The four-part cyanotype/photogram that is Matson Jones’ masterpiece will be offered for sale in a few days at Christie’s.
Previously known as Jasper Johns Blue Ceiling when it was being offered for a variety of mid-seven-figure prices a few years ago, the work, by Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns is now untitled. The duo made it in 1955 for a window display at Bergdorf Goodman. The design director who hired them, Gene Moore, held onto the prints for several decades, until they were acquired in 1978 by the current owner.
Roberta Bernstein included an illustration of them in the chronology of Johns’ catalogue raisonée (v5, 8.), but not in the works section.
The estimate is $600-800,000 but seriously, who even knows? I just know I want them, and/or I want to see them in a museum somewhere, away from direct sunlight.
Every one was an unexpected and generous delight and a thoughtful and cherished memento, but the hottest Peter Norton Family Christmas Project was the Takashi Murakami figurine, Oval Sitting Atop A Cosmos Ball (Mr. Wink) (2000).
Time goes on. The Norton Family reconfigured and eventually stopped their Christmas Project (I think? Or is it just me?). Some people started flipping their Mr. Winks, but he has been an elf on our shelf for 20 years. And for most of that time, I’ve been low-key trying to listen to the mini-CD inside the flower ball again, and rip it to mp3.
When I got it, I just popped the mini-CD into my Sony Discman Sport, enjoyed the track by zakyumiko, the duo Zak Onpa and Yumiko Ohno, a couple of times, and then carefully put it back. Then in between attempts to get the mini-CD to play in a couple of DVD players, I searched in vain for someone to post this thing as an MP3.
Last summer, Murakami announced he was making a music video of his poem, ‘Let’s Go See the Nuclear Reactor,’ which was set to music by zakyumiko. It’s being shown at the Mori Art Museum, but that’s it, afaik.
Just this spring, during lockdown, I dug the Discman out, ordered a new power adapter for it, in order to play the mini-CD, and found out the problem was not the power.
It is an accretion of a quiet ringtone, some electronic chime, and the ambient sounds around a small water feature. It is very soothing, but also very short, less than 2min of the 15min track. But it is still great. Here is a longer, unrelated snyth session Ohno, Zak, and Jeff Mills performed in 2017 or so.
Now I just need to record my Christian Marclay music box for my plinky throwback ringtone.
This blog will not become a Keith Haring fanboi blog. This blog will not become a Keith Haring fanboi blog. This blog will n–
It’s just that there happen to be interesting Haring-related materials flowing through the auctions at the moment. Like this blanket, which Haring apparently made four of for a Vivienne Westwood fashion show in 1982. It’s screenprinted on both sides, with a little border. At 95×146 cm, it’s more of a lap blanket? Maybe the show was cold? But still, not enough even for the front row, just the collaborators. According to Rago, where this is for sale next month, it was originally given to Ted Muehling, whose jewelry was used in the show.
[UPDATE] Vivienne Westwood expert Leslie Dick notes that this was not crowd swag, but an actual runway look. It was featured in the 1983 Witches Collection as a shawl, or perhaps a wrap. Here’s an image from the show, as archived by TheBlitzKids:
A silkscreen would imply the possibility of more than four, of course, and on media other than blanket. So if you miss this one, maybe there’ll be another chance.
There is not a lot of time to get into this right now, but holy smokes, Cy Twombly painted the backdrop for the local elementary school’s Christmas play in 1953, and no one’s said boo about it except for one intrepid art history undergraduate.
In 2014, the interest of Washington & Lee art history student Sarah I. Nexsen was piqued by an archival photo in Lexington, Virginia’s local newspaper, The News-Gazette. It showed the December 1953 production of The Comet, a Christmas-themed play written by the Rev. Thomas V. Barrett, for the Ann Smith Elementary School. The backdrop was credited to local boy Cy Twombly, and that was all anyone wrote. The backdrop had never been mentioned in Twombly literature. Nexsen wrote about it for her senior thesis, titled, “The Land of the Stars: The Origin of Cy Twombly’s Aesthetic.” An ambitious project, to be sure.
Near as Nexsen can tell, Twombly got the gig while on leave from the Army, over the Christmas break. Twombly’s former art teacher attended the church where Barrett, the playwright, presided.
According to Nexsen’s research, which included interviewing the star of the show herself, The Comet tells the Nativity story from the point of view of a comet which becomes the Star of Bethlehem. But first it travels through The Land of Stars, meeting planets, raindrops, and Mary & Joseph along the way. Twombly’s backdrop depicts this Land of Stars.
The backdrop was in three panels; the largest, in the center, was approximately 7 x 12 feet wide. The stage right panel, showing Saturn, is partially visible in the only known photo; the stage left panel depicting Mars and Neptune is not documented. Nexsen says the backdrop was discarded and destroyed after The Comet‘s single performance on December 19.
We all owe this young scholar a great debt for bringing this massive, lost, early work to light, and for conducting vital, on-the-ground research to learn its history before the march of time robbed us of its witnesses. So let’s just say that it would indeed be amazing if this lost painting proved to be the momentous source for Twombly’s entire practice: his combination of text and graphic; his classical sourcing; his giant scale; his Lexington influences. 1953 was in the middle of Twombly’s emergence: after he and Rauschenberg ran off to Italy together, and showed at Stable Gallery together, and before he moved back to New York, and then on to Italy.
So it could totally be! But I am going to say it’s unlikely. And Twombly’s own apparent jettisoning of this work and any information about it into a black hole means the case is that much harder to make.
And anyway, rather than depicting Roman gods and their symbolic meanings, it seems more likely that Twombly’s painting of The Land of Stars shows stars, constellations, and planets. If I had the time–when I get the time–I feel like it would be possible to locate the star chart or vintage astronomical map that Twombly used as a source.
The constellation diagrams in my instant guess, The Stars: A New Way To See Them, the immediately popular, influential, and accessible beginner astronomy guide by H.A. Rey, the creator of Curious George, which was published in 1952, don’t really match. But whenever I get to recreating this destroyed Twombly, the deep blue night skies of Rey’s book will be as much inspo as the artist’s own blackboard paintings.
Gallerist Stephanie Theodore was there for the unveiling of Wade Guyton’s new election aftermath-themed windows at Bergdorf Goodman. Though it clearly feels like a scaled up version of his #monochrome-on-plywood 2008 edition for Parkett, it also references the matte-black-OSB sculptures he made in 1999, which have since been #destroyed [cf. Guyton OS, 13.]
I bought this Rachel Harrison print from Between Bridges’ 2020 Solidarity cultural organizations fundraiser project this summer because I wanted to help the worthy non-profit I ordered it from. But mostly I hoped that seeing it bigger and in person, I’d be able to figure out what is going on in this image. So far, I’m still stumped.
It is a digital collage of a screenshot, with a crop&drag of one of Harrison’s works. The date and the avi feel like a Photos app interface? I have tried and failed to identify the red menu UI of what looks like a museum, or a gallery guide website: (“Exhibitions”? “Visits”? “Thots”? OK, probably not that last one.)
The drawing, titled, The Classics, is one I recognized right away from Harrison’s show this spring at Greene Naftali. Not that I saw it in person, of course. (Did anybody?) But it’s not just a drawing, but a drawing in pencil, ink, and crayon on an inkjet print–of what looks to be a cropped image of a drawing. That got chopped and overworked again. I think the pink line drawing of a male figure was on the original sketchbook page, and the elaborate female figure was drawn on the print. As Anne Doran notes in the conversation-with-the-artist-slash-press-release, “[T]hese are drawings on photographs of drawings of photographs of sculpture.”
“In the nineteenth century a series of major excavations of Greek and Roman statues were documented by French and British photographers. The relationship of the camera to sculpture goes back to its [photography’s, presumably. -ed.] invention,” Harrison replied.
It [the drawing] was a remediated object from a show that got locked down, re-remediated into an image that was sent out to propagate around the world. As another kind of object.
Anyway, I guess now I’m throwing it [the image of the print] out there, if anyone has any insights, lmk?
Phillips, in recognition of this globally significant moment and in reflection of the ever-relevant and flexible nature of Darren Bader’s work, invite you, and 999 other diverse invitees, to become an active part of the total “site” of an expansive physical exhibition. You are invited to be a “place” in the official installation of a work by Darren Bader, in the location of your choosing, by following the parameters of this exhibition:
Darren Bader Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person? – Clarice Lispector “I know, but there are lots of parts of being a person, you know?” “Yeah, I know”. Anyone who lives, knows, even without knowing, that he or she knows – Clarice Lispector Fortune cookies Overall dimensions vary with installation Original installation: approximately 1,000 fortune cookies
October 21, 2020
The opening of this exhibition is also in honor of and in conjunction with the launch of the
Darren Bader Foundation’s new website
An integral part of the work at the center of this exhibition, Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person? – Clarice Lispector “I know, but there are lots of parts of being a person, you know?” “Yeah, I know”. Anyone who lives, knows, even without knowing, that he or she knows – Clarice Lispector, 2013 (and of many of Bader’s other malleable works), is that the owner has the right to make certain decisions and interpretations of the specific yet open-ended parameters of the work, each time they manifest the work. When lending the work, the owner is thereby temporarily lending to the authorized borrower the owner’s rights and responsibilities to take on these decisions and interpretations, specifically for the length of the loan. This work is for sale in this exhibition courtesy of a private collection. The curator and representative of the authorized agent for this exhibition is Phillips.
CORE TENETS of Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person? – Clarice Lispector “I know, but there are lots of parts of being a person, you know?” “Yeah, I know”. Anyone who lives, knows, even without knowing, that he or she knows – Clarice Lispector, 2013 [and all Bader candy works]: The work can exist in more than one place at a time, as its uniqueness is defined by ownership. An intention of the work is that it can be manifested with ease. When the work is manifest, individuals must be permitted to choose to take pieces from the work. The owner (or authorized borrower) has the right to determine if and how the work is regenerated during the course of an exhibition/installation. The owner (or authorized borrower) has the right to interpret/choose the mode, configuration, and placement of installation for each manifestation.
The work exists even if it is not manifest. A manifestation of the work is only the work if it is installed by the owner or in the context of an authorized loan. An authorized manifestation of the work is the work, and should only be referred to as the work. This work is a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist and the fortune cookies are to be sourced locally by the buyer. Estimate £8,000 – 10,000. [UPDATE: Sold for £7,000, cookies not included.]
But by 2004 Eliasson’s prominence, and the significance of the Jokla damming controversy brought added attention to his examinations of the Icelandic landscape. In May 2005, Morgunblaðið, the largest newspaper in Iceland, published a special standalone issue containing all 48 Jokla photos, plus an essay on place by Doreen Massey.
Later in 2005, Eliasson opened a show at the Kunsthaus Zug titled, “The body as brain.” Eliasson installed copies of the Morgunblaðið Jökluserían issue as wallpaper for the Kunsthaus Bar. The show remained into 2006 as part of “Projekt Sammlung,” or “collection project,” a multi-year collaboration with the innovative institution, “an artistic process in which the viewer, the work and the museum mediate anew with regard to the constitution of reality.”
Though the aluminum dam got built and the river got screwed, and the Projekt Sammlung was successful, but is dormant, The Jokla Series continues to mediate anew with regard to the constitution of reality. An extraordinary photo grid is for sale at Sotheby’s next week, which is titled The Jokla Series.
Its dimensions and framing differ from the The Jokla Series in MoMA’s collection, and each photo, described as c-prints by the auction house, has, not a crease, but a seam down the center.
I think they are the prints from the Morgunblaðið Jökluserían issue–two issues, actually–cut and pieced together, as the wallpaper was, and framed à la Eliasson (except for those mats, obv), by a Danish, not Swiss, framer, who I think even wrote the page numbers on the verso. If they are indeed c-prints (I’m waiting for the condition report*), then they are rephotographed images of the assembled newspaper prints, which is even more extraordinary. Olafurian reality is constituting around me anew as I stare at my screen in awe and admiration. I mean, the framing alone had to cost EUR5000.
The provenance states they came from the artist, and thence by descent, so one degree of separation from the origin/al owner. All of this is happening in the bright light of the art world assembled, at one of our most august mercantile institutions. So if this collection project stays around until the hammer drops, it will indeed be an exceptional work, with an exceptional backstory. And if it doesn’t, well, as glaciers and the rivers that flow from them can sadly attest, things we look to for permanence can suddenly change, or even disappear.
[*next morning update: this lot was withdrawn. so of course now I want to buy it.]
In conjunction with the third volume of his memoirs, Years of Renewal, covering his post-Watergate tenure as both Secretary of State and National Security Adviser in the Nixon and Ford administrations, which was published in 1999, Henry Kissinger created little thank you gifts for his influential friends.
Sterling silver milk pitchers 4.5 inches high, with a machine turned collar and reeded handle were engraved with the book’s title on one side and
THANK YOU LOVE, HENRY
on the other. Their stamp identifies them as the c. 1995 work of smith J.A. Campbell, whose assortment of sterling silver gifts, including engravable silver lids for marmite or Heinz Ketchup, but not these little milk pitchers, are (at present) sold online at The Silver Company.
The Rockefellers’ jug sold for $5,265.
Another example from what is now an edition has appeared in public, in the sale, ending tomorrow, of the personal collection of Mrs. Jayne Wrightsman, the socialite and French furniture and bookbinding connoisseur who was an extremely influential trustee of the Metropolitan Museum, as well as being in Nancy Reagan’s cabinet.
With less than 18 hours to go, Mrs. Wrightsman’s jug is currently at $1,100. [update: it sold for $4,000.]
This edition will trace the strategic social relationships Kissinger cultivated in the New-York-socialite-meets-consultant-elder-statesman-who-eschews-travel-to-certain-Geneva-Convention-signatory-countries phase of his career. Or it might just map to the acknowledgements in his book, which could be the same thing. Either way, just as with the reflections of the lightboxes in the photos of the respective jugs, the circumstances of this work’s making will gradually come into clearer focus.
That Boot Boyz Biz’s flow of ideas and synthesis of meaning and circulation of dialogue could not ultimately be contained within the medium of the t-shirt should surprise no one, not even those who once imagined it infinite.
Last year the ideas of Dziga Vertov via Hito Steyerl, Walter Benjamin, Julia Kristeva, and Susan Sontag were published in Enzo Mari autoprogettazione chair format [their second furniture drop]. You’ll have to do the work of assembly to see the results, but Boot Boyz have made sure the right parts are there, that they’ll fit together, and that it’ll look beautiful when you’re done.
Sedia I [boot-boyz.biz, thanks again, @stottleplex]
While we’re on the subject of writing quickly on matters of significant art that happened in the part about which I had absolutely no idea, please direct your attention to the Boot Boyz Biz, an anonymous bootlegging collective which has, since 2015, been publishing major art and design content, primarily in the medium of deeply researched and highly synthesized, extremely limited edition t-shirts. Which is the only reason, besides my willful neglect of the instagram platform, that I can come up with for my sleeping so hard and so long on them.
Anyway, the t-shirt drops are somehow surpassed only by the non-t-shirt drops, two of which I will highlight here:
One: last summer the Boot Boyz made a Tilted Arc Defense Fund tufted wool rug. I might say it’s more of a mat, but what matters is, it exists at all, unlike the Richard Serra sculpture it evokes, obv. It captures the view from the haters’ offices down to the plaza below, in tufted wool, tastefully tinted to evoke the fundraising poster that Serra and Friends put out.
For the 7 billion-plus of us who did not cop the rug, the sidebar of historical and theoretical research will have to suffice.
For five or so winters, beginning around 2007, Hammons wrapped warmer clothing around a 19th century statue in Brooklyn of a formerly enslaved woman standing at the feet of a sculpture of a much more warmly dressed white abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher.
At least, that’s the photo we see, of the action we know. “I put clothes on the sculptureS.” Where are the others?
How long will it take for us to get it through our heads that we are surrounded by David Hammons’ artworks we don’t even know about, and may only find out about years later, if we’re lucky?
Unless we can scan back through Instagram–2007? We need to look at flickr!–to see if anyone happened upon Hammons’ sculptural caregiving while walking the dog, and happened to take a picture. Some day maybe an algorithm will unearth unseen Hammonses from our global photographic record, like LIDAR mapping ancient cities in the jungle. But for now, we don’t even know who took the one photo we have.
Before Sears scion Lessing Rosenwald donated the copper plate engraved on both sides by Paul Revere to the National Gallery of Art, he had around 24 copies of this Masonic certificate made. One sold in 2004 for a couple of hundred dollars.
But this print was made from the plate in 1954, the year after the National Gallery acquired it. And it came from the Rosenwald Collection, but not until 1980. So I guess Rosenwald wanted one more copy on the way out the door. When you’re a founding benefactor donating 22,000 objects, they let you do it.
Anyway, I want to make some, too. But for the moment, I’d settle for seeing the plate. The drawings are wonky, but the script is absolutely gorgeous.
Jacob Kassay’s silvered paintings appeared in early 2009, “elegantly abused luxury goods” whose distorting mirroring surfaces were instantly desirable to collectors. Then their glinting allure proved irresistible to financial speculators whose only lesson from the recent implosion of the global financial markets was that they’d never face any consequences.
Then and now, Kassay worked through the wave of flipper interest as it crested, crashed, and inevitably moved on to swamp the next young artist’s practice.
The untitled work at the literal center of the Eleven Rivington show comprises three silvered canvases, separated slightly by an unseen rock, resting on a wooden plinth.
According to LA Modern’s provenance, it has changed hands once; the original 2009 buyer (from Florida, save that sales tax!) sold to someone in Los Angeles, who is now selling it.
It is not clear for how much this ur-Kassay changed hands–or when, but it was after trying to sell it for $150k in 2012, and certainly for more than the current estimate. This could be your chance, savvy connoisseur, to acquire a beautiful and historic work of the artist’s, restore balance to the force, and cause someone to lose a hundred thousand dollars, all at once.