April 2009 Archives


This gorgeous Darren Almond photograph, Infinite Betweens: Becoming Between, Phase 3, of an impossible-to-map landscape covered with Tibetan prayer flags is coming up at Philips in a couple of weeks. It reminded me how quietly strong his work is, and how his underlying interests in time, place, memory, and the human experience of them resonates with me. I just watched his Tate Talk from 2005 which, though it was a good primer on his film work, was pretty thin on insight. Almond is a pretty reticent guy on stage, and except for his discussion of his project of relocating Auschwitz bus stations into the gallery, it's only at the end when someone in the audience asks him about memory that he kind of lights up.

While trying to track down a long, deep-sounding quote from his grandmother, I found Brad Barnes' interview with Almond on Kultureflash, which was apparently conducted the next day:

BB: I think I know what you mean by seeking a "reassurance". Is that the grandfather alluded to in If I had you?

DA: Yes it is. "A much loved man" as carved on his head stone. For me he supplied much of my early field of memory. The terrain of his own life's experiences he passed on as we were very close. The whole notion of travel for instance came from him albeit that he was serving in the army during the WWII he then revisited the towns throughout Belgium, France and Germany after the war and maintained friendships with people he met through the war. During the procedure of trying to make If I had you my grandmother and I shared our feelings that we still had for him and in fact they were feelings generated by memory only so a shared local memory does provide a certain reassurance. I hoped that despite an increment of melancholia produced in If I had you I also hoped that it would provide a certain optimism. I like a statement that was produced to me last night at my talk at the Tate, "the vision for the future is not utopia it is a re-interpreted 'telling' of the now. Memory is not exactly the site of freedom, but the layering of identity and memory is a basis for moving forward. The limit for this is language itself."

Previously from 2002: wow, family, travel, memory, Auschwitz bus stops. I just wanted to add a "Previous Darren Almond mentions" link, but it's all kind of circling back.

Who knew? Tacita Dean writes in the Guardian about her late friend JG Ballard's shared interest in Robert Smithson:

My relationship to Ballard had begun a little earlier, with our mutual interest in the work of the US artist Robert Smithson. In 1997, I tried to find Smithson's famous 1970 earthwork, Spiral Jetty, in the Great Salt Lake of Utah. I had directions faxed to me from the Utah Arts Council, which I supposed had been written by Smithson himself. I only knew what I was looking for from what I could remember of art school lectures: the iconic aerial photograph of the basalt spiral formation unfurling into a lake. In the end, I never found it; it was either submerged at the time, or I wasn't looking in the right place. But the journey had a marked impact on me, and I made a sound work about my attempt to find it. Ballard must have read about it, because he sent me a short text he had written on Smithson, for an exhibition catalogue.

It was the writer, curator and artist Jeremy Millar who became convinced Smithson knew of Ballard's short story, The Voices of Time, before building his jetty. All Smithson's books had been listed after his death in a plane crash in 1973 - and The Voices of Time was among them. The story ends with the scientist Powers building a cement mandala or "gigantic cipher" in the dried-up bed of a salt lake in a place that feels, by description, to be on the very borders of civilisation: a cosmic clock counting down our human time. It is no surprise that it is a copy of The Voices of Time that lies beneath the hand of the sleeping man on the picnic rug in the opening scenes of Powers of Ten, Charles and Ray Eames' classic 1977 film about the relative size of things in the universe.

As it happens, I'm reading Millar's book about Fischli & Weiss right now. And Massimiliano Gioni and the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi are opening a nice retrospective of Dean's work in Milan in a couple of weeks. As soon as my copy of Ballard's just-published interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist arrives, the loop will be complete.

The cosmic clock with Ballard at its core [guardian, thanks stuart]

I'm totally with Andy on this one; you should not embed it; you should watch the new ad for the Honda Insight hybrid on the Vimeo site. The sunrise is spectacular.

Meanwhile, as with the making of videos for the Honda Accord "Cog" spot and the Sony Bravia bouncing balls, I will never cease to be amazed at the unalloyed hubris advertising people display for their own--and their paying clients'--activities.

Honda Insight ad - "Let it Shine" [vimeo via waxy]
The Making of "Let it Shine" [vimeo]

Untitled (Autoprojettazione, 1123 xE/1123 xR), 2004
courtesy kurimanzutto

As I've said before, the first Enzo Mari autoprogettazione furniture I ever saw was by Rirkrit Tiravanija. He had tables and chairs fabricated from polished stainless steel, which his gallery from Mexico City, kurimanzutto, showed at Basel and a couple of other fairs a few years ago.

They weighed a ton and cost a fortune--as furniture, anyway; as sculpture, they seemed like a bargain--but they looked spectacular.

Rirkrit hit a zone in his work then where he was re-creating various examples of modernistic furniture and architecture in mirrored stainless steel; there was a ping pong table; several corner assemblages using three Smithson-esque, non-site mirrors; and an entire chrome pavilion in Bilbao. The effect was to simultaneously aestheticize the original and dematerialize the substantial object on display, turn them into non-objects. Which is kind of ironic, since they're among the most atypically beautiful works the supposedly non-object-oriented [heh] artist has made.

See another picture at kurimanzutto, slide 4 [kurimanzutto.com, image above, too]

Until they start re-enacting Metropolitan Diary anecdotes with sock puppets [OMH! BRB!], the pinnacle of NY Times multimedia achievement is Bill Cunningham's weekly narration of his On The Street fashion photos.

Normally, he lays down the audio back in the office. But this week, he's actually on the street. There's ambient street sound and everything. It's like we're hanging out with him, hearing his subjects exclaim, "How'd you know it was Kansai Yamamoto?"

Could a live, streaming Bill Cunningham channel be far behind?


For the 2002 reissue of his 1974 catalogue, PROPOSTA PER UN'AUTOPROGETTAZIONE , Enzo Mari added "a few technical hints." I love them, especially the quotation marks, even as I prepare to ignore them a little and end up with something less "belle" than it could be:

...Then, from a purely formal (symbolic) and "instructive" point of view, table tops are "attractive" ["belle"] if they are made by putting several small planks together. From a strictly utilitarian point of view you can use plywood or chipboard.

For the same reasons the constructions are "attractive" if they are left rough, with the saw marks, neither planed nor varnished.

I found this slightly obsessive discussion of finishing solid pine furniture to be quite helpful, if a little daunting. But already, it saved me from myself and helped me lift my wood finishing sights beyond the lying corporate shelves of Ace Hardware:
First, however, a warning is needed: there is zero 'truth in advertising' in the finish industry. Absolutely anything can contain absolutely anything, no matter what the label says. There are products out there labelled tung oil that don't have any tung oil whatsoever in them. Many 'tung oil' products depend mostly on phenolic resins. You have to buy from a source that is expert enough to know precisely what is in their products and trustworthy enough to tell you. In Canada, that's Lee Valley, in the USA, Sutherland Welles.
Sounds good to me.

Sure enough, the extremely helpful folks at Sutherland and Welles guided me toward the right product for the project, a table with a top that will see regular use. I expect I'll have enough polymerized tung oil varnish and sealer to give the table a good five coats, if not the 10-12 that Sankey prefers.

Meanwhile, I mapped out each piece to be cut onto the Ivar shelf components with blue tape. I plan to cut everything to length, finish the parts while I can reach all the corners, and then assemble the table. And then give it a last coat or two for good measure.

The wood cost $120, the tung oil, $82.

In its first iteration in 1984-5, The Territory of Art I was described as "a sixteen part series of half-hour radio programs that explored issues of contemporary art and design through commentary, interviews, original drama, and new music from more than 140 artists, designers, performers, composers, and critical thinkers." It was produced by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and curator Julie Lazar was the managing editor.

The first two episodes were hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. The third, titled "The Collectors," contained an interview with Benjamin Buchloh, alas, not by Whoopi Goldberg. Also, Gene Schwartz, Leo Castelli, Count Panza, John Weber, Barbara Rose, some corporate art consultant I don't remember, and David Salle, who didn't say much. Someone, I think it was Weber, contrasted art that collectors buy to challenge themselves with people who just want something "tasteful in the Lily Tomlin sense." Except for that lost-on-me reference--and the implausibility of the idea that anyone might actually want a Schnabel--the discussion could have taken place last year.

Several episodes, including No. 3, are available as mp3 files.

By 1994, when she was on a Pew Fellowships in the Arts panel, Lazar's bio was calling The Territory of Art, by then in its fourth and final iteration, "an ongoing program of commissioned works for radio."

I'm inclined to accept this transformation from program to work, and not just because Lazar curated what is I still consider one of the best museum exhibitions I've ever seen or heard of with the greatest exhibition catalogue I've ever seen, John Cage's "Rolywholyover."

The fifth program of Territory of Art IV was "just to rolywholyover: John Cage in memoriam," written by Klaus Schöning. Though it's nominally an interview with Cage, the program is also a remarkable and entrancing work of art. I bought the CD ten or more years ago, but just unwrapped it this morning to rip into my new iPod. Fortunately for everyone who is not me--which is most of you--MOCA offers the mp3.

If you're in Milano--and after all, why wouldn't you be this time of year? It's Il Salone del Mobile, after all--definitely check out Everyday Life Objects Shop, an experimental retail exhibition of sorts organized by Apartamento Magazine and master curator/shopkeep Andy Beach of Reference Library. It opened tonight and runs through the 28th.

As it happens, I have an object in the Shop, an edition, actually, which I will discuss later after Andy sees fit to unveil it. Suffice it to say that I owe my mom Ann Orton and her sewing guru friend Pauline Richards a tremendous debt of gratitude. And when I need to get them to fabricate the rest of the edition, I'll owe them even more.

Stay tuned.

OK, fine, here's a picture.


Everyday Life Objects Shop
April 20-28, 2009
Via Arena 19
20123 Milano, Italy


"Somebody wants to buy your apartment building!" Oh, how developers long to hear those words again.

Who could know how or when a work of art transmutes into an icon? Andy Warhol may have had some ideas on the topic, but could even he have foreseen how this large, stark painting, made in 1985-6, would spring from his massive oeuvre twenty years after his own death, to become an emblem of an era?

In the year or two before his death, Warhol created the Black & White Series, large- and small-format silkscreen paintings based on vintage ads which he had accumulated in scrapbooks. In a simultaneous exhibition in London and New York in 2002, Larry Gagosian showed the series in full for the first time, just as the Warhol juggernaut was taking off. I remember seeing that market-making show of works so austere and different from "classic" Warhol and feeling like I was on the edge of an art ocean. "What else do they have stored in those warehouses? Are there just entire bodies of unseen work waiting to appear over the horizon when prices are right?"

Somebody Wants To Buy Your Apartment Building! did not come through Gagosian, though. It bears a Leo Castelli inventory sticker, but it didn't come through Castelli, either. Its provenance says it was purchased directly from the Estate by a New York collector. Which means the collector had either gotten there after Leo and before Larry, or that the painting didn't sell in the 2002 show, and it was later bought out of storage.

Either way, in the intervening five years, the Warhol market--and the apartment building market--soared. Somebody Wants To Buy Your Apartment Building! was featured on the cover of the catalogue for Sotheby's contemporary day sale on Feb. 28, 2007. It was the star of a large [387 lots], motley mid-market sale. It had an extensive writeup detailing its significance and history. Its estimate of $750,000-$950,000 was several times higher than the 2nd most expensive lot of the day. Several somebodies wanted to buy Somebody Wants To Buy Your Apartment Building!, and it sold for $964,000.

How times change. Two years and three popped bubbles later [art real estate, finance], the buyer of Somebody Wants To Buy Your Apartment Building! has brought it back at Sotheby's. It will be sold on May 13. The estimate this time around: $400,000-$650,000. Unlike similarly price-chopped apartment buildings, though, at least the painting will sell. The desperate seller has placed no reserve price on it. So it'll go for what it goes for. And we can only hope it's enough to pay off the mortgage.

May 13, 2009, LOT 221: SOLD WITHOUT RESERVE/ ANDY WARHOL/ 1928 - 1987/ SOMEBODY WANTS TO BUY YOUR APARTMENT BUILDING!/ 400,000--600,000 USD UPDATE: SOLD! for $458,500 [sothebys]
Feb. 22, 2007, LOT 22/ ANDY WARHOL 1928-1987/ SOMEBODY WANTS TO BUY YOUR APARTMENT BUILDING!/ 750,000--950,000 USD/ Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 964,000 USD [sothebys.com]

Meanwhile, here's the price floor: Glicee posters of Somebody Wants to Buy Your Apartment Building! are $99-349 on amazon [amazon]

April 17, 2009

Little Big Cremaster

Awesome. YouTube user fluxlaser has created levels in Little Big Planet based on The Cremaster Cycle. So far, there's Cremaster 4 [above] and Cremaster 1 [below], which is tighter. I can't wait to see the mirrored salt flat rodeo in Little Big Cremaster 2. [via waxy]

There's also this level, based on The Order, the commercial release DVD created from Cremaster 3:

way back in 2003: Matthew Bremsen called it in his article, "Matthew Barney vs Donkey Kong

April 17, 2009

On Library Of Dust

He starts out a little twee, and there's a tugging undercurrent of ambivalence, but Andrew Hultkrans' Artforum writeup of an artistic evening at the Angel Orensanz Foundation inspired by David Maisel's Library of Dust is pretty awesome. He totally nails the ending, too, so hard it'd ruin it to quote any of it here.


So I'm finally going to make my Enzo Mari autoprogettazione table from Ikea components. A publicist from Ford had offered a Flex station wagon for a road trip, and last weekend, I took them up on it. Which meant I could bring back the 89-in pieces of wood I'd scoped out. So I did. Next I will cut and finish the pieces. Then I will assemble the table.

These are the last two segments from the lecture I gave at the University of Utah School of Art in 2007, titled Visiting Artist [sic]. They're both about Robert Smithson. The first [above] is about Smithson's own 1972 slideshow lecture at the UofU, "Hotel Palenque," which he also published as an Artforum article, and which his estate eventually sold to the Guggenheim as a multimedia installation piece of art.

I love "Hotel Palenque," and took its irreverent challenge to the orthodoxy of art and art criticism as part of the inspiration for some of my own talk. In preparation for my own lecture, I tracked down some people who were present at Smithson's original lecture, to see what the artist may have said or indicated at the time.

Unlike the Guggenheim, I am deeply unconvinced that the lecture is a work of art per se. But I find it useful asking how and why treat this thing [sic] an artist made/did/said differently depending on whether it is or isn't Art.

The second clip is the hometown favorite, the Spiral Jetty. In 2007, the big questions surrounding the Jetty concerned its recognition as a tourist attraction. The state government decided to do a big cleanup of the industrial detritus and abandoned machinery on Rozel Point [they arbitrarily classified wood and stone structures as "historic," while removing all metal.] And then Smithson's widow Nancy Holt made offhand comments about how it'd be fine with Bob to rebuild the Jetty, because that wasn't the kind of entropy he meant, anyway. So I riffed on what kind of entropy might be best for a once-obscure, once-abandoned, now-popular Earthwork.

All Visiting Artist [sic] posts:
Parts 2 & 3: On Dan Flavin
Parts 4 & 5: On Throwing Art Away
video of Part 6: On Joep van Lieshout, which I apparently didn't post here
Parts 7 & 7 [sic] on Robert Smithson

But it turns out Torqued Ellipses in the rain and at night are as awesome as classic Grace Jones.


On one block of West Robinson Rd West Robinwood Rd in Detroit, all but five of the houses are abandoned. Jim Griffioen took photos of both sides of the street. His massive, stitched together photos are on Sweet Juniper and his flickr stream. I flipped the south side and combined them, a la Ed Ruscha's Every Building On The Sunset Strip.

The Singularity [sweet-juniper]
Previously: Every Building on The Sunset Strip--and then some

Apologies to anyone still living on Robinson St.

Dan has been my main source of Postopolis! LA coverage this year. Design theorist Benjamin Bratton wrapped up the event's discussion with an interesting, twisted bow of a speech. He talked about "Post," but in the sense of Post-/Pre-, not the original Post/Comment the conference's blogger organizers originally imagined.

He hopes we're Post-Bubble, for instance, but isn't quite certain:

Because design was a symbol of the bubble it is also a symbol of the bubble's collapse. Think of OMA's burned out Mandarin Hotel as the anti-Bilbao.


But what also seems clear at least to me, is that very many ways of doing things, of designing things, of consuming things, of consuming design are very likely, to sample Paul Krugman, zombie ideas. Design as money laundering bon-bon. The destiny of the post-Bilbao coke high of Dubai, seems be a psychotic desert ruin.

I hope Jurgen Bey is already working on Murray Moss's pitchfork-proof panic room.

Benjamin H. Bratton (Postopolis! LA) [cityofsound.com]

I didn't realize it at the time, but these two clips about Cary Leibowitz and Joep van Lieshout end up being related. Both artists make work that directly questions the value that the "Art" label imbues to an object. And though Cary comes at it from a position of artist neediness and Joep from defiant bravado, both address the issue of whether an "Art" object should be preserved.

Which is interesting, since I think MoMA threw out the van Lieshouts they commissioned when they built their new building.

And yeah, no, I don't know why the YouTube stills for all my videos are green, either. It's not like I whipped together a faux Flavin in the auditorium or anything.

All Visiting Artist [sic] posts:
Parts 2 & 3: On Dan Flavin
Parts 4 & 5: On Throwing Art Away
video of Part 6: On Joep van Lieshout, which I apparently didn't post here
Parts 7 & 7 [sic] on Robert Smithson

In April 2007, I spoke at the University of Utah as part of their Visiting Artist lecture series.

I was stoked, partly because Robert Smithson had famously spoken at the UofU, too, in 1969; his lecture and slideshow, "Hotel Palenque," became an influential part of Smithson's canon, and it's a personal favorite of mine. After his death, the recording of the lecture declared a work, a "multimedia installation" which has been exhibited in museums and was acquired by the Guggenheim.

I took this somewhat problematic transformation as an inspiration for both my topic and my work. So I rounded up some other examples of how money and attention have impacted contemporary artworks after they have left the artists' studios. Then in homage to the hilariously crappy film version of "Hotel Palenque" shot from the audience [it can be viewed in its wobbly entirety on Ubu, which describes it as a "Bootleg film/ documentation / artwork by Alex Hubbard"] I gave my younger brother my video camera, and told him to just let it roll.

The lesson was that money and the market will have its way with your work anyway, so you might as well prepare for it; so at the end, I told the audience that in order to remove any ambiguity in the future, I was officially declaring the lecture to be a work, my first in what Paul Morrissey described as "the medium of the lecture circuit." So I passed around a stack of signed, numbered certificates of authenticity. 46 people took them.

Anyway, I thought the tape was lost immediately after the lecture, but then this weekend, just after the work's 2-year anniversary, I found it in a bag. So I'm ripping it and posting the various segments of the talk on YouTube.

First up: Parts 2&3, Dan Flavin [I'll post Part 1, my intro, but I can't bring myself to intro it.]

In these two segments, I recapped some of the things I found while writing about Flavin's work for the NY Times in 2005, including how collectors are fetishizing vintage hardware over the artist's preferred newness, and how the Estate has adapted to that demand, as well as to the discontinuation of Flavin's original light bulbs and fixtures.

Future segments will look at The Gates, Cary Liebowitz's work, MoMA and the work of Joep van Lieshout, and changes to Smithson's Palenque and Spiral Jetty. Stay tuned.

All Visiting Artist [sic] posts:
Parts 2 & 3: On Dan Flavin
Parts 4 & 5: On Throwing Art Away
video of Part 6: On Joep van Lieshout, which I apparently didn't post here
Parts 7 & 7 [sic] on Robert Smithson

Previously: notes from my interview with Stephen Flavin, which didn't get to me in time to make the NYT
notes from my interview with Emily Rauh Pulitzer, an early curator and collector of Flavin's work, also not completed in time to make the Times
on visiting Flavin's 2004 retrospective at the NGA

Also: Andy Warhol sent an impostor on a college lecture tour in the West; student reporters from the U of U unmasked him, in three parts, I, II, and III [note: U of U student Michelle Condrat researched the historical unfolding of the Fake Warhol Lecture Scandal]

April 6, 2009

Climate Control [hah]

Seriously, who had the hubris to come up with that phrase? Unbelievable.

The irony, of course, is that early spring and fall are the times of the year when you, the pre-war apartment dweller, realize how little control over your climate you actually have.

It's freakin' cold in here, but not cold enough that the boiler kicks in. The sun warms the place nicely in the day, but now you realize that all these months, you've actually been dependent on the radiators, not the sun, for your comfort.

Last September was the first anniversary of what's now called the Saffron Rebellion, where Burmese monks took to the streets to protest the military government. As a commemoration of that movement, the Stedelijk Museum showed the first of three parts of Indian artist/documentary filmmaker Amar Kanwar's work in progress about the Burmese resistance.

The title of the project is The Torn First Pages, 2004, which is a reference to the private, anonymous rebellion of a bookshop owner named Ko Than Htay, who was imprisoned for tearing out the first page of everything he sold, pages which contained mandatory praise for the junta.

Parts of footage for The Torn First Pages come from Burmese democracy activists, who surreptitiously tape and smuggle their work to Kanwar in India.

Kanwar talks about the work with the Stedelijk curator above:

I felt that everybody who writes, be it a poem, be it a novel, be it a fashion magazine, whatever, in one way or the other is indebted or connected to Ko Than Htay, because he's tearing the first page out from any author. It's not necessarily a specific book. So in a way, I felt that artists of all kinds, writers of all kinds are connected to this. And in many ways what this is all about is your own relationship with authority and your own defiance. Your own need for defiance. Your own articulation. It's not necessarily that this articulation is going to become public or recognized. So in some way, in order to understand Burma, if one can understand Ko Than Htay and this act of tearing the first page, you can understand what's happening in Burma. And if you can understand that, you can understand your own life, regardless of where you are.


The Torn First Pages is about presenting evidence of a terrible series of crimes, evidence of amazing resistance. In a way, it's about saying maybe poetry also has a presence, a validity, in a court of law.


Everything you remember, there's a way to remember. If you remember in a particular way, if you look in a particular way, you're looking only so that it clarifies you in the present. The purpose of clarifying you in the present is only so that you can take a step forward. In that sense, the act of remembering is really the act of moving forward in time.

Longtime readers of greg.org may remember my swooning at Kanwar's work when I saw it at documenta 11 in 2002.

Amar Kanwar- The Torn First Pages (Part I), 5.09.08 - 1.10.08 [stedelink.nl]

April 1, 2009

Demands On Washington


Tyler Green turned his critical shredder on the National Gallery's new group of Thomas Demand photos depicting his life-sized re-creation of the Oval Office:

The result is a photographed stage set of a stage set used by the United States and its presidents to project and wield power. In a way, Demand has found his ideally reflexive subject. As such, if the NGA wanted to own a Demand, it's the perfect suite.

But therein lies the disappointment: Demand is a minor academic conceptualist whose use of specially constructed sets to examine memory and to question photographic truth was long ago wrung dry. Ultimately Demand's Oval Offices look like a kind of illustration -- the exact sort of intentionally temporal decoration a magazine would logically commission to illustrate a story.

I'm not as down on Demand's work as Tyler is, and I think there's more to the questioning of "photographic truth" that he probably does. Demand's works have always seemed to me to be about the construction of photographic likeness or verisimilitude, simulation, which is not at all the same as truth. In no small part, they're about themselves as well, and the deadpan absurdity of their construction.

Sure, the "aha! it's paper!" moment is fleeting at best, but that's no different from any number of visually transformative conceptual artists, whether it's Vic Muniz, James Turrell, Roni Horn, or Charles Ray. It should be a hook, an in to the work, not the end in itself, and I think Thomas clears that hurdle.

And I don't mind that the photos were commissioned by the NY Times Magazine; and his use of the terms "illustration" and "decoration" are needlessly prescriptive and pejorative, especially coming so soon after Tyler's own near-mandate that museums have the responsibility to be pursuing politically charged work. [Hold that thought.]

If there's a problem for me with Demand's Oval Office photos, it's the way their "ideal reflexivity" seems so predictably perfect for the National Gallery. Washington is a city obsessed with itself and its own importance, and I can't imagine how gigantic photos of the epicenter of power could be read here as anything other than adulatory. Actually, it's not the reading so much as the institutional presentation that's the problem.

Because context matters, and taken in the context of much of the Demand's work, I'm not sure if these Oval Office photos are quite the monuments to itself Washington might think they are.


Demand's critical interest in photographs is inseparable from what MoMA curator Roxana Marcoci called, "his reassessment of the narratives of twentieth century history."Unlike the instantly recognizable stage set of the Oval Office, many of Demand's works re-create the generic, banal, unrecognizable sites where uncomfortable History was made: Bill Gates' Harvard dorm room where he hatched his software plans; the fleabag hotel where L. Ron Hubbard wrote Dianetics; Jeffrey Dahmer's apartment hallway; Leni Reifenstahl's personal film archive.


And his reassessment marches right on into the present. Kitchen, 2004 [above], was based on soldiers' snapshots of the compound where Saddam Hussein was captured. Demand's last show in New York, in 2007 consisted of re-creations from the artist's own memory of investigative visits to the cramped offices of Niger's embassy in Rome. The show was titled "Yellowcake," and the embassy was the source of the obviously forged documents claiming that Iraq was seeking to build a nuclear bomb, the evidence that George W. Bush called the "smoking gun."


Are we connecting the dots yet? Demand's Oval Office photos created in the last weeks of the Bush administration are not flat explorations of symbolic power; they're re-creations of the scene of the crime. And now they're hanging in the National Gallery. If we look at Demand's photos and see nothing more than "The Presidential backlot...so familiar -- it's in news photographs nearly every day," the failure of memory is ours.

Acquisition: Thomas Demand's 'Oval Office suite' at NGA [man]
Thomas Demand, "Oval Office," November 25 2008 - January 17 2009, Sprueth Magers [spruethmagers.com]
"Yellowcake," November 3 - December 22 2007 at 303 Gallery [303gallery.com]

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
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about this archive

Posts from April 2009, in reverse chronological order

Older: March 2009

Newer May 2009

recent projects, &c.

Our Guernica Cycle, 2017 –
about/kickstarter | exhibit, 2017

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

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

Chop Shop
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

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

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

TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

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

"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.

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

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