Friday, June 18, 2021

Pope.L | My Kingdom for a Title









Pope.L
My Kingdom for a Title
Los Angeles, USA: New Documents, 2021
274 pp., 21.75 × 30 cm., hardcover
Edition size unknown


New Documents have just announced My Kingdom for a Title, a collection of writing by Chicago–based artist Pope.L documenting his use of language as a mode of visual, narrative, and performative story telling.

"The act of writing has been integral to how Pope.L works and is arguably the most consistent element in his practice. These works take various forms: scripts, short stories, scribbled notes, large scale installation, and painting—many never before released. Assembled here for the first time, My Kingdom for a Title allows the breadth of the artist’s engagement with language to be fully assessed. Within the book, Pope.L’s work is supplemented with extensive endnotes sourced by artist Kandis Williams."

The title is available at the pre-order price of $45 from the publisher, here. A signed, special edition accompanied by a three colour silkscreen print is also available.




Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Nic Wilson | Learn Spelling





Nic Wilson
Learn Spelling
Sackville, Canada: Umbrella Projects, 2021
90 pp., 18 x 12.7 x .7 cm, softcover
Edition of 100

We're getting ready to wrap up our time at Struts Gallery, just as some publications we initiated are finally ready to launch. Joining the Beverly Glenn-Copeland LP of last month is new bookwork by Derek Sullivan, a new 'zine by Izzy Francolini, some forthcoming posters, and the above project by artist and writer Nic Wilson. 

Named after the menu item that allows you to train your computer to acknowledge certain words, the book uses a collection of unrecognized terms from the artist’s writings as a springboard for a larger investigation into how a living language evolves. Examples in the book - queer slang, loan words, Indigenous place and nation names, Arab and Japanese names, as well as terms specific to art theory - reveal a Eurocentric bias in Word Processing applications. They also double as an inadvertent diary of the artist’s writing. 

Hand-bound in an edition of 100 copies, the title features a collection of autobiographical anecdotes alongside observations and examples of the way “written English is used as a tool to create and legitimize some world views and negate others.”

Learn Spelling is available for $12 from Struts Gallery. 



Monday, June 14, 2021

Robert Watts | Cabbage










Robert Watts 
Cabbage
Verona, Italy: Edizioni Francesco Conz, 1984
22 × 16 × 16 cm.
Edition of 100 stamped and numbered copies

A chrome-plated bronze casting of a cabbage, mounted on a mahogany wooden base and housed in a cardboard box. The edition is based on Chrome Cabbage, a work from 1964 (see below) which I believe is unique. It is housed in the MoMA collection. 

Cabbage is still available from the publisher, here, for € 1.500.00.

Watts, who died of lung cancer at the age of 65 in 1988, was born on this day in 1923.






Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Yoshimasa Wada | Smoke Fluxkit














Yoshimasa Wada
Smoke Fluxkit
New York City, USA: Fluxus, 1968
9.3 x 12 x 2.5 cm
Edition size unknown

A clear-plastic hinged partitioned box with an offset label by George Maciunas, containing various substances that would produce either pleasant or unpleasant smelling smoke. The work was first offered  for $5 in 1968, a price that didn't change until 1976, when it was offered for $8.

The Reflux version contains rubber, orange peel, woods, incenses and jute fiber.

The work is held in various public and private collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Fondazione Bonotto, the Harvard Art Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, The Israel Museum, and many others. 

Yoshi Wada died last week in his Manhattan home on May 18th, at the age of 77. 


Saturday, June 5, 2021

Sister Mary Corita Kent's studio




A few years back I posted about a set of rules that were attributed to John Cage that - while in the possible spirit of his work - didn't seem like his actual output (see post, here). They turned out to be by 
Sister Mary Corita Kent, a renegade Catholic nun, artist, print-maker, designer, educator and social justice activist. 

In a unanimous vote, the Los Angeles city council just granted landmark status to her former studio building, which had been slated for demolition in 2019, to provide additional parking spaces for a forthcoming organic health food store. In response to this plan, the Corita Art Center launched the “Save Corita's Studio” campaign last year, and submitted a rapid response application for landmark status to the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission.

Only three percent of historical cultural monuments in Los Angeles are associated with women's heritage. 

“The Los Angeles City Council giving landmark status to Corita’s studio is one critical step in redressing this disparity,” Nellie Scott, Director of the Corita Art Center said in a statement. “This work to uphold the legacies of women artists and cultural leaders is ongoing in Los Angeles and across the U.S. Corita reminds us that hope is not just optimism; hope is hard work. Hope means showing up every day for others. As we turn the corner from this pandemic, we will need spaces like the one at 5518 Franklin Avenue.”

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Andy Warhol | The Thirteen Most Wanted Men (Dossier No 2357)









Andy Warhol
The Thirteen Most Wanted Men (Dossier No 2357)
Paris, France: Sonnabend Gallery, 1967
27 × 18 cm.
Edition size unknown


Andy Warhol reportedly only produced a single public artwork in his lifetime, and it was on display for less than forty-eight hours. 

New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller had invited architect Philip Johnson to design the New York State Pavilion for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Johnson identified ten then-nascent artists and commissioned them to produce works to adorn the exterior of the Pavilion’s circular Theaterama: Peter Agostini, John Chamberlain, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Lieberman, Robert Mallary, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist and Warhol. 

Lichtenstein contributed a laughing comic-strip woman leaning out a window, Rauschenberg created a collage of 1960's American history featuring President Kennedy called Skyway,  Kelly paired large curved monochromatic forms, and Indiana contributed a blinking sign that read “EAT.” 

Warhol proposed something a little more controversial. 

John Giorno attributes the idea to painter Wynn Chamberlain, who was dating an NYPD officer at the time. Chamberlain was said to have provided Warhol with a large envelope filled with various archival crime photographs and mug shots. 

Warhol elected to enlarge thirteen of them, which were silkscreened onto square Masonite panels, and tiled together. The work was installed on April 15, 1964, and triggered numerous objections. It was painted over two days later, before the event had opened. 

Press reports from the time initially suggested that Warhol was dissatisfied with the installation but it was later revealed that Rockefeller - no stranger to censoring artists - himself had demanded the work be removed. In addition to the piece featuring thugs and criminals (a baby killer among them) seven of the men were Italian and the governor balked at alienating that community while running for re-election. 

A 2014 exhibition commemorating the saga featured a telegram from Warhol to the NY State Dept of Public Works,  giving permission to paint over the canvas:

Gentlemen:

This serves to confirm that you are hereby authorized to paint over my mural in the New York State Pavilion in a color suitable to the architect.

Very truly yours,

Andrew Warhol

Other accounts cite Warhol's choice of silver paint being related to his tin foil and mirror covered walls at the Factory, which he was putting together at the time. 

Warhol also produced a replacement for the mural, 25 identical Masonite panels each depicting the smiling face of World’s Fair President Robert Moses, who was likely to have been thought of as the main censor to the project at the time. It was never installed and its whereabouts are currently unknown. 

A couple of years later he revisited the 13 Most Wanted screens, using them to produce a series of diptych paintings on canvas, which were exhibited at the Sonnabend Gallery in Paris. This publication - rare enough to not be included in the multi-volume catalogue raisonné - is from that exhibition. It includes six loose leaves featuring exhibition documentation, a text by Otto Hahn and a silkscreen portrait of Most Wanted Men No. 11, John Joseph H., Jr.

Warhol enjoyed a good double-entendre and the use of the word "Wanted" in the title undoubtedly referred not only to the criminals' fugitive status, but also their desirability and potential to be seen as 
heartthrobs. A later work,  the screen test film The Thirteen Most Beautiful Boys - makes the connection clearer. 

Morrissey carried this torch forward, with his use of vintage portraits repurposed as album cover art and band shirt graphics, as well as his glamorization of criminals such as the Kray Twins. 


Note: Robert Indiana's project was also 'censored' from the fair shortly after it opened. Apparently his EAT sign was misconstrued by fair goers as an announcement that the building contained a food court. 












Monday, May 31, 2021

Yoshitomo Nara | Mini Mori Girl









Yoshitomo Nara
Mini Mori Girl
Self-published, 2012
11.3 by 8 by 8 cm.
resin, wood, plastic, boxed
Edition of 1000 copies