Krion™ Fall Green

Rachel Harrison, Untabled (Title) 1694, 2017
Wood, polystyrene, cement, acrylic, Krion, gymnastics rings, straps, toy gun, and bandana, installed at Greene Naftali in 2017, now in the collection of MoMA

Come to the catalogue for Sitting in a Room, Rachel Harrison’s 2022-23 exhibition at the Astrup Fearnly Museet in Oslo, for the extensive documentation of all the installations of Marilyn with Wall.

Stay for the Lars Bang Larsen text mentioning Sturtevant in Harrison’s repetition and incorporation of other artist’s work, like the sculpture Robert Morris showed at the Green Gallery in 1964, which Harrison had made in sleek Krion™ Fall Green, as seen here at the Greene Naftali installation. [Krion™ is Porcelanosa’s next-generation competitor to Corian™. The chicken-with-a-durag-and-a-gun form is Harrison’s more familiar house blend of cement over polystyrene.]

screenshot of a footnote reading, 28. Louise Lawler's photos of labels next to some artworks have made us realize how absurd and intrusive they are. Are, for instance, audio labels-like the computer-generated voice reading "live" some titles from Harrison's Life Hack show at the Whitney on an option at all?

And buy a print copy right now for the unexpected shoutout in the footnotes of Anne Dressen’s text, where Louise Lawler and I make the case for figuring out audio wall labels? [d’oh but not in the Norwegian.]

I am now making a sticker to attach next to this footnote, in a signed edition of 2000, one for each copy of the print catalogue. Buyers or owners of the Sitting in a Room catalogue should email me a pic of your book and your mailing address, and I’ll send you two stickers. One will be for your copy, and one for installing on another copy of the catalogue that might someday cross your path.

Maybe I should do this for the Jasper Johns Catalogue Raisonné, too.

Buy Rachel Harrison Sitting in a Room (2023) from Greene Naftali Gallery, the Astrup Fearnley Shop in Oslo, or Amazon

Faith in Pictures

installation view of Rachel Harrison’s Marilyn with Wall, 2018, in Faithless Pictures at the Najsonalmuseet in Oslo

Speaking of Rachel Harrison, for the last post I was going back through the catalogue for Life Hack—an exhibition in a book if ever there was one, and with a sweet artist-designed cover I had a computer read aloud to me. And there was a big, beautiful spread of the eighth incarnation of Marilyn with Wall that felt like an even more direct nod to Louise Lawler than all the rest.

Continue reading “Faith in Pictures”

Showing Bullet Hole

a painting by Thomas Scheibitz and a sculpture and four drawings by Rachel Harrison installed at the Wexner Center’s After Picasso: 80 Contemporary Artists, in 2015. photo: Stephen Takacs

I kept getting caught off guard by an aggro undercurrent in Maggie Nelson’s essay about Rachel Harrison in The Paris Review. [From 2020, in response to Harrison’s show, Life Hack at the Whitney, it was first published in the show’s catalogue in 2019. It’s been a long pandemic, and the stack of open tabs mocks me from the corner.] But I can’t let this one go by unnoted:

This current of nihilism or violence has been present in Harrison’s work for some time, via its excavation of America and Americana; in 2015, it became literalized, when actual bullets were fired into her work at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, by an ex–security guard who spray-painted and shot several pieces of art in the After Picasso: 80 Contemporary Artists exhibit before taking his own life. After defacing the art—including sending a bullet into the forehead of a framed drawing of Al Pacino in Harrison’s 2012 sculpture Valid Like Salad (a new, tragic echo of Davidson’s mop in the head)—the ex-guard, Dean Sturgis, sat in a folding chair and shot himself in the head (a new, tragic link to Circle Jerk).

Whatever urge toward defacement, whatever hostility toward art qua art, whatever exploration, however lighthearted, of American breeds of masculinity, celebrity, and sociopathy may have been at play in Harrison’s work (in 2007, she titled a show “If I Did It,” after O. J. Simpson’s much-maligned memoir)—all must now sit uneasily with the legacy of Sturgis, whose bullet holes serve to remind us that our everyday includes mortal threat and terror as much as it does remote controls and air fresheners.

Nelson makes it sound like this association with the Wexner Center shooting was foisted on Harrison’s work, that it’s been tragically linked, passive voice. But that elides the artist’s own agency, and her own decisions, and risks diminishing her own insights about her work, both before and after it was shot.

Continue reading “Showing Bullet Hole”

Better Read #036, Rachel Harrison’s Life Hack

Rachel Harrison Life Hack, 2019 exhibition catalogue, The Whitney Museum of American Art

As with the transformation evinced by Leo Steinberg’s flatbed picture plane, this episode of Better Read came into being when I took the catalogue for Rachel Harrison’s 2019 Whitney exhibition, Life Hack, off the shelf and left it in full view on my desk.

There are some oddities in this recording, like names I gave up trying to get the computer to pronounce correctly; words or abbreviations that are pronounced correctly in one case, and read out as a string in another; the startling precision with which the machine says, “Spongebob Squarepants,” and the sudden appearance of French voice for one precisely articulated line, while other instances of French are left to phonetic stumbling.

Johanna Burton is right, though, and Rachel Harrison’s text-related practice rewards the attention given to it.

Download Better Read #036, Rachel Harrison Life Hack (mp3, 15mb, 32:16) []
Buy Rachel Harrison Life Hack [bookshop, or somewhere it’s available, like the museum]
Rachel Harrison, Life Hack, Oct 2019–Jan 2020 []

Tiny Rachel Harrison 🇺🇸🍰

Rachel Harrison, Untitled, 2004, mixed media, 2 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 2 in., to be auctioned June 4, 2021 at Stair Galleries

Here are some things that are larger than this untitled 2004 Rachel Harrison sculpture:
my iphone
my 15yo SonyEricsson k790i smartphone
a box of Altoids
a deck of cards
a Metrocard
a piece of grocery store sheet cake at a Fourth of July block party
a 4×6 inch snapshot overpainted by Gerhard Richter while he’s cleaning up at the end of squeegee day

Gerhard Richter, MV.101, 2011, overpainted photograph, 10 x 15 cm, image:

Here are some things that are about the same size:
a piece of grocery store sheet cake at a Fourth of July block party where a lot more people showed up than expected, and there was only one cake, and they had to stretch it.
a little piece of polystyrene foam trimmed off the end of a larger sculpture, or maybe the leg, now laying around the studio where a work like Hey Joe [below] is being made.

Rachel Harrison, Hey Joe, 2004, mixed media, as seen in Latka/Latkas, Harrison’s 2004 show at Greene Naftali Gallery

That’s the second reference to works that sound like castoffs or afterthoughts of some ostensibly more important studio activity, but I do not think that’s what Untitled actually is. I count ten colors of paint, in multiple layers, on every sculpted surface, plus the bottom, plus some fur, and a flag. This is a little object that has seen some stuff. [update: I have heard from the successful buyer of this little object that the fur was dust–which, though also a sign that the work has not been overhandled, is hilarious and gross–and has been removed.]

Alberto Giacometti, Very Small Figurine, 1937-39, plaster with traces of pigment, 4.5 x 3 x 3.8 cm, seen at Tate, from one of the Fondations, I’m not getting involved

Here are some things that are about as small that have also seen some stuff:
a 1937-39 Giacometti literally titled Very Small Figurine, from the era when he supposedly said he fit all his sculptures into a matchbox as he fled across the Alps.

Jasper Johns, Flag (P56), 1958, silk printed flag, paraffin, in wooden frame, 2 3/4 x 3 3/4 in., via JJCR

And one of my absolute favorite things in the entire Jasper Johns Catalogue Raisonné, a tiny flag embedded in wax in a little frame, from 1958, which he gave to Merce Cunningham, and which had never been exhibited before 2014.

Whatever brought this Harrison into existence and out of the studio was not the market, or the demand for a show, but something else. Whether it was a private gesture or a gift or some daily or exceptional practice, I don’t know, but it is interesting. This is the point where I wonder if I should hold off on posting until I try to get this, or where I say, if I don’t get it, I invite whoever does to give it to me. I mean, it’s meant to be a gift, isn’t it?

June 4, 2021, Lot 670, Rachel Harrison, Untitled, 2004, est. $1,500-3,000 [update: sold for $2,700, not to me] [stairgalleries]

What Is Going On With This Rachel Harrison Image?

Rachel Harrison, April 2020, digital print, 23.4 x 16.5 in., published by Between Bridges 2020 Solidarity

I bought this Rachel Harrison print from Between Bridges’ 2020 Solidarity cultural organizations fundraiser project this summer because I wanted to help the worthy non-profit I ordered it from. But mostly I hoped that seeing it bigger and in person, I’d be able to figure out what is going on in this image. So far, I’m still stumped.

It is a digital collage of a screenshot, with a crop&drag of one of Harrison’s works. The date and the avi feel like a Photos app interface? I have tried and failed to identify the red menu UI of what looks like a museum, or a gallery guide website: (“Exhibitions”? “Visits”? “Thots”? OK, probably not that last one.)

Rachel Harrison, The Classics, 2017, Colored pencil, India ink, and wax crayon on pigmented inkjet print, around 25×19 inches framed, image via greene naftali

The drawing, titled, The Classics, is one I recognized right away from Harrison’s show this spring at Greene Naftali. Not that I saw it in person, of course. (Did anybody?) But it’s not just a drawing, but a drawing in pencil, ink, and crayon on an inkjet print–of what looks to be a cropped image of a drawing. That got chopped and overworked again. I think the pink line drawing of a male figure was on the original sketchbook page, and the elaborate female figure was drawn on the print. As Anne Doran notes in the conversation-with-the-artist-slash-press-release, “[T]hese are drawings on photographs of drawings of photographs of sculpture.”

“In the nineteenth century a series of major excavations of Greek and Roman statues were documented by French and British photographers. The relationship of the camera to sculpture goes back to its [photography’s, presumably. -ed.] invention,” Harrison replied.

It [the drawing] was a remediated object from a show that got locked down, re-remediated into an image that was sent out to propagate around the world. As another kind of object.

Anyway, I guess now I’m throwing it [the image of the print] out there, if anyone has any insights, lmk?

2020Solidarity []
Rachel Harrison Drawings, 6 March – 31 July 2020 [greene naftali]