Oh brother, I have this giant post mostly written about how Leo Steinberg’s awesome 1997 lecture Encounters With Rauschenberg includes all these references that show that, not only did he recognize the intimate interrelationships between Johns’ and Rauschenberg’s early works, he also identified hints of dialogue, reference, in works made decades later.
And of course, I’m referring to Steinberg’s discussion of The Ancient Incident, the 1981 Combine/sculpture of a pair of lover/chairs pyramided atop some old steps, which is going to be in Gagosian’s Rauschenberg show in Paris next month. [Hold on, unless that’s the bronze replica Rauschenberg made of the sculpture in 2005. I think it may be. Except I just read the title of the image file, so no. 9/14 update: Except I just read the caption on the email announcement of the same show, and sure enough, this is patinated bronze, and, confusingly, is also titled The Ancient Incident (Kabal American Zephyr), but it has a date, 1981-2006, like it’s the same work, except it’s a different one, or. Anyway.]
I was really going to publish it, but it feels a little, I don’t know, sappy, hokey, romantic, even. But not crazy, AFAIK. As I write out these 2.25 paragraphs, I’m starting to wonder if the best way to put the info out there isn’t as an annotated, footnoted, republished version of Encounters With Rauschenberg, which reveals the lecture to actually be a secret, epic poem of the founding of Bob & Jap’s hometown of Zembla. I so totally called it.
But while busily not writing that, then, and worrying my over-conversational voice, over-excited art historical imagination, and my over-reliance on semicolons and footnotes is a sign of my over-doing it on the David Foster Wallace homage front–but see, Maud, my footnotes are from Pale Fire, not Infinite Jest! I don’t think I’m not copying Wallace; I think I’m not copying Nabokov! Nice work in the NYT Mag, btw!–John Powers matter-of-factly produced the greatest greg.org post ever. On his own blog, Star Wars Modern.
It’s all about the connections between previously overlooked satelloon mentions by Arthur C. Clarke and J.G. Ballard and Robert Smithson and Spiral Jetty. And with some steampunk Contact thrown in for free. I bow my head in awe and gratitude, and I look forward to seeing you back here after you’ve finished reading it.
And then I didn’t post it last night because, well, Libya, of course. Did anyone else notice this crazy, masking tape rebel flag behind these doctors treating a pro-Qadaffi soldier? [nyt/ap]
And then I didn’t fix the post because I was interested in Art In America’s report [via rkjd] that several months ago, John Chamberlain and Gerard Malanga quietly settled their lawsuit over the sale of 315 Johns, which Malanga and like a million other people insisted was his work, made of tons of silkscreened Chamberlain portraits as “an homage” to Warhol, but which Chamberlain claimed he had traded for with Warhol, and that Andy, he, and Henry Geldzahler had cooked it up in the first place, which is how Chamberlain managed to get it authenticated–and which he sold for $3 million at Art Basel “to an unidentified collector.” Mhmm.
My favorite part is how the case got resolved “a few weeks before the May 5 opening of Chamberlain’s first show at Gagosian.” Actually, that’s my second favorite part. My favorite part is the awesome quote Malanga’s lawyer Peter Stern gave AiA:
“[T]here has been no retraction of allegations in the complaint and no one has acknowledged that they are in possession of or know the whereabouts of the painting.
Well now. Glad that’s all cleared up.