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”
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.
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.
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.
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]
2012: Will Work Off JPEGs: Destroyed Richter Paintings
2016: Destroyed Richters at Chop Shop, as tweeted by Roberta Smith
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:
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.
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”
The first show at the University of Northern Iowa’s Gallery of Art opened in October 1978. It was a ten-year survey of Willem de Kooning’s recent works. I am still trying to figure out what this show was and how this show happened.Continue reading “De Kooning, 1969-1978”
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.
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.Continue reading “Joan Mitchell Season T-Shirt”
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.
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)”
At least the Space Force guy is on the job.
German artist Katharina Grosse paints on an epic scale, creating abstract landscapes, fields, and structures of aerosol paint.
In 2016, in the recovering wake of Hurricane Sandy, Grosse painted an abandoned building at Gateway National Recreation Area in The Rockaways, Queens, at the invitation of Klaus Biesenbach, then running MoMA PS1.
It used to be reported/publicized as a sign of success how many private jets flew into EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse, Freiburg (BSL) for Art Basel. NetJets has been a sponsor of the art fair for 23 years, and offers The NetJets ArtBasel Experience to its owners.
In 2023 the climate crisis activists of Generation Letzte took a break from throwing paint on paintings to protest fossil fuels to painting a private jet to protest private jet traffic at Sylt airport in Northern Germany. [This photo of the group was posted to social media a few days after the protest by @broseph_stalin.]
Together these anecdotes outline the contours of a Proposal for a Katharina Grosse [PKG] project at Art Public. the public art program of Art Basel, in which the artist paints all the private jets on the tarmac at BSL.
At first I considered this would be a vast and yet targeted escalation of the disruption of the high-impact industry of private jet travel. By the time I have typed this far, though, I realize that an official commission or programmed artwork would almost certainly be brought to the jet owner/operator/travelers’ attention in advance.
I can easily imagine ways to prep a plane so that being sprayed with paint does not, in fact, disable it. Rather than gumming up the traffic and diminishing the timesaving aspects of flying private, a Grosse-painted plane could become a badge of pride in the collector community, like a temporary tattoo from a triathlon, or an Ibiza dance club handstamp the morning after on the beach. Each plane becomes a unique edition, with a corresponding NFT to be minted for each jet. [Too bad NFTs crashed, because the wrangling among fractional share owners and the mintless ignominy of the mere charter passengers and hitchhikers would be a vibe.]
No, it doesn’t matter how crunchy James Murdoch is, this PKG cannot be part of the official, announced programme; it loses too much. As with any climate emergency-related changes, the sooner it can take effect, the sooner the damage can be mitigated. So 2024 is the obvious best time for it to happen. Or perhaps its unrealized nature is its real strength, and the impact comes from its possibility, that this Art Basel, this might finally be the year you fly around and find out.
At some point, though, perhaps things will flip. And the public opprobrium of flying private outweighs its cachet. At that point, the PKG operates like a dye bomb in a bank bag, or a dyed water cannon at a protest, a way to stain and mark and track offenders. Painting is not only not dead, it’s alive and on the run.
Robert Smithson, Underground Projection Room (Utah Museum Plan), 1971, graphite on paper, 9×11.75 inches, lot 145 @ LA Modern, 21 June 2023
According to the friend of my mom’s whose family used to own the ranch land on and around Rozel Point, the basalt-strewn hill above the Spiral Jetty is full of rattlesnake dens. I don’t know if Robert Smithson knew this when he picked the site, but I doubt it. He was more focused on the scenic qualities: the pink salt water of the Great Salt Lake, and the collapsed oil derrick a little further along the shore.
I’ve thought about it a lot, though, especially when I think about Smithson’s original plan to show the Spiral Jetty film on a continuous loop in an underground screening room on the site. A sketch for that idea (above) will be sold next week at LA Modern auction house.
Which is as good an occasion as any to propose that Smithson’s idea be realized. For the snakes.
As half the human population on earth knows, tiny flatscreens are a thing. And so is solar power. Smithson’s film, Spiral Jetty, is 36 minutes long and can easily fit on a micro SD card that plugs into an Arduino-compatible 60×94 pixel TinyScreen+, which can be lowered into the snake den.
A small solar panel on the surface, connected to a battery connected to the Tinyscreen down below will keep the movie streaming endlessly, or until the heat death of the planet, whichever comes first. Before installing them for the snakes, I think I need to make a small edition of prototypes first. And to start by extracting out my copy of the film from the not-solid-state external drive. Fingers crossed that this project isn’t over before it starts
I knocked off Donald Judd because I had to; there was no such thing as a Judd Crib. Michael and Gabrielle Boyd, meanwhile, knocked off Donald Judd because they could. By acquiring an extremely rare 1 of 2 Judd armchair in galvanized steel directly from the artist in life, they generated an auratic bubble where fabricating your own Douglas Fir ply chairs was apparently preferable to buying estate editions. Which, in 2010, were fully available, btw.
[few days later update: whoops. they’re gone.]
Lot 107: Donald Judd, Rare Armchair 1, 1993, est. $60-80,000 [wright20]
Lot 111: After Donald Judd, pair of chairs, c. 2010, est. $2-3,000 [wright20]
Backward and Forward Slant Chairs in 19 hardwoods and plys [judd.furniture]
Please sit with this image of this painting by Jacques Barthélémy DeLamarre of Marie Antoinette’s purported dog for a minute. It will be sold tomorrow at Sotheby’s. There is no reserve, and the estimate is $3-5,000 US, so it will sell.
[Day after the sale Update: by now one of the most interesting things about this painting, for most people, anyway, is that it sold for $279,400, 50x its original estimate. There is no logical explanation for this. 15 bidders were reported, though by the time it got into six figures, I suspect only a couple remained. Please note the update from the day before the sale at the bottom of this post. It seems to indicate that when this painting sold at Bonham’s in 1986, the narrative of Pompon and Marie-Antoinette was missing. So far, I haven’t been able to find when it comes in, either. Whether this is just a moment of Pomponomania (as Michael Lobel calls it), or a wider spread Pompondemic remains to be seen.]
From the minute this post goes live until the minute the painting sells, I will make a full-scale Facsmile Object of it available on this website for $300, 10% of the low estimate of the painting. It will include a handmade, full-scale Certificate of Authenticity, signed, numbered and stamped.
[Thursday Update: I misread the auction, which *started* today, and continues for eight days. I was pacing myself for a Pompon sprint, not a marathon, and I think we’ll all be better off without a week of wheezing Pompon hype. The Facsimile Object is no longer available. Within hours there were 20 bids; the price now stands at $US
6,000 220,000. Holy smokes, this is where it ended, $279,400. Thank you for your engagement.]
There is absolutely no reason anyone should buy this Facsimile Object or, for that matter, this painting. Within the next 24 hours, someone will clearly do the latter, which should be folly enough. It is buck wild to me that in that same time frame, someone will also do the former. Because they will want to have the physical experience of sitting with this picture, and sitting with an image of it on a screen will not suffice. I absolutely get it. [Huge shoutout to artist Jeanette Hayes who says, understandably, “I have never loved a painting more.”]Continue reading “Jacques Barthélémy Delamarre Facsimile Object [D1] ‘Pompon’”
I scanned over my neighbors.
Slinky Palermo, Slinky Palermo
Now I’m in all the papers.
So far we have only two images of artworks attributed to Slinky Palermo, from Pinterest [above] and tumblr [below]. I guess technically, it’s slinky palermo.
the most significant critical information we have on the artistic practice of Slinky Palermo comes from just two sources.
The first is the Dia Art Foundation, which exhibited Slinky Palermo works from 1964-1997 in 2011, as seen in the results for two slightly differently worded Google searches:
It may be possible that additional Google searching will yield more detail from these truncated excerpts, in the way that you can, in desperation, search phrase by incremental phrase in a Google book snippet view.
The other is a New York Magazine directory listing for a 1995 exhibition at Brooke Alexander:
Whatever it may have been in the past, from this point forward, Slinky Palermo is an artist who sees abstraction as a Google search into the philosophy of epistemology.
Given the absence of actual books in the Google Books results, it seems likely that most Slinky Palermo mentions can be attributed to OCR software that predates Google’s own scanning initiative. Whether it’s a steadfast commitment painting in the face of untenable something, or glitching industrial-scale digitization, Slinky Palermo is a tenacious artifact—a bookmark, if not a flagbearer—of a specific historic moment and context, and for those that inhabit and revisit it. Which, looking prospectively, is all of us.
There are some developments in the andiron space.
In the eight years since an archival photo of a lone andiron at the Met attributed to Paul Revere—I’m struggling here to say exactly what it did. Diverted me onto a lyrical, conceptual mission? Transmuted itself into an artwork and me into an artist? Whatever, it changed my life. Point is, while I did not turn into some andiron freak, I did gain a somewhat heightened—heightened and specific—awareness of andirons in the world.Continue reading “The John Brown Andirons from The Wolf Family Collection”