Friday, October 21, 2022

Cary Leibowitz

Cary Leibowitz


New York City, USA: Self-published, 2001
49.8 × 25.8 cm.
Signed and numbered edition

Produced for an exhibition at the Andrew Kreps gallery in 2001, this printed metal can features an image of the artist at his Bar Mitzvah, circa 1976. On the verso is the title phrase in a pink and yellow western/circus typeface.

In his review of the exhibition for the New York Times, Holland Cotter wrote:

"Questions about appearance and identity are a running gag. Dozens of cylindrical metal umbrella stands -- also identified as garbage cans -- at the center of the gallery are decorated with a bar mitzvah photograph of Mr. Leibowitz looking plump, stunned and very 1970's in a bulky all-white suit. [...] Being perpetually out of step is a career move that makes [Leibowitz] an artist for all seasons."

Leibowitz has explained the work as an "hourly mantra to survive adolescence and start [his] fabulous life" and “The cans with the picture of Fatso also have the text GAIN! WAIT! NOW!, which is very much in keeping with my longstanding history of wanting/needing/hoping/praying for things to improve in my own impatient way.”

The end-use of the work dictated the price: the cans initially sold for $50 if the buyer requested a garbage can, but $52 if they asked to purchase an umbrella stand. The following year some were made into lamps. 

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