A day after I returned from New York City two weeks ago, I learned that I was going on a field trip with my best friend and 12 students. Where? New York City. This time I promise to see the Ed Ruscha exhibition, Books and Co. at Gagosian. Unfortunately, Hannah told everyone to leave their "mischievous tendencies" in Muncie (alas, no artist stalking this trip).
Brent Cole invited me to participate in this. I wish I had more than a weekend to work on it as the concept would be more developed. In addition, this was a challenge considering I never make artwork about this topic. The above tweet sums up the experience.
It will be exhibited, along with several other artists creations, at this exhibition next week in Indy. Here is a portion of the audio that will soon be available on the website:
For the past two years, I have collected water samples around the world in small glass vials. When thinking about the topic of love, Venice, Italy - the "city of love" - immediately sprang to mind. Incidentally, I also had a water sample from the canal, Rio d. Carmini in front of the Palazzo Zenobio that I collected on 21 July 2011.
The book is one that I have held onto since 1997. I wanted one that looked worn (= well loved) and it fit perfectly with the concept. The best part is that it is a sculpture (hooray!).
Two of my favorite artists and friends from grad school are featured in the archive: Adam Davis and Io Palmer. Check out their books here and here.
Valuable information learned at this year's conference:
1) The Photobook: A History Volume 3 will be published next year! I am a big fan of volumes 1-2 as envious as they make me of Martin Parr's book collection. Who wouldn't love a publication that prints photographs of opened books like this:
Daido Moriyama, Bye Bye Photography, 1972
2) Speaking of Mr. Parr, he is an endearing lecturer (by far my favorite talk of the conference). He showed his undergraduate school installation of photographs displayed in a living room, discussed Bad Weather at length, and his infatuation with collecting political ephemera, Saddam Hussein watches (he owns 85) and Osama bin Laden paraphernalia. So Long Osama Blood Orange Sodawas the biggest oddity. Throughout most of the lecture, I dreamed of where Martin Parr stores all his objects (what does his house look like? how does he organize them? does he have room for more?).
Martin Parr from Parrworld: Objects and Postcards
stressed that he is photographing fictions not realities as he
intentionally captured litter at its worst in the image
Martin Parr from The Last Resort, 1983-85
I immediately placed Autoportrait on my interlibrary loan list when returning. Ending his lecture standing under a photograph of his head superimposed on a muscle man's body was the perfect conclusion coming from a soft spoken Englishman who excused himself for "having a frog" in the middle of his lecture.
Martin Parrfrom Autoportrait
3) Garry Winogrand is on everyone's mind since his first retrospective in 25 years opened at SFMOMA. I tend to love the photographers who make/made work vastly different from mine and he is no exception. Cass Fey and Leslie Calmes delivered an informative lecture on his archive at the Center for Creative Photography. His contact sheets are labeled PD if they are posthumously developed. If a print is made from one of those thousands of undeveloped rolls of film he left after he died, it can never be sold or de-accessioned. It exists only in the CCP archives. Small facts about printing work posthumously that I had always wondered about.
Garry Winogrand's Women are Beautiful on view at the Art Institute
4) Why or why wasn't Kate Palmer Albers teaching the history of photography at University of Arizona when I was in graduate school? Her lecture Abundant Images and the Collective Sublime resonated with me on so many levels. She discussed one of my favorite contemporary photography installations:
Erik Kessels, printing every photograph uploaded onto Flickr in a 24 hour period (image via)
Penelope Umbrico, Suns from Sunsets from Flickr, 2006-ongoing
These artists obsessively mark time with photography. She also stressed that the "self-archive is rapidly gaining headway" as a viable form of art. Albers' talk validated my current interests in masses of objects and introduced me to new artists like Hasan Elahi who explore surveillance and tracking in a contemporary way.
5) Richard Misrach's keynote lecture reminded me that I have to watch Spike Lee's follow-up to When the Levees Broke - If God is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise.I've refrained for a few years but after hearing Misrach discuss his latest photographic series, Petrochemical America, the time has come.
Richard Misrach, Untitled, February 14, 2012, 6:19 PM
Misrach is getting closer to making portraits of people as he zooms in on the faces of swimmers. He returned to the same hotel room where he photographed On the Beach (above) with a digital camera and telephoto lens. I don't know how I feel about those and am looking forward to seeing how they are received when he publishes them soon. I am so enamored with the vulnerable human surrounded by the sea (substitute me), I am not sure I want to know their identity.
6) SPE brought so many of my wonderful photo friends to Chicago some of which are pictured below.
James Luckett, Laurie Blakeslee, and Amelia Morris
Adam Neese in the Empire Room
Mark A. Lee after winning the Richard Misrach raffle photograph
Sneaking an image of a famous photographer...
the back of Jerry Uelsmann's head.
Wishing I had a photograph of...
me talking to Richard Misrach about our meeting in 1996.
7) The biggest surprise I received will be featured in a post next week. I am not opposed to a sneak peek however:
Chris Toalson's A Long Overdue Artist's Book, 2011-2013
Last fall, I inadvertently paid too much attention to a GPS location in my twitter feed. That action produced this piece for the Postcard Collective. Since then, I noticed that in addition to Richard Prince's Long Island house, he also tweets from a Manhattan address. It was near the Museum of Modern Art and proved to be easy to find. Here are some quick snapshots from the iPhone (note the sculptures on the rooftop).
Realization #1: I am acquiring quite the mailing list if ever I had the guts to use it.
Realization #2: I need an old school Rolodex to store the Artist Stalking addresses preferably in the style of Phillip Johnson's:
Let it be known that anytime I see Ed Ruscha's Nine Swimming Pools and a Broken Glass and can document it, the results will be presented on this blog. Wishing for summertime as I type this on a below freezing evening.
This version of Edvard Munch's The Scream(of Nature) is far more colorful than the one in the National Gallery in Oslo. The latter was far less crowded when visiting in 1997, yet that came at the expense of watching the never ending stream of goofy poses waiting to be photographed in front of it.
Ever since last year's Whitney Biennial, I have been amazed at how many presentations of artwork include the slide carousel. Here is one showing the photographs of Helen Levitt.
Marcel Broodthaers, The Belgian Lion, 1968
Robert Rauschenberg's Bed viewed from the side (this belongs in the category of uncomfortable sleeping arrangements).
Three photographs of Wolfgang Laib's Pollen from Hazelnut (the final one, resembling a Rothko painting, still gives me vertigo).
From the New Museum press release: "Centering on 1993, the exhibition is conceived as a time capsule, an
experiment in collective memory that attempts to capture a specific
moment at the intersection of art, pop culture, and politics." One of my early favorite art exhibitions focusing on the 1990s was the 2000 exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Passages from the 90's.It was difficult not to compare that viewing experience 13 years ago with this one. Overall, I walked out of the New Museum fully convinced that 1993 was a very good year for contemporary art.
JR with Charles Ray's Family Romance
All hail the New Museum for allowing flash free photography! Even the
guards were happy to take photographs of people posing in front of the
art. My only complaint is the sheer amount of people in the galleries
that made a personal viewing experience nearly impossible (my fault for
seeing it on Saturday). I was surprised at the scale of Charles Ray's sculpture above as I had always presumed it was my height. The intermediary in between adult and child size made it even more disturbing. Needless to say, it was a popular photo opp for nearly everyone with a smart phone.
Felix Gonzalez Torres on the 4th floor
This was my first time seeing Torres' billboard installed in a gallery rather than a reproduction. I even liked the orange rug (gasp) by Rudolf Stingel. Hearing Kristin Oppenheim's Sail on Sailorwas chilling especially in the context of all the AIDS related work that was produced at the time (and installed on this floor).
Felix Gonzalez Torres detail
Janine Antoni's Lick and Lather
With a couple exceptions, the installation of NYC: 1993 was very successful. I was enamored with photographing nearly every bust in Janine Antoni's Lick and Lather. I will spare you images of each one but these were the two most haunting erasures of identity in both soap and chocolate.
Janine Antoni's Lick and Lather
Janine Antoni's Lick and Lather
Robert Gober's Prison Window
I could write an essay on why this is one of my favorite artworks (and someday I hope to do so). However, the installation of Prison Window at the New Museum was less than desirable. Tucked in a corner at the base of a staircase, with Rudolf Stingel's orange rug bouncing off the white walls, I was less than likely to spend any time with it. When I first encountered this installation at CAMH, the viewer walked into a room constructed solely for the artwork. A small passageway into the piece indicated that you could easily be inside of a prison. Certainly not the case at the New Museum.
Jack Pierson's Stay
I knew this sculpture first and foremost as a postcard in 1999. In my mind, it is only viewed on or over a doorway so this was a perfect encounter.
David Hammons, In the Hood
I am drawn to Hammons' acerbic wit and look forward to viewing any piece by him wherever I go. The cut sweat shirt resembled a beheading with its references to racial tension.
A self-portrait reflection in Glenn Ligon's text reinterpretation of Robert Mapplethorpe's controversial photographs.
There were many other works NYC: 1993 that I was thrilled to see: Paul McCarthy's Cultural Gothic, the text piece by Sean Landers, burned books from Ann Hamilton's tropos, and Steven Pippen's pinhole photographs exposed and developed in train toilets. It was also eye opening in terms of thinking how many of the artists were dead or were no longer making work that is regularly seen in the public eye. This exhibition and Jay DeFeo's retrospective at the Whitney were the museum highlights of the Winter Break Part 2 (AKA "spring break") whirlwind visit.