Jenny Holzer Sushi Platter

Protect Me From What I Want (Sushi Platter), 1997, 14 x 22 x 2 in., etched glass and eight little silicone dot feet, one slightly misaligned, ed. 25 from the Renaissance Society, selling at Wright20

Thank you, Renaissance Society and Wright Auctioneers, that from now on, every time I hear the phrase, PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT, I will not only imagine the words SUSHI PLATTER appended to it. I will hear it in the cadence of the girl reciting the alphabet on Sesame Street with Kermit the Frog saying COOKIE MONSTER.

Lot 178, The Chicago Sale, 11 July 2024, Jenny Holzer, Protect Me From What I Want (Sushi Platter), 1997, ed. 25, est. $1,500-2,000 [wright20]

Previously, related: Kerry James Marshall Dishes?
Bumped Richter Mirror Unique Now
MOV DIY Tobias Wong Glass Chairs
Better Read No. 027, Jenny Holzer’s Arno, as ‘Grammed by Helmut Lang
‘Manhattan Project Glass’

Better Read, No. 027: Jenny Holzer’s Arno, As Grammed By Helmut Lang

Jenny Holzer projection for the Biennale di Firenze, 1996, photo: Attilio Maranzano via

Jenny Holzer made her first xenon projection in 1996 as part of a collaboration with Helmut Lang for the Biennale di Firenze. As Lang would describe it, the text, Arno, was projected from a canoe club across the river onto the facade of a brothel. [The 19th/20th c. Palazzo Bargagli held the offices of Corierre della Serra, at least. That’s all I’ve found.]

In 1998 Jenny Holzer told Joan Simon that the text for Arno originated in a music video for Red, Hot + Dance, which was a 1992 AIDS/HIV fundraiser concert/album. Mark Pellington, the MTV producer/director she mentioned, had done an MTV segment on Holzer, but he was also involved in producing U2’s ZOO TV, which had a video wall full of Truism-like texts that kind of pissed Holzer off. Anyway, there are no Arno-esque texts in the Red, Hot video.

“The texts involve all the reasons to be naked or clothed — from sex to humiliation and murder,” said co-curator Ingrid Sischy to Amy Spindler. The Florence projection only ran for a few days in September, during the opening of the Biennale–and Pitti–but the text remained as LED columns in a Lucky Charms marshmallowy pavilion by Arata Isozaki, which was also where visitors could experience the fragrance Lang and Holzer developed together, that smelled, as they said often, like cigarettes, starch, and sperm.

Arata Isozaki pavilions at the Forte Belvedere, Biennale di Firenze, 1996, image: gabbelini sheppard

[The six other pairings of artists & designers were: Tony Cragg & Karl Lagerfeld (lmao); Roy Lichtenstein & Gianni Versace; Julian Schnabel & Azzedine Alaia (which wut?); Mario Merz & Jil Sander (which, same, wtf); Oliver Herring & Rei Kawakubo (hmm); and Damien Hirst & Miuccia Prada (chef kissing fingers emoji).]

Holzer adapted the Arno text again for her 1998 nine-LED column permanent installation at the Guggenheim Bilbao. Catalan excerpts of it are also engraved in two large benches there now.

As we all know by now, a scrolling LED is a helluva way to take in a text, so it was interesting when Helmut Lang posted an image of the complete [English] text for Holzer’s Arno to Instagram last night. It turns out embedding it in a stream of emoji-filled comments read by a computer is also a helluva way to take in a text, but here we are.

This Louise Bourgeois Shackle Necklace By Chus Burés Has No Title.

This is a necklace by Louise Bourgeois. Based on a 1948 design, it was realized in collaboration with Madrid jeweler Chus Burés in 1998, and was produced in silver in an edition of 39. It weighs 374 grams, more than 13 ounces, which is pretty heavy.
It caught my eye this morning when artist Linda Hubbard tweeted about it, partly because it’s going around tumblr as a project Bourgeois did for Helmut Lang. And I thought I knew my late 90s Helmut Lang. The necklace itself’s only stamped LB, though, and none of the auction listings over the years credit Lang, even in the provenance. A 2008 sale at Tajan in Paris said the necklace is “due to” Lang, and links it to Lang’s, Bourgeois’ and Jenny Holzer’s three-person show in Vienna in 1998. It also compared it to a slave collar.
acquired in 2010. image: toledo museum
When the Toledo Museum wrote about it this spring, they gave it a title, Shackle Necklace, and slightly earlier dates (1947-48):

Louise Bourgeois designed this necklace in the 1940s as a personal statement against the violence she had witnessed against prisoners during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), who were asphyxiated by shackles of this shape. It was also designed as a comment about the female state, a metaphor for the social, political, and legal constraints of women before the feminist movement.

Which, wow, there is a lot going on there.
Did Bourgeois go to Spain during the war? I don’t think so. She was studying at the Beaux Arts and selling Picasso prints to Robert Goldwater, the NYU art historian she’d marry and move to New York with. The war in Spain was obviously hot news, even more so if Bourgeois was working with Picasso. And there was the World’s Fair in Paris, of course.
Here are some antique Spanish shackles from a classified ad site. I see a resemblance. Except these are for feet. This set says it’s for horses. Which would technically make these hobbles, right?
And they’re asphyxiating no one. In the absence of more concrete examples or info, the asphyxiation reference makes me think of the garrota or garrote. Is that what Bourgeois’s referring to? A prisoner is chained to the seat, and the executioner stands behind him, tightening a flat metal band around his neck-and/or releasing a spring-loaded spike into the base of his skull-until he’s dead. The garrote was pretty much the standard method of execution in Spain, around since the Inquisition, and official for 150 years until the Second Republic, when it was abolished. Then Franco reinstated it in 1940. Is this what Mrs Goldwater was protesting? 8-10 years later? By making a necklace which, frankly, doesn’t look anything like a garrote?
Spanish garrote, image from this Italian medieval torture site
In 1947-48, Bourgeois did not have an art career. She’d had one solo show, but she was, as her obit put it, “known to the New York glitterati merely as the charming French lady who appeared at private views on the arm of her American husband” the art historian. If she even got out of the house then. In 1939, thinking she could not get pregnant, the Goldwaters returned to France briefly to adopt a French orphan. Back in the States, they promptly had two more sons in two years. So maybe a necklace patterned after a prisoner’s collar or a garotte is just the kind of sculpture a mom trying to work with three boys under foot would make.
Louise Bourgeois rocking the original necklace in New York in 1948, at lunch with her father Louis. image: LB Studio
So I called the man who made them, Chus Burés. He said the necklace turned up during the preparations for Memoria y Arquitectura, Bourgeois’ 1999 exhibition at the Reina Sofia in Madrid, curated by Danielle Tilkin and Jerry Gorovoy. She’d made it for herself, and she wore it.
The curators brought the original to Burés; it was a darkened metal, he said, round and matte. He created the squared shape, in silver, with a satin finish, which Bourgeois liked very much. There was an idea to do a gold version, but it was too expensive.
The five small holes drilled in the piece were for attaching strings (originally) or crystals; Burés designed a set of 14 various crystals that could be swapped out and arranged on the necklace. Despite being Spanish, a Catalan, and having intensive conversations about Spanish culture and literature with Bourgeois, Burés never heard the artist reference the war, or shackles. A couple of years later, Burés made a spider brooch for Bourgeois, in both silver and gold.
As for Helmut Lang, Burés explained that Bourgeois had given a necklace to Lang, and that at some point, several years later, the designer wanted to include it in a runway show. Lang’s people asked permission, Burés agreed, there was a press release with proper credits, it was all wonderful. Later a friend spotted the necklace for sale in Lang’s boutique in Paris.
There is no way Bourgeois’ necklace does not evoke a shackle. But unless something turns up from the artist, any more specific interpretation is just weighing it down.
via @DukeToddIsAlive & @LindaHubbardArt
Nov 2012, Lot 70 Louise Bourgeois, Choker (1999-2003), sold $20,000 [bonhams]

Mark Stahl >> Situation New York

In a moment of procrastinatory weakness I was transfixed by a series of images Chris H. tweeted, of artworks from the mid-80s. What stopped me was this work by Mark Stahl, made from “acrylic on canvas with two towel dispensers”, from 1987. I’d never heard of Stahl, but it felt like suddenly learning Rachel Harrison was adopted.
A rapid Google blitz turns up nearly nothing at all, but hints of undigitized reviews and group shows-and some of the world’s most disheartening no-reserve auction results. [Stahl apparently showed at Massimo Audiello v1.0 (EV) and 2.0 (SoHo)]. The few images online include several painted assemblages made with “fiberglass rocks” and bathroom items. Like the decorative towels and accessories in this installation shot from, hey ho, Art & Public, Geneva, 2011.
Situation New York was Pierre Huber’s wide-eyed look back at the New York art world of 1986 that set him on his lifelong path. Through Olivier Mosset and John Armleder, he hooked up with Bob Nickas, who dragged him all over town. And the rest was history.
Looking at CAD’s other installation shots, including this one with a great Steven Parrino [a longtime Nickas favorite], I was amazed to see this big, shiny screenprint-on-polished metal, which looked very Noland-esque. Except for the matching frames and the lack of a disclaimer, of course. Except, it is Cady Noland, a 2-panel work called Institution as pornography, showing a photo of a candystriper nurse with an IV stand and a drip. It’s from 1988, so I guess a later trip.
b. 1965, and he made these things in 1987? He was a child! That can’t be right.
Huber’s checklist for Situation New York has brief bios for each artist-except Stahl: “Il n’y a plus de nouvelles de cet artiste.” To which I say, “On verra.”
Morning After Update
Mark Stahl, Death at Indy 500… or look into the disparities of this long-lived commerce (1981-84), installed in Jenny Holzer / Stephen Prina / Mark Stahl / Christopher Williams at de Appel, Amsterdam, Dec. 1984. image:
Well this is some grouping, from a December 1984 show at de Appel: “Jenny Holzer / Stephen Prina / Mark Stahl / Christopher Williams”. An early group show title like that showing up in three out of four CVs is gonna stay in your Google results for a while.
Stahl showed a work titled, Death at Indy 500…or look into the disparities of this long-lived commerce (1981-84). It appears to have consisted of a print of a newspaper sports page (maybe from when driver Gordon Smiley was killed in a crash during time trials in 1982); a detail from a photo of what appears to be the moment a guy is hit by debris; and a card with the work’s title. But in addition to the Indy 500 (Memorial Day), the newspaper includes reports of Angels (baseball), Rams (football), the Cal 500 (a September race). The timing does not add up. Something is afoot.
Earlier in 1984 Stahl also contributed a recording to a de Appel cassette magazine, basically a sound art mixtape. His contribution was the sound of a crowd at a classical music concert. It’s included on this Tate audio recording from the International Contemporary Art Fair in 1985, when Nova Scotia was the New Miami.
Mark Stahl, The Wet Look, 1987, Fiberglass boulder, raincoat, coathook, lacquer paint, exhibited in CalArts: Skeptical Belief(s), 1987-8, image: rennsoc
Also, he went to CalArts. MFA, 1981. In fact, he wrote an essay for the CalArts exhibition catalogue, which the RennSoc has put on Scribd:

The fundamental contradiction between art’s relative isolation from other cultural practices and many artists’ conviction that art has an immediate social relevance is, in part, the consequence of the very institutionalization of the avant-garde.

Yep, sounds like CalArts alright.
OK, here’s a bio. Crousel & Goodman both did a Prina/Stahl/Williams group show. “When Attitudes Become Form” and “Post-Abstract Abstraction” are both Nickas joints, no surprise. Now I really have to get back to work.
“Situation New York 1986”, Nov. 2011 at Art & Public, Geneva, Nov. 2011 [contemporary art daily]
“Situation New York 1986”, Nov. 2011 on Art & Public’s own site []
A lot to be remembered in this show. Or to be left forgotten: CalArts: Skeptical Belief(s), at the Renaissance Society and on, 1987-88 []
Previously, suddenly related: a post about Christopher Williams’ shows in 1984-85

Jenny Holzer’s Top Secret Papers

After seeing these epic FOIA monochromes from the Dept. of Homeland Security a few years ago, I’ve been collecting the best examples of redacted documents. I’ve never quite figured out what to do with them. Maybe a book.
I know Jenny Holzer’s been working on it for a while now. But I found her first batch of giant silkscreen on linen Redaction Paintings a little too slick. The Dust Paintings and Constructivist-inspired redaction paintings she showed this fall, though, are pretty great. Score one for the hand.
But then I just noticed this rather incredible, mysterious, and seemingly modest object in an upcoming Rago Arts auction. It’s a large (35×27 in) work titled Enhanced Techniques 3, and it’s described as a signed sheet of handmade paper. So the redaction is molded right in! I think Holzer has a winner here. But what? Where? And why is this thing only estimated to sell for $1000-1500?
A search for Holzer and handmade paper turn up other, similar pieces in the flotsam-filled auction reporting sites and secondary market print dealers. Try as they might, MutualArt couldn’t hide the fact that Rago had sold a handmade paper piece called Top Secret 24 last Spring. Rago certainly doesn’t want to hide it. I’d never thought of redaction in the same context of watermarking before.
On Caviar20 Top Secret 24 is pitched as Holzer’s “return to painting.” Hmm. At least they finally have pictures showing where this damn thing comes from. It’s ironic that people selling artworks about redaction leave out so much basic information.
griffelkunst director Dirk Dobke sitting in front of Jenny Holzer’s Top Secret portfolio. image:
Anyway, the answer is griffelkunst, a 90-year-old print association in Hamburg with 4,500 subscribers and a closed 5-year-waitlist. Members pay €132/year for four contemporary artworks, which the association, currently led by curator Dirk Dobke, commissions and produces.
I don’t quite understand how that maps to Holzer’s Top Secret project, which was a suite of six handmade paper redaction editions, available to members only for €150 apiece, or €900 for the set. I guess they made as many as people ordered?
The labor-intensive process sounds like it syncs nicely with the subject: the white pulp on the redacted areas was scooped out by hand and filled in with black as each sheet was being made. And all of this sounds like fascinating context and backstory for the work. But no one’s using it to sell these things; just the opposite, they’re keeping it quiet. Whether it’s because griffelkunst frowns on flipping, or because it’s hard to explain a 10-20x markup, I can’t say.
Holding back information is power, and the occlusion of information comes as no surprise. Strategic vagueness and decontextualization is as likely an art-selling technique as transparency and information overload. That same Rago auction also has an atypical-looking Ad Reinhardt. Well, it might look typical, but the small black monochrome square is actually an edition, silkscreened on plexiglass. It was “from NY International, 1966,” which turns out to be the title of a 10-artist Tanglewood Press print/multiples portfolio organized by Henry Geldzahler. Portfolios like these get broken up, and the slightly more marketable pieces parted out, all the time. But so many dealers and auctioneers redact the reason and context for which the artist created the work as part of their enhanced sales techniques.

On Peter Coffin At The Hirshhorn

I’m surprised to not be hearing or reading more about “Here and There,” Peter Coffin’s show at the Hirshhorn, curated by Kelly Gordon.
Hirshhorn installation view via @bluelikechagall
Maybe it’s the show’s unusual format; with seven works, it’s bigger than a project, but smaller than a mid-career retrospective, and Coffin’s works are dispersed throughout the museum (and one online). Jane Holzer’s copy of the eyecatching Untitled (Spiral Staircase) is in the courtyard. And my absolute favorite of Peter’s work, Untitled (Designs for Colby Poster Company), is on view, all 80 posters, in the elevator landing. [The Hirshhorn apparently bought Colby Poster in 2008, which was definitely the right time to get it, but the checklist and walltext says these particular examples are Collection of the Artist. I hope there’s a trivial explanation for this, especially now that Colby Poster Company is gone. (RIP). Also, has it ever been shown in the museum before? I don’t think so. I would’ve put that thing up at the end of Warhol’s Shadows instead of that Estate Edition Flavin wall. Just sayin’.]
Donald Moffett, Aluminum/White House Unmoored, 2004, image via marianneboeskygallery
Anyway, the big news is the center of the show, a [commissioned?] project, Untitled (Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum), 2013, a 12-minute animated projection/installation on a dozen or so works from the collection. It’s not so much site-specific as institution-specific and work-specific; each projection is timed and tailored for a particular painting or drawing.
When Donald Moffett first showed projected still video landscapes on paintings in 2003 (above), his silver and gold monochrome canvases served as uneasy, even dubious screens. Coffin, though, has selected a wide mix of figurative and abstract work onto which he projects Jeremy Blake-like animations that overlay their own representational/abstract painterly arguments.
For Jasper Johns’ pastel 0-9 (1962), for example, Coffin articulates each collapsed digit in turn, rendering the illegible temporarily legible. For Sargent’s portrait of random London shipping heiress Catherine Vlasto (1897) [left], Coffin highlights different elements of the picture, including the piano keys, her décolletage, and the gilt frame, referencing the viewer’s own reading process, the very museum experience that has been digitally usurped.
I’ve watched the program through several times, and I got to where I can identify and anticipate favorite passages, moments where the original artwork and Coffin’s projected images work well together (or against each other.) The last 5 seconds or so of the video clip above, for example, where Coffin makes de Kooning’s painting seem to blur in and out of focus, is a standout that deftly addresses the painting’s abstraction.
Overall, though, Coffin’s various animations don’t seem designed for contemplation. Instead they fall under the rubric Gordon calls, “serious fun,” a new, different, and “subversive” way of looking at traditional artworks. I imagine that for many viewers, especially those who wander in from Air & Space, Coffin’s 12 minute loop will be several times longer than they’ll spend strolling through galleries where they can actually see the paintings. In that sense, they’re the apotheosis of a certain kind of entertainment-centric museum-going experience, just what the curator ordered.
Peter Coffin: Here & There runs through Oct. 6, 2013 []

The Offices of Fend, Fitzgibbon, Holzer, Nadin, Prince & Winters

A couple of weeks ago at Printed Matter I found copies of Spanner NYC, an arts magazine published in 1979-80 by Colab folks including Dick Miller & Terese Slotkin. In the back of the third/blue issue was a full page ad from “The Offices of Fend, Fitzgibbon, Holzer, Nadin, Prince & Winters,” offering their “practical esthetic services adaptable to client situation.”
There’ve been a ton of shows related to Colab recently, and I’d known The Offices at least by name, or as a line in a few peoples’ CVs. As the recent creator of a corporate entity designed to operate in the art world, though, I guess I’ve been newly sensitized to such ventures. And I realized I had no idea what, if anything, The Offices actually did.
So first, the basics. The Offices seems to have been a conceptually driven, services-based, artist collaborative run on the ad agency or consultancy model. Which might be considered alongside corporate experiments like N.E. Thing, Co in Canada; Art & Language in the UK, that other UK group that infiltrated companies all over, which I can’t remember the generic name; and even the art-as-professional service work of Michael Asher. Or maybe it’s a failed utopic version of a massive sellout operation like Takashi Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki, Ltd.
The Offices sounds like it was an outgrowth of Colab, or at least created by artists involved in Colab. Peter Fend called it a “spinoff.” Here’s a photo from, perhaps, a board meeting, with all the name partners: [l to r] Robin Winters, Richard Prince, Jenny Holzer, Coleen Fitzgibbon Peter Fend, and Peter Nadin.
Actually, it could be at Peter Nadin Gallery, the artist’s studio transformed into an accretive exhibition space with Chris d’Arcangelo and Neil Lawson, where artists created work in response to the space and what had been made & shown there before. That continued for eight months from 1978-9, ending with a memorial show to mark d’Arcangelo’s death.
Or maybe it is the show on ecologically optimizing North America’s political and economic systems by reorganizing boundaries around its saltwater marsh basins. That show included work, a poster, by Fend and Holzer. I would have pegged Fend for the instigator of The Offices, but in telling the story of the basins project, Political Economies After Oil, he writes that Holzer “asked Fend to join her in a six-person artist team intent on “functional” projects.”

Continue reading “The Offices of Fend, Fitzgibbon, Holzer, Nadin, Prince & Winters”

And The Award Comes From…

bloomberg_olafur_tabletop.jpgimage via Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Facebook photostream

Congratulations to the mayors of Philadelphia, Houston, Santa Monica, Chicago [not present] and Providence for winning Bloomberg Philanthropies’ inaugural Mayors Challenge Prize for Innovation Award, thereby securing grants of five or one million dollars for your city’s innovative project, plus this wonderful trophy, created exclusively for the Mayors Challenge Prize by noted Icelandic/Danish artist Olafur Eliasson.
olafur_mayors_challenge_prize_det.jpgimage via Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Facebook photostream

As the LA Times’ Christopher Knight reported, the grand prize winner, Providence’s stainless steel trophy will be shiny, while the other winners’ trophies will have a blacker finish. All will consist, however, of a compass suspended from a circle nested in a square nested in a dodecagon, which represent, respectively, movement toward a common goal; the angle of rotation of the earth; a map; and the demarcation of time in hours and/or months.

Olafur’s Mayors Challenge Prize is the slow-ripening fruit of Bloomberg [Mayor’s and Philanthropies’] collaboration during the Public Art Fund-sponsored NYC Waterfalls project. It joins a rarified group of trophies designed by artists of the day, including:


Lawrence Weiner’s adaptation in 2012 of his 2004-6 sidewalk installation Bard Enter for the trophy accompanying the $25,000 check that accompanies the newly endowed and renamed Center for Curatorial Studies Bard College Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence.


And Jenny Holzer designed Human Rights First’s Sidney Lumet Award for Integrity in Entertainment, which was presented in 2011 by Phillip Seymour Hoffman to Michelle and Robert King, the creators of The Good Wife. Here she is at the gala with the Kings and The Good Wife co-star Josh Charles. Not clear what the scrolling truism is. Maybe, “Entertainment industry’s self-regard comes as no surprise.”


Also in 2011: Marc Quinn created The Bianca Jagger Foundation For Human Rights’ “Award For Courage,” in collaboration with Swarovski. It was a painting, which he did for the Foundation’s logo, which was used in the award. The inaugural recipient, Ai Weiwei, was unable to attend the gala, held at Phillips de Pury in London, where donated artworks, including Quinn’s painting, were sold to raise million of dollars. UPDATE: Quinn also designed the “Award For Leadership,” whose recipient, Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui, Chief of the Gamebey Clan of the Suruí People of Rondônia in Brazil appears also to have been unable to attend what looks to have been a dazzling, self-funding evening.

Is this a flurry of artist-designed awards? Perhaps, but the genre does have a history.


There’s the Ellie, of course, replicas of Alexander Calder’s stabile Elephant, which have, since 1966, been given by the American Society of Magazine Editors to winners of the National Magazine Awards. [That’s Chris Anderson and David Remnick hauling home three each in 2009, via adage] I can find no information on how Calder’s sculpture came to be used, nor can I see any info on the “original” stabile. Which situation I find interesting.

And Ernest Trova’s COUNCIL OF FASHION DESIGNERS OF AMERICA AWARD, commissioned in 1981. We read that DVF brought in the life-size version of COFDOAA to CFDA HQ. But this particular one was Brooke Astor’s, from 1989, and it was sold last September at Sotheby’s. $1,750.

And my favorite, which has been sitting on my desktop for months now, and whose genesis has the greatest similarity to Bloomberg’s Eliasson: Rockefeller’s Kelly. In 1967, Governor Nelson Rockefeller commissioned Ellsworth Kelly to create the New York State Award. The felt banner, produced by the noted art banner publisher Betsy Ross Flag and Banner Co. in an edition of 20, was given to admirable arts and culture-related projects and institutions by the New York State Council of the Arts.


UPDATE: I’m sorry, did I say that was my favorite? It was until five minutes ago, when I discovered that in 1998 Robert Rauschenberg created the Equine Posterior Achievement Award for People For The American Way. The horse’s ass was cast in bronze by Robert Graham, and has been presented as needed to political and cultural leaders “whose abilities to misrepresent an issue, manipulate his or her followers and pander to our basic instincts reach such ridiculous levels we don’t know whether to laugh or cry.” God Bless you, Robert Rauschenberg, and God Bless The United States of America. [By 2014 Ted Cruz had won the EPAA at least twice, but I guess things have taken an unfunny turn since, because I haven’t seen any more recent winners.]

UPDATE UPDATE: via Brent @HeartAsArena comes this news: in 2010 Steve Martin commissioned his friend Eric Fischl to create the statue for the Steve Martin Prize For Excellence In Banjo And Bluegrass. Martin discussed the award on the David Letterman Show whence this screenshot was taken.

Oct 2013 Update: Americans for the Arts presented their National Arts Awards last night in New York to, among others, Dakota Fanning.

And as the AftA press release confirms, Jeff Koons designed the award statue in 2009.

Nov 2013: Another award statue designed by Jeff Koons and unveiled tonight, the Smithsonian Magazine American Ingenuity Award!

Hey look, there’s a tiny selfie in there!

The ten winners in this, the 2nd year of the award, include St. Vincent, Doug Aitken, and Dave Eggers. Too bad the first year’s Ingeniuses don’t get one. I’m sure they got a nice plaque, though. Or a light bulb.


Nov. 2014 update: Did someone say lightbulb? I don’t know how I completely forgot that Rob Pruitt designed the trophies for his Rob Pruitt Art Awards, held in association with the Guggenheim in 2009 and 2010. The 2009 trophy was a champagne bucket lamp, with a light bulb that Art in America, at least, saw as a Jasper Johns reference. There were ten distributed, and more made, for sure.

image via guggenheim’s flickr

For the 2010 trophy, Pruitt designed an engraved sterling silver cup–and then handed out screen printed paintings of the rendering. Probably a budget thing. Here is the one for Solo Show of The Year, Museum, modeled by its winner, Marina Abramovic, and her curator, Klaus Biesenbach.
Santa Monica wins Eliasson sculpture; awaits a much bigger one [latimes via @KnightLAT]

May 2018 Update: Hrag tweets from the Noguchi Museum gala that recipients of the Noguchi Award receive a desktop-sized Red Cube. Unlike the original, which is perched on a corner, the trophy version nests in a small, black base.  [Also, the Noguchi Award was not initiated until 2014 (pdf), a year-plus after this compilation was first posted.]

Naoto Fukasawa holding his 2018 Isamu Noguchi Award, image: @hragv

And just like that new updates beget new information. Everyone’s a winner! @RealSparklePony [accept no substitutes] tweets that the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Award [below] for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year, is based on a sculpture by the NCS’s longtime honorary president, Rube Goldberg. The statue was introduced in 1954, when the award was switched from the Barney to the Reuben, and the eight previous OCOTYs, got theirs backdated. [The award ceremony is Memorial Day Weekend, so it’s coming right up!]

The Reuben Award from the National Cartoonists Society, designed by Rube Goldberg. [h/t @RealSparklePony]
I made a Tom Otterness joke about this Goldberg statue, which led me to search for Otterness trophies, which totally seem like they should be a thing. And well, in 1998, the Whitney’s American Art Award was apparently designed by Otterness, and executed by silversmith Elliott Arkin.

Moneybag Man with Cellphone, aka, American Art Award, 1998, by Tom Otterness, fabricated by Elliott Arkin

But no photos beyond 1998, which seems odd. Not as odd as the award statue they unveiled at the 2008 American Art Award gig at Hearst Tower, though. WT actual F? It is officially called Walking Whitney Museum, and it is by Laurie Simmons.

Leonard Lauder, Laurie Simmons, Victor Ganzi, and uh, Walking Whitney Museum, at the Whitney’s 17th American Art Awards, img: PMC/Getty (obv)

Does this mean there are 15 other artist-designed trophies for this one award? Yes, yes it does. And more. The Whitney’s American Art Award was begun in 1992, first in partnership with Cartier, and the director of the museum decided from among artists recommended by curators, who are in the collection, who will create an edition to be awarded to a corporate friend of the museum. In 2007 Whitney ISP Fellow Stéphanie Fabre wrote about the American Art Awards with refreshing candor:

The commissioned artwork is given as a prize, to honor the generosity of a rich individual or company, yet the exchange also highlights the commodity aspect of the work. The work of a mid-career artist has a decided worth, and the transaction between the corporation and the museum acknowledges this. But in the process the  work also acquires a fetishistic value. Although the monetary value of the artwork given by the museum to its donor may be lower than the value of the gift given by the corporation to the museum, the work possesses a superior symbolic value, in part as a result of its affiliation with the Whitney. In addition — and as corporations know when they invest in art — art is often seen as elevated, noble, and permanent, and these associations add to the museum’s clout in the gift exchange.

And the catalogue [pdf] has all the photos. We have tapped a rich vein I am ashamed to have somehow never heard of. And here I thought I knew all the gala potlatches in Manhattan back then.

New York State Award c. 1974, a Beverly Pepper sculpture.

Perhaps the Whitney cribbed the artist-a-year idea from Governor Rockefeller? @TedGrunewald just tweeted an incredible, fierce, sharp, wedge-shaped steel Beverly Pepper sculpture, which was the 1974 New York State Award. This pic comes from a spread in Brendan Gill’s 1975 memoir, “Here at the New Yorker”. Wallace Shawn eyed theirs warily: “It is not only a prize; it is also a weapon.”


The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Homeland Security on the government’s deployment of body scanner technology on streets and in roving vans.
These are the three pages of the FOIA report that did not come from a scanner manufacturer’s publicly available brochures and website, and that were not the publicly available agenda for a scanner industry conference.
Related: DODDOACID, one of a suite of six Redaction Paintings made in 2007 by Jenny Holzer from FOIA documents, and acquired by the National Gallery of Art in 2010 []
FOIA Note #20 (August 15, 2011) Government Transparency [ via @wagnerblog]