Friday, February 24, 2017

Cao Fei | Rumba I: Incubator

Cao Fei
Rumba I: Incubator
Zurich, Switzerland: Parkett, 2017
17.5 cm x 23.2 cm.
Edition of 30 signed and numbered copies

Made for the latest (and penultimate issue of Parkett Magazine, see below post) earlier this year, the work consists of a mini-vacuum cleaning robot with two synthetic chicks attached. Watch the work in motion, here:

“Few artists have plumbed what we could call China’s transnational imaginary more effectively than Cao Fei.”
—Tom McDonough, Parkett 99

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Parkett magazine ending publication

Citing the “radical change in reading behavior brought about by our digital age,” the publishers of Parkett Magazine have announced that the next issue of the periodical will be its last. Founded in Zurich, Switzerland in 1984, the bi-annual magazine collaborated with over two-hundred artists, including Ai Weiwei, Tauba Auerbach, Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Maurizio Cattelan, Tracey Emin, Tom Friedman, General Idea, Rachel Harrison, Jenny Holzer, Pierre Huyghe, Sherrie Levine, Christian Marclay, Bruce Nauman, Gabriel Orozco, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Anri Sala, Cindy Sherman, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Rosemarie Trockel, John Waters and Lawrence Weiner.

Viewed by the publishers as "a large library and a small museum of contemporary art", the magazine had a circulation of 10,000 and produced artists' editions to accompany each issue. These works encompass a wide variety of media, including painting, photographs, drawings, prints, sculptures, video and sound works (see Laurie Anderson's Hearring a few posts below).

The multiples have been the subject of a few dedicated catalogue raisonné publications, and have been presented in exhibitions around the world at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, STPI Singapore, Seoul Arts Center/Hangaram Museum, Korea, Centre Pompidou, Paris and other venues.

Read their announcement in full, below, and visit their website, here.


With the present volume of Parkett 99 and the following special issue 100/101 appearing this summer, the publishers have decided to bring the publication of the printed art magazine to a close. One of the major factors behind this decision is the radical change in reading behavior brought about by our digital age.

Parkett volumes and editions will, of course, remain fully documented online on our website and available via our offices in Zurich and New York. Furthermore, all volumes including 1500 texts are currently being digitized and will become accessible on our website. New, expanded Parkett exhibitions in various museums are in preparation as well, and will further explore the publication’s singular approach as a time capsule of the art of the last three decades.

Parkett enjoys a unique status in the international art world. For the past 33 years the journal has worked hand in hand with the most compelling artists and authors of our time in order to bring them to a wider public. In company with our most important partners and colleagues, we shall be concluding the Parkett adventure with a celebratory commemorative double volume this summer.

It will be an occasion to take a clear-sighted look at the past, the present, and the future. The special issue will retrace the energies, aims, and ideas that inspired and underpinned the founding and publication of Parkett and the special editions created by our collaborating artists of the past 33 years. In interviews, conversations, and essays, Parkett 100/101 will highlight the major changes and events that have shaped our expansive epoch.

We would like to thank you, our readers, for your interest and your loyalty and we are looking forward to the special double issue this summer."

- Bice Curiger, Jacqueline Burckhardt, & Dieter von Graffenried, Parkett Magazine

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Katharina Fritsch | Madonna

Katharina Fritsch
Madonnenfigur (Madonna Figure)
Düsseldorf, Germany: Self-published, 1982
30 x 8 x 6 cm.
Unlimited edition

A painted plaster edition, originally unlimited but no longer being produced. The work was also produced as a larger (not quite lifesize) sculptural work as part of a series titled Figurengruppe  (or Group of Figures) from 2006-2008. Alongside Madonna was Torso, Vas, Skeleton Feet, St. Michael, Giant, St. Katharina, St. Nicolas and Snake (below).

“First, the Madonna is just a plaster figure, not Mary herself. To that extent the plaster figure is just as much a thing as a vase is. Of course the plaster figure symbolizes something, even something unique. The uniqueness disappears in my work, but essentially it disappears long before, in every souvenir shop. And the strange thing now is that every individual plaster figure does retain a certain aura, even in quantity.”
- Katharina Fritsch

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ray Johnson | 8 Man Show 5 at Willenpecker Gallery

Ray Johnson
8 Man Show 5 at Willenpecker Gallery 
New York City, USA: Self-published, 1968
Set of 5 Cards
Edition size unknown

Five cards (of diminishing size) advertising an 8-man show, each of which features only four artists, and no information regarding location, dates or times. Additionally, Johnson's name is misspelled on three of the the cards. The painter Robert Benson is also misspelled as Benton, possibly alluding to the Oscar winner film director of Kramer vs Kramer, who - at the time - was the art director of Esquire magazine. George Brecht becomes Mrs Brecht in the third iteration.

The cards pictured above were mailed to the critic Lawrence Alloway and to then-MoMA librarian Clive Phillpot, whose name is also incorrectly spelled.

The first two exhibitions take place at the Robin Gallery, the second two at the Woodpecker Gallery, and the final at the Willenpecker Gallery. All three are the invention of the artist. Robin Gallery is possibly a play on Anita Reuben's Reuben Gallery, a space that became synonymous with the Happenings of Allan Kaprow (who Johnson would sometimes mock with his own 'Nothings'). Willenpecker Gallery might have been an allusion to the painter John Willenbecher.

The rear-endpaper (an accidental pun he might approve) of Johnson's Something Else Press artist book The Paper Snake also includes a reference to the fictitious 8 Man Show, as does a small advertisement he placed in the Village Voice newspaper on July 30th, 1964 (below). Both feature the image of a snake, suggesting that the 8 in 8-man might also refer to a snake or infinity symbol.

A set of four of these cards are available from Printed Matter, here, for $200 US.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Brian Eno | Reflection app

Reflection, the twenty-sixth solo studio album by Brian Eno, was released on the first day of 2017 by Warp Records, as a vinyl LP and compact disk. It is also available as a downloadable app, at a considerably higher price.

The app represents the realization of something that Eno had first hoped to do over forty years ago, with the release of Discreet Music. The title track of this 1975 record can be viewed as a thirty minute excerpt from an infinite algorithmic, generative composition: the longest available half-side of a vinyl LP (without having to cut the grooves so close that it results in a serious loss of fidelity).

Discreet Music is one of Eno's first forays into ambient music (predating the watershed Music for Airports by three years) and the first solo record to bear his full name. It is easily one of favourite records of all time, and art works. But Eno viewed it as a compromise, the limitation of the medium.

With the introduction of the compact disk, he was able to issue a single track of music at almost twice the length of Discreet Music, a decade later, with the release of Thursday Afternoon.

Thirty-two years later, Reflection is 54 minutes in length, on the CD and vinyl version. But the app offers an ever-changing infinitely long piece of generative music. And one which changes depending of the day.

"Reflection is the most recent of my Ambient experiments and represents the most sophisticated of them so far," he writes in the liner notes. "My original intention with Ambient music was to make endless music, music that would be there as long as you wanted it to be. I wanted also that this music would unfold differently all the time – ‘like sitting by a river’: it’s always the same river, but it’s always changing. But recordings – whether vinyl, cassette or CD – are limited in length, and replay identically each time you listen to them. So in the past I was limited to making the systems which make the music, but then recording 30 minutes or an hour and releasing that. Reflection in its album form – on vinyl or CD – is like this. But the app by which Reflection is produced is not restricted: it creates an endless and endlessly changing version of the piece of music."

The Reflection app is different from Eno's previous ventures into digital apps in that it is pointedly not responsive, not interactive.

"There are two statements," he told Philip Sherburne, in an interview with Pitchfork last week, "One is the price and the other is that it isn’t interactive. That was quite important to me, to try to keep it free of anything you could do with it. I just did not want people sort of fiddling. I was trying to say, “This is something to listen to.” Think of it like a finished piece of music. It happens to be a finished piece of music that will never repeat, but it is a finished piece. Some people were a little bit annoyed there was nothing they could do to it. My response is: You don’t expect to be able to do anything to a CD, do you? You just put it on and turn it up.

The point about the price was that if you make a vinyl, it costs 22 pounds in England, a CD is 16. Both of those are reduced versions of the app, in the sense that they are a tiny fraction, infinitesimal, of the lifetime piece. I really want to make the point that this is an endless piece of music. And one of the ways I can make that point is to price it higher. So in England, the app went to 30 pounds. A lot of work went into it, as well. It was only the two of us, Peter and I, and it took about a year to make the app."

Purchase the app for $39.99, here.
Read the full interview at Pitchfork, here.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Laurie Anderson | Hearring

Laurie Anderson
Zurich, Switzerland: Parkett Editions, 1997
10.2 x 4.5 x 2 cm.
Edition of 150 signed and numbered copies

Produced for Parkett issue #49 (which featured Anderson, Jeff Wall and Douglas Gordon), this single earring consists of a brass, copper, circuit board, loudspeaker, lithium battery, Plexiglas and wires. It features a playable sound message of approximately twenty seconds.

Released in 1997 for $440, the edition remains available from the publisher, though the price has now more than tripled. In 2008, it was raised to $600 US and to $900 US by 2012.  A copy sold in September of 2013 at a Christies auction for 750 GBP ($1205 US) and the Parkett site now lists the work at € 1,400.00.

The jewelry is by Josiah Dearborn, and the 'engineering design' is by Bob Bielecki, who previously collaborated with Anderson on works such as her signature magnetic tape violin.

Available here, from the publisher.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Ugo Rondinone | Placemats

Ugo Rondinone
New York City, USA: Self-published, 2015
14.5" diameter
Edition of 100 signed and numbered sets

Conceived by the artist as a variation on his target paintings, the twelve unique designs were produced as double-sided polypropylene-laminated placements, with a black & white target on the verso of each. First featured and sold at Public Art Fund's 2015 Spring Benefit, the placemats were created to support the organization's mission to bring "dynamic contemporary art to broad audiences in New York City."