Destroyed Ellsworth Kelly Floor Painting

OK, I guess it’s clear I was not paying close enough attention when I posted about Ellsworth Kelly’s Red Floor Panel (1992) in 2022. I recognized that Kelly made five floor works. They began in 1990, Matthew Marks wrote, with Yellow Curve, for Portikus and were followed by “two in black, one in blue, and this one in red.” I’d assumed that Glenstone purchased Yellow Curve (1990), but of course, it was later made clear that Kelly did not recreate Portikus’ Yellow Curve, but made it anew as an autonomous work, Yellow Curve (EK 808), 2015, for an identically dimensioned—and purpose-built—space. Which means technically, Kelly made six.

Ellsworth Kelly, Black Curves, 2011, installed at Haus der Kunst, photo: Wilfried Petzi

Red Floor Panel was reconstitutable and not site-specific, and Yellow Curve was not. Which are two potential conditions a floor piece can have. And now while researching Kelly’s 1955 painting Bar, I surfed across the 2011 exhibition, Ellsworth Kelly: Black & White at Haus der Kunst in Münich. For this venue Kelly was commissioned to create a floor panel the Haus called Black Curves [though Artforum called it Two Curves For Floor]. This panel extended 11 meters across a bay of the museum, and was destroyed when the show moved to Wiesbaden.

Ellsworth Kelly, Black Curves, 2011, lithograph, 197 x 261 mm, ed. 100, this ex. 61/100, sold at Neumister, was flipped upside down for schematic effect

It lives now only in proportion, memorialized in the diminutive fundraising edition created for the exhibition. Though with the dimensions and the plan, it feels ripe for recreating; all you need is a space with an 11m hypotenuse.

Previously, related:
Ellsworth Kelly Red Floor Panel (1992)
EK 808: The Making Of

Destroyed Ellsworth Kelly Painting

Ellsworth Kelly wore khakis: 1956 photo in his Broad Street studio, by Onni Saari via IG

Last April during the centennial year of the artist’s birth, photographer Onni Saari posted a 1956 image to Instagram of Ellsworth Kelly in his studio on Broad Street in lower Manhattan. In addition to some tantalizing little works on paper and images stuck into the door frame, three paintings are visible behind him. Counter-clockwise from the bottom they are, Bar (EK87), Red Curves (EK81), and Marblehead (EK IDK?)

The first two, at least, were included in Kelly’s first show at Betty Parsons Gallery in 1956.

Ellsworth Kelly posing in 1955 with Marblehead (left, est 60×40 in. destroyed 1995)
and Red Curves (right, 45×35 in.), photo: IG/ellsworthkellystudio via kundst and voorwerk

In November 2023, the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation posted this 1955 photo of the artist posing with Marblehead and Red Curves on his Broad St rooftop. The caption read, “Ellsworth considered Red Curves to be an epiphany of sorts, leading to many more curves, though the same cannot be said for Marblehead. The black, pulsing blue, and irregular bands made it a favorite with a Betty Parsons dealer [sic], but Ellsworth’s dislike of the composition was so strong that he destroyed it in 1995. ‘One I never cared for,’ a scrupulous Ellsworth wrote in his notes.”

The circumstances around Kelly’s decision to destroy Marblehead after 40 years intrigue me, but in writing this post, I have run out of time to get to the catalogue raisonné to find out what happened.

Previously, related: Destroyed Robert Gober Ellsworth Kelly Painting

Arthur Jafa Is Hard To Find

Arthur Jafa’s Large Array II, 2024, as installed at 52 Walker, who provided the image to ARTnews

Alex Greenberger was not getting the Arthur Jafa love message, on account of all the death. In his ARTnews review of Jafa’s shows, he doesn’t see a point to the en-Blackening and looping of violent scenes from Taxi Driver at Gladstone; nor to Jafa’s concatenation at 52 Walker of Cady Noland-esque image/sculptures “seemingly at random,” fronted by an image of Noland herself:

Those borrowed shots continue outside Picture Unit in the form of an assembly of cutouts, some of which have holes bore through them. These sculptures allude to similar ones by Cady Noland of Patty Hearst (from her Symbionese Liberation Army days). Noland’s portrait, featuring her hands in front of her face, is here appropriated by Jafa. He places her beside an image from 1970 of artist Adrian Piper, performing with a sock stuffed into her mouth. What do Piper and Noland have to do with, say, a black lamb with a red ribbon around its neck or a group of rock musicians? Nothing, except that the images all ended up in Jafa’s archive, as have many others that he has arranged, seemingly at random, in the form of binders.

Greenberger’s experience feels a little wild, ngl, because it does seem closed to what have been central tenets of Jafa’s visual art practice from the jump: his decades-long accumulation into binders of photos, images, clippings, and ephemera that resonate in some way with the lived Black experience and as documentation of a generative Black aesthetic language; the centrality of music to Black—and American and world—culture; and the fundamental decentering of white validation and judgment. Everyone gets to listen in, Jafa has repeatedly said, but he is addressing Black people.

Continue reading “Arthur Jafa Is Hard To Find”

Proposte Monochrome, TGV Orange

The designer and colorist of the TGV, Jacques Cooper, passed away at the age of 93. An industrial and auto designer, Cooper created the distinctive wedge-shaped face of Alstom’s prototype high speed train for SNCF, the TGV-001, in 1972. Cooper picked the orange color. In 1977 a brighter orange, known as SNCF 435, was approved for the livery of the TGV Sud-Est.

TGV Orange col0r sample, Cité du Train, Mulhouse, photo: Aurélien Vret

While memorializing Cooper on Bluesky, artist Aurélien Vret posted a photo of Alstom’s TGV Orange sample, which was on view at SNCF’s rail history museum, Cité du Train, in Mulhouse.

The TGV Orange SCNF 435 livery was retired in the 1990s, but was brought back for a nationwide tour in 2020 for the 40th anniversary of the TGV. Otherwise it lives on in the model train painting community.

Previously, related tag: Rijksoverheid Rood

The Textile Artworks Of The Years Have Entered The Chat

AB Märta Måås-Fjetterström, Marie-Louise Ekman, Untitled, 2002, 202 x 158 cm, selling as lot 325A on 24 Apr 2024 at Bukowski’s Stockholm

In 2001, textilemakers to the King, AB Märta Måås-Fjetterström inaugurated an Art Council to select an artist who would be invited to make the Textile Artwork of The Year. Between 2002 and 2014 (sorry, 2011 and 2013!) MMF managed to make eleven Textile Artworks of The Year . Though some years, as we will soon see, also have an artist’s proof, most of the Textile Artworks of The Year seem to be unique.

The inaugural TAwOTY in 2002, above, was made by provocative Swedish painter, filmmaker, and theater artist Marie Louise Ekman. Her textile depicts a female-coded figure breastfeeding a hovering infant through a full-body costume not unlike those Ekman designed for a 1987 ballet. As it happens, this TAwOTY is being sold at Bukowski’s, which is now the Swedish node in the Bonham’s network. The listing for Ekman’s textile includes all of the artists invited to create a TAwOTY, and notes that most of them are in prestigious public, institutional, and private collections.

In 2009, the 90th anniversary of the MMF studio, the TAwOTY was created by HM Artist/Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, whose artistic practice has been discussed here previously. Titled Kustlandskap [Coastal Landscape], it appears to be an aerial view, perhaps invented, or perhaps of a beloved fjord. 2009 was around the time Margrethe was also working on her film adaptation of De Wilde Svaner, so perhaps this is a prince-turned-swan’s-eye view. This textile’s dimensions and present whereabouts are unknown, but tbh it looks about as big as a doormat.

Olafur Eliasson & AB MMF, The Green Glass Carpet, 2010 Ed. 1+1AP, 200 x 300 cm, being sold as Lot 8 on 25 Apr 2024 at Bonham’s London

The next artist after Her Majesty was Olafur Eliasson. The Green Glass Carpet was produced as Ed. 1 + 1 AP. This is the Ed. 1/1, and it hung in the London outpost of Aquavit until that restaurant closed last fall. The New York connection goes deeper, though. The Green Glass Carpet is based on a photo of The Inner Kaleidoscope (2000) as it was installed in 2000 at Bonakdar Jancou (now Tanya Bonakdar Gallery) in Chelsea.

Olafur Eliasson, The Inner Kaleidoscope, 2000, installed at Bonakdar Jancou in 2000, photo: Oren Slor via

The Green Glass Carpet has dislodged Fog Couch (2018) as one of my top three faorite textile works Olafur has made so far, after the geometric lap blanket he made for NetJets Europe and the multidimensional prayer mats of waffle-knitted grey Icelandic sheep wool he made for Grace Farms in Connecticut. Amazingly it, too, is being sold next week by the Bonham’s network. I am not sure whether I will be bidding.

Oh, Yeah! Hey, Wait: Richard Prince’s Untitled (Kool-Aid)

Richard Prince, Untitled (Kool-Aid), 1983, 20 x 24 in., as published in AiA Mar 1987

A few weeks ago, I got a correction from Jeffrey Rian about which Richard Prince interview of his I was quoting, and I wanted to see what the one I’d missed actually said. It was from the March 1987 issue of Art in America magazine, and Prince’s work was on the cover. There was an interview, an intro article, and copious full-page images of Prince’s work. The print copy I looked at in the National Gallery’s library looked fresh as the day it was bound.

The interview was indeed interesting in unexpected ways, and I’ll get to it in a bit. What jumped out at me, though, was Untitled (Kool-Aid), 1983. It felt unusual, and had I realized why at the time, I would have tried to take a better snapshot of it. #rerephotography

Continue reading “Oh, Yeah! Hey, Wait: Richard Prince’s Untitled (Kool-Aid)”

Wiping The Floor

I am so late to this, but thanks to Christian Alborz Oldham’s superlative assemblage newsletter, I am now completely enthralled by Anna C. Chave’s close reading of Carl Andre’s 2013 Dia retrospective.

Chave’s essay, “Grave Matters: Positioning Carl Andre at Career’s End,” published in the Winter 2014 edition of CAA’s Art Journal, is a revised version of the talk she gave, amazingly, at Dia itself, part of a 2-day symposium. And it is devastating.

Continue reading “Wiping The Floor”

Jonah Freeman Décor Slip at 56 Henry (Actually 105 Henry)

I am so fascinated and pumped for this show. Jonah Freeman just opened Décor Slip at 56 Henry—actually at their annex across the street, 105 Henry—and it looks incredible. The multi-process abstract paintings and storyboard/timeline images remind me a bit of Jeremy Blake’s last show, in concept, but not at all in the realization. I don’t know what the moving image piece is.

But the colors on the walls behind the works are just perfectly off, a reminder that Freeman has spent years since his last gallery show in NYC producing meticulously realized spatial experiences. There’s a mention of Albers in the show’s announcement, but these feel like the colors of that one Mary Pinchot Meyer painting we have visuals on.

Mary Pinchot Meyer, Half Light, 1964, 60 in. dia. (it’s round, btw, not black in the corners), collection: The Smithsonian American Art Museum

Between this and the Christopher Wool show, the white cube may be ready for a theoretical renovation.

Jonah Freeman’s Décor Slip is at 56 Henry through May 24, 2024 [56henry]

David Getsy Talking About Scott Burton’s Performance Art

Speaking of Scott Burton, David Getsy recently posted his December 2023 presentation at Artists Space 0n his Dedalus Foundation Award-winning book, Queer Behavior: Scott Burton and Performance Art, and it is full of fascinating bangers.

This book, 20 years in the making, is somehow the first monograph on Burton, and it sounds full of revelations and new information, based on the artist’s archives and decades of first-person interviews. Burton’s early performances are grounded, Getsy argues, in the queer experience of public and private space, and the examination of and navigation through heteronormative interactions and culture.

“In the Behavior Tableaux what I want people to become aware of is the emotional nature of the number of inches between them.”

A series of performances in museums and at Documenta in the 1970s called Behavior Tableaux were about body language, hidden or discovered communications, and the enactment of power. Getsy explains how they were based in part on street cruising, and the lexicon of movement, gesture, and expression that gay people developed, both to survive and to connect with each other. In less obvious but no less important ways, Burton specified the constrained, limited, and distant spatial experience of the audience, too

David Getsy talking at Artists Space in Dec. 2023 about Scott Burton’s Bronze Chair, 1972/75 [yt]

It was alongside and out of these performances and Burton’s research—both academic and, uh, in the field—that he created his furniture-like sculptures. The first one, Bronze Chair, debuted on the street across from Artists Space in 1975. Before he gets to the furniture, Getsy talks about Burton’s performances and artworks that deal with Carl Andre, Lynda Benglis, and Robert Morris, right in the thick of the 1970’s art world’s complicated dealings with feminism, gay liberation, and macho bullshit. It’s a tantalizing preview of what sounds like an important book.

David Getsy on Queer Behavior: Scott Burton and Performance Art [youtube]
Buy Queer Behavior: Scott Burton and Performance Art from Amazon or UChicago Press
Previously, related: Scott Burton-inspired chair-inspired sculptures by RO/LU
PREVIOUSLY HOW DID I MISS BLOCK OR FORGET THIS: Getsy spoke about Burton’s development of his sculpture and performance as a response and critique to Minimalism and Michael Fried’s critique of it, at the 2011 symposium for Hide/Seek at the National Portrait Gallery, which I attended. And which I blogged about at the time. Oh, blogged about catching two lectures. “Does anyone even read this website?” he yelled into his front-facing camera.

Seeing < – > Making Dropping

1 The “How” of Knowledge
2 Inventory-ing
3 Field of Action – Space for Play

Seeing <-> Making: Room for Thought is a “picture book of philosophy” that aims to “make theory visible” by “reorient[ing] the space of the book” to make theory in our “image-based information age” visible in service of “collective imagination and social action.”

Is that an Angelus Novus I see before me?

I have to use so many quotes because I have been pondering the extraordinary Benjaminian arcade-shaped announcement/object for a couple of months already, and I can barely wrap my head around it what this will actually be. But I am now clear on the existence of a book launch at Triple Canopy in a couple of weeks.

Essays by leading visual culture scholar Susan Buck-Morss are configured into a network for expanded thought by leading t-shirt-as-discourse god Kevin McCaughey (Boot Boyz Biz) and leading who-else-would-put-together-a-book-like-this designer and publisher Adam Michaels (Inventory Press).

4 Visual Studies & Global Imagination
5 The Task
6 Critical Distance

7 The Gift of the Past
8 Class Quilt
9 Seeing Global

These numbered lists are, I believe, the twelve analogic spaces of the book, around which readers will be invited to expand their theoretical fields. I transcribed them from the arcade model.

“Benjamin as Method / PSC” is one of Buck-Morss’ graduate polisci courses at CUNY

10 News From Flowers
11 Aesthetics & Anesthetics
12 Picture-History Laboratory

Other elements of the project, visuals and text appeared in the last Boot Boyz Biz drop, which took place while I was driving, and thus I missed every single thing. It is rare to get a second bite at the BBB cherry, but between a trade book and a launch event with a merch table, I’m making room for thoughtful swag.

In Conclusion, Buffalo AKG Is A Land Of Contrasts

Maybe it’s living on the border, or the multiple additions, but my strongest sense of visiting the Buffalo AKG, the museum formerly known as the Albright-Knox, is of marveling at the things they put next to each other.

By entering through the parking lot and the new Gundlach Greenhouse, I ended up walking backwards, chronologically, through the museum, beginning with a gallery of large paintings made in 2013. Then there was the 90s room, then on back, to the room with this pairing of a Rothko and a Frankenthaler that just felt wild for some reason. But at least I got a picture. The mid-70s pairing of a Susan Rothenberg horse next to a blurry pre-squeegee abstract painting by Gerhard Richter was so unexpected, I forgot to photograph it.

The Coenties Slip room, though, was pleasantly sublime, with Ellsworth Kelly’s 1950s NY NY living across from Agnes Martin’s Tree just like old times. That’s a detail below, obviously; just imagine that extending in infinity.

There were some other nice moments in the permanent collection—the Stanley Whitney retrospective was spectacular, btw. Those little paintings he makes at the end of the day with his leftover paint!

Olafur’s pavilion tree situation was nice, and better than the courtyard it replaced, for sure. Is it worth having to have the Gundlach wing, too? I will defer to the Buffalovians, who did seem pleased with the place.

But the surprise and delight was the Jacob Kassay installation, developed in collaboration with the visually impaired education folks, where he lined the outer edge of the handrail with the letter H in Braille, creating a tactile onomatopoetic evocation of breathing, or sighing, as visitors drag their hand along. It was the perfect opposite of spectacle.

Henry McBride, Palm Treehugger

Florine Stettheimer, Henry McBride on Winslow Homer, c. 1924, 10 1/2 x 8 1/2 in, mixed media (?) and collage (?) on photo reproduction (?), being sold by heirs of Stettheimer’s lawyer Joseph Solomon as lot 35 at Christie’s 18 Apr 2024

I’ve been trying and failing to make sense of this weird little Florine Stettheimer portrait of the art critic Henry McBride. It is one of two Stettheimers being sold this month at Christie’s by the heirs of Joseph Solomon, who executed Stettheimer and her sisters’ wills, and placed most of her artworks and papers in public collections. Except these two?

Continue reading “Henry McBride, Palm Treehugger”

La Boite en Bois en Acrylique

Hiroshi Sugimoto, la Boite en Bois, 2004, ed. 2/35, from Melva Bucksbaum’s 2018 sale at Christie’s

I’ve been a Hiroshi Sugimoto fan for many years now, more or less, though I admit I’m partial to the early hits.

When his fundraising edition for the New Museum came out in 2004, I hesitated and lost the chance, but I haven’t really regretted it too much, until maybe right now.

Each of the 45 examples in Sugimoto’s edition is actually a pair of unique 8×10 negatives of the top and bottom of Tokyo University’s replica of Duchamp’s Large Glass, and unique contact prints of those same negatives. These four objects are sandwiched between two slabs of glass, and set in a wooden box.

I worred, frankly, because I didn’t think prints or negatives should be in contact with the glass like that, or necessarily with each other, either. [They’re facing opposite directions, which gives the work its interesting dark/light vibe.] I also wasn’t sure how to show it. Melva Bucksbaum’s example above, sold at Christie’s in 2018, is how I imagined it: put away in a box.

Sugimoto’s la Boite en Bois (Wooden Box), 2004, 45 x 30 cm without the sweet acrylic mount, being sold as lot 118 in Sotheby’s online photo sale ending 10 Apr 2024

But whoever’s selling ed. 31/35 at Sotheby’s right now has figured it out, at least partially. The bois is gone, and the glass assemblage is pinned into an acrylic frame and base. It’s pretty slick, and already going for more than Bucksbaum’s low-numbered example. My window may be closing again. [update: it closed. $20,320.]

Not Lost Jacob Lawrence Wartime Painting

Jacob Lawrence USCG, USO ‘Show‘ [aka Entertaining The Troops], 1945, watercolor and gouache on paper, 21 1/2 x 29 1/2 in., selling as Lot 36 on 18 April 2024 at Christie’s New York

The last time we had news of pictures from Jacob Lawrence’s wartime service in the US Coast Guard was 2021, when press images of some Coast Guard paintings and installation photos from Lawrence’s MoMA exhibition turned up at Swann Galleries.

Lawrence painted either 17 or 48 paintings while in the Coast Guard; I think 17 are known, including five images that have come to light since Lawrence’s 2000 catalogue raisonné was published and all but three are lost. This turns out to be one of those three.

Though Lawrence wrote U.S.O. ‘Show’ on the back by his signature, this painting of two dancing white ladies surrounded by faceless soldiers has long been shown with the title, Entertaining The Troops. It first showed up at Princeton in 1976; made its way through the Hammer Galleries in 1995; and by 2001 was being shown in local Florida museums, because it was owned by Dr Mark & Irene Kauffman of Sarasota. They did real estate after retiring from orthopedic surgery.

But that’s literally not important now; what is most interesting is that first step in the provenance from United States Coast Guard, Washington DC to the Terry Dintenfass Gallery, New York. How and when did that go down, I wonder? Dintenfass opened her gallery under her own name in 1959, and represented Lawrence for 25 years [The gallery records in the AAA date from 1963-1981.]. Did Lawrence keep some of his Coast Guard paintings himself?

Lot 36, 18 Apr 2024: Jacob Lawrence, USO ‘Show’, est $100-150,000 [update: sold for $88,200] [christies]

Previously, related:
Find The Lawrences: USCG Paintings @ Swann
Wait, How Could There Be Lost Jacob Lawrence Wartime Paintings?

Big Johns

Jasper Johns, Numbers in Color, 1958-59, encaustic and newspaper on canvas, 66 1/2 x 49 1/2, not including frame, collection Buffalo AKG now

Headed to the eclipse, stopped by to see the Big Johns at the Albright-Knox, turns out it was at the Buffalo AKG.

Jasper Johns, Small Numbers in Color, 1959, 10 1/8 x 7 1/8 in., encaustic and collage on wood printing block, collection the artist, photographed in Philadelphia that time

The little version Johns made for himself on the back of a woodblock is probably my favorite Johns of all time.

Previously, very much related: Little Johns