Category:scott sforza, wh producer

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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?

July 16, 2016

Sforzian Boardwalk

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Hillary Clinton speaking at the closed Trump Plaza in Atlantic City July 6, 2016, image: philly.com/Tom Gralsh

I missed this while I was out of town, but Hillary Clinton hit a Sforzian jackpot when she gave a campaign speech on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, in front of the closed and failed Trump Plaza Casino.

Carl Icahn owns the building now, and the vestiges of Trump's failure are literally written on the wall, providing a readymade Sforzian backdrop.

Or two. According to Amy Rosenberg's report at philly.com, the Clinton campaign had originally wanted to stage their event a block inland, with the casino's de-Trumped tower in the background, but it would have blocked traffic to Caesar's. So they wedged in to a less optimal but still effective corner of the boardwalk, the ghosts of T-R-U-M-P lingered on the classy, glassy marquee.

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same, this time via Asbury Park Press/USAT/Tom Costello

If you don't count his kneejerk tweets blaming anyone else for his business's failures while crowing about skating out of bankruptcy with a wad of investors' dough, Trump's reaction came Thursday. The Press of Atlantic City reports that the traces of Trump's name were removed "for good" from the boardwalk facade. "Black paint has been applied to cover up any mention to Donald Trump."

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Untitled (Trump Plaza Black) Nos. 1-3, 2016, paint on panel, collection: Trump Entertainment Resorts/Carl Icahn, installation photo via Press of Atlantic City

Actually, from Jack Tomczuk's (or Michael Ein's, I can't tell) photos, the traces of Trump's name were not painted over, but were covered by painted panels. Five black monochromes were affixed to Hillary's Sforzian corner, and to the fenced off boardwalk entrance, where the ghost of Trump's made up crest remains visible but illegible.

The exhibition will remain on view at least through November. I would be stoked if you visit it and post photos.

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Untitled (Trump Plaza Black) Nos. 4 & 5, 2016, paint on panel, each in two parts, collection: Trump Entertainment Resorts/Carl Icahn, installation photo via Press of Atlantic City

Hillary Clinton takes on Trump in A.C. [philly.com]
Faded 'Trump Plaza' removed after Clinton appearance [pressofatlanticcity.com]

June 28, 2016

Sforzian Recycling

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image of yahoo tv via @thegarance

Those who don't build a functioning campaign organization, including media and advance teams, are doomed to recycle 15-year-old Sforzian Backdrop techniques.

Yahoo's Garance Franke-Ruta rightly called this "the most passive-aggressive work of campaign advance" she's ever seen. This extraordinary wide shot of the scene comes from her Yahoo colleague Holly Bailey.

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image via @hollybdc

Alumisource is in Monessen, PA, down the Monongahela from Pittsburgh, but this backdrop is straight out of the early Sforzian playbook. I'm not sure if we're ready for a GWB election renaissance, or, frankly, if that kind of schtick even still works.

June 24, 2016

Play It Where It Lies

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I have tried to avoid the Sforzian analysis of this election. It feels like we've moved, or morphed, or devolved, or fallen, so far beyond, away, from the days of cannily placed powerpoint backdrops.

Sometimes, though, attention must be paid. As when comedian Lee Nelson threw a bucketful of Nazi golf balls at Donald Trump's Scottish golf course press appearance.

Trump, who multiple sources confirm literally studied and embraced the speeches of Adolf Hitler-he kept them on his nightstand-was "surrounded by Nazi golf balls." Nazi golf balls. Nazi. Golf. Balls.

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From The Journal:

After around ten minutes, Trump campaign operatives decided it might be a good idea to start clearing them away - and set about scooping them up with a few of his branded baseball caps.
Make America Great Again Filled With Nazi. Golf Balls.

OH PROTESTER BONUS: Nelson was also the guy who showered corrupt FIFA head Sepp Blatter with money [thejournal.ie]

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"Untitled" (Republican Years), 1992

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"Untitled" (NRA), 1991, collection: Astrup Fearnley Museet

25 years of this.

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Wolfgang Tillmans is worried about the impending vote for the UK to remain in the EU. So he and his studio assistants created a set of posters to encourage people to stay in, and especially to vote, and to register to vote. UK voting registration must be completed by June 7.

After they were released yesterday, I tried to find a printer in the US who could easily handle an A1 (33x24 in, roughly) size. So far, nothing. I need to print them out before the vote, though; if it goes awry, I don't think I'll have the heart to make a memorial set.

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I also tried to find anyplace that can confirm that Wolfgang's parents are Polish and Spanish. He grew up in Germany, and I always understood he was German-in-London.

There are a couple of atmospheric landscapes, and some of the posters are now-classic Tillmans abstraction, but most of them are straight-up text, a new direction for Tillmans' practice. Text are images, though, so it's really not that far afield. The most intriguing poster for me is #24. It's completely blank.

It's probably the one that most closely mirrors my feelings about the EU's right-wing turn lately; I just haven't known what to say. And it boggles my mind that the Britain and Europe of my generation are creating such an existential crisis for themselves.

Read Wolfgang Tillmans' letter and download and circulate the posters [tillmans.co.uk]

UPDATE: So I emailed Wolfgang's studio to find out the story behind the blank poster, and the next day they replaced the pdf file. The new poster bundle includes two new posters, and the monochrome is gone. So now we know. And that original 4.21 pdf is vintage/collectible.

March 20, 2016

Qué Mundo!

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This Reuters photo of Air Force One landing in Havana is excellent, and not something I thought I'd see while I'm still this young. But if I think about it, after seven years, it's not unexpected at all.

h/t Three Photographs from Havana, @whileseated [medium]

October 1, 2015

Elizabeth Warren, Filtered

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I know she's not in the White House rn, but the tasty pixel pattern in this picture of Elizabeth Warren on Talking Points Memo caught my eye this morning. Until I noticed it was on her podium, too. And it's also on the edges of her hair and hands. So it's a Photoshop filter applied with a quick and somewhat dirty mask. Weird.

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TPM doesn't give a photo credit, but I searched up the original. Looks like it was taken Saturday, Sept. 19 at the 2015 Massachusetts Democratic Convention by Dave Roback of The Republican [please, oldest joke in Springfield, I'm sure].

That is what digital projected video looks like in 2015. And anyway, those pixels aren't even pixels; it's the moire pattern from four-color offset printing. Which has been used to approximate visible RGB pixels on a television screen.

Have I already thought about this image more than whoever hacked this thing together, or whoever decided to use it? Or was there a moment of contemplation, a decision, to make an image look more retro? And if so, did it involve someone who's possibly too young to have seen either moire or visible pixels?

Why Wall Street Is Howling Over The Big New Reform Coming Down The Pike [talkingpointsmemo]
Sen. Elizabeth Warren blasts GOP presidential candidates with fiery speech at 2015 Massachusetts Democratic Convention in Springfield [masslive]

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If I had to make a list of photo ops I could never imagine, Michael Heizer standing alongside Pres. Obama and Sen. Harry Reid would be right up there. And yet here we are.

Heizer, along with LACMA director Michael Govan and others, gathered to celebrate the designation of the Basin & Range National Monument, which protects 704,000 acres of Nevada wilderness, ranchland, and Heizer's decades-long project, City, from oil extraction or encroaching development.

Spiral Jetty's on 10 acres. Lightning Field's on a few thousand, plus DIA's bought up 9,000+ surrounding acres to protect the view. With 700K plus a high-powered entourage at the White House, it's as if Heizer has out-Earthworked all the Earthwork artists with the biggest Earthwork on Earth.

[via @RepDinaTitus]

June 26, 2015

Supreme Sforza

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Rainbow White House. Just amazing. I just imagine Frank Kameny suing to get his government job back. [via ap]

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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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