Category:projects

February 26, 2016

Who's Afraid Of Red & Blue?

sandback_install_df_monclova.jpg
Fred Sandback installation at Proyectos Monclova, DF, via @monclova

It's like how when you learn a word you start hearing it everywhere.

sandback_DF_moffit_frieze.jpg
Fred Sandback installation at Monclova via Evan Moffitt for @frieze

I've been soaking in a lot of red and blue lately.

gucci_s-s17_redblue_ann_caruso.jpg
Gucci S/S17, image via ann_caruso's ig

webdriver_torso_screenshot.jpg
Webdriver Torso as found painting system, via

What to do with it? Turn over the decisionmaking to found or chance operations?


Webdriver Torso as found logo system, via

Appropriate? Outsource? Abrogate? Collaborate? Engage? Every strategy has its own context. Or rather, the context is mutable (too).

Thumbnail image for expo67_ masey.jpg
Barnett Newman's Voice of Fire installed in the space it was created for, the US Pavilion at Expo67 in Montreal, image via jack masey's book

I made a repetition of Barnett Newman's Voice of Fire recently, with the help of some excellent painters. It's 18 feet high and 8 feet wide. For now.

sorcerers_apprentice_axe.jpg
Sorcerer's Apprentice, Fantasia, 1940

At Chop Shop at SPRING/BREAK, collectors will reconfigure Newman's red and blues to suit their own compositional and spatial needs. The results might be Newmanesque, or they might be something totally different.

gregallen_study_for_chop_shop_newman_2-6_small.jpg
Study for Chop Shop Newman, 2016

I was psyched to write about it, but now I'm kind of unnerved to see what people will actually do. What if they chop up the whole thing and cart it home? In big pieces or small ones? A lot or a little? What if they do nothing? Alan Solomon called Voice of Fire "virtually unsalable." We shall see, but I think I have solved that problem.

richter_pyramid_rottloff_cr-9.jpg
The Gerhard Richter edition Pyramid, 1966, 92 x 98 cm, image: gerhard-richter.com

In 1966, Gerhard Richter made a small edition titled Pyramid, for a multiples group show in Karlsruhe. Pyramid is a photo printed on treated canvas of a 1964 painting, Small Pyramid, which is itself based on an offset photograph illustrating an encyclopedia entry. In addition to variations in mounting and frames, Richter made each of the 13 prints (ed. 10+3 proofs) unique by altering the exposure time.

richter_cage_grid_i_complete_17296.jpg
Cage Grid I, complete

Richter's made a lot of photo versions of his paintings, but I think this was the only time Richter used photo-on-canvas, and it came to mind a couple of years ago when I was looking at Cage Grid, the only first time Richter used giclée prints.

Those Cage Grids were made for sale at/by Tate Modern during the retrospective, sort of a giant benefit edition. It's a situation artists know well, where the museums and arts institutions who show them ask them to donate works to auction or fund a show. [The corollary is dealers being hit up to fund exhibitions, or the production of new work, which then turns the museum, or the biennale pavilion, into a showroom.]

Anyway, for an extremely successful artist like Richter, the willingness to support the many public exhibitions of his work is probably only surpassed by the eagerness of museums to get in on some of that Richter swag. Fulfilling every request for auction donations or benefit editions could probably consume the artist's entire practice, becoming a distortion or distraction. And so a compartmentalized, systematic approach was needed.

Enter the "facsimile object."

abstraktes_bild_p1_g-r_20259.jpg
P1 "Abstraktes Bild", 2014 "A Diasec mounted chromogenic print of: Abstraktes Bild, [1990,] Catalogue Raisonné 724-4", image: gerhard-richter.com"

Facsimile object is Richter's term for photographic reproductions of Richter's paintings, produced "under Richter's direction and approval," in large, numbered but unsigned editions, which are sold through museum shops to support an exhibition. Since 2014, 13 facsimile objects have been created, all mounted on aluminum, and all but one in editions of 500. That's more than 6,000 objects. They all sold out almost immediately at prices from EUR1,000-1,500. Whatever their status as art, facsimile objects turn out to be a highly efficient mechanism for crowdfunding Richter exhibitions.

Richter's facsimile objects are created by a company called HENI Productions, which was founded by Joe Hage, a lawyer, collector, and Richter confidante. Hage was the force behind the artist's website; he bought half of September; and he produced Cage Grid I. If he's not the COO of Richter Gmbh, he's at least in charge of biz dev.

gr_haggadah_895-10_rel_p2.jpg
P2 "Haggadah", 2014, a 100cm print of a 152cm painting, image: gerhard-richter.com

As actual, signed editions, Cage Grids were a proof of concept; the first batch of official facsimile objects came and went without my noticing. P1 "Abstraktes Bild" , P2 "Haggadah" , and Bouquet (P3) were produced for sale at the Fondation Beyeler's Pictures/Series show. I did pay attention when a P1 came through Sotheby's a couple of months later with a £4-6,000 estimate. Because it sold for £41,250.

The first two Beyeler facsimile object subjects are significant in their own right. Richter used CR 724-4 as the basis for generating his Strip Series, and to produce a set of tapestries. Haggadah, CR 895-10, is a much-shown, much-reproduced 2006 squeegee painting that appears on the frontispiece of Tate's Panorama catalogue, and in an atypically large set of detail photos on the artist's website.

Gerhard_Richter_P10_2.jpg
P10 "Bagdad", 2015, image: serpentine galleries

From there things get merch-y pretty quick. P3 is a 1:1 facsimile of Bouquet (2009), a small, blurred painting of flowers that's been overpainted with a squeegee. P4 - P7 are slightly enlarged pictures of the enamel-on-glass Flow series.

P8 - P11, meanwhile, were pictures of more enamel-on-glass for The Serpentine, which sold them all out at £1,500/each, thanks in no small part to vigorous flipping of P1 - P3, and the entrance of seasoned Banksy, Hirst, and Murakami print investors into the market. I think we've found the level of the room.

Despite the best laid terms & conditions of The Serpentine's shop [pdf], all of these facsimile objects are being flipped constantly, in every contemporary auction, and on every online art sales platform. They're the Richter plastic microbeads in the secondary market ocean. In almost every case, they're presented as artworks, editions, and the description is entirely of the work depicted. For most art functions, especially shopping, these objects do indeed operate as perfect facsimiles.

And that fascinates me.

I was kind of obsessed with Richter's facsimile objects last year. I was parsing the relationships between the object and its subject, the information around it, and its viewers, and ultimately, between the object and the artist. Whoever that might be. And then I put them aside, only to find, now, that they got even more interesting. Facsimile objects now have their own category on Richter's website: Prints. The website text is slightly different than the object labels: "A Diasec mounted chromogenic print of: Abstraktes Bild" vs "A facsimile object of: / Gerhard Richter/ Abstraktes Bild," for example.

These are not just facsimiles of Richter; they are by him as well.

richter_p12_annunciation_after_titian_125x200_20270.jpg
P12 "Annunciation after Titian", 2015, 125 x 200 cm facsimile object, image: gerhard-richter.com

The next objects seem to bear out the artist's interest in exploring the nature of the gift shop souvenir. P12 "Annunciation after Titian" is a full-scale facsimile object of the iconic blur painting which Richter made after a postcard he picked up in Venice. [This Annunciation, now at the Hirshhorn, was reunited with the artist's other four Annunciation paintings for the first time since 1973 in the Fondation Beyeler show.] Though they're still unsigned, these 125x200cm objects number only 50, "+ 3 A.P.", whatever that means in this context.

Which brings me back to the pyramid. The Thomas Kinkade Editions Pyramid, devised by the late artist's company to explain the auratic and financial calculations of the various facsimile objects on offer. Because I think it's time someone make one for Richter.

kinkade_editions_pyramid_blank.jpg
Huh, this adds up to 105%.

Richter told an interviewer at the time he made the Annunciations, "I wanted to trace him as precisely as possible, maybe because I wanted to own such a beautiful Titian...[laughs]" Exact replicas to sate the thirst for an otherwise unobtainable masterpiece? It turns out he's been making facsimile objects all along.

February 14, 2016

Artificial Tuft Of Grass

Dürer_Great_Piece_of_Turf_facsimile.jpg
Would you believe me if I told you this was Dürer's Great Piece Of Turf and not an altered jpg?

In a fascinating and frustrating essay on aeon, art historian Noah Charney tries to very diplomatically address the fact that major museums are displaying reproductions of major works on paper by the likes of Egon Schiele and Albrecht Dürer. The museums often disclose this non-trivial fact very obliquely, or not at all:

That evening, art forgery was the subject of conversation in the museum's stylish black marble restaurant. The patrons of the Leopold lamented that they could show their best Schiele drawings (the ones that drew pilgrims) only for a few months at a time. The rest of the time they were in darkened storage, to minimise their exposure to light, and reproductions were displayed in their place. Someone from the Albertina sympathised. She explained that Dürer's marvellous watercolours, Young Hare and Tuft of Grass, are shown to the public only for three-month periods every few years. Otherwise they reside in temperature-, light- and humidity-controlled Solander boxes in storage. Had I had the chance to see them?

Indeed I had, and while I had been suspicious that something wasn't quite right about them, I would be flattering myself to say that I immediately knew they were reproductions. Today's printing technologies make it difficult to distinguish high-quality facsimiles from originals, at least not without taking them out of the frame and examining the back (which holds a wealth of clues about an object's age and provenance), or looking at the surface in detail, without the interference of protective glass. In an intentionally shadowy alcove I could sense that something was off, but not exactly what.

"Three months every few years"? Did the Albertina leave the reproductions up when they loaned the originals to the National Gallery in 2013? Wouldn't it have made more sense to just loan the reproductions, and let the originals rest in safety?

I wish Charney would have brought more contemporary notions of reproduction to bear here, beyond a namecheck of Benjamin. And the aeon context doesn't help, teeing up with a clickbaity question "Is there a place for fakery in art galleries and museums?" and soliciting comments with a moot one: "When it comes to art, can a reproduction stand for the original?" When some of the world's leading museums swap facsimiles as a matter of course, the answer is obviously yes. I'd just like to find out more about how they do it.

Is there a place for fakery in art galleries and museums? [aeon.co]
Previously: The Great Piece of Merch

malekis_abstraktes_bild_20707.jpg

A Gerhard Richter squeegee painting is coming up for auction in February. It is CR:725-4 fourth in a series of five large paintings [225x200 cm] made in 1990, a very busy squeegee year. From The Art Newspaper:

"The years 1989 and 1990 are the most sought-after in Richter's works," says Isabelle Paagman, Sotheby's senior specialist, contemporary art. "During this time he really embraces the squeegee technique in his abstract paintings. More than half of Richter's works from that period are in museums."

Paagman says his use of grey in Abstraktes Bild also makes it highly sought after. Grey is of particular importance for Richter; in a 2004 interview he described it as "the ideal colour for indifference, fence-sitting, keeping quiet, despair".

I've been looking at these late 80s and early 90s squeegee paintings a lot lately and am intrigued by this kind of financial sifting. Equally interesting is the use of indifference, fence-sitting, keeping quiet, and despair as record-breaking selling points. I hope it sells for £100 million.

Abstraktes Bild CR:725-4, 1990, 225x200cm [gerhard-richter.com]
Gerhard Richter painting being auctioned by Malekis could topple record [theartnewspaper.com]
A 2004 interview with Jan Thorn-Prikker that doesn't include this quote was published in the NYT. [nyt]

January 15, 2016

Dust Breeding (Bull), 2016 -

untitled_dust_breeding_bull_2016.jpg
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.

dust_breeding_contact_print_1920.jpg
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.

moma_Whisper-Piece-selections.jpg
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!

temkin_duchamp_100th_periscope.jpg

[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.)

January 5, 2016

Untitled (Re: Graham), 2016

Prince_New_Portraits_2014_976_Inst_rastajay92.jpg
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.

donald_graham_rasta_print_20x24.jpg
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.

untitled_canal_zinian.jpg
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.

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.

kelly_david_herbert_glafira_104-1.jpg

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.

warhol_poster_glafira_142-1.jpg

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.

warhol_galerie_thomas_1-2097326.jpg

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

talamon_hammons_slauson_studio_robertstilton.jpg
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.

gabriel_orozco_waiting_chairs.jpg
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.

joan_collins_toile-de-jouy.jpg
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)

Beer statue TEST - DO NOT BUY.JPG
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.

TEST LISTING ONLY - Please Do NOT Bid_006_4.GIF
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.

NJB PADEBAY test auction do not bid:buy Track-1.jpg

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.

eBay Test Listing prints for sale, only through Art Basel Miami, though [ebay]

Previously, all eBay Test Prints-related posts, in chronological order:
7 March 15: Untitled (DO NOT BID OR BUY)
18 March 15: Proposte monocrome, ebay, rose
16 April 15: DO NOT BID OR BUY Meets DO NOT LIST OR SELL [includes CR]
7 May 15: eBay Test Listings, Reviewed
30 July 16: New eBay Test Listings Prints
10 September 15: Prince & Prints at Internet Yami-Ichi 9/12

felix_g-t_untitled-la_dma.jpg
"Untitled" (L.A.), FKA "Untitled" (Rossmore) image via christies

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.

felix_g-t_rachofsky_tub_aduffie26-small.jpg
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, "Untitled" (L.A.), 1991, as installed in Howard Rachofsky's tub, image by Andrea Duffie via forthworthanewperspective

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.

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.

felix_g-t_Untitled_Passport_II.jpg
"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.

sinaloa_cash_207mm_doj.jpg
$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.

1M_Hauly_SDR_Traveller_bag.jpg
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.

1M_Hauly_SDR_Traveller_dirty_money.jpg
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.]

palette_of_uncut_100s_ap_otero.jpg
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.

Previously: On Politics and Art
suddenly related: "Untitled" (Orpheus, Twice), 2012

Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 43 Next

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: projects

recent projects, &c.


pm_social_medium_recent_proj_160x124.jpg
Social Medium:
artists writing, 2000-2015
Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
ed. by Jennifer Liese
buy, $28

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

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

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

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

therealhennessy_tweet_sidebar.jpg
TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -
about

sop_red_gregorg.jpg
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

weeksville_echo_sidebar.jpg
"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.


drp_04_gregorg_sidebar.jpg
Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

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

archives