On Demand

The other night Thomas Demand offhandedly described some of the insane details of the production of Clearing, the massive photograph of a forest which is now built into The Modern at MoMA. The photograph was laminated onto two sheets of architectural safety glass that were so large, they had to use satellite-curing ovens at ESA, the European Space Agency--at night--to fabricate it. When the request for the work, Thomas said, "no one quite knew what they were getting."

[On an irrelevant note, the lifesize set for Clearing happened to be in Demand's studio during a MoMA Jr Associates visit I set up. It was so stunning, the trustees quickly added the studio to their Berlin itinerary, and curator Kynaston McShine suggested the Modern acquire the work. And I still can't get a reservation.]

I mention this--obviously I mention the studio story for self-aggrandizement, but remember the tagline of this site, yo--because not quite knowing what you're getting seems like one of the underlying currents of Demand's work.

Walking through the show, I tried to recall the portentous actual setting that was obscured behind each photograph's generic title: Kitchen was Saddam's, Archive was Riefenstahl's, etc., but I kept remembering them wrong, which made me load all kinds of historical baggage onto each image; turns out only some of the bags actually matched. Barn was Pollock's, not Kaczynski's; the cluttered desk was L. Ron Hubbard's, not Bill Gates'. The Bauhaus-style stairway was from Demand's middle school, but it turns out even he remembered it wrong.

Thomas Demand opens today at MoMA
Michael Kimmelman calls it "hypnotic" [nyt]
No one goes to The Modern; it's too crowded

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.

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first published: March 4, 2005.

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