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installation view, "Tell Me What I Mean," at To_____Bridges_____ 11 Sept - 23 Oct. 2016, image: John Garcia

I'm psyched to announce that The Madoff Provenance Project is included in a group show, "Tell Me What I Mean," at To_____Bridges_____ in NYC, which opened Sept 11 and runs through October 23rd, 2016. The show, curated by artist John Garcia, considers the way context and metadata affect the way an artwork is experienced and understood.

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study for MPP-014-KEL, 2016, recto, 12x9 in., ink, pencil, and watercolor on Arches

John was thoughtful and intriguing in his invitation to include the Madoff project, which did not have any obvious physical manifestation. But meeting that challenge, and having the work seen among an interesting group of artists, made me say, "Hell, yeah" pretty quickly. Besides me, the show includes work by Sophie Calle, Sara Cwynar, Robert Heinecken, Rose Marcus, Alex Perweiler, Peter Piller, Michael Bell-Smith, and Colin Snap.

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study for MPP-020-MAT, 2016, recto, 12.875 x 9.25 in., ink, pencil, and marker on Arches

Unsurprising to most, no owner of an authenticated Madoff-provenance artwork has yet agreed to have their work stamped with the "ex collectio MADF" stamp I created. So for this show I made "studies," 1:1 facsimiles of some Madoff works, properly stamped. In their stripped down nothingness, they definitely turned out more Stephen Prina's The Complete Paintings of Manet than Vik Muniz' Verso.

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"Tell Me What I Mean," Installation view, The Madoff Provenance Project, 2014- , image: John Garcia

I also put together a few binders of court data and auction records, which serve as a comprehensive reference to all the artworks in the Madoff Provenance Project. I feel confident that if Mel Bochner could have had Zazzle custom print the binders for Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to be Viewed as Art, he totally would have.

To____Bridges_____ is a year-long project space in the Bronx run by The Still House Group. A second show of photographer Gary Perweiler's 70s and 80s advertising images, recontextualized by his son (and TSHG member) Alex Perweiler, runs concurrently. The space is open by appointment.

To_____Bridges_____ [to-bridges.info]
Ex Collectio: The Bernard Madoff Provenance Project

September 9, 2016

Double Double

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One of them, anyway: Michael Heizer Double Negative, 1969, south side, where the calving of boulders and sediment is becoming significant. image: August 2016, greg.org

There is so much about Sturtevant I don't know, and it amazes me every time I find out something else about her and her art.

For example, have you read Bruce Hainley's book about Sturtevant, Under The Sign of [sic]? Of course you haven't, because if you had, the other week when that New Yorker profile of Michael Heizer came out, ALL you would have been thinking and tweeting and yammering about was Sturtevant's Heizer Double Negative.

I repeat, Sturtevant had a project to repeat Michael Heizer's Double Negative, within months of Double Negative's unveiling, and it was called Heizer Double Negative.

And it would have been NEXT TO Double Negative. Let's read on.

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Untitled (Heart), 1994, via swann

This is a papier mache heart ornament signed by David Hammons, which he gave to Sara Penn in 1994. Penn was the owner of Knobkerry, a Tribeca dealer of African and Asian textiles and home furnishings which Hammons filled with work in January 1995.

Infiltrated might be a better word. Hammons made work by, with, and around Penn's merchandise, combining cultural signifyin objects to create charged puns. [The show was the hook for one of my favorite texts on Hammons' work, "Wreaking Havoc on the Signified", by Coco Fusco in Frieze.

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Untitled (Fly Swatter), 1992, image via swann

Anyway, it looks like Penn accumulated a nice stash of Hammons swag. In 2008 a small African American Flag (1990) and Untitled (Mona Lisa), a little, postcard-size collage from Penn sold at Swann, the NY auction house. The collage is dated 1989 and has "Marry, Christmas David" inscribed on the back. A five-foot long sculpture titled Untitled (Fly Swatter) (1992) sold in 2010. It was called "The World's Most Expensive Fly Swatter?" after blowing out the estimate.

Sounds like the Knobkerry show was a long time coming. Also that David Hammons probably has an off-the-hook Christmas Tree.

Oct 6, 2016 | Lot 168, David Hammons, Untitled (Heart), 1994, est $6-9000 [swanngalleries.com

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I have bought an inordinate amount of stuff from Rob Pruitt's Flea Markets over the years, and never more than since he's moved it to eBay. Still, I missed out on the crazy speculative run-up in the signed birthday panda balloon market in June. Now, like all but five of you, I'm left to wait for them to turn up at Phillips.

August 25, 2016

Untitled (redbox), 2016

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Untitled (redbox), 2016, altered redbox dvd rental kiosk, ratchet nylon web straps, chain, padlock, aluminum tape. installation view via @rgay

Can you claim a work if you have no idea where it is? Writer Roxane Gay snapped this great piece and posted it to Twitter this morning. The web straps immediately made me think of the straps on the previous, Untitled (Shenanigans) piece. There's menace and violence, but it's less political here. More Hollywood. The chains are what really make it for me.

Gay is a professor at Purdue, and that brown brick looks familiar, so maybe this was outside a McDonald's in West Lafayette somewhere. I don't think it'll be up for long, but it's enough for the CV, at least.

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Untitled (Shenanigans), 2016, chainlink fencing, US flags, ratchet tie-down straps, LED strips, Ford F-250 Crew Cab. Installation view: Palm Beach

It seemed so much funnier when Cady Noland did it.

Maybe not funny, but at least it didn't freak you out. Noland's artworks drew from the raw aesthetic landscape of late 20th century built America to shed light on uncomfortable truths about patriotism, violence, commercialism, waste, the American psyche.

But it did it in an art context. Whatever it was, or however dark or unsettling, it was still [just] art. You could walk away from it. Or wake up from it, like a bad dream.

Now there's a white nationalist bigot in Florida trolling Muslims, and protesting Hillary Clinton and her treasonous supporter citizens by building a lock-em-up protest cage in the back of his pickup truck. No voter shenanigans, he says on Twitter: Trump landslide or in the cage ya go.

My instant impulse, or maybe it was a coping mechanism, was to make a Noland reference. Then as I got ready to post this thing here, and declare it a work [as one does around here], I got cold feet. The reality of this person and his anger and hatred and poisonous rhetoric and not-idle threats piled up, and I reconsidered. This is literally not-helping, I feared, it is making-worse.

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But after a couple of days of looking, and thinking, and seeing this guy's gesture/threat circulate, I came to see this as important. Or at least real. Relevant. This bigot's sculptural move was atypical, even perhaps unique, but it is a datapoint in a network, a churning system of political hate. These images are of a physical object manifesting the digital flow of right-wing ideas and imagery across Twitter and Facebook. It's a post-Internet avatar of Trumpist America.

Looking at it, now I wonder: is this how Noland saw, how she read, how she felt, when she made her works? Did she dream of making toxic, dystopian, American flag-draped cages, only to wake up and find the dream was still there? And wasn't even a dream?

Janus Films is releasing the remastered version of Krzysztof Kieślowski's Dekalog in theaters before Criterion releases it on disc. Here is the trailer.

Seeing Dekalog in theaters in the early 1990s was one of the formative cinematic experiences of my life. I may have to do it again. The kids can find their own way back to school.

'Dekalog' Exclusive Trailer: Krzysztof Kieślowski's Magnum Opus Returns To Theaters This Fall [indiewire]
Pre-order Dekalog (The Criterion Collection) for Sept 27 release [amazon]

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Untitled (Gerda Taro Leipzig Monochromes), 2016, Gerda Taro photos, painted wood supports, tar. image: Anne König and Jan Wenzel

On the night of August 3rd, an outdoor installation of 18 photos by Gerda Taro in Leipzig, Germany, was vandalized, painted over with tar? Or aniline black dye? The photos were part of f/stop Leipzig, an annual photography festival, held in early July. Some of the public space components of the festival apparently continued beyond that date.

f/stop curators Anne König and Jan Wenzel included Taro, a pioneering war photographer, because of the confluence of her life, her work, and the city itself. She lived in Leipzig until 1933, when she fled as a Jewish refugee. She met up with another refugee, Robert Capa, in Paris, and they documented the Spanish Civil War together until Taro was killed in 1937. Leipzig is hosting many refugees from the Syrian war right now.

The curators note that effacing the images of refugees by a Jewish photographer with tar is inherently a political act, and they are calling on the city to discuss the implications. The Taro estate, in the form of the International Center for Photography, wants her images back on view in Leipzig.

I agree with all of that, but also wish to recognize the damning bluntness of the blacked out panels. Sometimes redactions and monochromes cannot be let off the hook. Declaring them an artwork of my own is no way of assuring anything, but It feels important that they will be preserved.

The 21 panels include three texts and at least five layouts from LIFE magazine. The bottom eleven were completely blacked out, while the tops of the five tallest appear to have been beyond the easy reach of the unknown redacter. In the event this work does get destroyed, I will try to identify the Taro images under the tar.

update: I'm still thinking this one through a bit.

Pioneering war photographer Gerda Taro's images vandalised in Leipzig [theartnewspaper]
09. August 2016 Auch Gewalt gegen Fotografien ist Gewalt [f-stop-leipzig.de]

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In 1983 Keith Haring painted his [?] Land Rover. He was the first artist-in-residence for the Montreux Jazz Festival, for which he designed a well-known poster.

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One of those Keith Haring Montreux posters, image: galartis.ch

The snaky figures from the poster, along with the words MONTREUX JAZZ, appear on the rear of the military-lookin' 1971 Land Rover Series IIa 109.

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the Haring Land Rover on display at a press event of some kind at Petersen's Auto Museum, with the CH sticker, but minus the Swiss license plate.

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The Swiss license plate above is visible in the photo of Haring mid-way through the painting process.

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The curator at the Petersen does not appear able to process this seemingly basic information. The owner of the car, so far unidentified in the press, offered to show it at the museum through the end of the year. That Kenny Scharf showed up to talk about Haring's car is, I hope, a coincidence.

[UPDATE A COUPLE OF DAYS LATER: I have my guess, based on Haring's account of his later travels to Switzerland. And now I expect the Land Rover was never his to begin with, but a friend/collaborator's.]

Anyway, this is now officially the second coolest art Land Rover in the world, after Donald Judd's. [Thanks Steve for the heads up]

One of a Kind Keith Haring Land Rover Revealed [roverparts.com]
See the 1971 Land Rover painted by Keith Haring at the Petersen Automotive Museum now [scpr.org]

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This is a necklace by Louise Bourgeois. Based on a 1948 design, it was realized in collaboration with Madrid jeweler Chus Burés in 1998, and was produced in silver in an edition of 39. It weighs 374 grams, more than 13 ounces, which is pretty heavy.

It caught my eye this morning when artist Linda Hubbard tweeted about it, partly because it's going around tumblr as a project Bourgeois did for Helmut Lang. And I thought I knew my late 90s Helmut Lang. The necklace itself's only stamped LB, though, and none of the auction listings over the years credit Lang, even in the provenance. A 2008 sale at Tajan in Paris said the necklace is "due to" Lang, and links it to Lang's, Bourgeois' and Jenny Holzer's three-person show in Vienna in 1998. It also compared it to a slave collar.

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acquired in 2010. image: toledo museum

When the Toledo Museum wrote about it this spring, they gave it a title, Shackle Necklace, and slightly earlier dates (1947-48):

Louise Bourgeois designed this necklace in the 1940s as a personal statement against the violence she had witnessed against prisoners during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), who were asphyxiated by shackles of this shape. It was also designed as a comment about the female state, a metaphor for the social, political, and legal constraints of women before the feminist movement.
Which, wow, there is a lot going on there.

Did Bourgeois go to Spain during the war? I don't think so. She was studying at the Beaux Arts and selling Picasso prints to Robert Goldwater, the NYU art historian she'd marry and move to New York with. The war in Spain was obviously hot news, even more so if Bourgeois was working with Picasso. And there was the World's Fair in Paris, of course.

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Here are some antique Spanish shackles from a classified ad site. I see a resemblance. Except these are for feet. This set says it's for horses. Which would technically make these hobbles, right?

grilletes_caballos_milanuncios.jpg

And they're asphyxiating no one. In the absence of more concrete examples or info, the asphyxiation reference makes me think of the garrota or garrote. Is that what Bourgeois's referring to? A prisoner is chained to the seat, and the executioner stands behind him, tightening a flat metal band around his neck-and/or releasing a spring-loaded spike into the base of his skull-until he's dead. The garrote was pretty much the standard method of execution in Spain, around since the Inquisition, and official for 150 years until the Second Republic, when it was abolished. Then Franco reinstated it in 1940. Is this what Mrs Goldwater was protesting? 8-10 years later? By making a necklace which, frankly, doesn't look anything like a garrote?

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Spanish garrote, image from this Italian medieval torture site

In 1947-48, Bourgeois did not have an art career. She'd had one solo show, but she was, as her obit put it, "known to the New York glitterati merely as the charming French lady who appeared at private views on the arm of her American husband" the art historian. If she even got out of the house then. In 1939, thinking she could not get pregnant, the Goldwaters returned to France briefly to adopt a French orphan. Back in the States, they promptly had two more sons in two years. So maybe a necklace patterned after a prisoner's collar or a garotte is just the kind of sculpture a mom trying to work with three boys under foot would make.

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Louise Bourgeois rocking the original necklace in New York in 1948, at lunch with her father Louis. image: LB Studio

So I called the man who made them, Chus Burés. He said the necklace turned up during the preparations for Memoria y Arquitectura, Bourgeois' 1999 exhibition at the Reina Sofia in Madrid, curated by Danielle Tilkin and Jerry Gorovoy. She'd made it for herself, and she wore it.

The curators brought the original to Burés; it was a darkened metal, he said, round and matte. He created the squared shape, in silver, with a satin finish, which Bourgeois liked very much. There was an idea to do a gold version, but it was too expensive.

The five small holes drilled in the piece were for attaching strings (originally) or crystals; Burés designed a set of 14 various crystals that could be swapped out and arranged on the necklace. Despite being Spanish, a Catalan, and having intensive conversations about Spanish culture and literature with Bourgeois, Burés never heard the artist reference the war, or shackles. A couple of years later, Burés made a spider brooch for Bourgeois, in both silver and gold.

As for Helmut Lang, Burés explained that Bourgeois had given a necklace to Lang, and that at some point, several years later, the designer wanted to include it in a runway show. Lang's people asked permission, Burés agreed, there was a press release with proper credits, it was all wonderful. Later a friend spotted the necklace for sale in Lang's boutique in Paris.

There is no way Bourgeois' necklace does not evoke a shackle. But unless something turns up from the artist, any more specific interpretation is just weighing it down.

via @DukeToddIsAlive & @LindaHubbardArt
Nov 2012, Lot 70 Louise Bourgeois, Choker (1999-2003), sold $20,000 [bonhams]

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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

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Social Medium:
artists writing, 2000-2015
Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
ed. by Jennifer Liese
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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
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It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
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TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -
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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" @ apexart, NYC
Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
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HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
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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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