I Shall Call Him Heni-Me

Gerhard Richter, Cage Grid I, 2011, 303 x 303 cm installed, 16 giclée prints mounted on aluminum panel, ed. 16+4AP

My old qualms about the capitalist reality of Gerhard Richter making photo copies of his greatest paintings were rendered quainter than the Geneva Convention by the introduction of an entirely new category, “facsimile objects.” These mass- and masterfully produced giclée prints, numbered and unsigned, and mounted on aluminum composite panels, are the creation of a print foundry founded by Joe Hage, Richter’s lawyer/collector/OG webmaster, Heni Productions.

Now known as Heni Editions, the firm makes stunning prints for other artists as well. [My favorite non-Richter Heni has to be their full-scale print of Hans Holbein’s the Younger’s The Ambassadors, published to benefit the National Gallery, which is still on my Christmas list.]

P12, “Annunciation After Titian,” 2015, facsimile object, 125x200cm, ed. 50+3AP

Heni got its start in 2011, when it made Cage Grid I, a giclée edition of Richter’s monumental squeegee painting Cage 6, divided into a 16-part grid. The panels were sold in the gift shop of the artist’s retrospective at Tate Modern, both as a set, and individually (as Cage Grid II).

Though facsimile objects initially seemed like they were designed to exist outside Richter’s art, they now appear alongside it. Gagosian included at least two facsimile objects–(P1) and (P12), above–in a Richter prints show earlier this year.

Destroyed Richter Grid No. 1 A-L, 2016, UV pigment on aluminum, 50x60cm each, unique, image: Tamas Banovich

They’ve been installed in my head even longer. In 2016 for Chop Shop, a show where large-scale works were sliced up or parted out to order, I used this grid mode to create Destroyed Richter Grids, full-scale recreations of lost squeegee paintings.

Cage Print (P19-6), 2020, 100x100cm, Diasec-mounted giclée print on aluminum composite panel, ed. 200, image via Heni Leviathan.

Time being a flat circle, Heni has now announced the drop of Cage Prints (P19), facsimile objects in editions of 200 (each) of all six of Richter’s Cage paintings, but at 1/9th-scale, or 100×100 cm. Applications for purchase are currently being accepted (decisions are made on Dec. 6), though with no guarantee of Christmas delivery.

Untitled (Heni Cage Grid), 2020, 103 x 103 cm, Diasec-mounted giclée print on aluminum composite panel, in 16 25 x 25 cm parts, ed. 16+4AP

And so I, too, must, compelled by fate, announce a new work, Untitled (Heni Cage Grid), in which a Heni facsimile object of Cage 6 is cut into 16 pieces, each 25×25 cm. Like Richter’s Cage Grid I, it will be available in an edition of 16, plus 4AP. Each piece will be labeled and numbered, and a couple will include fragments of the original label. Some may be sold separately.

Unlike Heni, I can guarantee it will not be available before Christmas.

Cage Prints (P19-1 thru P19-6), 2020, $6,000 each, upon application [heni.com]

Previously, very much related:
Cage Grid: Gerhard Richter and the Photo Copy
Gerhard Richter Facsimile Objects

Previously, also related:
Untitled (Re-Graham), 2016
Untitled (Glafira Warhol), 2015

Wade Guyton Bergdorf Goodman Windows

image via @theodoreart

Gallerist Stephanie Theodore was there for the unveiling of Wade Guyton’s new election aftermath-themed windows at Bergdorf Goodman. Though it clearly feels like a scaled up version of his #monochrome-on-plywood 2008 edition for Parkett, it also references the matte-black-OSB sculptures he made in 1999, which have since been #destroyed [cf. Guyton OS, 13.]

Wade Guyton printing on plywood, making Parkett editions

Previously, suddenly related:
Matson was Mrs. Rauschenberg’s Maiden Name
The Tiffany Windows of Matson Jones
Destroyed Andy Warhol (Bonwit Teller) Fences

Warhol’s Rough Week

Fred W. McDarrah photo of artists at a party at Andy Warhol’s Factory, April 21, 1964. image: stevenkasher.com

Here is Fred McDarrah’s photo of Andy Warhol partying at the Factory on April 21, 1964, the night of the opening of his Brillo &c. boxes show at the Stable Gallery. The Sculls threw the party, even though it was at the Factory. That’s, from left, Tom Wesselman, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, Warhol, and Claes Oldenburg. Behind them is a diptych of mugshots from Warhol’s New York Pavilion mural, Thirteen Most Wanted Men, which had been destroyed just days before this photo was taken, and before the World’s Fair even opened.

I’ve never been satisfied with explanations of why the mural was painted over with silver. But I blame pavilion architect, art curator, and unremorseful nazi Philip Johnson, who knew the subject–mugshots from an NYPD brochure–told Warhol to keep quiet about it, and then apparently caved within a day of the publication of a Fair preview by a Hearst-owned tabloid that criticized the mural as “Thugs at the Fair,” in which an NYPD spokesman questioned how Warhol had obtained these internal police documents.

On Friday, April 17, after two days of who knows what, Warhol sent an unsigned, one-sentence letter to the New York State Department of Public Works, Division of Architecture:

Gentlemen:

This serves to confirm that you are hereby authorized to paint over my mural in the New York State Pavilion in a color suitable to the architect.

Very truly yours,

Andrew Warhol

via “Letters to Andy Warhol,” a 2016 Cadillac as in car exhibit [?], cited by warholstars

The architect apparently decided silver was suitable. I think the Times ran this image on the 17th, so the letter was just ex-post-facto CYA. In the aftermath of the mural’s destruction, Warhol decorated his party with images from the project he’d worked on for almost a year and a half. The dates are otherwise unclear, and I haven’t read The Biography*, but Warhol had moved into the Factory in November 1963, and maybe it was painted silver by April, too.

Print of a Fred McDarrah photo of Warhol’s Factory Party, Apr, 21 1964, in the collection of the Nasher Museum

But the images are reversed. [This perp is center right on the mural.] And it looks like a double register. This other McDarrah photo from a second earlier, a print of which is in the collection of the Nasher Museum, shows light reflecting off the mugshots. These are not double-printed outtakes, but the full-scale transparencies used to make the screens, casting shadows on the wall behind them. These ghosts of the mural destroyed just a couple of days before were now decoration for Warhol’s party.

unsold boxes and rejected Moses portraits in a summer 1964 photo from Mark Lancaster

Almost three months later, the Times is still on it, and Warhol feels the need to say the mural was painted over because one guy was pardoned, and so it’s not valid anymore, and he’s working on inspiration for a replacement. That was in July, when he went to the trouble of making 25 panel portraits of World’s Fair commissioner Robert Moses, which were rejected in some paper trail-less way. And which cannot be random; did Philip Johnson pin the blame on Moses? Another, much later conversation used to explain the destruction had Henry Geldzahler and Johnson citing Nelson Rockefeller’s fears of offending Italian American voters in an election year. If that was his choice, between Rockefeller and Warhol, is there any question which way Johnson would go? When the chips were down, Johnson loved power more than art, and he threw Warhol and his rough trade artwork under the bus of New York politics.

Anyway, I now think more about how this must have sucked for Warhol, who spent so much time before–and after–having to destroy his biggest project to date. Not sure what to do with my sympathy for him, except to recommit to bringing his destroyed mural panels back into existence.

  • Update: Blake kindly shared the section of his Warhol biography dealing with the mural [my copy is inaccessible atm in storage], and basically all this is in there and more, including: the newspaper column by the highly influential Jimmy Breslin singling out the mural for Archie Bunker-grade criticism basically as soon as it went up; a fierce anti-gay crackdown across the city in the run-up to the Fair; the menu for Wynn Chamberlain and Warhol’s dinner where the most wanted idea came from; and so much more. Thanks!
  • Update a month later: and I found my copy of Larissa Harris’s exhibition catalogue, and slowed down to read it, and of course, it’s all in there, too.

Gary Comenas pieced together a lot of this timeline from the Warhol Archives and CR [warholstars.org]
previously, very much related: On Warhol and the World’s Fairs
13 Most Wanted Men exhibition at the Queens Museum in 2014 [queensmuseum.org]
Buy Blake Gopnik’s Andy Warhol biography via bookshop [bookshop]

Destroyed Stingel Painting

Can’t touch this: Rudolf Stingel, Untitled, 2012, electroformed copper, plated nickel and gold, stainless steel frame, in 6 parts, 120cm sq each, sold at Sotheby’s in 2017

From Kenny Schachter’s eye-popping-and-rolling account of being artfrenz with Inigo Philbrick during his cascading crime spree comes this thrilling anecdote:

Before the extent of his crimes bubbled to the surface, Philbrick himself related to me the occasion on which he tried to negotiate the sale of a badly damaged Stingel painting from Hiscox insurance company that had been written off owing to catastrophic water damage. An employee of the company confirmed to me that Philbrick indeed had tried unsuccessfully to purchase the damaged painting. Simultaneously, he engaged his assistants to buy the super-rare German paint Stingel uses, which was available only seasonally, so they could replicate over the course of months the precise method of the pricey artist and create an exact replica. Though Philbrick never managed to buy the destroyed work from the insurer — such companies often facilitate or contribute to the restoration of a work that has a claim against it to repatriate it into the marketplace, or they sell it discounted with damage — the fate of Philbrick’s meticulously crafted copy is at present a mystery. Chances are it will be on offer at an auction house near you, if it hasn’t been sold already.

Though I have even more questions about an “exact replica” of a specific painting than I do about a specific paint, or the idea that damaged=destroyed, the “conceptual pose” of Stingel’s challenge to authorship is now a reality, and I am very much here for it. Let a thousand fanmade Stingels bloom–and let them all turn up at Christie’s.

Inigo Philbrick, the Art World’s Mini-Madoff, and Me [nymag]
Previously, most definitely related: You have a Stingel? No way! I have a Stingel!

Destroyed Gerhard Richter Stamps

GERHARD RICHTER DEUTSCHLAND 145 SEESTÜCK – 1969, 01.07.2013, offset print on adhesive, signed in plate, edition unknown, image: delcampe.net seller novesiastamps

Deutsche Post published Gerhard Richter stamps in 2013. EUR1.43 stamps showing text alongside a rectangular cropped image of the artist’s 1969 square painting Seestück (Gegenlicht)/ Seascape (Contre-Jour) [GR233] were available in collectible sheets of ten. If, as the two facsimiles of the artist’s signature in the sheets’ margins would infer, the stamps constituted the largest edition the artist has ever published, the use of these stamps also amounts to the greatest act of artistic destruction Richter has ever faced. And at the hands of his own countryfolk, no less.

Gerhard Richter, Seestück (Gegenlicht)/ Seascape (Contre-jour), [CR233], 1969, 200x200cm, oil on canvas. image: gerhard-richter.com
Thousands–tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands?–of pictures just ripped asunder, flung hither and yon, pummeled, shredded, and then dumped. Even in these trying times, the scale and apparent casualness of the obliteration shocks the conscience. The apparent readiness of the German people to trivially use then abandon the work of one who is ostensibly so revered, whose work has–had?–provided a searing beacon of objective light? Staggering.

Did the artist somehow know this was coming? Is that why he chose–presumably it was he–to use the picture depicting contre-jour, backlighting, the photographic technique of directly facing the light source–in this case, the sun–to produce heightened visual contrasts and unsettling shadows?

Cancel Culture: Gerhard Richter Seestück edition showing evidence of ceremonial mutilation on 01 July 2013, image: delcampe.net seller Yvesh2222

Fortunately, even in the face of such widespread destruction, there is hope. Faithful stewards in the collecting community are doing what they can, preserving stamps and sheets in whatever form they can: some sheets have the signatures intact; some don’t; some stamps have a signature fragment; a rare few include the commemorative envelope (also with a signature, historians); some [above] are mutilated ceremonially–canceled, they call it, with euphemism that cannot conceal the inherent pictorial sadism; and some, marred and disfigured on the field of postal battle, are rescued from oblivion by angels wielding tiny, little scissors.

Study for Destroyed Richter Stamps 01–50 [sic], 2019, image: delcampe.net seller benesch
These are the pictures that haunt me, the ones pulled from the very brink of doom. Theirs is the story I’ll tell; theirs is the fate we must #neverforget.

Whether it’s 50 original works or ed. 50, we’ll see when the studies arrive from Austria.

Previously, related: Robert Rauschenberg, Piece for Tropic, 1979, ed. 650,000

Destroyed Andy Warhol Fences

Warhol Museum’s 1997 re-creation of Miss Dior window display for Bonwit Teller, as seen in Adman: Warhol Before Pop, at Art Gallery NSW in 2017

Gene Moore was the creative director for Bonwit Teller, and then from 1955, after Bonwit’s owner Walter Hoving bought it, for Tiffany & Co. next door. Moore hired Andy Warhol, among others, to create window displays along Fifth Avenue. Moore’s book was quoted by warholstars.org:

[Warhol] never pretended a difference between what he did to survive and what he called his art. To his credit, I think it was all the same to him. He was a very busy young man. I used Warhol’s art in several of my perfume windows at Bonwit’s. In July 1955, just before my work began at Tiffany’s, I made some wooden fences, and he covered them with graffiti for a series of windows. They were fun, full of a childish playfulness.”

re-fabricated Warhol perfume fence for Bonwit Teller, also from Adman at Art Gallery NSW

I haven’t given two thoughts to those Warhol Fences in 20+ years, since seeing one at a Warhol fashion flotsam show at the Whitney. Which turned out to be a refabrication cooked up by Warhol Museum director Mark Francis? And which turned up again, alongside another one, in Adman, a 2017-18 show of Warhol’s commercial work.

Bonwit’s loves Mistigri, a Warhol window display from Jun 1955, photographed by Virginia Roehl, from the Dan Arje collection at The New School

Which, now I am actually kind of interested in bringing back destroyed artworks. And in Gene Moore and his artist colabos. And in the amazing vintage photos a reader just sent me of several more of Warhol’s window display perfume fences, which are awesome?

lmao Arpège feels like such a grandma fragrance, so perfect. image: Virginia Roehl in the Dan Arje papers at The New School

I can’t find it now, but someone, either Moore, or Dan Arje, the Bonwit’s assistant art director whose archive is now at the New School, said how easy it was to work on windows with Warhol. He never froze, never panicked, never stalled, but got right to work and cranked out that art. And these fences show it. They feel instant, sprung fully formed from the artist’s head–and pen–like a Keith Haring glowing baby.

Ma Griffe Birds, 1955 image by Viriginia Roehl for Bonwit Teller’s Dan Arje, via The New School

Which isn’t the same as improvised or conceived on the spot. Installation views of the Adman show include sketches for the Miss Dior fence, so a lot of it was clearly worked out in advance. Credibly repeating one of these wall-sized drawings seems like it would be very hard. But I want to see those birds so bad I can taste it.

Bonwit’s Loves Ma Griffe [birds] [newschool.edu]
Bonwit’s Loves Mistigri [cats]
Bonwit’s Summer Sorcery…Ma Griffe [boats]
Bonwit’s summer sorcery… Arpège by Lanvin

Previously, very much related: The Tiffany’s Windows of Matson Jones

Destroyed Mies Revolutionsdenkmal

Mies van der Rohe, Revolutionsdenkmal, Berlin, 1926 (destroyed 1935), photo by Arthur Köstler via thecharnelhouse

It is the 100th anniversary of the execution of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht by the fascist Freikorps in Berlin. After several years of unsuccessful attempts, a memorial to these and others killed in the German phalanx of the Bolshevik Revolution was finally built in Berlin’s central cemetery in 1926. It was designed by Mies van der Rohe with the sculptor Herbert Garbe.

According to Edward Fuchs, who was instrumental to the project, Mies said, “As most of these people were shot in front of a brick wall, a brick wall would be what I would build as a monument.”

Mies van der Rohe, Revolutionsdenkmal, Berlin, 1926 (destroyed 1935), photo by Arthur Köstler via thecharnelhouse

At the Charnel House from whence these images come, Ross Wolfe notes that the jagged bricks of the memorial “had been assembled from the bullet-riddled remains of buildings damaged or destroyed during the Spartacist uprising” Luxemburg and Liebknecht triggered. It became an iconic backdrop for speeches, and the site was the focus of annual memorial marches and rallies until the Nazis destroyed the memorial in 1935.

Wolfe also traces some of Mies’ political shifts, from Bolshevik memorial designer to apolitical pragmatist Bauhaus head as the Nazis came to power, to whatever he was in the US. But wait, there’s more! Mies was also the favored architectural visionary and mentor to America’s own greatest Nazi architect Philip Johnson. He got called before McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee in 1951. And he rejected student efforts to rebuild the memorial in 1968, and got protested when his Neu Nationalgalerie opened in Berlin.

I guess I would like to see it rebuilt, bust mostly I’d like to live in it, which is complicated, I know. In the mean time, I will try to find Mies’s HUAC testimony, which seems rather underdocumented onlne.

Mies’ Memorial to Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht [thecharnelhouse.org, thanks @oniropolis]
Revolutionsdenkmal/Monument to the Revolution [wikipedia.de]

Destroyed Felix Gonzalez Torres Billboard

A couple of months ago while looking at those Danh Vo Japanese plate editions, I came across Blake Byrne, an LA collector who had sent one to auction.

That led me to Open This End, a 2015 traveling exhibition from of works from Byrne’s collection, organized by various college museums and his Skylark Foundation. One stop was Ohio State University, which housed most of the show at the Urban Art Space, except for this: “Just off campus on the façade of the former Long’s Bookstore on the corner of 15th Ave and High St, is a work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (For Parkett) (1994).”

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (for Parkett), 1994, a billboard edition of 84+15 AP

Which made me wonder how that worked? Actually, I’d wondered for several years how Felix’s Parkett edition billboard worked in real life. It comes rolled up in eight big, silk screened panels, and once it’s installed in a site, that’s it; it’s permanent. So far, my attempt, begun in 2012, to document all 84+15AP editions had gone nowhere. But now I had a new datapoint. Maybe. How does a one-and-done billboard in a traveling show from a private collection work?

“Untitled” (for Parkett), 1994, installed on at Ohio State University in 2015 for Open This End, image: c.2015 GSV

Sure enough, here it is on Google Street View in 2015, facing the OSU campus entrance right by the Wexner Art Center. Let’s scrub forward to see how it has held up?

“Untitled” (for Parkett) 1994 nowhere to be seen at Ohio State University, image: c.2017 GSV

Oh.

I emailed Skylark Foundation executive director Barbara Schwan to find out what happened. She looped in Joseph Wolin, curator of Open This End, to explain. After much consultation with the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation and Parkett, Byrne donated his edition of the billboard to OSU, where it was installed for several months on a building that was slated for demolition.

When the building came down, the billboard came down with it. Wolin wrote:

We were told, I forget if it was by Parkett or the Foundation, that this was one of the very few times, if not the only time, the billboard had been installed as a billboard, so we were pretty excited about that. Blake himself had acquired the work at auction and had it rolled up in storage for many years, so for me it felt rather wonderful, if bittersweet, to be able to realize it as the artist had intended. Apparently, when the work is installed indoors, as in Parkett’s exhibitions, the panels are often just pinned to the wall and rolled up again after.

So many questions answered, so many questions raised. Six years ago I lamented that “Untitled” (for Parkett) is “doomed by its own nature to exist in a state of fungible incompleteness, or worthless realization, or inevitable destruction.”

Which, thanks to a generous donation and successful realization with full knowledge of its destruction, we realize is a feature, not a bug. I hope more owners of “Untitled” (for Parkett) follow Byrne’s lead by realizing their billboards and letting time take its toll in public rather than in storage. It is what Felix would have wanted.

Previously, related:

You Don’t Complete Me, Or Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ “Untitled” (for Parkett), Part 1
Infiltration & Replication, “Untitled” (for Parkett), Part 2

There Is Another Sheeler Photo Of Baroness Elsa’s Duchamp Portrait

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Portrait of Marcel Duchamp, 1920, photo: Charles Sheeler, published in the Little Reiew, 1922. image: brown.edu

After 6 years and 72 issues, I am sure glad Margaret C. Anderson hung in there to publish one more issue of her avant-garde poetry magazine The Little Review in the Winter of 1922. Because it includes a different Charles Sheeler photo of Baroness Elsa’s Portrait of Marcel Duchamp.

The one that’s been floating around, via Duchamp dealer Frances Naumann, mostly, is a more clinical, perhaps Sheeler-esque photo [below].

Charles Sheeler
The Baroness’s Portrait of Marcel Duchamp, ca. 1920
Gelatin silver print
9 5/8 x 7 5/8 inches, via francesnaumann

But besides the dramatic lighting, the Little Review version actually reveals more of the cocktail of feathers, gears, and flywheels that filled Baroness Elsa’s glass. Also it’s sitting on a plate.

All of this matters to me because this, my second favorite portrait of Duchamp after Florine Stettheimer’s, is lost, destroyed. And so this kind of documentation will help make a reconstitution of it truer to the original, and less of an inspired-by approximation.

Brown University and the University of Tulsa have digitized The Little Review as part of their Modernist Journals Project [brown.edu]

Previously, related Elsa-iana: In The Beginning

Destroyed Derek Jarman Capes: Are There Any Other Kind?

derek_jarman_loft_skycapes_1971.jpg
It’s an accident of timing that I’ve kept thinking of Derek Jarman as a filmmaker with a painting hobby. He was still alive when I saw my first Jarman film, Edward II, and when Blue blew me away. And I felt I knew his story, so I’ve been slow to read his early autobiography, or other books about him; my job was to just catch up and see all his earlier films. It didn’t help that I didn’t really like the paintings shown after his death. His notebooks were more relevant.
But I just saw this photo which changed all that. I wasn’t 100% wrong, but I was close: Jarman’s painting was more formative and influential-and interesting-than I realized. The photo’s from 1971, and it is captioned in Jarman’s dramatic hand:
“The Skycapes 1971 blue pigment on canvas
destroyed in the fire in 1979”
Skycapes has been a Google dead end, or rather a cul de sac for this caption. But capes, capes is where it’s at. In his 1999 biography of Jarman Tony Peake traced the form and concept of the cape to Jarman’s theatrical work, particularly his ideas for a production of The Tempest:

Capes are both practical and sensual, especially when cloaking nakedness. They are geometric: if hung on the wall, they form a half circle. They have mythic overtones: by donning a cape, the wearer can effect a transformation. These qualities, particularly the latter, had considerable potency for Jarman, who now set about working and reworking this new possibility until the capes he produced-and began to hang on the walls of his studio-no longer resembled design, but approached the condition of painting or sculpture.

Now the timing’s a little confusing, because Jarman made a film version of The Tempest in 1979. But Peake notes the project had interested Jarman for years. And Jarman made a clear, laminated cape scattered with dollar bills [or pound notes, maybe?] for the 1969 production of Peter Tegel’s surrealist play Poet of the Anemones. Peake said the two met at Lisson Gallery.
And the walls of Jarman’s riverside loft were lined with extraordinary capes when filmmaker Ken Russell visited and asked him to design the sets for The Devils, a project that consumed most of Jarman’s waking hours in 1970. Exhausted and dissatisfied by the film project and wary of commercial film industry entanglements, Peake wrote, Jarman “chose to concentrate on his capes, some of which he now began to paint, in two main colours, black and blue, but mainly blue: ‘simple sky pieces to mirror the calm.'”
That quote’s from Jarman’s own 1984 memoir, Queerlife, which was published in the US with the title Dancing Ledge in 1993:

1971. The Oasis
The intervening year was spent painting a series of blue capes, which hung on the walls at Bankside. They were simple sky pieces to mirror the calm that returned after the frenzied year of The Devils. That summer was an idyll, spent sitting lazily on the balcony watching the sun sparkle on the Thames. When I wasn’t painting I worked on the room and slowly transformed it into paradise. I built the greenhouse bedroom, and a flower bed which blossomed with blue Morning Glories and ornamental gourds with big yellow flowers. On Saturdays we gave film shows, where we scrambled Hollywood with the films John du Can brought from the Film Co-op- The Wizard of Oz and A Midsummer Night’s Dream crossed with Structuralism. There were open poetry readings organized by Michael Pinney and his Bettiscombe Press. Peter Logan perfected his mechanical ballet, and MIchael Ginsborg painted large and complicated geometrical abstracts.

An oasis paradise indeed, replete with all the essential elements of Jarman’s subsequent accomplishments. Which is, at least, how he himself saw it when he looked back from 1984.
undergroundinteriors_derekjarman_loft_obertogili-2.jpg
Here is a 1971 photo by Oberto Gili of Jarman’s amazing Bankside loft, the top floor of a 19th century wheat warehouse. Which had the floors, the ceiling, the views, the space, but not the plumbing or the heat (thus the greenhouse bedroom). There’s the hammock from the first photo, and a laminated cape which had tools, weeds, and detritus retrieved from the abandoned waterfront. [How far do the similarities go between Jarman and other gay pioneer artists like Robert Rauschenberg? Jarman would’ve spit at the comparison; in a 1984 interview at the ICA he slammed Jasper Johns for being a tool of the CIA. #freequeerstudiesdissertationtopics]
matisse_vence_chasubles_helene_adant.jpg
Henri Matisse cutout designs for priests’ chasubles for Vence Chapel, 1951, photographed in his studio surrounding a Picasso painting, by Helene Adant. image: tate.org.uk
In Ken Russell’s telling of their first cape-filled visit, Jarman “was getting ready for an exhibition called “Cardinal’s Capes.” It’s a phrase which turns up nowhere else, but which makes me think of Henri Matisse, who designed amazing chasubles for priests to wear in his chapel at Vence. They began as cut-outs, and were translated into fabric, and changed with the seasons.
In 1970-71 Jarman had two solo shows, including capes, at the then-new Lisson Gallery, but he grew to disdain the gallery system. He also hated Pop and bristled at working in the long shadow David Hockney cast over the London art scene. He opened his studio for his own damn show in 1972, which Peake says was disappointing [though he sold some work and celebrities turned up for the opening, so what greater success could art hope for?]
He included new capes made from black lacquered newsprint [Rauschenberg?] in a 1984 mid-career exhibition at the ICA. [He was 42.] And in that public talk, he described funding his early features by selling paintings and raising money from his painting collectors.
Anyway, are there any Jarman capes left to be seen? I can’t find any. In 2015, the ICA screened Jarman’s super8 documentation of his 1984 show for the first time, but there’s no visual trace online. And as the caption to the original photo mentions, his earlier capes, including what he called his Skycapes, were destroyed along with Jarman’s and others’ studios in 1979.
By retrospectively titling them with the sky, and using the term “blue pigment” instead of paint, Jarman also seems to be linking the capes to one of his clearest references, Yves Klein. Klein the outrager who said his first artwork was signing the sky. Whose International Klein Blue appeared throughout Jarman’s notebooks in the 80s. Jarman filmed an IKB monochrome painting and projected a loop of it for a 1987 live poetry/music performance event he called Bliss, which became his last, greatest film, Blue, in 1991-3.
klein_uecker_marriage_1962.jpg
Here is Klein at his wedding on January 21, 1962. Rotraut Uecker is wearing an IKB crown, and he is wearing a cape emblazoned with a Maltese cross. They are processing through the raised swords of the Chevaliers of the Order of St. Sebastian. So at least I know what my dissertation will be about. But first we have to solve the problems that there are almost no Jarman Super-8s online; that Klein’s wedding was filmed, and that’s not around, either. And then, of course, all these destroyed capes. There is a lot of work to do.
Previously, 2013: International Jarman Blue
2004:
It’s not just Derek Jarman’s Blue
2002?:
As I lay typing

Destroyed On Kawara Paintings

destroyed_on_kawara_text_ptgs_gugg.jpg
In 1965, before he figured out his Today Series date paintings, On Kawara experimented with several other types of paintings about language, text, and information. They contained a word or phrase, or a graphically encoded text. The National Gallery has a triptych, Title, that weren’t, but most of them were destroyed. [image from the Guggenheim’s exhibition catalogue via ig/mondoblogo]

Destroyed Pat Lasch Cake, Destroyed Joep Van Lieshout Bussing Stations

pat_lasch_moma_cake.jpg
Pat Lasch cake sculpture for MoMA, 1979, destroyed, image: Pat Lasch via nyt
Feminist sculptor Pat Lasch only discovered that MoMA had thrown out an elaborate cake sculpture it commissioned from her in 1979 when a curator tried to borrow the piece for an upcoming retrospective. Randy Kennedy has the sad, baffling story in the NY Times.
Lasch made the sculpture at the invitation of MoMA’s longtime curator Kynaston McShine, but it was displayed at a gala for The Modern’s 50th anniversary, not in an exhibition. And though it was apparently kept for 20 years, it was never formally accessioned. So when its condition deteriorated, it was tossed out instead of conserved. Another, much smaller work was acquired by Prints and Drawings as a gift in 1979. But at 5’2″, the cake sculpture was not only monumental, it was more important to Lasch’s work at the time and since. Oh well.
van_lieshout_moma_bussing_stn_turquoise.jpg
Joep van Lieshout, MoMA Bussing Station & Carts, 1995, presumed destroyed, image: Atelier van Lieshout: A Manual [pdf]
The incident reminds me of another blurry situation that began in 1995, when MoMA remade its cafe with all Dutch design in conjunction with a huge Mondrian retrospective. Along with product from folks like Piet Hein Eek [gratingly noisy sheet aluminum chairs] and Tejo Remy [those lights], the cafe included a huge commission from Joep van Lieshout: two fiberglass-wrapped bussing stations, some carts, and some garbage cans. They were basically giant functional sculptures riffing on minimalism and product.
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Joep van Lieshout, MoMA Bussing Station & Garbage Cans, 1995, presumed destroyed, image: Atelier van Lieshout: A Manual [pdf]
As with Pat Lasch’s gala, the cafe commission was all overseen by a curator–two, actually, Terry Riley and Paola Antonelli, from Architecture & Design. In 2009 I tried to find out the fate of van Lieshout’s objects, which disappeared from view along with the rest of the cafe in 2004, when the Taniguchi renovation started. Though chairs and lights went into storage, the hulking, 3-meter long turquoise and lime green bussing stations were nowhere to be found.
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via Visiting Artist [sic], Part 6/8
[I talked about the bussing stations for the first and only time so far in 2007, at Visiting Artist (sic), a lecture-turned-performance at the University of Utah, which may be one of the first artworks I ever made. Or rather, it was the first time I really contemplated myself acting as an artist. It was a very ambivalent moment, about some ambivalent art world gestures and conundrums, from an era when YouTube encoded things inexplicably green, and wouldn’t let you upload anything longer than like 10 minutes. Maybe gotta work on that.]
Anyway, for these objects by Lasch and van Lieshout, it mattered less that they were commissions, by curators, or that their creators were artists who considered them works. What ultimately determined their fate was that the museum did not process the works into the collection. It turns out accessions matter.
On the bright side, as destroyed works, these pieces have a chance at being re-created. If I had a place to put them. Or show them.
Ars Longa, Except When MoMA Throws It Out [nyt]
Previously, related, but disorganized: Visiting Artist [sic] starts with parts 2 & 3.
Start here tho; there is no 1/8: Visiting Artist [sic], Part 2/8, Dan Flavin I [youtube]

Untitled (Gerda Taro Leipzig Monochromes), 2016

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Untitled (Gerda Taro Leipzig Monochromes), 2016, Gerda Taro photos, painted wood supports, tar. image: Anne König and Jan Wenzel

On the night of August 3rd, an outdoor installation of 18 photos by Gerda Taro in Leipzig, Germany, was vandalized, painted over with tar? Or aniline black dye? The photos were part of f/stop Leipzig, an annual photography festival, held in early July. Some of the public space components of the festival apparently continued beyond that date.

f/stop curators Anne König and Jan Wenzel included Taro, a pioneering war photographer, because of the confluence of her life, her work, and the city itself. She lived in Leipzig until 1933, when she fled as a Jewish refugee. She met up with another refugee, Robert Capa, in Paris, and they documented the Spanish Civil War together until Taro was killed in 1937. Leipzig is hosting many refugees from the Syrian war right now.

The curators note that effacing the images of refugees by a Jewish photographer with tar is inherently a political act, and they are calling on the city to discuss the implications. The Taro estate, in the form of the International Center for Photography, wants her images back on view in Leipzig.

I agree with all of that, but also wish to recognize the damning bluntness of the blacked out panels. Sometimes redactions and monochromes cannot be let off the hook. Declaring them an artwork of my own is no way of assuring anything, but It feels important that they will be preserved.

The 21 panels include three texts and at least five layouts from LIFE magazine. The bottom eleven were completely blacked out, while the tops of the five tallest appear to have been beyond the easy reach of the unknown redacter. In the event this work does get destroyed, I will try to identify the Taro images under the tar.

update: I’m still thinking this one through a bit.

Pioneering war photographer Gerda Taro’s images vandalised in Leipzig [theartnewspaper]
09. August 2016 Auch Gewalt gegen Fotografien ist Gewalt [f-stop-leipzig.de]

Better Read #009: Single Man Looking To The Right (1979), By Richard Prince

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Exhibition announcement card for Richard Prince’s window installation, “Single man looking to the right”, 1979, at the original location of Three Lives & Company bookstore, New York, via the catalogue for Edward Cella’s exhibition, “Richard Prince: The Douglas Blair Turnbaugh Collection, 1977-88”
This is starting to become a habit.
This edition of Better Read features “Single man looking to the right,” a 1979 text by Richard Prince, for a window installation he made at Three Lives & Co., a now-legendary neighborhood bookstore in the West Village. It’s included in a show Prince recently announced/denounced, a huge pile of early stuff saved by an early friend and supporter, the dance critic Doulas Blair Turnbaugh. The show is at Edward Cella in Los Angeles through July 2016.
My interest was piqued by the light this early work sheds on Prince’s development of his practice, on his experimentation and the paths not taken, and less for the possible insights into Prince’s psyche or autobiography. This text seems to me both in sync with and apart from Prince’s Bird Talk texts, just as the rephotographed works Prince showed at Three Lives resonate with yet differ from what’s now generally thought of as his standard operating procedure. If anything, it’s freedom from an S.O.P. that tips the scale for these photos; they’re evidence of Prince’s experimentation.
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installation photo for Richard Prince’s window at Three Lives & Company, 1979, from Doug Eklund’s The Pictures Generation, p. 157
A small photo of the Three Lives installation in Doug Eklund’s The Pictures Generation catalogue also makes me wonder about the fate of these large, black & white, and differently “ganged up” Single Men prints. They’re not in Turnbaugh’s collection/show, and I’m thinking if they’re destroyed, they may have another life coming.
Download Better_Read_009_Single_Man_20160627.mp3 from Dropbox
greg.org
[dropbox, mp3, 7.3mb, 4:57]
Previously:
Better Read #008: Death By Gun
Better Read #007: Spinoza’s Ethica from Sturtevant’s Vertical Monad
Better Read #006: The Jetty Foundation Presents, Send Me Your Money
Better Read #005: Frank Lloyd Wright Speaks Up
Better Read #004: Why We Should Talk About Cady Noland, a Zine by Brian Sholis
Better Read #003: Sincerely Yours, An Epic Scholarly Smackdown By Rosalind Krauss
Better Read #002: A Lively Interview With Ray Johnson, c.1968
the Ur-Better Read: W.H. Auden’s The Shield Of Achilles, Read By A Machine

Giant Picasso Painting By Prince Alexander Schervachidze

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I thought about it again after seeing Nicole Eisenman’s fantastic, crisp, woke paintings at Anton Kern. But the first time I wanted to remake a destroyed Gerald Murphy painting was in 2011, sometime after seeing the photo of Boatdeck, the epic 18×12-foot canvas he pwned the Salon des Indépendants with in 1924
Boatdeck dominated and outraged the Salon with its scale, style, and subject matter, and led to the resignations of several selection committee members. Murphy made a small number of normal-sized and amazing paintings for several years, but stopped in 1929, when his son got tuberculosis and the stock market crash threatened his family business. Boatdeck is one of eight that were lost or destroyed.
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Boatdeck, 1924, photo: Gerald & Sara Murphy Collection, Beinecke Library, Yale
In 1921 Gerald Murphy and his wife Sara got their start collecting, then painting scenery for the Ballets Russes. It’s where they met their painting teacher, the exiled Blau Reiter and Futurist Natalia Goncharova. Genial, rich, and happy to work for free, Gerald would touch up backdrops and such by Diaghilev collaborators like Goncharova, Matisse, and Picasso.
The biggest Picasso in the world is a curtain for “Parade,” a 1917 production for which the artist also designed the costumes, and Cocteau and Satie the music. It inspired Apollinaire to coin the term sur-realisme. The 11×14-meter curtain was shown at the Pompidou Metz in 2012.
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The biggest Picasso I’ve ever seen, though, wasn’t even painted by him. Le Train Bleu (1924), is a 10×11-meter curtain created by Prince Alexander Schervachidze, another Russian exile, who enlarged a Picasso gouache so skillfully that the artist decided to sign it. Le Train Bleu was a ballet about the flashy, new, beachy Cote d’Azur lifestyle, and had costumes by Coco Chanel. It was not really a hit.
And it was Picasso’s last collaboration with Diaghilev, who nonetheless kept using that curtain all the time. It is pretty beat, especially compared to everyone’s favorite Picasso Ballets Russes curtain, le Tricorne (1919), which used to live in the hallway of the Four Seasons.
Train Bleu and Goncharova’s amazing 1926 backdrop for The Firebird were the climaxes of the National Gallery’s 2013 exhibit of the Diaghilev/Ballets Russes collection of the V&A. They absolutely dominated their galleries in the North Tower, which was then closed for gut renovations. The museum’s hilarious no-photo policy for the show left me with nothing but sneaky, wonky pocket shots of the painting’s feet. But it is awesome, and it made me want to remake things with brushes the size of brooms, too.