Friday, September 25, 2020

Jenny Holzer | Selection from Survival: Men don't protect…

Jenny Holzer 
Selection from Survival: Men don't protect…
New York City, USA: Self-published, 2006
43.2 x 58.4 x 40 cm.
Edition of 10 [+2 AP] signed and numbered copies

Valued at approximately $70,000 US, the work is a Danby Imperial white marble footstool engraved with a Truism from the Survival Series. The underside is incised with the artist's studio inventory number edition number. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Robert Indiana | Love

Robert Indiana 
LOVE (Blue/Red)
Vinalhaven, USA: Self-published, 1998
91.4 x 91.4 x 45.7 cm.
Edition of 6 [+ 4 AP] signed, numbered and dated copies

"A cardinal symbol of Pop art, LOVE (Blue Outside Red Inside) is a quintessential example of Robert Indiana’s ability to use text and language to transcend conventional distinctions between Minimalism, Pop art, and modernism. Indiana orientates the four letters that constitute the word over a strict cruciform axis, the gridding of which he only jeopardizes with the playful energy emitted from the tilted “O”. Radiating in cerulean and carmine, LOVE (Blue Outside Red Inside) serves as an homage to the artist’s father who worked at a Phillips 66 gas station in the Midwestern United States during the Great Depression: at once deeply personal and emblematic of the American experience, the work echoes the red logo set against a blue Indiana sky. A fundamental component of Miles and Shirley Fiterman’s collection of exceptional examples of Pop art, Indiana's LOVE (Blue Outside Red Inside) has achieved global recognition since its conception in 1966, and versions of the work have been installed in public and private collections across the United States as well as in Canada, Europe, South America, Asia, and Israel. Ascribed to the sculpture’s vibrant palette and instantaneous impact, LOVE (Blue Outside Red Inside) has become an iconic Pop motif that takes its place in the pantheon of imagery alongside Andy Warhol’s soup cans and Roy Lichtenstein’s Ben-Day dots.

By the mid 1960s, the New York art world was experiencing an unprecedented change of artistic tides as Minimalism was rapidly gaining popularity and the first wave of Pop art was nearing the end of its reign. Indiana championed the duality that characterized the climate with the conception of LOVE, marrying the two movements in the visual immediacy of the work, which is reminiscent of the bold, arresting quality of billboards and advertisements. The word “love” appears frequently within his oeuvre, as evidenced by the emergence of its iconography in a series of poems he composed in 1958 before its appearance in his seminal paintings Four Star Love, 1961, Portland Museum of Art, Maine and Love is God, 1964. It was these explorations in two-dimension that laid the groundwork for Indiana to propel the composition into the third dimension: “I like to work on a square canvas, since the way I put the letters down, it is the most economical, the most dynamic way to put four letters on a square canvas. This is how the LOVE came about…” (Robert Indiana, quoted in Barbarelee Diamonstein, Inside New York’s Art World, New York, 1979, pp. 151-153). By transposing the abstract concept of “love” into a tangible three-dimensional object that can be seen and touched, Indiana has engaged with Conceptualism, Pop, and Minimalism.

LOVE (Blue Outside Red Inside) is also denotative of Indiana’s investigation of modernist themes through a Pop lens. According to the artist, the “'LOVE Sculpture' is the culmination of ten years of work based on the original premise that the word is an appropriated and usable element of art, just as Picasso and the Cubists made use of it at the beginning of the century, which evolved inevitably, in both my “LOVE” paintings and sculpture, into the concept that the word is also a fit and viable subject for art” (Robert Indiana, Art New: New York, vol. 1, no. 3, March 1969, n.p.). The sculpture can be interpreted as a conceptual allusion to the manipulation of wordplay at the hands of the Dadaists and Cubists. Just as the “JOU” in Pablo Picasso’s Still Life with Chair Caning, 1911-1912 may be a witty pun on the French word “jouer” (to play) and the popular Parisian newspaper Le Journal, the word “love” implies many connotations, including ones that are amorous, platonic, spiritual, and cultural. As such, LOVE (Blue Outside Red Inside) operates not only within the realm of Pop art, but as a broader reflection on the preoccupation with language and word play in modern art.

Perhaps what makes the work so evocative is its perennial ability to remain timeless. The imagery was already identified as emblematic of the Pop movement when The Museum of Modern Art in New York selected the image for their annual Christmas card in 1965. As Arron Ott noted, “LOVE is capable of holding meaning in a variety of histories. It was created in the shadow of hippie culture but powerful enough to escape that orbit in order to resonate in numerous contemporary and personalized contexts” (Aaron Ott, Robert Indiana: A Sculpture Retrospective, exh. cat., Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 2018, p. 87). LOVE (Blue Outside Red Inside) crystallizes many of the major themes that Robert Indiana has investigated throughout his career and one of the most fascinating aspects of this work is it’s ability to remain timeless and contemporary at the same time. More than 50 years has passed since it’s conception and it is clear that having served as inspiration whether directly or indirectly to a younger generation of artists Indiana’s LOVE persists in a profound manner."

Monday, September 21, 2020

Daniel Spoerri | Untitled (still life)

Daniel Spoerri
Untitled (still life)
Switzerland: Self-published, 1981
29.2 x 42.5 x 31.1 cm.
Edition of 100 signed, dated and numbered copies

Brass with gold patina. Signed, dated and numbered on the tray.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Joy Walker | Stencil Drawings, Book 1

Joy Walker
Stencil Drawings, Book 1
Maastricht, Netherlands: Self-published, 2019
20 pp., 15 x 21 cm., saddle stitched
Edition of 40 

A risograph publication with hand drawn elements, produced during a residency at the Jan van Eyck Academie in June 2019. 

Walker's exhibition Disruptions, opened at MKG127 in Toronto yesterday, and continues until October 24th. Read Tatum Dooley’s exhibition essay at the gallery site, here. In lieu of an opening, the artist will be available to meet visitors by appointment on Saturdays during the run of the exhibition.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

William Anastasi | Puzzle Puzzle

William Anastasi
Puzzle Puzzle
New York City, USA: Museum of Modern Art, 1979
Jigsaw puzzle: printed cardboard, boxed
2 x 13 x 8"
Edition of 5000

A five hundred and thirteen piece puzzle produced for the Museum of Modern Art three years The Anastasi Puzzle (see previous post). The dimensions of the completed puzzle are 16 x 20".

Decades later Anastasi repurposed elements of the MoMA Puzzle puzzle as the basis for a series of shaped puzzle paintings, including Puzzle Rug, which the artist considers to be a woven floor sculpture (below). 

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Anastasi Puzzle

William Anastasi
The Anastasi Puzzle 
New York City, USA: The Museum of Modern Art, 1975
5.75 x 3.5 x 3.5"
Edition of 3000

A Jigsaw puzzle with the printed image of a Jigsaw puzzle, commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art in 1975, for sale in their giftshop. The work is housed in a metal canister with a plastic lid. It was produced in an edition of 3000 in 1975 and a second edition of 1000 was reportedly released the following year, though the work remains scarce. It is valued at approximately $750 US.

In 1979, the artist produced Puzzle Puzzle, also for the MoMA, this time in an edition of 5000 (see following post).

Thursday, September 17, 2020

David Shrigley | Fuck You Mug

David Shrigley
Fuck You Mug
Southend on Sea, UK: Brainbox Candy, 2019
9.5 x 8 x 8 cm.
Edition size unknown

Available from the publisher, here.

Shrigley turns 52 today.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Wlademir Dias-Pino | Numéricos

Wlademir Dias-Pino
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Self-published, 1987
[68] pp., 20 x 20 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

Concrete poetry in Portuguese by the founder of poema/processo, printed in red, blue and green. Edition size is not stated, though most copies were reportedly destroyed in a flood. The work - originally created in 1960 - explores the delicate relationship between numbers and words, and their infinite arrangements, combinations, and possibilities.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Per Kirkeby | BLA

Per Kirkeby
BLA, 5”
Copenhagen, Denmark: Edition: Panel 13, 1965
[12] pp., 12x12 cm, staple-bound
Edition size unknown

Kirkeby's first artist book consisted of five blue squares and an essay by Hans-Jörg Nielsen, in Danish.

Other titles from the series are below.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

James Lee Byars | 100 Questions

James Lee Byars
100 Questions
Croton-on-Hudson, USA: Hudson Institute, 1969
[100] pp., 28 x 21.7 cm., softcover
Edition of 100

In 1966, the curator of modern art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Maurice Tuchman, initiated an Artist-in-Residency program that would still be considered adventurous by today's standards. The program, titled Art and Technology (A&T), had a mandate to promote an exchange between artists and the corporate world. Tuchman modestly proposed, “that if the best artists are exposed to the sophisticated techniques of industry, something will come out of it. Both artists and corporations may gain something from each other”, but his ambitions were considerably grander.
He selected local companies capable of supporting ambitious art projects, either financially, or by providing technical expertise.

Two hundred and fifty corporations were approached, and about a third were interested. The industries included cinema and television (Universal Film Studios, Twentieth Century Fox, Disney), audio recording technologies (the Ampex Corporation), computer and information technologies (IBM, Hewlett-Packard), and perhaps a disproportionate number of defence companies (Rockwell, Lockheed, Aircraft , RAND). Seventy-six artists were selected to participate, including Michael Asher, John Baldessari, Iain & Ingrid Baxter, Larry Bell, George Brecht, Christo, Walther De Maria, Dan Flavin, Hans Haacke, Donald Judd, Jackson MacLow, Bruce Nauman, Robert Smithson, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Robert Watts.

James Lee Byars was partnered with the Hudson Institute, a right-wing think tank founded by Herman Kahn, the futurist, military strategist and systems theorist who was the inspiration for the title character of Stanley Kubrick's 1964 classic Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

Byars worked with the Hudson Institute for the second half of 1969, under the guidance of Kahn himself. His plan was to lock one hundred of the world's most brilliant minds in a room and have them ask each other the questions they had been asking themselves. It was a brilliant plan, but when he attempted to reach them by telephone, apparently most of them hung up on him.

He had hoped to enlist the help of the Gallup polling agency, but they declined also. The work, now called The World Question Center, ended up being broadcast on Belgium television, and involved questions solicited from viewers.

Byars then wanted the questions compiled in book, which would be edible. When costing it out ($3.70 per 100 sheets) he noted that "I do want it to be exquisite however...the world's first eatable public book...cover hopefully will also be eatable ...."

He asked the LA County Museum help to produce it, but they declined. The Hudson Institute would also not fund an edible book, but did agree to print a simple book with one hundred unnumbered pages, each containing a single question, printed in microscopic font:

This book is eatable?
Merry X?
I'm the self-appointed World Question Center?
Putting Byars in the Hudson Institute is the Artistic Product?
E=MC2,  next?
I have perfect question?
This is question theory?
Say it is yours?
The question of perfect speed and total elasticity?
A proposition is public question?
Clone me?
Which questions have disappeared?
Do you have an affection for question?
What's the difference between asking and telling?
He grabbed my nose and said what do you want a nonlinguistic question?
Put your hypothesis in general language?
Imagine the palpability of question?
Did Plato forget question?
ls all speech interrogative?
Ho! Ho! Ho! is the same in all languages?
Call all earth attention to a signal?
Arro, is
l'll give you 5 min. of face?
What questions are you asking yourself?
Think yourself away?
My business is asking and access?
I'll get her question grammar?
Read Plato's nonsensical definition of the Good?
"Forget it" is a treatise?
Put your autobiography in a question?
The question is the answer?
A Pompidou?
Is self-conscious option enough?
I fell in love with Herman Kahn because I knew in advance he could speak 400 words a minute? What's fancy for those in power (does it keep them healthy)?
A '69 question?
My only desire is to explain everything?
I listed all the Universal Questions before?
What's your general honorific sweetie?
Put question in the Encyclopedia Britannica?
I am the complete history of the world?
How to meet a General,"Imagine I have short hair and birds on my shoulders like you once had"?
This question is capable of questioning itself?
The ghost of question?
I'm the Unofficial Poet Laureate of the United States?
Make a soliloquy on question?
"Well?" was her favorite question?
Question is Big Art?
What's the difference between quantity and quality?
How to fall in love with a phone call?
Are all people interchangeable at some live level?
How does he question and how does he eat?
The world is so fantastic why make up?
All questions consist of establishing the notion of asking followed by a nominative?
The Earth at least?
His head weighs 25 lbs?
Exalting question is surprising?
To present the opportunity of possible response is the exhibition?
I can repeat the question but am I bright enough to ask it?
Multiply a question?
Find the world question in a week?
He asks 100 times or not at all?
Mathematics HaHa?
Imagine being possessive of a question?
Questions are gifts?
I'm full of Byars?
My work is civil defense?
You're the person they pretend doesn't exist?
Herman Kahn'll be a Buber by 50?
What's the speed of an idea?
He has the heaviest question in the U.S.A.?
Question boon?
I'll be the Artist in the Pentagon, next?
Make a question was the whole exam?
Suppose the context around this question?
I quit you?
All questions rise in intonation?
The first sentence I ever read was "I can see you"?
Israel is a philosophical mistake?
Numbers don't count?
Ask is New English?
Limit all talk to the sound of 0?
It takes 5 minutes to come down to your level?
I'm 1/16 Jewish?
Drop hello?
Empty mouth, what's the matter?
Her questions are her ornaments?
The world's smartest man got mad when asked for a question?
Axiologv? from The Director of Atomic Energy?
I've done Anglo-Saxon?
If you ask for something that doesn't exist you deserve it on the intelligence of the request?
Question bully?
Suddenly he's a collar, a necktie, and a lapel?
Credit is to identify your question?
My tongue is insured for $50,000?

Assessing his involvement in the program afterwards, Byars suggested that his presence at the Hudson Institute constituted an artistic work unto itself, which is possibly the best way to evaluate the LACMA program. Even as an incomplete work, the piece ranks high enough in the artist’s oeuvre to feature prominently in his New York Times obituary, nearly thirty years later.

About the above images: the seller included a quarter for scale , and the photograph of the artist  [c. 1975] was sold alongside the book at auction, but is unrelated.