Just Dropped: Édouard Manet Facsimile Object (M4), “Fleurs”

Édouard Manet Facsimile Object (M4), “Fleurs”, 2024, 22 x 13 7/8 in., dye sublimation print on high gloss aluminum, with handmade COA in India ink on Arches, signed, stamped & numbered, available until the sale at Sotheby‘s on May 15, 2024

I wish I knew how to quit you, Manet Facsimile Objects.

I thought they were done, products of the moment, the moment when we couldn’t travel, or shouldn’t, when the museums were closed, and when full-scale facsimile objects would serve as proxies, simulating the experience of being in the presence of the artwork.

an arrangement of Facsimile Objects: the OG peeking out from behind Credit Suisse Dürer Diptych

[They also each include a standing offer to exchange the original work for a certificated Facsimile Object, a liberatory gesture to help you, the new owner, to focus on yourself and your experience, and not worry for a minute over the work’s condition, state, or worth. I’m ready to exchange whenever you are; hmu.]

Édouard Manet Facsimile Object (M1) “Minnay”, 2021, a Facsimile Object of a painting that had never been seen in public, and which surfaced at auction for only 2.5 days during COVID

But now, in the midst of [gestures around to the city and the world] all this, the call has come forth, and it is impossible—for me, at least—to heed it. Andrew Russeth’s effusive invitation to visit Manet’s rapturous late still life, Vase de fleurs, roses et lilas (1882), at Sotheby’s in New York, where it is on view only until it is sold on May 15th.

Édouard Manet Facsimile Objects (M2) & (M3), 2022, based on Ann Getty’s Manets, of which “Bob” [left] turned up at the same Getty Manet show as the flowers of (M4) Fleurs. Then they were sold.

As Andrew notes, this is the only sure window of time in which to see this rare painting, which has only been exhibited three times in 50+ years. Of course, all three of those times were in 2018-2020, a generous gesture on the part of the unidentified seller. It is not at all known what the next owner will do, so we must strike while we can, and get to Sotheby’s if you can.

Édouard Manet Facsimile Object (M4) is for those who cannot, and also for those who will not buy the painting next week. Well, not everyone. If you have the means to buy this Manet and don’t, I really suggest you sit this Facsimile Object out.

There is an irrevocable bid, so the Manet will sell to someone, but if you’re thinking that no, anything beyond the $7-10 million estimate is irrational, and you, with your financial savvy, elect not to pay, do not get the ÉMFO (M4). If you think it will stand as a trophy to your sophisticated investorial victory while honoring your connoisseurship, LMAO no it won’t. If you have the means and still somehow decide not to buy this painting, I fear Facsimile Object will offer you cold comfort in your folly and a sober reckoning of your failure. Every time you look at its high-gloss aluminum finish, you’ll see yourself looking, and remember that you could have bought the Manet instead, and you didn’t. You’ll get a Facsimile Object from me—and a handmade Certificate of Authenticity—but you won’t have my sympathy. I can’t even promise you’ll get my pity.

If you actually take a run at it and lose, OTOH, I hope you have pre-ordered the Facsimile Object as FOMO insurance; because if you wait til the auction is over, it will be too late, and your regret will be doubled. For you, dear underbidder, my heart would ache, but the concept is inviolate. And of course, for the winner, a Facsimile Object is always set aside, and a trade is always on the table. Straight across, with the COA thrown in to sweeten the deal.

ceci n’est pas un Facsimile Objet: a Drouot representative simulating the experience of holding ÉMFO (M1) using Édouard Manet’s le Chien “Minnay” in February 2021.

Andrew calls this a “small picture,” but honestly, at 22×14 inches, it’s a large Facsimile Object, almost 4x the size of the previous ones. One unexpected thing about Minnay [and all subsequent FOs] was how tactile they are, how nice it feels to hold them. Until this week, I would have compared it to a luxuriously thin iPad. But whether in your hands, on a shelf, or on a wall, this will be a substantial presence, and it is, admittedly, daunting to think about.

In fact, this whole thing feels like folly. But maybe it’s just the folly we need in these darkening times, the folly of flowers, friendly gestures of fleeting beauty, which also give us a glimpse of ourselves.

Order Édouard Manet Facsimile Object (M4) “Fleurs”, with signed, stamped & numbered COA, before the Manet sells on 15 May 2024 around 8PM EST.

[15 May update: I will be offline during the sale, but to preserve the conceptual nature of the project, orders will only be accepted which arrive before the Manet lot hammers down. Thank you for your engagement.

OK, that was that, $8.5 million hammer, sorry Beijing underbidder, you may not get a Facsimile Object to assuage your loss.]

Previously, related: Édouard Manet Facsimile Object (M1) “Minnay”;
Édouard Manet Facsimile Objects (M2) “Bob” & (M3) “Souki”

Gonzalez-Torres Free Tibet Sweater

“Untitled”, 1991, handloomed wool rug, 2.4 x 1.8m, ed. 25? via Equator Production

So on my journey from WTF to “Yes, please!” on the Felix Gonzalez-Torres “Free Tibet” rug edition that was later declared to be non-work, I passed the following:

It’s not just that Equator Production was using weavers and non-profits associated with the Tibetan diaspora in India to make their carpets. 1991 was also officially, The Year of Tibet.

And 1988 was the year of Tiger Rugs of Tibet having a breakout show at the Hayward Gallery in London, so the specific Tibetan Buddhist tradition of tiger-motif prayer rugs and monastery rugs had been launched in the West. Even if Felix didn’t see the Hayward show, there was a lush catalogue. In 1991 ABC Carpet in New York had a Year of Tibetan Tiger Rug collection. So it was around.

Kapital Wool Nepal Crewneck Sweater $611, NOT AVAILABLE, via Stag Provisions

What is not around is the Nepal Tiger Crewneck Sweater which Japanese heritage denim brand Kapital dropped in F/W 2019. But it still replaced every idea I had about repeating Felix’s Free Tibet carpet with a vision of these:

study for Gonzalez-Torres Free Tibet Sweater, 2024, ed. 25? Maybe available in Fall, if not in China

Whatever the edition, one will be set aside for the reincarnation of Sturtevant.

Previously: That Felix Gonzalez-Torres Carpet

NYABF Drop: Untitled (Grave Matters), 2024

In 2014 art historian Anna C. Chave presented an absolute banger of a talk at a symposium organized by Dia as part of the Carl Andre retrospective. Chave laid out how art world figures and institutions, including the curators and catalogue contributors of Dia’s show, stayed silent on Andre’s involvement in the death of his wife Ana Mendieta, but still could not manage to ignore it completely. It is truly a damning reading, and all the more extraordinary for taking place at Andre’s show, at Dia’s invitation.

In the revised version published in the Winter 2014 edition of CAA’s Art Journal, titled, “Grave Matters: Positioning Carl Andre at Career’s End,” she even called out the organizers of the symposium for changes to the format that appeared intended to head off any possibility that the artist and the curators might face any questioning from—or even any engagement with—Chave.

a spread from Untitled (Grave Matters), 2024, an artist publication by greg.org

One thing Chave discussed was an anomalous and macabre sculpture Andre included in his first New York exhibitions after his acquittal for Mendieta’s murder. Titled Large Door (1988)—a pun, Chave argues on, l’Age d’Or—it was actually a window, with a gash in it. Robert Katz mentioned it at the end of his 1990 book on Andre’s trial, Naked At The Window, but it was only published for the first time in Dia’s catalogue.

Andre refused to give Chave permission to reproduce Large Door and another work she discussed, a photo of a vase of roses on Andre’s apartment balcony, in her essay.

So to celebrate New York Art Book Fair Weekend, I am releasing Untitled (Grave Matters), 2024, a new artist book, which comprises JSTOR screenshots of Chave’s essay, with the missing images added. I will mail a signed and stamped edition to anyone who requests one this weekend, just email me to tell me where to send it. After that, we’ll see.

[We have seen, and they are done, thank you to all who engaged!]

[note: your information will only be used to send you an art zine.]

Read “Grave Matters: Positioning Carl Andre at Career’s End” and other of Chave’s publications on her site [annachave.com]
Read “Grave Matters” in Art Journal, W2014 [jstor]

Performance-Lectures: A greg.org Compendium

The performance lecture form has been of interest to me and a topic on this site for an extended period of time.

It has its origins in my own professionally driven interest in Powerpoint as a Creative Medium [oof so many dead links, from when I also believed hotlinking images would be the best practice/fair use realization of a Project Xanadu-like networked utopia. I’ll fix them in a minute.]

Then I was critical of the posthumous transmutation of Robert Smithson’s Hotel Palenque lecture and slideshow, delivered at the University of Utah in 1972, into an acquirable work of art.

The next year, when I discovered—via some snide comments by disgruntled art faculty at my welcome dinner—that my invitation to speak at the UofU had been arranged under the auspices of a visiting artist lecture, I quickly decided to become an artist. I had my younger brother sloppily record my lecture on video, an homage to Alex Hubbard’s drunken bootleg video re-enactment of Smithson’s Hotel Palenque lecture, which was a topic of my talk. [That video, uploaded when YouTube had still time limits, is in eight parts.]

But I also ended the lecture by declaring it a work of art, in an edition, and I sent around a stack of signed and numbered certificates of authenticity for anyone who wanted one. I think I made 100, and got 40 or so back? [Shoutout to my OG collectors, that turned out to be CR-1.]

Relational Aesthetics for the Rich performance, 2010, image via hyperallergic

In 2010 I made a blog post into a slideshow into a performance at Jen Dalton & William Powhida’s #rank in Miami, “Relational Aesthetics for the Rich, or A Brief History of the Gala as Art”, with gift bag editions [on the table above].

brb, have to check and update a dozen dead links.

Brooklyn Museum Quality: Andirons

Lot 14: Andirons, c. 1790-1810, formerly the property of the Brooklyn Museum, sold by Brunk

When David Platzker first sent me the link to the Brooklyn Museum’s recent deaccession auction, I immediately thought of the phrase, “museum quality.” It has long been used by dealers to sell an object of such stature, manufacture, and significance that it should be—or at least could be—in a museum. How does it work, though, for objects that a museum sells off? Is “museum quality” only now for objects a museum wants to keep? Are these now pieces of “former museum quality”? “Some museum quality”? “Almost museum quality”? Brooklyn Museum Quality.

This all came to a head on the first page, when I saw Lot 14, this pair of Federal engraved andirons, estimated to sell for $400-600. Three is a trend, I thought, as I indexed these in my mind against the andiron that started it all—a photo of a lone andiron that turned out to be part of a pair, which was donated to the Metropolitan Museum in 1971 with an attribution to Paul Revere.

And the andirons sold by the Wolf Family last year that matched the Met’s in almost every physical detail, but which had an unbroken provenance and an origin and date that differed from the Met’s. What would these Brooklyn Museum andirons add to this situation, conceptually?

“one w/slightly loose construction and leans slightly to the left, old repair/reinforcement to base”

Their date, 1790-1810, and manufacture, “American,” take us away from more specific understanding, not toward it. While they are of an identical type, they are different in enough details—the engraving the swaglessness, the flanges, the feet—that even an amateur andironologist would not suggest they were made by the same hands, the same shop, or even in the same town.

And then there’s the provenance. Though the auctioneer made careful note of the andiron’s physical condition—”one with slightly loose construction and leans slightly to the left”? Who among us, amirite?—the only provenance information provided is the freshest: “Property of the Brooklyn Museum.” I mean, we can guess there’s no conservation history, but whatever object record, accession or donor data, or historical documentation the museum may have held for these andirons is not provided.

Someone clearly knew something, though. Because they paid $41,000 for these andirons, 100x their low estimate, and 5x the price of the perfectly provenanced Wolfs’. People are willing to pay for that Brooklyn Museum quality.

Ubu, 1996-2024?

As reported today on social media, Ubu has stopped adding things.

“As of 2024, UbuWeb is no longer active.
The archive is preserved for perpetuity, in its entirety.”

Preserved for perpetuity, in its entirety, except, of course, when it’s not:

“Everything is downloadable on UbuWeb. Don’t trust the cloud, even UbuWeb’s cloud,” said UbuWeb as recently as January.

And as Kenneth Goldsmith said as recently as yesterday, “Let’s keep UbuWeb well alive!” and “Don’t bookmark. Download. Hard drives are cheap. Fill them up with everything you think you might need to consult, watch, read, listen to, or cite in the future.”

A .tar of the site would be really handy right about now.

Previously, related:
2014: 36 Links From My Life With Ubu; my Ubu Top Ten Sixteen
2006: Non-Sensical, Non-Site, Non Art? Smithson’s ‘Hotel Palenque’

Grauer Richter Facsimile Object

Gerhard Richter, Grauer Spiegel, 2021, 40×34 cm, pigment on bicoloured glass, ed 100+20AP, image via David Zwirner

Happy belated birthday, Gerhard Richter, who is apparently too busy painting, drawing, and collaging to update his website. The Grauer Spiegel (2021, No. 179, pigment on glass, ed. 100+20AP), included in Richter’s current show at David Zwirner in London is not there. It looks like the pigment is actually on the recto of the glass, a depiction of a mirror, not a mirror itself. But that’s just how it’s photographed. Installed at the Points of Resistance IV: Skills for Peace exhibition at Zionskirche in Berlin in 2022, its mirror nature was on full view.

Continue reading “Grauer Richter Facsimile Object”

Was Ist Das Boot? Celmins| Richter Double Vision

Vija Celmins | Gerhard Richter, Double Vision, exhibition catalogue from Kunsthalle Hamburg

Posting about underseen little grey Richters really brings out the underseen little grey Richters. In a conversation begun on bluesky, Michael Seiwert mentioned seeing several in a very interesting show last Summer at the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Vija Celmins | Gerhard Richter, Double Vision, curated by Dr. Brigitte Kölle, is an intriguing Celmins show that is also a very rare two-artist Richter show.

Vija Celmins, Explosion at Sea, 1966, 13 1/2 x 23 1/2 in., oil on canvas, in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago

I love the show’s idea of “juxtaposing such a strong female position with the work of Gerhard Richter, so often presented as a singular phenomenon,” not just to see his work “with a fresh eye,” but because it puts both of them in a larger, richer context. These artists clearly share interests, approaches, motifs, and even biographies, that felt unexpected at first, but feel obvious now.

Spread showing rough times at sea from Celmins | Richter, Double Vision exhibition catalogue

Some of the resonances between Celmins’ and Richter’s practices come immediately to mind: photo-based painting, found/everyday objects, seascapes, fighter planes, grey, they’re all in there. But browsing the catalogue, I was straight up surprised by the spread above, which features a 1963 Richter titled Schlachtshiff [Battleship], and a 1966 Celmins, Explosion at Sea.

Destroyed Richter Painting #02 (ship), 2012, 40 x 30 in., oil on canvas

That Richter, though, is one the artist destroyed in the mid-1960s. It was the first of the Destroyed Richter Paintings I had remade in China in 2012, after seeing a photo of it, from Richter’s Archive, in Spiegel. OK, technically, and explicitly to the point, I had Richter’s archival photo painted at the scale of the destroyed painting it depicted, and I have shown and lived with this picture. So it is wild to see it included in this discussion. As Jaboukie might have said if he’d ever posed as Richter on twitter, “Just because I destroyed it doesn’t mean I can’t miss it.” Obviously, I am buying the book immediately.

Vija Celmins | Gerhard Richter, Double Vision, May-Aug 2023 [hamburger-kunsthalle.de]
Previously, related:
2012: Will Work Off JPEGs: Destroyed Richter Paintings
2016: Destroyed Richters at Chop Shop, as tweeted by Roberta Smith

Goodbye 2023

I hate that this needed to come back: Gonzalez-Torres Forbidden Colors, 2021 —

NGL, it does not feel like a moment to celebrate, and it’ll take a lot of work for 2024 to not become the biggest dumpster fire yet.

But whether via email, commentary, hyping or buying things, many people have engaged with me, the blog, and the various projects this year, and I’m grateful for all of the thoughtful and invigorating interactions. To close out the year, here are a couple of art accomplishments in 2023 which I found satisfying. They are in roughly chronological order:

Celebrating Ellsworth Kelly’s 100th: EK 10 MAR 23 T [via]
Biggest show of the year: Mural With Girl With A Pearl, obv [via]
Jasper Johns’ Stolen Balls [via]
Meanwhile, in this, year three of me swearing I’m not a dog painting guy: Jacques Barthélémy Delamarre Facsimile Object (D1), ‘Pompon’, obv [via]
Underground Projection Room (for Rattlesnakes), 2023 [via]
Proposed Katharina Grosse (PKG) for Basel, 2023 [via]
The Second Deposition of Richard Prince, 2023—? [via]
Happy Joan Mitchell Season T [via]

Happy Joan Mitchell Season

Happy Joan Mitchell Season, 2023, screenprint on cotton and inkjet, pen, and offset on paper

Glad to hear the Joan Mitchell Season shirts are arriving. They took a little longer than expected, and the COA did, too, so apologies if you didn’t get yours in time to wear in Miami. Anyway, I thought we were boycotting Florida atm.

de Kooning 1969-1978: No Labels

de Kooning 1969-1978: The Catalogue, 10 x 8.5 in., offset print published by the Department of Art of the University of Northern Iowa

Here is what I learned from the catalogue for this Willem de Kooning survey exhibition about why is Joan Mitchell wearing the T-shirt? and why is the T-shirt?

Both catalogue texts, by the co-curators, University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art director Sanford Sivitz Shaman and Jack Cowart, of the St. Louis Art Museum, explain the reason for the show: despite the obsolescence of Abstract Expressionism, de Kooning’s work is still good.

Continue reading “de Kooning 1969-1978: No Labels”

Joan Mitchell Season T-Shirt

1980s Joan Mitchell rocking the T-shirt from de Kooning’s 1978 show in Iowa on the cover of Guy Bloch-Champfort’s book, Joan Mitchell: By Her Friends

When Guy Bloch-Champfort’s book, Joan Mitchell: By Her Friends* came out in English last summer, I—like everyone, I imagine—immediately wanted a souvenir t-shirt from the 1978 inaugural exhibition of The Gallery of Art at The University of Northern Iowa. Alas, my five-month search has been unsuccessful.

Joan Mitchell Season Commemorative T-Shirt, black screenprint on Light Blue** Hanes Authentic T-shirt, with COA, $30 or $40, shipped. [link below]

But now Joan Mitchell Season is upon us, and to celebrate, greg.org is offering a facsimile edition of Joan Mitchell’s most epic swag [above], screenprinted by hand on a light blue Hanes Authentic T-shirt, and accompanied by a numbered, signed, and stamped certificate of authenticity.

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The Second Deposition of Richard Prince (2023)

It feels like worlds ago, and world ago all the way down. And also just yesterday.

For a few hours in the Summer of 2023, an Instagram account that tracks the work of artist Richard Prince posted a picture of a rusty shoe tree, standing in front of an abstract painting. It echoed the original image of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain, which Alfred Stieglitz photographed in front of a Marsden Hartley painting in 1917.

Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain, photographed in front of Marsden Hartley’s The Warriors on April 19, 1917 by Alfred Stieglitz

The Instagram image included text elements: DEPOSITION above and RICHARD PRINCE below, with a url and password to an unlisted video file. The video, more than six hours long, appeared to be a recording of Richard Prince’s deposition in a pair of conjoined lawsuits filed by photographers Donald Graham and Eric McNatt, in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Both men objected to photos they took, posted to Instagram by others, which appeared in Prince’s 2014 New Portraits series.

Continue reading “The Second Deposition of Richard Prince (2023)”