This is a palm-sized ceramic bowl by Beatrice Wood. She began studying ceramics after her Dada phase, and continued working with ceramics until she died in 1998, at the age of 105.
During her Dada phase, when she’d gone to New York as a young woman to pursue acting, she got in deep with Marcel Duchamp and French novelist Henri-Pierre Roché, who later wrote Jules et Jim, but not about another, later love triangle he was in, not with Wood.
Wood published The Blind Man with Duchamp and Roché, the magazine in which Louise Norton, another friend of this tight-knit posse, defended Fountain after it had been rejected from the Society of Independent Artists’ April 1917 show. Like Duchamp, Norton was also involved in the SIA leadership, and in Stieglitz’s photo of it, Fountain‘s submission tag lists Norton and her address as the alternate contact for R. Mutt.
In The Blind Man Wood wrote of Fountain that the only art America had managed by that point was plumbing and bridges. She created her own entry to the SIA show in Duchamp’s studio. It was a drawing of a woman exiting a bathtub with an actual bar of soap collaged over her crotch, which she gave a punny French title. Like Fountain, it was lost after the show, and decades later she made versions referencing it when the need arose. C’est la vie.
Bruce Goff was the head of the architecture school at the University of Oklahoma from 1948 until 1955, and though her job title was secretary, Jerri Hodges was the administrative backbone and shadow student of the whole, utopian affair. The architecture school was housed under the bleachers of the football stadium, and the space and Goff’s experimental leanings meant the whole place was abuzz with unconventional techniques, materials, exhibitions, productions, and who knows what.
So maybe this Christmas tree made of a myriad of ornaments, snowflakes, and papercraft decorations suspended in space on vertical strings of beads fit right in, and it’s only us, in the future more conventional and bleaker than Goff imagined, who marvel at it. We should be lucky they even thought to take a picture. The catalogue for the 2010 Goff exhibition “Renegades” says they were doing stuff like this all the time. Also, the library’s online gallery only names her, the print version gives Hodges co-credit for the Christmas tree. [h/t @joshlipnik via @cmonstah]
There so many things to catch the eye and tempt the paddle in Kenny Schachter’s second storage-clearing sale at Sotheby’s. One of the most interesting things to me is the veteran collector/dealer/connoisseur’s confidence in attaching shadow box-style frames and tape right over the overflap signatures of his two small (24×18 in.) Lucien Smith Rain paintings.
The next most exciting thing was seeing my newest work, Untitled (Lucien Smith), installed on the back. Believe me, the only person more surprised than me is probably Kenny.
Both sales end tomorrow, December 17. The winning bidder of each of these lots is welcome to contact me for a certificate documenting their bonus acquisition, upon verification, of course. Artist proofs reside in copies of Smith’s 2012 exhibition catalogue, Small Rain Paintings. In case you miss out on the 17th.
Tom Ford has introduced a wristwatch made of ocean plastic. The following are excerpts from the Departures Magazine marketing email for the watch which, at $995, somehow manages to seem simultaneously expensive and cheap:
The Impact of Ethical Luxury “In my opinion, ethical luxury is the greatest luxury of all,” says iconic designer and creative director Tom Ford…When you purchase an Ocean Plastic Timepiece, you permanently remove the equivalent of 35 bottles of plastic waste from the ocean.
The Tom Ford Ocean Plastic Timepiece is made from 100-percent ocean plastic collected in seas, along coastlines, and in uncontrolled landfills. Its material contains neither virgin plastics nor non-ocean-bound plastics, and is traceable to its collection source. The ocean plastic granules used in its production have been transported in a carbon-neutral manner, and have been compounded in a solar-powered Swiss facility. Additionally, all packaging is recyclable.
“It is incredibly appealing to know that you are not only wearing a high-quality product, but that by simply owning the product you are also taking direct action to improve the planet.”
I was going to post a photo of Ford modeling the watch, but who even cares at this point. It is a giant black watch with TOM FORD and OCEAN PLASTIC written on the face.
In 1957 a sculptural ceiling and wall by Isamu Noguchi was installed in the lobby of 666 Fifth Avenue. The composition of undulating aluminum fins survived the purchase of the building by Jared Kushner, and the gutting and renovation of the Fifth Ave.-facing retail spaces. The wall was more dynamic than the ceiling, which was pretty subtle, but it all worked very nicely together.
But now the Noguchi Museum is reporting that the work has been removed and destroyed. The only bright spot is that the components were donated to the Museum. If anyone has a block-long elevator lobby that needs a space age drop ceiling, hit them up, I guess.
It reminds me of Wade Guyton’s 1999 show at Andrew Kreps, Against the New Passeism. Understanding that this is only the beginning, hope for the end. Build, Destroy, Do Nothing.
Wade installed a rough, fireplace-size, plexi&ply sculpture in the back room, and put the entire back room on display in the main gallery, including a much bigger Ricci Albenda text piece below:
I’d say stay outta my bidding way, but we’re all gonna do what we’re gonna do. I have thought, though, many times, about [bringing back] these early, destroyed Guytons, but just haven’t found the right space yet.
I love Pierre Jenneret’s furniture for Chandigarh, and I hate the Chandigarh Furniture Industrial Complex. I am relieved that these objects that once were abandoned for scrap are now preserved, but I hate that the cultural context is being stripped away, and that for their value and significance to be recognized, they must be removed and fed through the luxury design machinery of the West. I love seeing this furniture aging and bearing its history, and I hate seeing it stripped and restored and altered into just one more must-have for some instagram junkie to stuff into their Axel Vervoordt McMonastery.
I love this stuff, and hate that I want it, but I’ve managed to deal because it’s not like there’s any OG Chandigarh furniture left anyway. Well, Patrick Parrish just kicked the leg off my precariously balanced chair. He is currently showing a collection of pristine, original condition Jenneret furniture from Chandigarh which has been held for twelve years, and it is utterly exquisite. Everyone who’s ever stripped and dipped a teak armchair and tossed out a horsehair cushion should immediately feel waves of remorse for their design crimes.
Now I love this furniture, and I hate that you haven’t yet sent me $1.26 million so I can buy all 66 pieces for my McMonastery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The four-part cyanotype/photogram that is Matson Jones’ masterpiece will be offered for sale in a few days at Christie’s.
Previously known as Jasper Johns Blue Ceiling when it was being offered for a variety of mid-seven-figure prices a few years ago, the work, by Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns is now untitled. The duo made it in 1955 for a window display at Bergdorf Goodman. The design director who hired them, Gene Moore, held onto the prints for several decades, until they were acquired in 1978 by the current owner.
Roberta Bernstein included an illustration of them in the chronology of Johns’ catalogue raisonée (v5, 8.), but not in the works section.
The estimate is $600-800,000 but seriously, who even knows? I just know I want them, and/or I want to see them in a museum somewhere, away from direct sunlight.
Every one was an unexpected and generous delight and a thoughtful and cherished memento, but the hottest Peter Norton Family Christmas Project was the Takashi Murakami figurine, Oval Sitting Atop A Cosmos Ball (Mr. Wink) (2000).
Time goes on. The Norton Family reconfigured and eventually stopped their Christmas Project (I think? Or is it just me?). Some people started flipping their Mr. Winks, but he has been an elf on our shelf for 20 years. And for most of that time, I’ve been low-key trying to listen to the mini-CD inside the flower ball again, and rip it to mp3.
When I got it, I just popped the mini-CD into my Sony Discman Sport, enjoyed the track by zakyumiko, the duo Zak Onpa and Yumiko Ohno, a couple of times, and then carefully put it back. Then in between attempts to get the mini-CD to play in a couple of DVD players, I searched in vain for someone to post this thing as an MP3.
Last summer, Murakami announced he was making a music video of his poem, ‘Let’s Go See the Nuclear Reactor,’ which was set to music by zakyumiko. It’s being shown at the Mori Art Museum, but that’s it, afaik.
Just this spring, during lockdown, I dug the Discman out, ordered a new power adapter for it, in order to play the mini-CD, and found out the problem was not the power.
It is an accretion of a quiet ringtone, some electronic chime, and the ambient sounds around a small water feature. It is very soothing, but also very short, less than 2min of the 15min track. But it is still great. Here is a longer, unrelated snyth session Ohno, Zak, and Jeff Mills performed in 2017 or so.
Now I just need to record my Christian Marclay music box for my plinky throwback ringtone.
This blog will not become a Keith Haring fanboi blog. This blog will not become a Keith Haring fanboi blog. This blog will n–
It’s just that there happen to be interesting Haring-related materials flowing through the auctions at the moment. Like this blanket, which Haring apparently made four of for a Vivienne Westwood fashion show in 1982. It’s screenprinted on both sides, with a little border. At 95×146 cm, it’s more of a lap blanket? Maybe the show was cold? But still, not enough even for the front row, just the collaborators. According to Rago, where this is for sale next month, it was originally given to Ted Muehling, whose jewelry was used in the show.
[UPDATE] Vivienne Westwood expert Leslie Dick notes that this was not crowd swag, but an actual runway look. It was featured in the 1983 Witches Collection as a shawl, or perhaps a wrap. Here’s an image from the show, as archived by TheBlitzKids:
A silkscreen would imply the possibility of more than four, of course, and on media other than blanket. So if you miss this one, maybe there’ll be another chance.
There is not a lot of time to get into this right now, but holy smokes, Cy Twombly painted the backdrop for the local elementary school’s Christmas play in 1953, and no one’s said boo about it except for one intrepid art history undergraduate.
In 2014, the interest of Washington & Lee art history student Sarah I. Nexsen was piqued by an archival photo in Lexington, Virginia’s local newspaper, The News-Gazette. It showed the December 1953 production of The Comet, a Christmas-themed play written by the Rev. Thomas V. Barrett, for the Ann Smith Elementary School. The backdrop was credited to local boy Cy Twombly, and that was all anyone wrote. The backdrop had never been mentioned in Twombly literature. Nexsen wrote about it for her senior thesis, titled, “The Land of the Stars: The Origin of Cy Twombly’s Aesthetic.” An ambitious project, to be sure.
Near as Nexsen can tell, Twombly got the gig while on leave from the Army, over the Christmas break. Twombly’s former art teacher attended the church where Barrett, the playwright, presided.
According to Nexsen’s research, which included interviewing the star of the show herself, The Comet tells the Nativity story from the point of view of a comet which becomes the Star of Bethlehem. But first it travels through The Land of Stars, meeting planets, raindrops, and Mary & Joseph along the way. Twombly’s backdrop depicts this Land of Stars.
The backdrop was in three panels; the largest, in the center, was approximately 7 x 12 feet wide. The stage right panel, showing Saturn, is partially visible in the only known photo; the stage left panel depicting Mars and Neptune is not documented. Nexsen says the backdrop was discarded and destroyed after The Comet‘s single performance on December 19.
We all owe this young scholar a great debt for bringing this massive, lost, early work to light, and for conducting vital, on-the-ground research to learn its history before the march of time robbed us of its witnesses. So let’s just say that it would indeed be amazing if this lost painting proved to be the momentous source for Twombly’s entire practice: his combination of text and graphic; his classical sourcing; his giant scale; his Lexington influences. 1953 was in the middle of Twombly’s emergence: after he and Rauschenberg ran off to Italy together, and showed at Stable Gallery together, and before he moved back to New York, and then on to Italy.
So it could totally be! But I am going to say it’s unlikely. And Twombly’s own apparent jettisoning of this work and any information about it into a black hole means the case is that much harder to make.
And anyway, rather than depicting Roman gods and their symbolic meanings, it seems more likely that Twombly’s painting of The Land of Stars shows stars, constellations, and planets. If I had the time–when I get the time–I feel like it would be possible to locate the star chart or vintage astronomical map that Twombly used as a source.
The constellation diagrams in my instant guess, The Stars: A New Way To See Them, the immediately popular, influential, and accessible beginner astronomy guide by H.A. Rey, the creator of Curious George, which was published in 1952, don’t really match. But whenever I get to recreating this destroyed Twombly, the deep blue night skies of Rey’s book will be as much inspo as the artist’s own blackboard paintings.
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.]
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.)
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?