Virtual Mural With Girl With A Pearl

Mural With Girl With A Pearl, 2023, paint on plaster, Vermeer painting, as installed at Rijksmuseum

It was the exhibition of the year, and it was truly an unexpected honor to be a part of it. The Rijksmuseum’s Vermeer exhibition lives online in a 360-degree panoramic version, and I’m thrilled to confirm that Mural With Girl With A Pearl (2023) can also still be experienced and studied virtually.

Like the Vermeer it incorporates, Mural With Girl With A Pearl deploys paint to hint at a spatial complexity that extends beyond the field of vision. And it also relies on subtle shifts of light to activate its painterly gestures. That these nuances can be communicated in the mediated experience of the virtual pseudo-space is truly a testament to the enduring magic of painting.

Vermeer 360 [rikjsmuseum.nl thanks Alain Servais]
Previously: Mural With Girl With A Pearl (2023)

Happy Joan Mitchell Season

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

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

The Second Deposition of Richard Prince (2023)

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

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

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

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

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Cady Noland More Relevant Than I’d Like

The New Yorker cover illustration, 2 Oct 2023, by Bruce Blitt

Shoutout to Cady Noland for making the cover of The New Yorker this week. We have been overdue for a discussion of the walker as a symbol of American boomer hegemony.

Cady Noland, Untitled (Walker), 1986, metal walker, metal police badge, leather gloves and case, denim strap, leather strap with metal clip, nylon strap with metal clip, copyright Cady Noland, photo: Owen Conway via Gagosian

cf.

Untitled (Harvey After Untitled (Walker)), 2019, walker, tennis balls, retractable stanchions, galvanized barrier, stepstool, hi-viz coat (image:AFP via Getty Images via PageSix)

Untitled (AUS), 2023 [UPDATED]

Untitled (AUS) and USM(ono)C(hrome), 2023, installation view, via CNN Pentagon correspondent Oren Liebermann

The second in what I guess will be an ongoing series. Any Republican senator could end this installation at any time.

MONDAY MONOCHROME UPDATE: Now the Navy makes it a triptych.

Untitled (AUS), Untitled (USN), and USM(ono)C(hrome), installation view,
14 Aug 2023, via Lara Seligman

Previously, related: USM(ono)C(hrome), 2023

Underground Projection Room (For Rattlesnakes)

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.

greg.org, Study for Underground Projection Room For Snakes, 2023

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.

The TinyScreen+ next to a US quarter, $39.95 at TinyCircuits.com

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

A Little Bit of Roy Lichtenstein for Mark

Richard Hamilton, A Little Bit of Roy Lichtenstein, 1964, 23×26 in, screenprint, given to Mark Lancaster and sold at Sotheby’s for $4,064.

During his 1963 visit to the US to see Duchamp’s Pasadena retrospective, Richard Hamilton also picked up a Roy Lichtenstein poster/lithograph from Castelli. When he got back to the UK, he enlarged a tiny section to make his own two-color print edition, A Little Bit of Roy Lichtenstein for…, which he liked to give away to friends.

Today A Little Bit of Roy Lichtenstein for Mark sold at Sotheby’s, part of the collection of the artist Mark Lancaster, who studied with Hamilton, and who shot the photos for Hamilton’s translation of The Green Box. [His copy of it sold today, too.] Lancaster worked in Warhol’s Factory in 1964 while working on his dissertation on Stieglitz, and from 1972 until 1985, worked as Jasper Johns’ assistant and business manager [a lot of nice Johns prints in the sale, btw.] and as artistic director for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. He somehow survived all that and only died in 2021. Gary Comenas did an amazing interview with Mark Lancaster for warholstars.org in 2004.

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Untitled (Free As In America), 2016/2023

America by Budweiser, available from Memorial Day thru Election Day, 2016.

Beginning the Spring of 2016 and running through the Fall, I put out Untitled (Free As In America), a series of Cady Noland sculptures replicated with the America beer cans that Anheuser-Busch InBev replaced Budweiser with in the run-up to the US presidential election. The concept was to remake any sculpture for only the cost of the raw materials it required.

Exactly none of these sculptures were realized in the window in which Budweiser’s America cans were available.

You see it. I’m not mentioning it or linking to it.

Now the window has reopened. As the right wing is consumed by its own flames of hate and violence, it seeks to transform that hate into consumption. Recognizing the futility of icing out the giant, international beer conglomerate for paying a trans woman to promote one of their products on her own social media channel, some grifter created an alternative: right-wing beer.

Cady Noland, This Piece Has No Title Yet, 1989, Budweiser and scaffolding and stuff, the Rubells

As long as this beer is actually for sale, then, I will make Untitled (Free As In America) sculptures available again. I will replicate any Cady Noland sculpture, replacing the Budweiser cans with perfect replicas of—when I started this post, it was going to be replicas of the grift beer. But no, it will be replicas of the 2016 America cans, made by the finest trans metallurgists and artists in the world. All proceeds beyond the production costs will be used to fund trans legal defense, health care, and emergency support services. Prices run from $100 million for a basket to $1 billion for a room-sized installation.

ONE DAY LATER UNBELIEVABLE UPDATE: In a statement literally titled, Our Responsibility To America, Anheuser-Busch InBev caves to trolls attacking their product and threatening humans with baseball bats. To update Cady Noland, “Violence has always been around. The seeming [systematization] of it now actually indicates the [work] of political organization representing different interests. ‘Inalienable rights’ become something so inane that they break down into men believing that they have the right to be superior to women (there’s someone lower on the ladder than they) so if a woman won’t date them any more they have a right to murder them.”

A FEW DAYS LATER UPDATE: I joked about it, but now other people investigating the grifter’s sourcing are saying it is actually likely the case that the rightwing grifterbeer is made in an Anheuser-Busch plant. It’s America all the way down.

Previously, related: Free As In America

Untitled (Koch Block I), 2014/2023

On Tuesday, September 9, 2014, The Metropolitan Museum of Art enacted what historian Daniel J. Boorstin called a pseudo-event. It was intended to draw public attention to David Koch, a right-wing extremist whose inherited fossil fuel fortune funds a vast network of politicians, judges, lobbyists, and ideologues that has pursued power in its own service for decades.

A small fraction of his wealth, $65 million, was used to redo the plaza in front of the Met, where Koch was a trustee. The main feature is a pair of large, square, fountains of black granite, with circles of choreographed water jets. The fountains are ringed by a rough cut black granite seating ledge that bears the inscription, David H. Koch Plaza, in gilt letters.

Untitled (Koch Block), 2014 — ongoing, performance/condition, documented in 2018

In 2017 I made a work of an endless, collaborative performance of negation, where the Met’s millions of visitors and passersby, New Yorkers and outsiders alike, continuously sit in a way that blocks this aggrandizing, carved text from view. That piece is called Untitled (Koch Block), and it is still in process. Please join it whenever you’re nearby.

But there is another work, a predecessor, unearthed only recently, through a search for something else, I already forget what. On the 9th of September, the Metropolitan Museum invited the Kochs—David and his wife, Julia, whose first socialite outing in New York was co-chairing the Met Gala in 1997, a year after their marriage—to flip the switch on the fountain for the media assembled, and in the presence of local politicians and functionaries, museum leaders, neighborhood schoolchildren, and a youth chorus dressed in white and wearing red gloves, who sang a dissonant arrangement of “New York, New York.”

Here is the switch.

Untitled (Koch Block I), wood, steel, paint, old Met logo, est. 48 x 24 x 24 in., installed September 9, 2014. photo for Getty Images by Paul Zimmerman via WireImage
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Untitled (On A Clear Day), 2023

Apr. 18, Lot 25: Agnes Martin, On A Clear Day, 1973, silkscreen on paper, mounted, each sheet 12×12 in., est. $150-200k at Christie’s

A complete edition of Agnes Martin’s silkscreen portfolio, On A Clear Day, is coming up for auction at Christie’s, from “an important corporate collection” I expect is the merged remnant of the Chase Manhattan Bank.

It’s as good an occasion as any to reflect on two aspects of this important work: As print curator Riva Castleman explained when The Museum of Modern Art announced the exhibition and gift of the prints [pdf], Martin did not make them. She selected “30 drawings from more than 300 that she executed in 1972…[and] had the Domberger silkscreen workshop in Stuttgart cut the stencils to their exact measurements without attempting to duplicate her autographic line.” This was in order “to replace, by means of mechanical application, the illusionary and irregular drawing that detracted from the perfection she sought in her compositions.”

Agnes Martin, Untitled (Study for On A Clear Day), 1972, graphite on paper, 30 9×9 in. drawings, collection SFMOMA

The Fishers bought what seem to be the 30 drawings—which are shockingly loose for Martin—and they are now at SFMOMA as a Untitled (Study for On A Clear Day), which is not quite how it went down? But close.

The other thing is, though the artist conceived On A Clear Day as mechanically supplanting the imperfections of her autographic line, it is credited with pulling her out of self-imposed isolation and re-starting Martin’s art production. Yet she also made 300 drawings for it in 1972. And her correspondence with curator Sam Wagstaff from the time she supposedly wasn’t painting—1971-72—includes references to making paintings. And to loaning, selling, and planning to show work. So she was not isolated, and had not stopped working, but was managing her work’s reception while still seeking its perfection.

Anyway, it’s a good time to have an extra couple of hundred thousand dollars and some taste. For my part, I am trying to figure out the best way back from the silkscreens to the drawings. Which seems like a more easily realizable project than my other Untitled (On A Clear Day), to reuinite one of the broken-up editions as a work.

Lot 25: Agnes Martin, On A Clear Day, 1973, est. $150-200k [christies]
[morning after update: sold for $264,600. nice work.]
Previously, related: Untitled (On A Clear Day), 2015
Agnes Martin Mini-Storage

Untitled (Newman Twelfth Station Glitch I & II), 2013—

[l to r]: Barnett Newman, Twelfth Station, 1965, acrylic on canvas, 78 x 60 in., collection: NGA; Study for Untitled (Newman Twelfth Station Glitch I), 2013/2023, jpg of pdf

It’s been almost ten years since I found the Internet Archive scan of the Guggenheim’s 1966 catalogue for the debut exhibition of Barnett Newman’s Stations of The Cross had not one, but two alternating glitches in it.

Study for Untitled (Newman Twelfth Station Glitch II), 2013/2023, jpg of pdf

And ten years and five minutes since I decided they should be made into paintings.

And ten years, five minutes and a day since I last thought about me actually painting them myself. I guess these things just take time. I was about to buy an old catalogue of Barnett Newman prints when I realized I already had two. And that memory of Newman’s interest in the borders around prints, intrinsic to the medium, and his treating lithograph stones as an instrument to be played, reminded me of these pages. And though my previous comparison this instrument metaphor to Richard Prince’s description of playing a camera didn’t help me make the connection at the time, I now see that a scanner can be an instrument as well, with what Newman called its repertoire of “instrumental licks.” [Which, now that I type it, reminds me of Sigmar Polke’s hyperexpressive use of a Xerox machine to make his artist’s book, Daphne. But if the artist introduces them himself, are they even glitches?]

Still not sure what form(s) these should take—whether books, or prints, or paintings, or paintings of paintings—but I am glad to be thinking about it again.

Glitch II is still there, btw. [1.8mb pdf]

Previously, related:
Glitches of The Stations of The Cross
Creation is Joined with the Playing

Mural With Girl With A Pearl, 2023

Mural With Girl With A Pearl, 2023, paint on plaster, Vermeer, dimensions variable (installation view via @BMPMurphy)

I’m not sure I could think of a greater honor than to have work in a two-artist exhibition with Vermeer. I certainly didn’t think of anything before today.

But now I am beyond thrilled to announce my site-specific installation, Mural With Girl With A Pearl is on view at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It comprises a painting on the wall holding Girl With A Pearl, and the painting Girl With A Pearl itself. It’s hard to say how long it will be there; certainly this incarnation won’t go past March 30th, when Girl With A Pearl goes back to The Hague. Tickets to see it are definitively not available. [But if you do go, SEND PICS!]

Like Vermeer’s work, which it incorporates, it is an exploration of the subtle effects of light captured in built up layers of paint. And like those light effects, it may be fleeting, perceived only in the periphery of vision, occupying the liminal spaces around the older work that is the predictable draw of our attention.

Mural With Girl With A Pearl, 2023, paint on plaster, Vermeer (installation view via @blogexhibitions)

But for now, if you look up, and the gallery lights hit at the right angle, you will feel your field of view, and with the close looking you’ve exercised, you’ll recognize the changing world beyond the frame.

Mural With Girl With A Pearl, 2023, paint on plaster, Vermeer (installation view via @BrothersCammy)

You’ll see the new horizon coalesce just above Girl with a Pearl Earring‘s head. The loose grid of brusquely brushed forms —pearls? lights? ships? celestial figures? yet too big to be stars?—shimmering in formation in the graying sky.

While the current installation involves Girl with a Pearl, I am happy to discuss how to make the piece work for your Vermeer, too. Or, if you’re at the Mauritshuis, we can recreate the Amsterdam magic. Just because the Vermeer show is once-in-a-lifetime doesn’t mean this collab has to be, too.

Mural With Girl With A Pearl, 2023, installation view via @worldelsewhere/ig

April Update: Thanks to @worldelsewhere, I am able to say that the installation stayed up until Girl With A Pearl left for the Mauritshuis. Thank you all for your engagement.

Previous, related museum works:
The Wall, 2021, Musée du Louvre
Proposte Monocrome, gris, 2017, The Metropolitan Museum