Sunday, September 30, 2012


Exhibition catalogue (group show)
Antwerp, Belgium: Hessenhuis Anvers. 1959.
[26] pp., 21 x 21 cm., staplebound
Contributing artists: Breer, Pol Bury, Yves Klein, Heinz Mack, Mari, Bruno Munari, Necker, Dieter Rot, Soto, Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely, and Van Hoeydonck.

"On March 2nd there is a huge amusement-park exhibition of 2000 square metres in Antwerp where anybody who's interested in the movement in any form should, can and may contribute... you're invited too." - Daniel Spoerri writing to Dieter Roth in New York, early 1959.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Day After, Tomorrow

If you're in Toronto and planning to attend Nuit Blanche tonight, I am showing a work as part of Zone C, curated by Helena Reckitt, titled The Day After, Tomorrow

It's a complete history of disaster cinema, edited down from five hundred hours to five, playing simultaneously on twenty monitors, arranged geographically. The context, narrative and protagonists have been removed, leaving only the scenes of destruction: earthquakes, avalanches, fires, floods, meteors and air attacks. 

It's at 145 King Street East (King James Place), outside. It's a little east of Church, near the Sculpture Garden and across from the park. 

There's more information, and a map, here


Friday, September 28, 2012

NYC Art Book Fair

Photos from the fair, as they arrive from friends there.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tobias Wong and Ju$t Another Rich Kid | Cokespoon #2

Cokespoon #2 is a McDonald's coffee stirrer cast in gold and sold for $295 in 2005 (Cokespoon #1 was a gold Bic pen cap). Artists/designers Tobias Wong and Ju$t Another Rich Kid purchased the original stick, now discontinued by the fast food chain, on Ebay. In the late seventies McDonalds were alerted by law enforcement agencies that the spoons were popular with users of cocaine, and promptly redesigned the stir stick to have a flat paddle. 

On February 12th, 2007, lawyers for McDonalds demanded the immediate halt of the "sale of gold-plated beverage stirs and any other items bearing McDonald's marks." Unlike copyright law, which is often flexible enough to give artists a modicum of maneuverability, trademark law is notoriously strict, and cases that side with the defendant are rare. McDonalds argued that it was protecting the integrity of of it's brand trademark and that "any dilution of that, or any association without McDonald's approval to third parties, entities or objects, is an erosion of [the] trust that we have with our customers."

"It's a shame because I don't think there's any intent in damning anybody's reputation," said Philip Wood, whose store CITIZEN: Citizen pulled the spoons from their stock in response to the letter. "It really is a comment on how these objects change shape when they get into 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Keith Coventry | Inhaler

Keith Coventry
London, UK: The Multiple Store, 1998
7.5 x 3 x 4.2 cm
Cast plastic
Edition of 50, initialed and numbered copies (carved into the plastic)

A found asthma inhaler converted into a crack pipe is cast and rendered in plastic, to create an exact facsimile. Coventry also produced, in the same year, a series of bronze castings of other make-shift crack-pipes, mostly from water bottles (below).

Below: Inhaler as seen in the Donald Smith exhibition Ideal Home, alongside Robert Filliou's chess board (Optimistic Box #3), Barbara Kruger's coaster and Roy Lichtenstein's paper plate. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lucy Lippard interview

Lucy Lippard (a keynote speaker at the NY Art Book Fair this weekend) discusses conceptualism, feminism and artists' books:

"We had this dream that artists' books would be in drugstores and airports..."

Monday, September 24, 2012

Richard Artschwager | Complete Multiples

Richard Artschwager 
Complete Multiples
New York City, USA: Brooke Alexander Editions, 1991
56 pp., 25 x 20 cm., softcover
Exhibition catalogue/Multiples catalogue raisonné

Richard Artschwager began working with Brooke Alexander in the late sixties, beginning with the publication of the edition Locations. From January 25th to March 9th, 1991, the gallery presented a survey exhibition of Artschwager's multiples and editions. To coincide with the exhibition, a catalog raisonné of the editions was published, which featured a transcription of a conversation between Alexander and Artschwager in which they discuss the methods of inspiration and creation behind the works. The catalogue also included a multiple, the unsigned Rubber BLP, a rubber decal attached to paper.

An excerpt from the interview:

BA: Do you remember when you did the Locations piece that we were talking about earlier?

RA: Well, the year was`70 - or was it pre-70?

BA: It was piblished in `69

RA: Sure, that's right, it was `69

BA: We starting going on that sometime in spring. It was in my first place at Second Avenue and 68th Street.

RA: The storefront.

BA: Right, and I had that little prototype box in the back room. It was either opposite my desk or to the side and I was sitting there looking at it. All the parts came together - I remember I had boxed it up in my loft.

RA: Ah ha, early bubble wrap! I was making those boxes in that shop just off Canal Street on Greenwich.

BA: I guess what I'm trying to get more at is what the idea behind that one was. It seems that I remember having seen all those things at the Whitney. Your presence there was omnipresent-not specific, at least not with labels. Do you remember? I'm sure you had those blps there.

RA: That's right.

BA: And what about those little kiddie's panties - in the corner soemtimes? Didn't you have some little underpants - ladies underpants?

RA: What areyou talking about?

BA: I don't know. I have this weird memory that there were some-(laughs)

RA: Was this at the shop?

BA: No, this was also at the Whitney.

RA: Oh, your recollection - you picked up on soemthing and I know where it was. In the portion of the space (4th Floor) with the lower ceiling, there was a hair blp and it was kind o stuffed into a corner.

BA: Ah, okay.

RA: Somebody else commented on that-I think Walter de Maria liked that one. It was kind of jammed into place as if to stop up a mouse hole or something. Most of the hair blps were presented in a manner more in tune with their approximate nature, but with this one you could really tell where it was-it was jammed in there, and why you picked up on panties, I don't know. There's something else that you're remebering on your own history and you have it filed -

BA: In that category.

RA: Yeah, in that same drawer.

BA: You had a show not too long before that, of big furniture pieces.

RA: That was toward the end of `67, beginning of `68.

BA: I guess I remembered the big blue formica drawers - I mean not drawers - they were very chunky pieces.

RA: So you may have been struck by contrast.

BA: Probably, and that sort of stayed in my head. Prior to the Whitney show, I remember saying, "This is big dysfunctional furniture. Boy, these are big", you know, and I was a little bit annoyed. Then when I saw the little blps, the idea sort of conflated with the same blue formica being used on the box and blps being indeterminate so to speak - I mean, they didn't have any fixed location, do you know what I am getting at?

RA: Well, no I wouldn't say that. You can say that they are easy to put into place - to insert and remove as if with a word processor, but once in place they are fixed - I mean fixed; they are married to the context and the two together make a whole. Or a hole? That was at the time of (IBM) punch cards where you had these little holes in your card and the idea was related to that. One of us, and I think it was you, likened the box thing as it came together to a tool kit or a set. The blps are a family of marks, gestures, holes and objects of related size and shape-they are a set. Ina tool kit - socket wrenches for example- each socket has its home within the box. In this state they are only in the company of one anotehr. It's when you take that socket, snap it onto the handle and lonk it onto a bolt that you lock the socket into its true context. Liek teh socket wrneches, the Location blp variants have one thing in common besides their similar size and shape which is that they all live in teh same box. Now that suggests something that can enable one to "do", and its a sort of state of readiness that could be mental as well as physical. Their character in th ebox is not their character "in real life" - that's been strung out, carried by memory rather than eyes-on-which makes them nifty, so to soeak. They are waiting to be used. The avriants can be periodically unleashed and be periodically unleashed and be periodically returned to their kennel. They are portable-but once you put one in place it becomes locked into its context. What locks it in? I don't know. Something different each time, I would imagine. I had them (painted wood blps) in that state of readiness when I made them out in California. They were all in this bushel basket - you know, an apple basket - in the truck of this Studebaker in which I drove from the west coast and distributed (placed) them a la Johnny Appleseed.
BA: You mentioned "blp family". We should do the family tree - all the variants.

RA: Well, the first ones evolved from some punctuation pieces which were wanting to inflect objects and spaces the way real (!) punctuation inflects the abstract objects and spaces of written language. I made the earliest blps out of painted wood, or painted them directly onto a ground (walls, ceilings, building exteriors, curbings...) using a stencil.

BA: That would seem to have something in common with (them) emerging graffiti.

RA: Sure-like graffiti, their location was both problematic and a subject for controversy.

BA: But when you get beyond "blp theory", the blp has definitely become your "tag"-your artist's mark. It's a statement of your presence.

RA: Leo Castelli hit on that - I know I've told this story too many times - he said it was my "Kilroy" - you know, that little doodle that the American soldiers were doing, the fellow with the big nose and eyes and fingerseering over the wall -"Killroy was here!" - I'll go along with that, it's all true.

BA: What about the Hair Blp and Brush Blp?

RA: They are always approximate in terms of their size, shape and location. I wanted to make them out of focus-the opposite of the (original) hard-edged blps.

BA: The Brush Blp is very animal-like.

RA: There was a critic-he really din't like them - he said they were a sort of "Hedgehog". It irritaed me at the time- I thought I had done well in creating a fuzzy/unfocused three dimensional blp and I was pretty happy with myself. I'll admit that the (hedgehog) idea has grown on me though. I've always said that they should move about freely-or scurry, if you will. They're not tied down and they don't want to stay in the same place for too long a period of time. So call them what you want - it's the unfocused/approximate part that's important.

BA: And the rubber blps?

RA: They're self-stick, which, one in someone's hand, invites particiaption in this blp endeavor that we've been discussing. The Brush Blp guarantees participation. As oon as you put one down-by accident or design-it's doing its job. Then someone comes along and gives it a shove: it's relocated, it took another job. I think enough has been said about teh blps except that in time of economic depression...

BA: They come back again....

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Jonas Mekas | Reminiscensijos (Reminiscences)

Jonas Mekas
Reminiscensijos (Reminiscences)
New York City, USA: Self-published, 1972
[48] pp., 14 x 19.5 x 3 cm., hardcover
Quarter-inch wooden covers with brass hinges house photographic plates bound together with bolts. The content features imagery of travel accompanied by text in Lithuanian. Designed by George Maciunas, the cover features only the edition number, stenciled. 
Edition of [250] copies. 

The book is unpaginated, and the number of pages may vary from copy to copy, as Printed Matter list 48, the Getty 52, and Harvard 26. The title is scarce, with the only copy offered online listed at $1250 US. 

The Serpentine recently announced a major retrospective of the 89 year old artist/filmmaker's work to open on December 5th, 2013. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sol Lewitt button

Sol Lewitt
New York City, USA: Rosa Esman Gallery, [circa early '80's]
5.4 x 5.4 cm
Promotional pin designed as an announcement for an exhibition. 

vs vs vs move out of Art Metropole

vs vs vs wrap up their month-long residency at Art Metropole today, which coincides with the Canadian Art Foundation Dundas West Gallery Art Hop, which commences at Art Met at 2pm. vs vs vs will pack up their bunk beds and bookshelves in preparation for a happy hour event at 6pm.

General Idea | Liquid Assets

Next Thursday night (at 6pm) at the New York Artist Book Fair at PS1, Bywater Bros. Editions and AA Bronson will be hosting a special launch for the new Liquid Assets boxed edition by General Idea.
Liquid Assets was a key component to The Getting into the Spirits Cocktail Book and The Boutique from the 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion (both from 1980), as well as General Idea's Colour Bar Lounge (1979). The cocktail holder in a test-tube designed to form a dollar sign was intended to be produced in an edition of 50, but high production costs limited the project to ten, which were used as exhibition copies and went to friends and museum collections. They were neither signed nor numbered.  

Bywater Bros. Editions has now worked with AA Bronson, the sole-surviving member of the trio, to create the remaining 40 copies, updated with the addition of a custom-made case. 

For more information, visit

General Idea 
Liquid Assets 
Toronto, Canada: Self-published, 1980 
33 x 18 x 13 cm 
Plexiglas, glass test tube 
Edition of 50 (10 produced) 

General Idea 
Liquid Assets 
Port Colborne, Canada: Bywater Bros Editions, 2012 
boxed: 37 x 37 x 10 cm 
Plexiglas, glass test tube in a printed clamshell box with label and die-cut foam inserts 
Edition of 40 signed and numbered copies (plus 5 artist's proofs)

Canadian Art Magazine launch

The new issue of Canadian Art magazine launches today at Diaz Contemporary from 5:30 to 7:30, with a cover story by Murray Whyte on Christian Marclay's The Clock.

The issue features a brief mention of One For Me and One to Share, which is available here.