to be continued:

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[cf. stalin & friends; original image of Trump talking to Vladimir Putin on Jan. 28, 2017 via @yashar]

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While driving along the autobahn yesterday near Stuttgart, we passed many wind turbines. Some of them have been painted at the base with a gradient of various greens or browns. This is an attempt to minimize their visual intrusiveness on the landscape.

It was only by the time we passed the second installation that a clear enough photo could be taken. Then I realized that not all turbines were painted, and each painted turbine was painted differently.

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By the third cluster of turbines it was clear that each painted turbine was painted in an approximation of its own site, as viewed, fleetingly, from the vantage point of the freeway itself. The gradient is a representation of the landscape, in the landscape.

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Grand Duc Jean loaned his Palermo, Untitled (1968), to MoMA's Color Chart show in 2008. image: jens ziehe via x-traonline

They recalled to me at the time the textile works of Blinky Palermo, but as I see the photos now, their similarity to Gursky's Rhein seems more direct. In any case, so far I have found little discussion of these word, or the principles of their production. When I get back to a computer, though, I will update this post with some coordinates so you can hurtle past them, too.

UPDATE: they're a corporate trademark. See below.

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It's an accident of timing that I've kept thinking of Derek Jarman as a filmmaker with a painting hobby. He was still alive when I saw my first Jarman film, Edward II, and when Blue blew me away. And I felt I knew his story, so I've been slow to read his early autobiography, or other books about him; my job was to just catch up and see all his earlier films. It didn't help that I didn't really like the paintings shown after his death. His notebooks were more relevant.

But I just saw this photo which changed all that. I wasn't 100% wrong, but I was close: Jarman's painting was more formative and influential-and interesting-than I realized. The photo's from 1971, and it is captioned in Jarman's dramatic hand:

"The Skycapes 1971 blue pigment on canvas
destroyed in the fire in 1979"

Skycapes has been a Google dead end, or rather a cul de sac for this caption. But capes, capes is where it's at. In his 1999 biography of Jarman Tony Peake traced the form and concept of the cape to Jarman's theatrical work, particularly his ideas for a production of The Tempest:

Capes are both practical and sensual, especially when cloaking nakedness. They are geometric: if hung on the wall, they form a half circle. They have mythic overtones: by donning a cape, the wearer can effect a transformation. These qualities, particularly the latter, had considerable potency for Jarman, who now set about working and reworking this new possibility until the capes he produced-and began to hang on the walls of his studio-no longer resembled design, but approached the condition of painting or sculpture.
Now the timing's a little confusing, because Jarman made a film version of The Tempest in 1979. But Peake notes the project had interested Jarman for years. And Jarman made a clear, laminated cape scattered with dollar bills [or pound notes, maybe?] for the 1969 production of Peter Tegel's surrealist play Poet of the Anemones. Peake said the two met at Lisson Gallery.

And the walls of Jarman's riverside loft were lined with extraordinary capes when filmmaker Ken Russell visited and asked him to design the sets for The Devils, a project that consumed most of Jarman's waking hours in 1970. Exhausted and dissatisfied by the film project and wary of commercial film industry entanglements, Peake wrote, Jarman "chose to concentrate on his capes, some of which he now began to paint, in two main colours, black and blue, but mainly blue: 'simple sky pieces to mirror the calm.'"

That quote's from Jarman's own 1984 memoir, Queerlife, which was published in the US with the title Dancing Ledge in 1993:

1971. The Oasis
The intervening year was spent painting a series of blue capes, which hung on the walls at Bankside. They were simple sky pieces to mirror the calm that returned after the frenzied year of The Devils. That summer was an idyll, spent sitting lazily on the balcony watching the sun sparkle on the Thames. When I wasn't painting I worked on the room and slowly transformed it into paradise. I built the greenhouse bedroom, and a flower bed which blossomed with blue Morning Glories and ornamental gourds with big yellow flowers. On Saturdays we gave film shows, where we scrambled Hollywood with the films John du Can brought from the Film Co-op- The Wizard of Oz and A Midsummer Night's Dream crossed with Structuralism. There were open poetry readings organized by Michael Pinney and his Bettiscombe Press. Peter Logan perfected his mechanical ballet, and MIchael Ginsborg painted large and complicated geometrical abstracts.
An oasis paradise indeed, replete with all the essential elements of Jarman's subsequent accomplishments. Which is, at least, how he himself saw it when he looked back from 1984.

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Here is a 1971 photo by Oberto Gili of Jarman's amazing Bankside loft, the top floor of a 19th century wheat warehouse. Which had the floors, the ceiling, the views, the space, but not the plumbing or the heat (thus the greenhouse bedroom). There's the hammock from the first photo, and a laminated cape which had tools, weeds, and detritus retrieved from the abandoned waterfront. [How far do the similarities go between Jarman and other gay pioneer artists like Robert Rauschenberg? Jarman would've spit at the comparison; in a 1984 interview at the ICA he slammed Jasper Johns for being a tool of the CIA. #freequeerstudiesdissertationtopics]

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Henri Matisse cutout designs for priests' chasubles for Vence Chapel, 1951, photographed in his studio surrounding a Picasso painting, by Helene Adant. image: tate.org.uk

In Ken Russell's telling of their first cape-filled visit, Jarman "was getting ready for an exhibition called "Cardinal's Capes." It's a phrase which turns up nowhere else, but which makes me think of Henri Matisse, who designed amazing chasubles for priests to wear in his chapel at Vence. They began as cut-outs, and were translated into fabric, and changed with the seasons.

In 1970-71 Jarman had two solo shows, including capes, at the then-new Lisson Gallery, but he grew to disdain the gallery system. He also hated Pop and bristled at working in the long shadow David Hockney cast over the London art scene. He opened his studio for his own damn show in 1972, which Peake says was disappointing [though he sold some work and celebrities turned up for the opening, so what greater success could art hope for?]

He included new capes made from black lacquered newsprint [Rauschenberg?] in a 1984 mid-career exhibition at the ICA. [He was 42.] And in that public talk, he described funding his early features by selling paintings and raising money from his painting collectors.

Anyway, are there any Jarman capes left to be seen? I can't find any. In 2015, the ICA screened Jarman's super8 documentation of his 1984 show for the first time, but there's no visual trace online. And as the caption to the original photo mentions, his earlier capes, including what he called his Skycapes, were destroyed along with Jarman's and others' studios in 1979.

By retrospectively titling them with the sky, and using the term "blue pigment" instead of paint, Jarman also seems to be linking the capes to one of his clearest references, Yves Klein. Klein the outrager who said his first artwork was signing the sky. Whose International Klein Blue appeared throughout Jarman's notebooks in the 80s. Jarman filmed an IKB monochrome painting and projected a loop of it for a 1987 live poetry/music performance event he called Bliss, which became his last, greatest film, Blue, in 1991-3.

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Here is Klein at his wedding on January 21, 1962. Rotraut Uecker is wearing an IKB crown, and he is wearing a cape emblazoned with a Maltese cross. They are processing through the raised swords of the Chevaliers of the Order of St. Sebastian. So at least I know what my dissertation will be about. But first we have to solve the problems that there are almost no Jarman Super-8s online; that Klein's wedding was filmed, and that's not around, either. And then, of course, all these destroyed capes. There is a lot of work to do.

Previously, 2013: International Jarman Blue
2004:
It's not just Derek Jarman's Blue
2002?:
As I lay typing

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Close, but not quite: Study for Untitled (Koch Block), image by @sailingfanblues

First conceived in September 2014 in response to a tweet by Zachary Kaplan, Untitled (Koch Block) is a collaborative public artwork situated permanently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

It comprises an endless succession of volunteers who sit on the edges of the fountains in front of the museum in a manner that obscures the engraved name of the museum trustee, David Koch. The work includes the engravings on both fountains, and so is ideally performed by two or more individuals at any time. While a sitter's personal items such as a stroller, wheelchair, shopping cart, or backpack might be placed in front of the engraving for extra-wide impact, no permanent alteration, damage, or obscuring of any kind should take place, and certainly not as part of this artwork.

Any one individual or group should feel free to sit and block public view of the name for as long as they wish, but all should be mindful of others who might also wish to participate. The Artist Is Present-style marathons are discouraged. Instead, try taking turns, coordinating, and/or making arrangements onsite to continue the work. Formalized schedules or shifts should also be avoided, even if this means the work is not persistently instantiated.

It's true that awareness of the work could be facilitated by people posting photos on social media using a hashtag like #KochBlock. My concern, though, is that viral messaging might run counter to the essential nature of the work, which is to deplete the mindshare and social capital that typically accrue from such purportedly eleemosynary naming opportunities. Still, such efforts are obviously beyond my control, and if the 7 million visitors to the Met each year decide they all have to post #KochBlock selfies, well, we'll re-evaluate.

The ideal state of the work is for the names to be permanently blocked from view through uncoordinated but widespread acculturation. At any moment in which a sitter finishes blocking and rises from her spot, another individual naturally and un-self-consciously takes her place. Some folks will undoubtedly make a point of visiting the fountains to participate. Some might make it a routine. People might come to recognize the faces of other regulars. Eventually, Koch blocking should become an ingrained behavior common to sharing civil, public space, as obvious and natural as dodging slow-moving tourists or jaywalking. [s/o @man for reminding me this needed to be formally auraticized.]

UPDATE: Just realized this is my third piece at the Met. Thanks for the support!

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Well, after 4 years of occasional rumination, my eternally unsolvable mystery of people drawing frames around Old Master drawings has been flipped on its head. And now I wonder how any drawing could have survived the centuries undoodled.

Reader/artist/hero Peter Huestis pointed me to this full page from Giorgio Vasari's Libro de Disegni (Book of Drawings), which is in the National Gallery.

As I mentioned last night, Vasari drew the architectural elements around the Getty's newly acquired del Sarto when the sketch was part of the Libro. The book contained at least 536 drawings, collected by Vasari either as reference material or a supplement for his biographies of great artists, or as significant examples of art in their own right. Most are mounted on larger sheets and are surrounded by frames and plaques and architectural elements in ink and gouache.

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Study for Vasari's Botticelli, 2017- , 200x146cm, ink and gouache on oil on linen? inkjet on aluminum? I have no idea rn [image: nga.gov]

The NGA's example is one of a very few intact pages: 10 drawings attributed to three artists, some trimmed to shape almost like paper dolls, and collaged into imagined spaces. Vasari places these sketches in the same privileged architectural contexts as paintings. Except the scale is so wild, the drawings become a startlingly contemporary genre of their own. Can you imagine Botticelli painting a 6-by-4 foot mauve head floating above two unmatched, disembodied hands? Hanging over a fireplace or, as he envisioned it here, above a ghostly parade of phantom limbs by Filippino Lippi? You'd have to print it [Or I would, anyway. Could you imagine making these marks at that scale?] Has no one created these installations before?

[Practical but somehow disheartening update: The existence of a Vasari X Botticelli colabo bib on Zazzle makes me think, the whole sheet's just going to end up as a 3x2.5m vinyl photomural.]

Giorgio Vasari with drawings by Filippino Lippi, Botticelli, and Raffaellino del Garbo, Page from "Libro de' Disegni" (1480-1504, mounted after 1524) [nga, thanks peter]
Libro de' Disegni [fr.wikipedia.org]

Previously, related: A proposal for a Prina-style series of monochrome Dürer frame drawings (2013)
A proposal to re-create at scale the six or so historical installation situations of Leonardo's Mona Lisa (2009)

July 21, 2017

Frame Part Of Drawing

When the Albertina's Dürer show came to the National Gallery a few years ago, I got very interested in the way the drawings were framed. Inside their matting, each work on paper also featured an outline, one or two lines, drawn right on the sheet. Who did these and why, no one at the NGA could say. [UPDATE I HAVE BEEN FOUND OUT I DID NOT ASK THE CURATORS STAY TUNED] The accompanying catalogue had zero mentions, and reproductions all excluded these drawn frames. Photography was prohibited in the show, and the Albertina's website images are worse than anything, so these marks made right on the face of these important artworks are treated as invisible or irrelevant.

[UPDATE: Oh hey, I found a bunch of photos I took anyway. Since the statute of limitations for not taking photos of 400-yo artworks is 3 years, and the rule of law is crumbling around us anyway, they're after the jump.]

Obviously, drawings have been handled differently as art objects across the centuries. There's probably at least one dissertation to be written about collectors and dealers and institutions marking up old drawings. Maybe it already has been, and just need to be unearthed.

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Anyway, I thought of this practice when I saw William Poundstone's report of the Getty Museum's acquisition of a major collection of Old Master drawings. The haul includes a Michelangelo, and this Head of St. Joseph (1526-27) by Andrea del Sarto. Which is great, but check out the double-line frame drawn around it, the spandrels to hint at a round arch, and the nameplate added to the bottom.

When this drawing traveled to the Getty and Frick as part of a 2015-16 del Sarto show, the careful framing was attributed to none other than Giorgio Vasari, who had collected this work by his former teacher into Libro de' Disegni, a drawings album. As Ingrid Rowland wrote:

In part because of his connection with Michelangelo, and in part because of his own ravenous curiosity, Giorgio Vasari was one of the first collectors to value drawings as legitimate works of art. He had taken to studying old master drawings as an aspiring artist, and when he gathered information about colleagues as an aspiring biographer for his Lives, he also sought out their drawings, binding them into a series of books. The books, unfortunately, have been lost, though isolated pieces survive.
So maybe there is something to be learned from these invisible framing devices after all.

The Getty's Big Buy [lacmaonfire]
Sublime, Exhilarating del Sarto, review by Ingrid Rowland [nybooks]
Previously, related: Borderline

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details of Albrecht Dürer St. Pauls by [l. to r.] Albrecht Dürer (1514), Johannes Wierix (c.1566), and Andrew Rafferty (2012), image: artinprint

My tabs are srsly a mess. I've had this 2012 Art in Print account of replicating Albrecht Dürer's engraving plates in there for months, ever since seeing a copy of one of Dürer's greatest prints, Melencolia I (1514). Conservator Angela Campbell and contemporary engraver Andrew Rafferty were studying how Dürer made his plates and his prints, and how they changed over the life of an edition. Rafferty made a copy of St. Paul [above, right], and geeks out on the differences of wiping, crosshatching, and hammered vs. rolled copperplate. For her part, Campbell's larger goal is to put the world's existing impressions into chronological order by tracking changes in micro marks and surface scratches. Which, more power to them.

What redlines my geekmeter, though, is learning that of the 105 he made, there is only one Dürer plate left in existence. It is in Gotha, Germany, and it is a 1526 portrait of reformist theologian Philip Melancthon.

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The Schloss Friedenstein Foundation was understandably excited to add a deep, high quality print taken from their plate. I wonder when the last impression was taken from this plate, and if the Stiftungvolk would ever entertain printing another one.

[Related: Woodblocks are more durable, and so more survive. The Met has two of five that Junius S. Morgan acquired, including: Samson Rending the Lion (1497-98), and The Martyrdom of St. Catherine (c. 1498), which, amusingly, is catalogued as "Black ink on pearwood".]

Remaking Dürer: Investigating the Master Engravings by Masterful Engraving [artinprint.org]
Bild und Gegenbild [kulturestiftung.de]

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If you're wondering who the one person was who went to the mall in Chevy Chase, to the J. Crew store Monday, it was me. And I was only picking up a catalogue order.

And marveling at the giant [signed!] Richard Serra Torqued Spirals exhibition poster from Gagosian, c. 2003, one of two constellations of highly curated posters and prints lining the staircase.

I contemplated the state of the brick&mortar retail industry, making a note to watch the liquidation auctions for a deluge of contemporary art ephemera when the reaper comes for J. Crew. And figuring if the swag doesn't turn up, we'll know the store designers who fantasy-shopped it all together have absconded with it in lieu of severance.

Just as I was thinking, this poster was my most unexpected Serra sighting ever, I stepped outside, and found this, in the garden of the condos across the street.

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I approached to take a photo, and the carefully calculated elevations of the lawn revealed the bottom quarter of the Cor-Ten slab. If only he'd added a water feature, I bet Tilted Arc would still be standing.

July 6, 2017

John Cage Film Poster

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Richard Hamilton invitation with 1951 Technique et Architecture illustration used for Five Tyres - abandoned (1964) and Five Tyres remoulded (1972)

Sometimes I hit a wall while writing, and retyping someone else's text helps get me going again.

So here is another installment of Better Read, a series of mp3 files from greg.org in which an interesting, under-known, or hard-to-find art-related text is read by a computer.

This text by Richard Hamilton accompanies Five Tyres remoulded, 1972 relief and print edition created with Carl Solway and EYE Editions. Hamilton describes his attempt to replicate by hand a complicated photo illustration he'd clipped from a trade magazine. The image was from the 50s, the project began and was abandoned in 1963, then reinitiated in 1970 with the help of a computer. Besides the obviously interesting insights onto his own process, Hamilton's text resonates with the history of early Pop, conceptual art, and even appropriation, as well as the inter-relation of art and technology.

Unless you had the portfolio itself, the text was only available in print in Studio International (1972, vol. 183, p. 276). Images of a first draft of the text were also included in a 2014 blog post by Carl Solway about his correspondence with Hamilton. So I'm sure having a computer-generated voice recording of it expands its availability tremendously.

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Richard Hamilton, Dimensional Data, screen print on mylar, 60x85cm, from Five Tyres remoulded (1972), via swann

play or dl Better_Read_014_Richard_Hamilton_Five_Tyres_Remoulded_20170624.mp3 [dropbox greg.org, mp3 9:55, 14.3mb]
Related: Digging in the Archives: Richard Hamilton [solwaygallery.com]
Five Tyres remoulded (1972) [tate.org.uk]

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Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

recent projects, &c.


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Social Medium:
artists writing, 2000-2015
Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
ed. by Jennifer Liese
buy, $28

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Madoff Provenance Project in
'Tell Me What I Mean' at
To__Bridges__, The Bronx
11 Sept - Oct 23 2016
show | beginnings

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Chop Shop
at SPRING/BREAK Art Show
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

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eBay Test Listings
Armory – ABMB 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

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It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
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TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -
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Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
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"Exhibition Space" @ apexart, NYC
Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
about, brochure | installation shots


HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.


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Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

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Canal Zone Richard
Prince YES RASTA:
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
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