WilliWear Showroom by SITE, 1982-87

Screenshot of SITE’s WillieWear Showroom and a building they scavenged, from James Wines’ GSD presentation. photos: probably Andreas Sterzing

SITE founder James Wines spoke at Harvard GSD last night for the first–but hopefully not last–time in his 90 years. [It was great, and available online. s/o Alexandra Lange]

Though SITE is most frequently brought up in an architectural context for their BEST Products stores, a project that jumped out at me from Wines’ talk was the 38th Street showroom he and SITE partner Alison Sky created for WilliWear, the groundbreaking ’80s street fashion label of designer Willi Smith. SITE and Smith both had a love for found materials, salvage, junk, and the fabric of the city. Wines talked about how Smith took him on inspo trips to seedy gay clubs on the West Side, and then they’d jack construction material, hardware, plumbing, fencing, bricks, you name it, which ended up artfully installed in the showroom.

Those do look like shackles, but perhaps they’re just abandoned stevedore gear from the piers? Screenshot of a model in SITE’s WilliWear showroom, from James Wines’ GSD talk

SITE’s simple genius was to #monochrome it all out, painting everything a highly aesthetic, and flattering backdrop grey. A runway rulebreaker, Smith used the showroom for fashion shows, too, which, Wines giddily announced, included much nudity.

Screenshot, ibid.

SITE has used the monochrome strategy in other contexts, to great effect; Wines mentioned how it helps make the public notice each other, and to look good to each other. He didn’t mention Warhol, though, or the Silver Factory, which had a similar effect almost twenty years earlier.

And he didn’t mention if a young Cady Noland worked as an intern at WilliWear, or as a fashion reporter cutting her chops covering these performance art-like shows. But this urban hardwarescape is definitely putting off a Nolandian vibe, which is something I’d not considered before.

Cady Noland, The Clip-on Method, Summer 2021 exhibition at Galerie Daniel Buchholz

Wise also didn’t mention SITE’s design for the Willi Smith retrospective at the Cooper Hewitt. Which, the much-anticipated show opened, haplessly, at the beginning of March 2020 and existed–I can’t say it was open or closed–until the end of 2021. I can’t find any photos; maybe no one saw it in person?

He did mention Rauschenberg as an American Arte Poverist and an inspiration, which Hilton Als had just mentioned, too, in his review of the JAM show at MoMA: “if there is a Black aesthetic it’s about making do, and using what little you have to express who you are.” JAM was Smith’s era, but it’s not clear if it was Smith’s jam; there don’t seem to be any mentions of JAM or Linda Goode Bryant in the Willi Smith Community Archive (yet).

Screenshot of Willi Smith’s office by SITE, featuring what is now called the De-Arch Desk, made of brick, mortar, paint, and glass, from James Wines’ GSD presentation

I did not see the Willi Smith desk turn up in Miami last year. Wines recreated the pile of scavenged bricks and glasstop desk from Smith’s office for Friedman Benda. It is/was available in an edition of 10, though I think he’d respect a bootleg. If you want to head out to a construction site tonight, I’ll bring the car around.

Margaret McCurry Lectureship in the Design Arts: James Wines [harvard.edu]
SITE site [sitenewyork]
Willi Smith: Street Couture [cooperhewitt.org]

No Title, Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, No Title, 1989, offset print on pale blue? paper, framed, image via Doyle

Red Canoe 1987 Paris 1985 Harry the Dog 1983 Blue Lake 1987 Interferon 1989 Ross 1984

We’ve been here before. As a diptych stack by the artist once endlessly put it, “Somewhere better than this place/ Nowhere better than this place”.

Doyle is offering a work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres that threads every conceptual needle. It is an edition. From an endlessly replenished stack. It’s in the catalogue raisonée, but not as a work.

Continue reading “No Title, Felix Gonzalez-Torres”

An Artist’s Maze Is His Castle

Tony Smith, The Maze, 1967, Aspen Magazine 5+6

Tony Smith created The Maze for Schemata 7, a 1967 exhibition at Finch College Museum, which was located in a series of townhouses on East 78th Street between Madison & Park. The premise of the show was what we’d consider site-specific or installation art. Smith’s schematic, as seen above, showed four rectangular sculptural elements of black plywood (or metal, if you had budget) whose dimensions related both to each other and their spacing, and to the space housing the sculpture.

That didn’t last long. Also in 1967, Smith contributed a cardboard maquette of The Maze, plus permission to build it, to Brian O’Doherty’s double issue of Aspen Magazine. When Matthew Marks realized it in black steel in LA in 2013, Maze (or Maze, (no The)) was floating free, like a Dashcon ball pit, in a cavernous concrete gallery space. Which troubled me for a hot minute before I proposed turning The Maze into the art world’s awesomest wardrobe, bar, workspace furniture collection.

Tony Smith, The Castle, 1962-65, 11×8.5 in., ink on graph paper, the menil collection

I needn’t have been so concerned. While rummaging around the Menil Collection’s site last night, I found a drawing, dated 1962-65, for a very similar-looking Tony Smith sculpture called The Castle. Similar/identical in one sense–that they’re both four forms installed in the same format–but of course, different in every other sense, of the dimensions, the interrelationships, the voids, and the spatial experience. And with the caveat, of course, that some of those things persist in realizations of (The) Maze, and some don’t.

It seems like The Castle was never realized, or even developed to the state where it was considered an unrealized sculpture. Except for the inspiration it probably provided to the artist when he was formulating The Maze.

The Castle [menil.org]
Previously, related: The Maze (1967/XXXX), Tony Smith
The Maze Collection
Untitled (Boxwood Maze), 1967/2017

Walter De Maria, Small Landscape

Walter de Maria, Small Landscape, 1965-68, stainless steel, textile, graphite on paper, 13 x 13 x 13 in., Menil Collection

The opening at the Menil of an exhibition of Walter de Maria is notable partly because it’s the first US museum retrospective of the artist’s work, but also it is drawn entirely from the Menil’s own extensive collection. There is a veritable landscape of work, and all the attention’s been focused on a couple of square kilometers’ worth.

Here is a small square of the landscape that caught my eye. Actually, a small cube of a landscape, a stainless steel sculpture and drawing combo called Small Landscape. It’s from 1963-65, and the Menil only acquired it a couple of years ago. The images of it are rather inscrutable, as is the official description.

Walter de Maria, Small Landscape, does not feel very TV-ish to me, tbqh, more like a box set. image: Menil Collection

Fortunately, Prof. Anna Lovatt discussed the work a few months ago in her Research Fellow Lecture at the Menil Drawing Institute. She prefaced it with some drawings de Maria made of TV set-like boxes with beams or rays emanating from them, which casts a certain glow on Small Landscape‘s form. It is a cubic 13-inch box of polished stainless steel, lined with black velvet, which holds eight 8.5 x 11-inch drawings in steel frames. SMALL LANDSCAPE is engraved on the sliding lid/face.

The drawings are extremely difficult to see, even in person, Dr. Lovatt explains; there is a single faint word written at the center of each sheet:


Together they form a landscape. I had to listen several times because I originally assumed she said GRASS. Glass’s role in a landscape is to shape and mediate it. A landscape is formed by being seen, whether through a window, or through the contemplation of a list of its constituent elements. Or through a screen, which resonates with Dr. Lovatt’s larger discussion of the relationship of drawing and television.

Walter de Maria, Silver Portrait of Dorian Gray, 1965, installed at the Prada Foundation Venice in 2011, image: @fabyab

But Small Landscape obviously also relates to other bodies of de Maria’s work from the early 60s. It was a moment when de Maria was making sculptures of polished stainless steel with the financial backing of Robert Scull. In 1965 he made Scull a mirror of silvered steel in a velvet frame and drapery titled, Silver Portrait of Dorian Gray, which the collector was permitted to polish back to perfection whenever he decided the natural oxidation had gotten too dark.

Walter de Maria, New York Eats Shit, 1970, graphite on paper, 39.5 x 59 in., image via blittman

The hard to read text on paper also calls to mind another de Maria landscape series, [City name] Eats Shit [above], which was replicated almost immediately by Sturtevant as [City name] is Shit, which she showed at the Reese Palley Gallery in October 1971.

What sticks out from all this is how a decent number of people in the New York and European art worlds knew what de Maria was working on; it’s only now, when his other work has been crowded out of mind by his land art, that we need a refresher. Fortunately, Gagosian has just released a 476-page monograph to finally share de Maria’s complete history with the public. It sells for $200.

Supremely Funny

A couple of weeks ago the folks at ARTnews asked me to cover the hearing at the Supreme Court of the first major fair use case to reach that corrupted body in almost 30 years. The Warhol Foundation–which, as the sidebar notes, had once, in collaboration with Creative Time, given me an Art Writers Grant–had pre-emptively sued for fair use of a photo of Prince taken by Lynn Goldsmith.

Somewhat surprisingly, at least to the Warhol folks, Goldsmith won on appeal, and the case now could threaten the entire Warholian project. [Though frankly, since he actually sewed up the rights to the images he screenprinted after the Flowers settlement, Warhol’s project is probably pretty safe, it’s actually the entirety of the pre-existing content re-using creative world that’s at risk.]

The article is there, go read it, I was psyched and fascinated to go, even if this country hasn’t seen a Supreme Court this problematic since Dred Scott. [And it only got worse since the Warhol Foundation started its lawsuit.]

But the point is, I was there, in person, in the press box, sitting behind Nina Totenberg, when Clarence Thomas made a hypothetical about being a Prince fan in the 80s, which caused laughter to break the enforced silence of the gallery. And I was there when his seatmate, Justice Sotomayor, asked, “but no longer?” which brought more laughter. To which Thomas replied, after a beat, “Only on Thursday nights.” Which brought even more laughter. This is, I was informed by reporters on the SCOTUS beat, very much NOT how things normally go.

So this LLOL anecdote led the breaking news coverage of the hearing. It was the first excerpt published by C-SPAN when they uploaded the archived audio feed. And it was the opening anecdote of the in-depth analysis that just dropped in the New York Review of Books. Except the role of Thomas’s straight man was credited to Justice Elena Kagan. At first I thought this was the NYRB’s error, but the official preliminary transcript of the hearing says the same thing:

JUSTICE THOMAS: The — let’s say that I’m both a Prince fan, which I was in the ’80s, and —

JUSTICE KAGAN: No longer? (Laughter.)
JUSTICE THOMAS: Well — (Laughter.)
JUSTICE THOMAS: — so only on

Thursday night. (Laughter.)

Warhol v. Goldsmith, 21-869, p.42

What to do? I have emailed the Supreme Court with this correction, but it is unexpectedly unsettling. I was 100% certain of my experience in that room, but I have begun to doubt myself. Sotomayor’s head was turned away from me towards Thomas, seated on her left, when she made the comment. Which she did, right? They had the interaction amidst the shocked laughter, not Kagan calling out from five seats away?

I did not include this portion of the questioning in my report, though I did reference the substance of Thomas’s rather bombastic challenge to the Warhol Foundation’s lawyer. Thomas is credibly accused of sexual harassment by multiple former co-workers, though only one was called to testify in his confirmation hearing. In a moment of journalistic folly, I actually emailed her to ask if she had any recollection of Thomas being a Prince fan, since her years working alongside Thomas at his government job coincided almost exactly with the release of 1999, and she had left before Purple Rain. I emailed a few minutes later apologizing and telling her to ignore my request.

Anyway, also, Thomas’s wife is documented as a leading organizer of a coordinated attempt to overturn a fair election and seize control of the government, and he is actively ruling on this crisis in which he is fully implicated to both further it and to shield her from any consequence. And he is facilitating an entire cascade of ideologically driven extremist rulings by an illegitimately seated court majority. He’s a clear and present danger to the republic who I did not feel inclined to normalize by highlighting his standup routine.

And here I sit, trying to correct the record of one of the least consequential moments of the hearing, and the Court. Except that it is also perfectly illustrative of the unaccountable comfort and ease Thomas feels as he goes about his business of seizing power.

In a Tense Supreme Court Hearing, Warhol Foundation Lawyers Fight Conservative Justices on the Meaning of Fair Use [artnews]

Just Dropped: Édouard Manet Facsimile Objects (M2) & (M3)

Édouard Manet Facsimile Objects (M2) “Bob” & (M3) “Souki”, 2022, 27 x 21 cm and 33 x 25 cm, respectively, dye sublimation ink on high-gloss aluminum panel, (Handmade India ink on Arches signed, numbered, and stamped Certificate of Authenticity not shown)

The time-limited edition is now. Wouldn’t it be ironic if you couldn’t see Manet’s “Minnay” in Paris last year because of COVID, and you don’t get to see Manet’s “Bob” and “Donki” (sic) in New York this year because you went straight to London from Paris? Is that how irony works?

Anyway, the Getty Manets go on view at Christie’s this morning. The Getty Manet Facsimile Object Diptych goes on order now. They are priced at 0.1% of the combined estimated reserve price of the Getty’s Manets. After/if “Bob” sells on the 20th, ÉMFO (M3) “Souki” will remain available until “Donki” (sic) sells on the 21st. [If you’re a connoisseurial cabal planning to break up a set from the get-go, I’ll let History judge you, but do let me know, since otherwise, they will come in a custom, diptych portfolio.]

Simulated Facsimile Object: Édouard Manet Facsimile Object (M2) “Bob” as it would look installed on the c. 1965 Angelo Lelii (attr.) Arredoluce easel floor lamp on sale at Wright20 at the moment

People display their Facsimile Objects in many ways. Some hang them straight on the wall. Some on a little shelf. Or a little easel. Some frame them. An option I’ve never seen but suddenly want is to install them on Angelo Lelii’s elegant bronze Arredoluce easel floor lamps. There’s one (attr.) at Wright20 right now for $5-7,000, with no reserve and a $100 opening bid, which is enticing. Facsimile Object collectors will need to acquire them separately, but if you are the Manet(s) buyer seeking to trade, I will gladly include Italian mid-century bronze easel floor lamps along with your reserved Facsimile Objects. We can make this happen.

[10/20 UPDATE: OK, wow, the Manet painting of Bob the Dog just sold for $1.38 million, more than double the high estimate. If you want to buy the Manet Facsimile Object (M2) “Bob,” by itself or as part of the original diptych, go for it. It’s still 0.1% of the price of the painting. Both Manet Facsimile Objects will remain available, together or separately, until Manet’s “Donki” sells Friday morning. And now le chien “Donki” (sic) has sold for $378,000, almost a million dollars less than “Bob”. What a world. Thanks again to the savvy collectors who are putting their Facsimile Objects to work, and saving 99.9% in the process.]

Flashback: Apocalyptic Credit Suisse Dürer Diptych

The Credit Suisse Dürer Diptych, as installed in the National Gallery in Winter 2021

No reason, but I woke up thinking about The Credit Suisse Dürer Diptych, a surprising pairing of two paintings which have ominous visions in the heavens and apocalyptic destruction raining down from the sky, beautifully painted on their reverse sides. Last year, in the midst of the Omicron surge, the National Gallery in London brought these two paintings together for a Dürer show sponsored by Credit Suisse.

Credit Suisse Dürer Diptych: Dürer Facsimile Objects (D3.38) and (D1), among others

I was reluctant to make Facsimile Objects of these paintings, but felt compelled by the concepts I’d constructed for myself and the project. It wasn’t my fault the world–or at least the museum–didn’t close to limit the spread of the pandemic.

a sheet of handmade Arches paper the same small size as a Durer painting of an apocalyptic meteor the artist dreamed about, with a roughly stenciled silhouette of the meteor in black ink in the middle. at the bottom left is the logo of credit suisse, two sail-like shapes, stenciled in two shades of metallic blue ink, and a janky inscription certifying the authenticity of the object this sheet accompanies, written in an unschooled approximation of 16th century German script
Smooth Sailing: A certificate of authenticity for a Credit Suisse Diptych

And I don’t know when exactly, but very early on I decided not to show or promote the Certificates of Authenticity I was including. Actually, at first, it was because they didn’t yet exist when I was promoting the first FO, and I did not know how they’d turn out, or even what they’d be. Soon, though, I saw them, not just as part of the concept of a Facsmile Object, but part of the experience of owning it. Not secret, necessarily, but private, individual, and distinct from encountering the project online, where a jpg’s a picture. Some folks have since posted pics of their COAs online, or processed them with their registrars, and that is fantastic, the choice is theirs.

Anyway, for the Credit Suisse iteration, I also wanted to make the Objects distinct from the earlier versions, too. After some exploration and experimentation, I arrived at adding the Credit Suisse logo, a stylized set of sails, to the Certificate.

Looking at my janky rendition of 15th century German calligraphy reminded me that I used to know Richard Jenrette, one of the founders of the investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin, Jenrette. He’d attended the same high school as me in Raleigh, and returned to make a large donation, and I heard he collected houses. I filed that data away and decided to become an investment banker someday, whatever that was. Later on, as I was preparing to go to business school, I was introduced to him at, of all places, Christie’s. We’d cross paths occasionally at galas, art fairs, the Winter Antique Show, etc., and when he gave me a copy of his memoir, I sent him a thank you note. In the last chapter of his book about his amazing career innovating analytical models and methods to the financial industry, he also said he was very into handwriting analysis. I never saw or heard from him again after that, and I sometimes wondered if I’d been blackballed for some psychological flaw revealed in my handwritten note.

Jenrette had already retired, but in 2000 DLJ was acquired and absorbed by Credit Suisse First Boston. The brand lives on in a couple of private equity divisions, but it’s really not the same. Anyway, smooth sailing, Credit Suisse!

LIVE(D): Édouard Manet Facsimile Objects (M2) & (M3)

Test Facsimile Objects: “Bob” and “Please, call me ‘Souki’; ‘Donki’ is my painting’s name”

In times like these I turn to mangling words of Samuel Beckett. “Édouard tried. Édouard failed. No Manet. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

[10/20 10/21 UPDATE: AND THE TIME TO FAIL AGAIN IS NOW. The link to purchase Manet Facsimile Objects (M2) & (M3) is was below.]

Continue reading “LIVE(D): Édouard Manet Facsimile Objects (M2) & (M3)”

Presumably Destroyed Cy Twombly Safety Curtain

You cannot overestimate my incredulity when I saw this jpg that purported to be a three-storey tall Cy Twombly painting at the Vienna State Opera. image: mip.at

I saw this gigantic Cy Twombly painting on the landmarked firewall of the Vienna State Opera, called the Iron Curtain, and was like, that is totally fake. It is a rendering. And it was.

OK maybe this is real? But still not a painting, though, right? image: mip.at

This is what the Twombly fire wall looked like installed in 2010-11. So pretty close, except for the color of the canvas and the paint. Except this 176 square meter image was inkjet printed on PVC mesh, like a billboard. The picture is of an untitled 2005 painting from the Bacchus series. Twombly painted these dripping red loop paintings with giant brushes on sticks, like if Cold Mountain-era Brice Marden just got back from the Iraq War. Everyone wants the Bacchus paintings to be about the Iraq War.

Untitled paintings installed at Cy Twombly’s Bacchus, 2005, uptown Gagosian

The original is 10×16 feet or so. Here it is installed at Gagosian in 2005. They really cropped that right down. In 2008, between this show and the Vienna State Opera commission, Twombly showed a couple of a third batch of Bacchus paintings at Tate Modern. After his death, the Foundation ended up donating three of them, plus some sculptures, enough to fill a permanent room, which feels astute.

The Safety Curtain Project has been selecting contemporary artists for the Vienna State Opera fire wall since 1998. It is run by Daniel Birnbaum and Hans-Ulrich Obrist, the only two curators in Europe. Oh wait, there’s a third now. Bice Curiger has joined the group chat. I love them all like brothers, sisters, and/or non-binary siblings, but seriously, enough.

Previously, related: Destroyed Cy Twombly Backdrop

Show Me The Manets

Édouard Manet, Tête du chien “Bob”, 1876, 10.75 x 8.25 inches, being sold by the estate of Ann & Gordon Getty at Christie’s, LOT NUMBER ONE, MON VIEUX

Lot. Number. One.

This is just a placeholder post because I really am deep in something else at the moment, but Tête du chien “Bob”, one of Manet’s awesomest dog portraits (it really is a small set of a very small list), will be sold next month at Christie’s. For forty years, it belonged to Ann & Gordon Getty, who loaned it just once? Really?? To the Getty. For the 2019 exhibition, Manet and Modern Beauty.

And now it will be sold.

“Bob” will be on view at Christie’s in New York for at most six days, October 15-20, and is the first lot in the first Getty sale the evening of the 20th. The estimate is $400-600,000, so in line with the result for Minnay last year.

There is drama, though it is resolved drama, around the provenance of “Bob”; the Getty Estate has made an agreement with the heirs of an earlier owner, Estella Katzenellenbogen, of Berlin and Santa Monica, who owned the painting at least until 1945, though she made it to the US by 1940. Whether the painting was left behind in Europe and then turned up at Carroll Carstairs Gallery in New York in 1947, or was the subject of some kind of ownership or consignment dispute before passing through Carstairs’ hands is not clear, but either way, the Katzenellenbogens are now cool with it.

Wait, there’s another?? “A second portrait of a dog by Manet, Le chien “Donki,” also owned by Ann and Gordon Getty, is being offered in the Old Masters, 19th and 20th Century Paintings Day Sale on October 21st.”

Lot 176: Édouard Manet, le chien “Donki”, 1876, 12.875 x 9.875 in., also from the Gettys, being sold at Christie’s Oct. 21. est: $300-500,000. Interestingly, the previous circulating image had an almost purple background. This one is blue.

The next day! Le chien “Donki”, along with “Bob” and Minnay, are the three best Manet dogs. Granted, there are only eight, and this is not a hot or studied genre, like his late bouquet paintings, but maybe it should be. “Donki” has not been exhibited in almost 80 years.

[I do still think that says “Souki”, not “Donki,” but I accept that actual French people in the early 20th century read that as a “D”. I will also note that they read that as a “u”, not an “n”, and called him “Douki.” If I buy this painting, I will call it “Souki.”]

Frankly, I’ll be lucky to see them IRL. Preview times are the same, so for up to six days before the sales, both paintings should be on view in New York. It’s also possible they’ll be included on a Getty highlights tour to Shanghai, London, and Los Angeles. In the mean time, here is a pic of what they looked like in situ, from the incredible virtual tour of the Gettys’ maxed out San Francisco house:

Manet Manet: “Bob” and the painting formerly known as “Donki” in an ensemble with some other dog paintings–and a Manet sketch of three dog heads, turns out–in the Blue Parlour of the Gettys’ house. Image: Matterport/Christie’s

We know that, at less than 13×10 in. for “Donki”, and like 10.75 x 8.25 in. for “Bob”, these are the perfect Manets to flee the Nazis with, should the need ever arise again.

The Ann & Gordon Getty Collection, 10 sales, 1,385 lots [Christies.com]
Previously, very much related: Manet Paints Dog
Édouard Manet Facsimile Object

Godard Street View

I am kind of deep in an assignment, and so cannot really give the space right now to process the news of Jean-Luc Godard’s death and the impact of his work.

But as an absolute fan of Agnes Varda who has not seen Faces Places because I detest JR’s work, Manohla Dargis’s interpretation here of Godard’s refusal to even come to the door makes sense to me.

The beautiful, melancholic and now portentous video by Robert Luxemburg of Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville captured on Google Street View in 2013, set to music from Le Mepris, is the kind of cinematic world we all inhabit now. Of course, he is in it forever.

‘The Fourth Plinth is Reserved for The Queen’


I thought of the Fourth Plinth, empty. And the sixteen artists who’ve made sculptures to fill it, (counting Elmgreen and Dragset and the two who are in the queue).

The Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, image via london.gov.uk Artist Information Pack [pdf]

Actually, I thought of the Corgis first. The Queen had had over 30 Corgis, most bred from a dog named Susan, who was given to her on her 18th birthday. Though the royal breeding operation had ceased, in 2022, The Queen still had at least two Corgis and a Dorgi, a dachshund/Corgi mix The Queen and her sister Margaret delighted in since an errant hookup in the 1970s, and which was facilitated, The Queen once actually explained, by the use of “a little brick.”

A family tree of the Corgis the Queen bred over the years since receiving Susan for her 18th birthday, which does not include the ones she had at her death. image: bbc via @meredithmcgraw

“The Queen is said to be unwilling to leave young dogs behind when she dies,” the BBC also blithely reported in June, so the thought of some household staff carrying out The Queen’s dying wish to have her dogs killed after her own death–even if it should be a shock–can’t be said to come as a surprise. People should know and remember that decision.

Which is when I thought of the Fourth Plinth. A dog killed and buried with its royal owner. A dog on a plinth. I thought of the Anubis Shrine unearthed in the tomb of Tutankhamun.

Anubis Shrine in situ at the entrance to the Treasury of Tutankhamun’s tomb, photographed in 1927 by Harry Burton

The Anubis statue was wrapped in a linen shirt which was from the seventh regnal year of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, according to an ink inscription on it. Underneath was a very fine linen gauze tied at the front of the neck. Over this were two thin floral collars of blue lotus and cornflowers, tied at the back of the neck.[4] Between the front legs sat an ivory writing palette inscribed with the name of Akhenaten’s eldest daughter, Meritaten.

Howard Carter documented in 1927.

No, that’s not the vibe. Anubis led the funeral procession of the pharoah, and, as was evident by the inscription on a “magic brick” of unfired clay found in front of the statue on its palanquin, was positioned to guard the Necropolis:

It is I who hinder the sand from choking the secret chamber, and who repel that one who would repel him with the desert flame. I have set aflame the desert (?), I have caused the path to be mistaken. I am for the protection of the deceased.

Plus, Anubis is too big. Corgis are small. Like canopic jar small.

Jackal-headed canopic jars looking rather Corgish, via google image search

And that is it. So when I looked for an image of the empty Fourth Plinth, I was also surprised to learn that “The Fourth Plinth is Reserved for The Queen.” Even in the mid-2000s, the group in charge of what it calls, “the most important public art commission in the world,” and even the Mayor of London himself were unaware of this plan to commission an equestrian statue of The Queen for the Fourth Plinth after her death. “It’s as if Boris was told the nuclear secret,” a source said to the Independent when the royal family’s plan was revealed to the then-mayor in 2008.

Elmgreen & Dragset, Powerless Structures, No. 101, 2012, the first equestrian statue on the Fourth Plinth

So since 1999 everyone involved in the Fourth Plinth has really just been running interference, keeping the plinth busy–and clear from any competing permanent proposals. Did Elmgreen & Dragset know? Did Hans Haacke?

Hans Haacke, Gift Horse, 2015, the second equestrian statue on the Fourth Plinth

So it’s been a fait all along, just waiting to be accompli. Fine. Just as long as when the statue of The Queen on horseback is finally unveiled, the edge of the Fourth Plinth is lined with canopic jar-sized memorials to the Corgis The Queen had killed at her death.

Untitled (Pull Toy), 1955

Alexander Calder, Untitled (Pull Toy), 1955, Ballantine Ale cans, wire, rock, string, a gift from the artist to the neighbor kid whose dad the artist would drink beer with all the time, image:ragoarts.com

“Calder, you could give that son of a bitch four beer cans and he’d make a toy out of them and give them to the toddler son of the next door neighbor in Roxbury who helped build his studio and became a lifelong friend, and then eventually he’d sell ’em,” deKooning probably did not say, but yet, here we are.

14 Sept. 2022, Lot 122: Alexander Calder, Untitled (Pull Toy), 1955, est. $50-75,000 [ragoarts.com]

Three Untitled Projects (1969) by Adrian Piper

Adrian Piper, Three Untitled Projects [for 0 to 9], 1969, ed. 162, will be on view at Specific Object at Susan Inglett Gallery during Independent 20th Century

Three Untitled Projects, also known as Three Untitled Booklets, is considered Adrian Piper’s first exhibition. It was a site-specific exploration of identifying place, and it took the form of three mimeographed books, which she mailed to artists, curators, critics, and collectors in the Spring of 1969. In addition to the books, each recipient of the show got a list of all 162 locations for the show–the list of all the mailing’s recipients–with their name and location highlighted.

As David Platzker of Specific Objects wrote in the catalogue of the artist’s 2018 MoMA retrospective, Piper, a student at SVA, was hired as a secretary by Seth Siegelaub during his last gallery exhibition, in January 1969:

Piper, between her gallery responsibilities, clandestinely copied Siegelaub’s Rolodex, utilizing the dealer’s mailing list to distribute copies of her artist’s project, a set of three untitled books she intended as independent works titled Three Untitled Projects [for 0 to 9]: Some Areas in the New York Area (1969).

The triptych publication, in concert with its means of distribution, expanded on Adrian Piper’s inquiry into spatial relationships as fixed constructions defined by the limits of the human mind. By putting the project directly in the hands of her influential intended recipients, Piper utilized one of the significant strengths of artists’ books, which is to extend works of art to individuals—domestically and internationally—who might not otherwise see the work in a gallery setting. Piper’s project became a primary example of how publications traverse not just fixed locations, but the durational nature of presenting art in fixed locations.

I love that so much.

Piper was associated with 0 to 9, the art journal and artist publishing project of Vito Acconci and Bernadette Mayer, which ran for six issues and a supplement beginning in 1967 and ending in 1969. Which is wild; you’d think scoring Seth Siegelaub’s mailing list would set a mimeographed mail art operation up for life.

An edition of Three Untitled Projects will be included in an exhibition, whose title–I think it’s the title?–is a Judd quote: “I Can’t See How I Can Be Outside of the Society–So I Am Within It,” Specific Object at Susan Inglett Gallery, at the Independent 20th Century Fair in New York, 8-11 September, 2022.

Ugly Duckling Presse reissued 0 to 9 a few years ago as a single volume trade edition and in a signed, facsimile special edition. It does not include Three Untitled Projects. [uglyducklingpresse.org]