JAN. 4, 1966, New York's traffic strike
just guessin', tbh
January 4, 2016
JAN. 4, 1966, New York's traffic strike
just guessin', tbh
December 31, 2015
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."]
Or from Martin Creed at Tate Britain.
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.
Ibid., image: contentcatnip
Or from Martin Creed at the Christchurch Art Gallery (NZ).
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.
December 19, 2015
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.
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.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.
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.
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.
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]
December 17, 2015
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.
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.
December 11, 2015
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.
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.
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.
December 8, 2015
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
December 3, 2015
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:
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.
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.
November 30, 2015
Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach are decluttering and downsizing, from Monaco/Surrey/Snowmass/Beverly Hills to LA and a London apartment. Nearly 1400 lots of furniture, art, clothing, memorabilia, and borderline boot sale junk will be auctioned this week in LA. Here are some of the things:
First up, Lot 79, Originally John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Refectory Table [est. $5-7,000, sold for $19,200]
"'This refectory table was left at Tittenhurst by John and Yoko when I took over the house. Enjoy!' - Ringo." That would be in 1971. Tittenhurst Park was outside London. Starr sold it to the Emir of Abu Dhabi in 1988, but took the table with him. Hey, here it is in the living room of Rydinghurst, Starr & Bach's Jacobean estate in Surrey, which they put up for sale last year. Look at how they lay down a Google-like blur on the artwork in estate agent photos.
And speaking of tables, what is up with that coffee table? It's big and moon-shaped and filled with gazing balls. Or giant Christmas ornaments? I cannot tell, and the designer Ringo Starr doesn't weigh in this time.
Lot 351, Moon Coffee Table Designed by Ringo Starr [est. $1,000-2,000 sold for just $1,920]
And speaking of gazing balls, holy smokes. Lot 608, Two Monumental Gazing Spheres [est. $3,000-5,000] They're from Rydinghurst, and each one is 36 inches across. Let's see Jeff Koons try to handle those. [WHAT, sold for just $1,920? Why didn't you ever get back to me with the condition report??]
And finally, speaking of satelloon-looking things, Lot 411, Galaxy Theme Platform Bed [est. $800-1,200] "'When we bought the house in 1992 in LA, we had this bed made so we could sleep under the stars and moons, and surrounded by the stars and moons.' - Ringo." Will the presumably LA-based Master Of The Ringo Starr's Bed Starscape with the initials SWG please come forward and take a bow? [Yes, well, sleeping in Ringo and Barbara's bed? Priceless, but apparently they'll take $875.]
Lot 1005, **RINGO STARR'S UK 1st MONO PRESSING WHITE ALBUM NO.0000001 [est. $40-60,000]
Oh wait, no, one more: It turns out Ringo got the first numbered copy of the White Album, and he put it in a vault. Now it is selling for at least $55,000. What a world. #monochrome [WHAT A WORLD INDEED: $790,000.]
Property from the Collection of Ringo Starr & Barbara Bach, 12/03/2015 [julienslive via jjdaddy-o]
November 20, 2015
Untitled (141831674795), formerly known as: Beer statue TEST - DO NOT BUY
I haven't written much about the eBay Test Listings project here since eBay shut it down and forced it into a different configuration. I'm happy to have it exist primarily on eBay, where it conspires against itself, making success and failure interchangeable.
ceci n'est pas 600px: just noticed it's actually 500px
They don't search well. The titles are opaque. The pricing across the series makes people wonder. And after surfing through the 800 even less expensive items in the "photographs > directly from artist" category, it turns out these aren't always even the most eye-popping.
So it really does come back to their unique situation, unlike literally every other thing on eBay: they were specifically made and chosen to not be sold. To not be found, and to not be found attractive. At least to a bidder or buyer. Yet they are still made and chosen in some way, for some surpassing reason beyond their function. [An image is required for every eBay listing, even a test listing with nothing to sell.] And so I'm intrigued by the otherwise invisible images made by otherwise invisible people, which are intended to be seen by no one but themselves and maybe their colleagues, and their bots.
Really I just wanted an excuse to post that [bear+deer=] beer statue picture.
November 16, 2015
Howard Rachofsky bought Felix Gonzalez-Torres' 1991 candy pour, "Untitled" (Rossmore)" in 1998. It consists of green wrapped candies spread on the floor with an ideal weight of 50 lbs. That was presumably the title when Ranbir Singh purchased it in 1991, and when he sold it in 1998, even though the 1997 catalogue raisonne lists it as "Untitled" (L.A.). [Another candy pour from 1991, also with green candies, but an ideal weight of 75 lbs., bears the orphan title "Untitled" (Rossmore II).] Rachofsky loaned his pour to the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, and exhibited in a bathtub of his Richard Meier-designed house.
Rachofsky and his wife donated or pledged the house and much of his collection to the Dallas Museum in 2005-Cindy Rachofsky specifically mentions the Felix piece in this interview-so it's frankly baffling that he sold "Untitled" (L.A.) last week at Christie's, even if it did bring $7.7 million. But DFW's loss is Bentonville's gain.
ArtNEWS reports the buyer of "Untitled" (L.A.) is Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. I would imagine that the politics of the Wal-Mart heir would have pissed off and/or inspired Felix to no end. But after re-reading his 1995 interview with Rob Storr about politics and culture and audience, and how he wanted to operate like a spy, I think he'd see the acquisition of his work by Crystal Bridges as a triumph. He has successfully infiltrated the beating red state heart of America's conservative plutocracy.
Of course, in the 20 years after the artist's death, the cultural terrain has shifted, and if it doesn't exactly end up being the wrong one, the mountain Felix scaled offers views of still higher, more difficult peaks.
"Untitled" (Crystal Bridges) Wal-Mart money (endless supply) dimensions variable ideal weight: 50lbs https://t.co/l185bkLHo5— gregorg (@gregorg) November 16, 2015
And so it occurred to me almost instantly to make another piece, inspired by Walton's "Untitled" (L.A.) acquisition: "Untitled" (Crystal Bridges) consists of Wal-Mart money, free for the taking and endlessly replenished, with an ideal installation weight of 50 lbs. It could be a pour, but it probably works best in Felix's other trademark form, as a stack piece. It looks a bit like "Untitled" (Passport #II), but with cash instead of little booklets.
"Untitled" (Passport #II), 1993
A US banknote weighs just under a gram, so 50 lbs is around 25,000 bills. They should all be of the same denomination, whether it's singles ($25,000) or $100s ($2.5 million), as long as there is an endless supply.
$207 million of Sinaloa drug cartel cash weighed 4,500 lbs, not an ideal weight for the sculpture, but I'll leave that to the owner's discretion.
Since the Walton family only has $147 billion right now, they'll have to manage the installation with an eye on both ROI and replenishment rates. I'm sure they can do it.
image of 1M Hauly from SDR Traveller
I've rebooted Felix works before, but I think the idea for this piece crystallized so immediately because I'd been primed to consider the spatial implications of a million dollars in cash. Just a few days ago, Michael Sippey tweeted about the 1M Hauly, a high-performance duffel bag by SDR Traveller optimized for the secure, discreet transport of $1 million, in 10,000 $100s.
fat v. flat, via SDR Traveller
Turns out used, street, dirty money takes up as much as 40% more space than crisp, fresh bank product, but the 1M Hauly can handle it all. When strapped, 10,000 bills fits into a 20.4 lb cube 18x12x6 inches. So if it were stacked, "Untitled" (Crystal Bridges) could be an 18x18-in square about 10 inches high. It's an adorable scale, domestic, almost intimate, which will provide endless [sic] enjoyment and engagement for museum visitors. As long as they don't get too grabby. And as long as the Waltons don't go broke.
[I haven't exactly asked, but I bet SDR Traveller would be willing to discuss the commission of a custom-sized travel bag for "Untitled" (Crystal Bridges). Interested collectors should get in touch with me for details.]
uncut sheets of new $100 bills at BEP in 2013, image: AP/LM Otero
UPDATE: OR, maybe there is another way. Uncut currency sheets sell for a premium from the Bureau of Printing & Engraving, but they'd really give the piece a Felixian feel. The ideal height for a stack of 32-note sheets like the ones above would be about 775 sheets, about 6 inches. The BEP online store only has 16-note sheets, though, for $1,800 each. See if you can get a volume discount, or a subscription.