get out of there in 20 minutes. Then our real forces, which were waiting, would attack from the rear.

PALTROW: So in a way, it was just like an art installation! That's amazing.

KELLY: One time, we didn't get the call and our troops went right by us and met the Germans head on. Then they retreated, and they saw our blow-up tanks and thought they were real and said, "Why didn't you join us?" So, you see, we really did make-believe.

PALTROW: It's the perfect job for an artist in combat.

KELLY: We even had the tank sounds magnified because tanks would go all night long.

It sounds like Kelly was actually in the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion, one of four units in the 23rd HQ Special Troops, which entered France just after D-Day and ended up seeing quite a bit of action, all with balloons and loudspeakers instead of actual weapons.

23rd_inflatable_tank.jpg

As Edwards Park explains in a fairly detailed history, the 23rd's main objective was to impersonate various active divisions in order to cover or obscure troop movements. The inflatable weaponry was designed to fool aerial reconnaissance, but the 23rd also acted out the operations of the units they were impersonating/replacing, visiting fake garbage dumps, and laying fake tank tracks at night under the cover of pre-recorded troop sounds and fake radio broadcasts. And they created fake badges and mingled with local civilian populations, passing along disinformation. As Park puts it, "It wasn't long, in fact, before the 23rd had a voluminous file on visual identifications and the men suffered many a bloody finger sewing bogus shoulder patches on their uniforms before going into action."

It's one of many not-too-thinly veiled references to the 23rd's apparently fruity reputation. I'm sure there's at least one queer studies dissertation out there on masculinity, war, and the confluence of camouflage, artsiness, and passing for "real" soldiers.

As NPR reported in 2007, most camo/deception soldiers were apparently ordered never to discuss their wartime efforts. But Jack Masey was never told to keep quiet--waitaminnit, Jack Masey? The USIA design director and serial Expo geodesic dome commissioner? Holy smokes! It all makes filmmaker Rick Beyer's documentary Ghost Army feel like a race against time. I hope he got some good stuff.

23rd_deceive_defeat.jpg

Meanwhile, I guess I'm on the hunt for some 23rd material myself. In 2004, Sasha Archibald wrote in Cabinet about the Ghost Army's unauthorized insignia for itself, which featured the three-legged triskelion and the motto, DECEIVE TO DEFEAT. [Christoph Cox's excellent history of sonic deception in the military leads me to believe that everything I knew about the 23rd I learned in Cabinet Magazine.]

And I guess it's too optimistic to imagine any rubber tanks or vintage camo have survived all these years; I can't imagine if the top secret thing preserved such artifacts or doomed them. But at the least I could start tracking down some of those Ellsworth Kelly posters.

OK, Meyers' site points to this 1992 video by/about the WWII paintings of Harold Laynor, who describes himself as part of the "famous Ghost Army," and says its activities were "unknown to the general public until well after 1980." Hmm. Laynor also says there was an initial plan in 1942-3 for the 603rd to focus on domestic camouflage. But that the British successes with battlefield camo in North Africa inspired the US to deploy the deception unit in combat.

Related: British WWII bullshit camo stories
The Civilian Camouflage Council, included a lot of folks at Kelly's school, Pratt

Sounds so-so, but full of facts/details: military historian Jonathan Gawne's 2002 book, GHOSTS OF THE ETO: American Tactical Deception Units in the European Theater, 1944 - 1945

October 7, 2011

Defendant's Request #2

While doing some family history research, I discovered that one of my grandmother's cousins, Charles Burr, a farmer in Burrville, Utah, had been killed by W.A. "Boss" Lipsey, a neighbor, in March 1943.

The Burr family version of the story says that Lipsey had run-ins with many other farmers in the valley, and that, after a water rights argument, he lay in wait in the bushes until Burr ventured out to feed his animals, and then he shot him in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun.

A version of the story online mentions a years-long feud between the two, and specifically referred to a fight a couple of years earlier between Burr, Lipsey, and Lipsey's sons.

I just received the court records for Lipsey's murder trial, including some information the defense drafted for the judge to pass along to the jury during their deliberations. Here is one, with the judge's handwritten notations in italics:

DEFENDANT'S REQUEST #2.

The Court instructs the jury that the evidence in the case shows, without dispute, that on August 7, 1941, Charles Burr, with his fingers and hands, dug out the left eye of the defendant.

Refused
July 1, 1943
John L. Sevy, Jr
Judge

The Burr account I have ends:
The family could not believe the verdict of second degree murder with a fifteen-year prison sentence with eligibility for parole after five years. Needless to say, the Burr family did not believe justice had been served.
The account does not mention what I found from newspaper accounts: that Boss Lipsey was denied parole once and appears to have died in the Utah State Prison. As of 1995, when this Burr family history was privately published, it doesn't sound like there's been much attempt to reconcile the Lipseys and the Burrs' versions of their intertwined history. I don't know if I'm up for trying, or if I'm too close or too far to do it.

05/12 UPDATE Thank you, Google. I have heard from one of Boss Lipsey' great grandchildren that Boss was, in fact, released from prison shortly before he died. As one might imagine, their family stories emphasize details that the Burr versions omit, like that Lipsey was in his mid-70s when he and 40-yo Charley first fought over their turns for the Koosharem Reservoir's irrigation water. I may end up putting the Burr family version of the incident online sometime; it was written by Charley's son Ned, who was around 13 at the time his father was killed.

enzo_mari_picnic_ebay1.jpg

Mondo Patrick tipped me off to this a little while back, and for a while there, it was kind of turning my table world upside-down.

enzo_mari_picnic_ebay2.jpg

It's an autoprogettazione table by Enzo Mari, of course, model 1123 xE, one of the most picnic tabliest of them all, made from the original 1970s precut wood kids produced by Simon Gavina.

It was really tempting, but ultimately the condition issues--there were some split and badly repaired wood pieces on one side which would probably mean losing some of the original wood--and really, the shipping from somewhere outside Torino to, wherever really, where am I going to put a second table project on no notice? And maybe if I could wait for the euro to collapse it'd make financial sense, but--anyway, I passed on it.

rirkrit_autoprojettazione.jpg

That hammered, golden patina still shines in my dreams, though. Let's watch the European auctions for a while and see if this bad boy reappears. Meanwhile, I still have this image of Rirkrit's chrome ghost of 1123 xE to keep me company.

From a NY Times article about a gay activist's petition for Microsoft to stop participating in an online affiliate sales company CGBG, which earns revenue for anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family:

"This is economic terrorism," said Mike Huckabee, the former pastor, governor and presidential contender, who is a paid CGBG consultant. "To try to destroy a business because you don't like some of the customers is, to me, unbelievably un-American," he said in an interview.
From SFGate, Dec. 6, 2005:
Christian group pulls Wells Fargo accounts / Focus on the Family objects to donation to gay rights group

"We don't expect corporate America to do our bidding on the issues, but when they use the proceeds from our business and give them to others who clobber us over the head, we say enough is enough," said Tom Minnery, who oversees public policy for the organization.

Focus on the Family's move follows a recent spate of conservative boycotts and other actions against large companies that support gay and lesbian causes, including Walgreens drugstores and Kraft Foods Inc., both of which contributed to the Gay Games.

Conservative groups also have targeted Ford Motor Co. for advertising in gay media and Procter & Gamble for advertising during the television shows "Will & Grace" and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." The best-known protest may have been the nine-year boycott led by the Southern Baptist Convention against Walt Disney Co. for hosting Gay Days, a week of gay-themed activities at Walt Disney World in Orlando. That boycott ended in June.

From a 2005 Orlando Sentinel article on the Kraft, Proctor & Gamble and Disney boycotts:
As more companies adopt gay-friendly business policies, they risk the wrath of conservative Christian groups prepared to take action with their collective buying power.

"People are willing to fight back with their pocketbooks," says Tim Wildmon, president of the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, a conservative group that has boycotted such companies.

September 25, 2011

Eyeballed Autoprogettazione

Enzo_Mari_Szemeredy.jpg

Toronto-based designer Maté Szemeredy didn't have the plans to make Enzo Mari's Autoprogettazione Square Table, so he eyeballed it, based on online photos and published dimensions of finished tables. I'd say he got pretty damn close--those crosspieces may be inside-out and upside down, or maybe they just look cleaner that way--and he got a pretty sweet finish. And all in just two days, too. Nice.

Enzo Mari Autoprogettazione photoset by Datum-Datum [flickr]
Szemeredy's blog, Things Take Time

cage_cookies_gregorg.jpg

Someone recently tweeted about John Cage's cookie recipe, which the Walker had posted on their blog a few weeks ago

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor, grind:
1 c. raw almonds
1 c. raw oats
Combine almonds and oats in a large bowl. Stir in:
1 c. whole wheat flour or brown rice flour (if you want a gluten free option, you may need to add slightly more than the 1 c. brown rice flour, so that you are later able to form balls with the dough)
Add ground cinnamon to the dry mixture.
To the dry mixture, add:
1/2 c. almond oil (other nut oils work as well)
1/2 c. real maple syrup (no Aunt Jemima!)

Stir mixture until you are able to form one-inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly, and press a small dollop of your favorite jam or preserves (jelly is too thin) into the center of each cookie. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning the pan once, halfway through the baking process. Cookies are done when light golden brown. They store well in the fridge.

Well, yesterday, we tried it, and the recipe works, and they are very good, as good as anything made primarily of almonds, cinnamon, maple syrup, and homemade raspberry jam could be, anyway. They're very rich and dense.

A couple of tips about the recipe:

We have almond flour, or almond meal, which is fine-ground almonds, which I was tempted to use instead of foodprocessing actual, whole almonds. But I didn't, and I'm glad. The more coarsely ground almonds give the cookies basically all of their texture.

We ended up adding about 2 tablespoons more whole wheat flour, because the recipe seemed a little oily [the only liquid is almond oil and maple syrup.]

The recipe says to cook them until they're golden brown. Which has to be a trick, since they started out golden brown. They don't really change color, so I ended up cooking them the full 20 minutes. You'll poke them and think they're not done, and that they won't stay together, but they cooled down and firmed up.

Let Them Eat Cage Cookies [walkerart.org via someone, thanks!]

September 16, 2011

What Ikea Lack

Once again, I'm getting burned for procrastinating on a project. And once again, I'm forced to reckon with how susceptible we are to the illusion a company can create of cultural stability and reliability, even as it constantly effects changes that suit its own business purposes.

mari_effe_ikea_wood.jpg

Which is a lot to pile onto a tiny, cheap-ass Ikea Lack side table. Even before I finished my Ikea X Enzo Mari autoprogettazione table in 2009, I had the idea of making another one.

For the first, I'd found the single Ikea product that felt closest to the original lumber Mari specified for his designs: the unfinished pine components of the Ivar shelving system.

ikea_side_table_lack.jpg

I wanted to realize the second table, though, in the product that felt the most Ikea: the Lack table. The Lack collection is pure Ikea: high modern, highly engineered, and super-cheap. The Lack is a marvel of perfect crappiness: sawdust legs and honeycomb cardboard tops encased in a structural plastic shell. You can't cut a Lack without destroying it, but the series' tables and shelves all share proportional dimensions, so it's possible to tile them together.

mvrdv_boijmans_depot.jpg
my favorite Lack reference: MVRDV's 2007 proposal for the Boijmans von Beuningen Museum Depot in Rotterdam. Alas, unbuilt.

The other day when Man Bartlett posted on his tumblr about visiting Brent Birnbaum's studio, this awesome image made my heart leap--off the Ikea ferry, and then to promptly sink into the East River.

brent_birnbaum_ikea.jpg

On the wall of Birnbaum's studio is a piece called Untitled (Ikea), which is assembled from a veritable rainbow of Lack tables and shelves the artist has collected around town. It's like, "WHOA, DOUBLE RAINBOW!" And exactly the patchworked minimalist look I was hoping for.

And the killer thing is, when I came up with the idea 2+ years ago, there was a literal rainbow of Lack side tables stacked in a spiral on the catalogue cover and in every store. But when I finally decided to make it about eight months ago, I found that after introducing a bunch of pastel colors in 2010, Ikea had all but discontinued colored Lack, leaving just red, white and black, and just a couple of wood "effect" finishes. [Seriously "birch effect" is such a sad concept.]

ikea_lack_catalog_2010.jpg

I had some pieces that I'd stashed or stored: a navy blue shelf, dark grey and dark green side tables, and either dumped or gave away a while ago because seriously, it's Ikea. Just go get another one. But it's precisely this misplaced belief that it'll always be there that tripped me up. Ikea IS always full, and it DOES always look and feel the same in its way, but the specific products, even the iconic ones, are constantly in flux.

There were hints, warning signs, which I chose to ignore. A Lack side table was always ridiculously, disposably cheap: $12 or something. But in 2010, Ikea began value engineering them, eliminating packaging, and tweaking the materials a bit, to get the price even lower. For a while, they were $5.99. Now I think they're $7.99. Rationalizing inventory and SKUs was obviously part of this ongoing, profit-wringing process.

And that brings up the implications of Ikea's product choice winnowing, which are thoroughly depressing, yet fascinating. I've been scanning craigslist for months, trying to find any colorful Lack pieces. I've missed a couple in New York because I couldn't get them in time, and I found one pink table in Alexandria, Virginia. But otherwise, the craigslist selection is relentlessly constrained: it's almost entirely these fake wood finishes. And I can't tell what came first: Ikea's eliminating all color from their lowest-end table offerings, or the [$5 table-offloading] public's total embrace of printed plastic that simulates [and poorly] actual wood.

The greatest/saddest listing I saw was from an American University student, who described his Lack side table as, "exactly the same table that everyone else has." And it's becoming even more so every day.

So anyway, if you have a lead on some colorful Lack side tables or hanging shelves [medium or small], definitely drop a line. Because I'm definitely buying.

charles_george_twitter.jpg

I admit, after I saw the pair of Chucks, I was just waiting, pretty sure I'd get a post out of it no matter what. So kudos to Anil, who tweets quality.

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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: etc.

recent projects, &c.


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

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

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Chop Shop
at SPRING/BREAK Art Show
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

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eBay Test Listings
Armory – ABMB 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

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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
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

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"Exhibition Space" @ apexart, NYC
Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
about, brochure | installation shots


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)
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