January 15, 2016

Dust Breeding (Bull), 2016 -

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Dust Breeding (Bull), 2016, dust, museum, reflection of Picasso sculpture.

Last week I went to see the Picasso Sculpture show at the Modern again. That's when I noticed the extraordinary amount of dust on the window ledge in the last gallery. I took a picture of it with Picasso's Bull in the reflection because it was amazing, and because it obviously reminded me of Dust Breeding, Man Ray's photo of six months worth of studio dust and street grime settled on the surface of Duchamp's Large Glass.

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Man Ray, Dust Breeding, 1920, contact print, from Roxana Marcoci's Photography of Sculpture catalogue.

I've loved Dust Breeding for a long time. Colby Chamberlain wrote a nice piece on it and Anthony McCall's work in a 2009 issue of Cabinet on dust that has stayed with me for its conclusion: the antipathy between august art institutions and dust. I think MoMA has complicated Colby's thesis.

dust_breeding_bull_insta.jpgMy first comment on Instagram about wanting to donate a vacuum cleaner, but I kept thinking about Matt Connors' noticing the same ledge situation I had, and having it trigger a similar reaction. After a couple of days, I decided to make the situation a work.

And since then, I've been wondering what the existence of such an artwork might mean for someone, or more precisely, what knowing it exists might do for the experience of seeing that ledge.

On the one hand, it might be amazing to have people think of me and my work when they glance out the window into the atrium. Isn't that associative frisson better even than wanting to have an endowed Roomba drone named after me? Just think of the dialogues!

Right now the gallery is filled with jaw-dropping sculptures Picasso put together out of junk and scraps of wood, in a show that includes artworks made from cigarette-burned napkins. Dust blends right in. But in a few weeks, the Museum's permanent collection will return in some form. What interaction might happen then? Duchamp put a little sign next to Large Glass: "Dust Breeding. To be respected." Is it possible for that dust on MoMA's ledge to engender respect?

Though I'm willing to find out, I'm skeptical. A few years ago, I pointed out to a guard on the 2nd floor that someone had written on the wall. She smiled benignly and informed me it was a Yoko Ono instruction piece. Which, of course it was. How cute. I was annoyed, partly for not recognizing it, but mostly that my good intentions had flipped back on me. Instead of being thanked for my civic responsibility, I was being schooled on Ono's whimsy. I somehow doubt I was experiencing what the artist intended.

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Whisper Pieces installed at MoMA in 2010, image: moma

Claiming MoMA dust bunnies as art might be seen as even lamer than Banksy, who surreptitiously stuck his own work on a museum wall and gloated about how long it took the museum to take it down. It's just a stick in the eye of people who live to look.

Does declaring it an artwork just seem like so much ledge-half-full spin, a passive aggressive way to shame the Museum needs to break out the cherry picker and the Swiffer? Until I decided it was an artwork, I would have thought so. But now I feel actual dread knowing it'll be gone. Some unknown day soon, maybe as soon as Walid Raad's installation gets cleared out of the atrium, a Museum staffer is going to unceremoniously obliterate my piece. I'll walk into the 4th floor to see some Naumans or Hesses or Broodthaers or whatever, and it'll be gone.

But it will also be back; that's not ten years of dust we're looking at. And while Dust Breeding's parenthetical collabo right now is Picasso's Bull, that will change too. And as it comes and goes, I'll document its condition, and its neighbors. And if you see it, please take a picture and let me know. #dustbreeding

UPDATE WOW: From MTAA's Michael Sarff comes this bombshell of a project: the MoMA's Dust Windows Community on Facebook, established OVER TWO YEARS AGO to document and appreciate the dust that gives "voice to time, memory and entropy set against the ideals of what a museum is often thought to reflex."

I am the prodigal dust son, make me as one of thy dust-loving servants!

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[LOL. As I write this, Ann Temkin is actually live on Periscope, offering invited guests to honor Duchamp and the 100th anniversary of the Readymade, a term which first appeared in a letter the artist wrote to his sister on 15 January, 1916. Perfect.]

Previously, related: Untitled (Andiron Attributed To Paul Revere, Jr.)

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A couple of weeks ago, David Dunlap looked back at the bad old days of Penn Station before the wrecking ball made it even worse.

And I found myself thinking the same thing as Michael Bierut, that Lewis Mumford's "crowning horror," a modernist, curved steel and glass ticket counter installed in 1956, was actually pretty sweet.

A quick search revealed the "clamshell," as it was known, was designed by Lester Tischy, who had worked under Raymond Loewy.

In addition to designing the Coke bottle, Loewy was a consultant to the Pennsylvania Railroad. And as this 2011 Transit Museum exhibition of the history of Penn Station showed, Loewy filled the station's main hall with photo murals to honor the 25,000+ railroad workers serving in the US armed forces during WWII.

The Times reported that the 40x25-ft headshots went up in February 1943. The photo above shows five, an engineer, a conductor, a soldier, sailor, and a marine. The paper said there were six, including a Red Cap porter. Also that models were used for all but the marine; so it would be interesting to know if the model for the Red Cap was black. Because that would be quite a monumental public depiction of an African American for 1943.

Penn Station's History Lesson [archpaper]

January 5, 2016

Untitled (Re: Graham), 2016

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Richard Prince, "New Portraits," installation shot, Sept. 2014, Gagosian 976, image:richardprince.com

According to his copyright infringement lawsuit against Richard Prince, Rasta-fetishizing fashion photographer Donald Graham sells limited edition prints of his 1997 photo, Rastafarian Smoking a Joint in two sizes: 20x24 inches (ed. 25) and 48x60 inches (ed. 5).

A rasta/model/whatever named @indigoochild 'grammed Graham's image in February 2014. It was regrammed in May by another r/m/w, @rastajay92, three months later. In May Prince commented on it, then took a screenshot, which he eventually printed at 4x5' and showed in his "New Portraits" show at Gagosian Madison in September 2014.

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Donald Graham, Rasta Smoking A Joint, 1997-, Lambda print, 20x24, ed. 5/25, sold at Heritage Auction in Nov. 2015

In his complaint, Graham's attorneys detail the alterations Prince made to Graham's image, including making a screenshot, cropping, adding text and emoji, adding all the UI and empty space, and printing at low resolution and large size on canvas. Prince's depiction is clearly of a photo on/in Instagram, with all that entails. It is clearly different in appearance, color, finish, and context, unless you're seeking a significant amount of money, in which case these differences become invisible or irrelevant.

Unfortunately for Mr. Graham, he only registered his copyright for the image after Prince's show, so even if he were able to prove infringement, he would only be able to recover actual damages. Since Prince sold his New Portrait to his dealer Larry Gagosian, those actual damages probably range between the profit from one 4x5 photo print and $18,500, Prince's half of the $37,000 retail price for the IG works at that time.

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greg.org, Study for Untitled (Re: Graham), 2016, Donald Graham Lambda print cut down and collaged on inkjet on canvas, 30x24 in., ed. up to 25, I guess

It strikes me that the quickest and easiest solution is to buy one of Graham's prints, cut it up, and collage it on top of the infringing Prince. They're already roughly the same size. For proof of concept, I'm glad to make a study using one of Graham's smaller, 20x24-inch prints. As it happens, the only two ever to come to auction surfaced after Prince's show: in November 2014 in Paris (EUR2600), and in Nov. 2015 in Dallas ($2,475). Delivery date's a little uncertain, but at these prices, I'm sure we can make it work. Win-win-win.

January 4, 2016

18,262 Days

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JAN. 4, 1966, New York's traffic strike

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just guessin', tbh

December 31, 2015

Craft + The World =

The Renwick Gallery's neon sign is utter garbage, and they're defending it like it's made of gold. It's a ridiculous institutional embarrassment.

The Washington Post reports that the Smithsonian is concocting its own legal theories for stiffarming DC's official preservationist fussbudgets, who are demanding the unapproved [and banal and tacky as hell] sign be removed immediately.

This groundless tantrum can only end badly. And for what? For WHAT? Some dumb slogan cooked up around some marketing department conference room, and then gee whizzed into existence at some misguided museum executive's whim? This is the fight you're going to pick, Smithsonian and Renwick?

Because it seems pretty clear where the Renwick got the idea for slapping a garish sign on a building: from Ugo Rondinone at the New Museum [lmao, Fred Bernstein sure hated the hell out of that sign, but wins for calling it "Hello, Kitschy."]

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image: dominiqueb/flickr

Or from Martin Creed at Tate Britain.

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Work No. 232, the whole world + the work = the whole world, 2000, installed on Tate Britain, image: kunstkritikk.no

Or from Martin Creed at the National Gallery of Scotland.

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Ibid., image: contentcatnip

Or from Martin Creed at the Christchurch Art Gallery (NZ).

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Work No. 2314, 2015, image: radionz.co.nz

The difference between these signs and the Renwick's is everything. Can they not see that? Is that what craft is now: arty minus artists? This will not end well, but it should end soon.

Signs of rebellion? Renwick Gallery is flouting signage rules, groups contend [washingtonpost]

Dan Duray has an excellent scoop on an unheralded auction last spring to liquidate the art collection of Glafira Rosales, the only person convicted so far in the Knoedler Gallery forgery scandal.

About 236 lots were sold by the US Marshals via their auction contractor. Only one, a portrait of Rosales herself, betrays any connection to the caper, but that doesn't mean they're unrelated. Most of the works were bought at auctions since 2010, which means they were presumably bought with proceeds from Rosales & co's fake postwar masterpieces.

The obscurity of the sale and the omission of the works' criminal connection practically demand a Glafira Rosales Provenance Project. Maybe in the new year.

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Right now, though, I'll just call out two fascinating works:

This 1957 drawing by Ellsworth Kelly is of David Herbert, a dealer and gallery employee who worked with key NY figures like Betty Parsons, Sidney Janis, and Richard Feigen. Herbert was also dragged into the center of the Knoedler scam; Rosales claimed that Herbert, who died in 1995, was the source for the paintings, which she said belonged to an anonymous, but totally fictitious, European collector. As Patricia Cohen described it when the Knoedler forgeries began to surface:

Herbert planned to use the works to stock a new gallery that was to be financed by the original collector. But the two men had a falling out, and the art ended up in the collector's basement until his death.

Ms. Rosales does own a 1957 line drawing of Herbert by Ellsworth Kelly that was recently part of an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. What she does not seem to have, however, are any records that track the ownership of the two dozen or so Modernist paintings she brought to market.

Rosales had been introduced to Ann Freedman, Knoedler's president, Cohen reported, by a gallery employee Jaime Andrade. Andrade was Herbert's partner. He was, presumably, the one who sold or gave Kelly's portrait of Herbert to Rosales. This is how provenance is made: it is inferred along a chain of relationships.

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The other work is now my favorite. It is so perfect I have made it my own. Untitled (Glafira Warhol), 2015, is a poster for "Look at Warhol," a 1970 exhibition at Galerie Thomas in Dusseldorf. It's hard to top the Marshal's lot description

Sheet folded at text in top margin and hinged to mat, full sheet = 35.75'' x 26.75''. No frame, non-archival mat only.
That's right. The master forger and con artist who sold dozens of modern masters to the most venerable gallery in the country without detection also folded a Warhol poster into a mat from Michael's and tried to pass it off as a Warhol print.

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In Glafira's defense, she is not alone. The web is littered with these posters, which art grifters pretend is worth $1,500 or more, even as they sell from vintage poster shops for less than fifty bucks. The Marshal appraised Glafira's handiwork at $85. It sold for $905. I can only assume it is because an astute connoisseur recognized the brazen shittiness of the hack as the ultimate souvenir of the whole Knoedler affair.

And while the original now resides in an unknown private collection, I will make Untitled (Glafira Warhol) as an authentic replica edition object as soon as the posters arrive.

Secret fire sale held of 250 works confiscated from dealer in Knoedler gallery scandal [theartnewspaper]
LOT: 104 (1) DRAWING: Ellsworth Kelly (1923 - ) Portrait of David Herbert 1957, sold for $15,200 [txauction]
LOT: 142 (1) SERIGRAPH POSTER: Andy Warhol [txauction]
Glafira Rosales' collection runs from Item number 18381 to number 18616 [txauction]

Previously, 2013: What You See Is What You Believe: Barnett Newmans From The Knoedler/Rosales Collection
2012: Here's that Knoedler Gallery Rothko

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Untitled, 2006, 28x40cm, or roughly legal pad-size, "color print" on dibond, image: phillips

I'm still puzzled by this Gerhard Richter that sold in London a couple of weeks ago. It's a photo of a squeegee painting mounted on dibond. The print is dated 2006, but the painting it's based on is from 1999. There's no useful provenance or any other documentation mentioned, and little is expected; the auction houses, and Phillips especially, regularly bail on providing even cursory info on off-season, entry-level lots like these. Time is money.

But the artist himself hasn't published any info on it, either. It's not mentioned in his exhaustive website, and though it seems related to other Richter photo versions of paintings, there's nothing quite like it in Richter's published editions.

Until very recently, that is. This picture seems to be a precursor to the Cage Grid giclee prints, which in turn led to the "facsimile objects" Richter collector and entourage member Joe Hage has started publishing as museum fundraisers. More on those later.

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Abstraktes Bild CR:858-4, 1999, 50x72cm, oil on aludibond, image: gerhard-richter.com

Untitled (2006) is a photo of Abstraktes Bild 858-4. Both are on dibond panel, but the photo is 2/3 smaller: 28x40 cm vs 50x72cm. I've sized the two images above to scale for comparison. As its CR number suggests, Abstraktes Bild 858-4 is one of a series, a suite, actually, of eight squeegee paintings. Seven are on identically sized aludibond panels, and one is larger, on canvas. I have to think they were sold together out of Marian Goodman's Sept. 2001 exhibition, because they have been shown a lot, and all together.

So someone got the full set, a whole roomful of squeegee paintings, and someone else got a small photo of one, a consolation prize? A bonus? A one-off gift to a friend or employee? I have no idea, which is one reason it interests me.

Untitled (2006) is a highly realistic representation of a completely abstract painting. Yet for all its apparent transparency, it hints at an aspect of Richter's practice that is undocumented, or at least undisclosed. It's like an update of Stella: what you see is what you don't see.

9 Dec 2015, Lot 59: GERHARD RICHTER Untitled, 2006, est. £10,000 - 15,000, sold for £27,500 [!] [phillips.com]
Abstraktes Bild 858 and Cage Grid: Gerhard Richter and the Photo Copy

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David Hammons Slauson Street Studio, Bruce Talamon, 1974, image: roberts and tilton

Like Jasper Johns a decade before him, David Hammons made prints of his oiled body. Hammons' were more narrative, rich with content beyond just the impression of the artist's own body.

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Waiting Chairs, Gabriel Orozco, 1998, image: metmuseum.org

As is his wont, Gabriel Orozco found his narrative, this time in India, in the stone wall darkened by contact with the hair of people who rested against it as they sat in these seats. We don't know who they were.

I am pleased to introduce a work that combines these two threads of presence and absence, specificity and universality, anonymity and celebrity, found object and markmaking.

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Untitled (Joan Collins Toile de Jouy), 2015, 59 x 72 inches, patinated toile de jouy fabric, stuffing, wood

Untitled (Joan Collins Toile de Jouy) is a shaped work, a painting, really, comprising an upholstered headboard from Ms. Collins' New York apartment, altered in collaboration over the years by her and, apparently, occasionally, (an)other(s).

Interested parties, or at least those interested in having physical custody of the work, should contact me quickly, before the 14th. That'll give us enough time to get the headboard from the auction in LA. Me, I'm happy with it right where it is. And wherever it ends up.

Lot 43: JOAN COLLINS TOILE DE JOUY HEADBOARD [julienslive.com]
Previously, related: Untitled (Merce At The Minskoff)

December 8, 2015

Your Star, Skystar

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Ice Watch, 2015, image: olafureliasson.net

The big Olafur Eliasson news out of Paris last week was obviously Ice Watch, the circle of ancient Greenland glacier fragments melting and popping in front of the Pantheon.

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depiction of Your Star test flight, 2015, image: olafureliasson.net

This week Olafur is in Stockholm launching Your Star, a public art commission from the Nobel Committee. It is inspired, he explains, by the "space before an idea," the space from which an idea emerges, the moment when you first register a curiosity or change. In this case, it is the change in the night sky over Stockholm caused by an LED tethered to a balloon, which is powered by a battery charged by a solar panel that captured the energy of the summer sun. Your Star is a new star that returns the light of summer to the dark night of Stockholm in December.

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RT-LTA video still of Skystar 180 deploying from its monitoring station

But even if you're still in Paris, you can get a sense that something is different in the sky, and change is afoot on the ground. @domainawareness notes that Paris intelligence officials have leased a surveillance balloon from the Israeli defense contractor RT-LTA Systems, to monitor protestors and other members of the public during the climate talks.

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RT-LTA press photo of Skystar 180 deployed with 360-degree surveillance camera

The Skystar 180 was used in Israel's war on the Gaza Strip last year, and is deployed near contested holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem, as well as throughout East Jerusalem and Palestinian areas in the occupied West Bank.

One is art, one is policing. One you watch, one watches you. It's easy to think of differences, but Skystar and Your Star look so much alike that I have to wonder what else they have in common: they are both designed to exist in and affect public space. In his Nobel Week greeting, Olafur talked about the importance of public space:

It is where people come together, to exchange opinions, to disagree, to agree, and through doing all of this they help co-creating society. So does culture. I think it's very important to keep our public space alive, resilient, and open for change and renegotiation.
Think of that in Paris, where protestors try to influence the political negotiators, primarily by influencing media narratives--and where the looming presence of police surveillance seeks to document what it can't intimidate or silence by its presence.

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O hi. I am here, watching you.

And now think of the original public sites where these aerostats are permanently deployed: occupied neighborhoods where Palestinians and Arab Israelis under decades-long seige or contestation where renegotiation takes place with rocks, bullets, tear gas, and bulldozers.

It turns out both Skystar and Your Star function by being seen. The former as a projection of power and potential deterrent, the latter as an inspiration. This turns out to bear an uncanny resemblance to the original Project Echo satelloon, which was created to be a visible presence in the sky, an inspiring beacon of American power and progress. It was also intended to acclimate people to the presence of satellites overhead, to normalize the eventuality of being watched by surveillance satellites.

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When he originally conceived of a large inflatable satellite to win the hearts and devotion of the developing world, Werner von Braun called it an American Star.

Your Star [olafureliasson.net/yourstar]
Jerusalem - Spy Balloons Give Police New View Of Jerusalem [vosizneias, the voice of the orthodox jewish community]

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I was going to post an actual review of Kenneth Goldsmith's new book, Capital, then the attacks in Paris happened. And then I thought I would write about Benjamin's The Arcades Project, which served as inspiration for Goldsmith's compendium. But I found the texts about Paris that fascinated Benjamin to be completely unhelpful for the situation I was in. I lived and worked between New York and Paris for several years until 2000. I embraced the 1999 edition of The Arcades Project as a map into my adopted city. And now that map felt out of date.

This is all too much information, though, for what I have decided to do, since no one really needs my warm take on a book that is, by design, nearly unreviewable, about a city, New York, that is equally impervious to encapsulation.

So here is a mashup of Capital and The Arcades Project, excerpting texts from whatever page I turn to, in turn. Benjamin first, p. 306:

WB: Baudelaire
Baudelaire's fatalism: "At the time of the coup d'état in December, he felt a sense of outrage. 'What a disgrace!' he cried at first; then he came to see things 'from a providential perspective' and resigned himself like a monk." Desjardins, "Charles Baudelaire," Revue bleue (1887), p. 19.

Baudelaire-according to Desjardins-unites the sensibility of the Marquis de Sade with the doctrines of Jansenius.

...

KG: Food-Chinese
Americans looked on with wonder and asked him what the name of the food was that his chef was preparing. His answer was "Chop Suey" which meant that it was a combination of mixed foods. He explained that it was a meal consisting of bean sprouts, celery and Chinese greens, plus amy more vegetables, with a touch of meat, usually pork. The guests begged him to let them taste it. They did. Immediately they clamored for more. Overnight, Chop Suey won widespread popularity.
Chinese residents in New York soon found a new field of endeavor open to them. They opened restaurants and called them "Chop Suey Houses." Many of these original Chop Suey Houses still exist.

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

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 -
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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)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99

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