Thursday, May 31, 2018

Gillian Wearing | Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say

Gillian Wearing
Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say
London, UK:  Interim Art, 1997
[96] pp., 23 x 15.2 cm., softcover
Edition of 1500

"When most people are stopped in the street they expect to be asked questions usually concerned with either a product, money, a survey, a personality test or directions. To be asked only to write something, anything, presents a challenge and creates a totally different relationship to the person posing the question. The bizarre request to be 'captured' on film by a complete stranger is compounded by a non-specific space; the blank piece of paper, which almost replicates an unexposed film.

Perhaps the fascination in the relationship between the person and their slogan is in the confidence or diffidence of the people being 'imaged' in the first place.

This image interrupts the logic of photo-documentary and snapshot photography by the subjects clear collusion and engineering of their own representation."
- Gillian Wearing, artist statement

"What might make it uncomfortable is people being so honest. Especially within the art world, you can get very guarded. That's why I ask strangers, because people are much more honest to someone they're not going to see again."
- Gillian Wearing, interviewed by Ben Judd

From the Unshelved event at the AGO Library last night, hosted by Donald Rance (see previous post).

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Photo-based Books at the AGO Library

Tomorrow night at the Art Gallery of Ontario, librarian Donald Rance and other archivists present another in the "Unshelved" series. The previous iteration, in February, presented books, multiples and ephemera by Lawrence Weiner. See previous post here, for more information.

Tomorrow evening's event is essentially the flip-side of Weiner's text-based practice: it will be focused on photo-based artists books, both historical and contemporary. As always, the books are not presented under glass, but on desktops where viewers are encouraged to interact with the works.

The event takes place at the E.P. Taylor Library & Archives, between 5 and 7pm on Wednesday May 30th.

For more information, vis the AGO website, here:

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Raymond Pettibon with Nelson Tarpenny
Poetic Use of Blood. Double-Crossed to Death.
Los Angeles, USA: Self-published, 1989
22 pp., 21.6 x 14 x 0.2 cm., staple-bound
Edition of 70 numbered copies

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Geoffrey Hendricks | Critical Mass

Geoffrey Hendricks [editor]
Critical Mass: Happenings, Fluxus, Performance, Intermedia and Rutgers University.
New Brunswick, USA: Rutgers University Press, 2003
210 pp., 28 x 21 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

The Catalogue for an exhibition held at the Mead Art Museum from February 1st to June 1st, 2003, and later at the Mason Gross Art Galleries from September 29th to November 5th, 2003.

Edited by Geoffrey Hendricks, the volume includes contributions by Allan Kaprow, Jackson Mac Low, Robert Watts, Al Hansen, Carolee Schneemann, Dick Higgins, Philip Corner, Milan Knizak, George Maciunas and others.

"Rutgers University, from 1958 to 1972, was at the center of many new developments in the art world. Artists connected with Happenings and Fluxus created works that had a major impact in New York and abroad. A dozen years after Allan Kaprow's first Happening on Rutgers University's Douglass campus in 1958, George Maciunas (Mr. Fluxus) created his major late composition, Flux-Mass, in the same space, and Hermann Nitsch, the Viennese Actionist, presented his controversial Orgies-Mysteries-Theater. These radical shifts in art paralleled calls to rethink attitudes about race, sex, gender, and war during turbulent times in America's history. Critical Mass chronicles this ephemeral work on the Rutgers campus and in New York City, and the innovations that grew from Bob Watts, Allan Kaprow, and George Brecht's "Project in Multiple Dimensions." With texts and performance scores by artists-together with numerous photographs of the events and essays by art historians and critics Hannah Higgins, Jill Johnston, Susan Ryan, and Kristine Stiles-Critical Mass presents a vivid picture of this dynamic moment. This volume is a companion to an exhibit at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and at the Mason Gross Art Galleries at Rutgers University. / Geoffrey Hendricks is a professor emeritus of visual arts at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University."
- Publisher's blurb

"So I made this catalogue—I made this exhibition, Critical Mass:Happenings, Fluxus, Performance, Intermedia and Rutgers University [1958–1972] from 1961 to 1971, or whatever the date parameters were. And I wanted to have all the text be by women, and I got Christine Styles, Jill Johnston—did Kate write something? Other than—well, you know, there was a piece of Al Hansen's."
- Geoffrey Hendricks, interviewed by Linda Yablonsky

Friday, May 25, 2018

Geoffrey Hendricks | The Fertility of the Soil

Geoffrey Hendricks
The Fertility of the Soil
New York City, USA: Money for Food Press, 1992
28 pp., 12.5 X 16 cm., boxed
Edition of 160

A straw faggot and instructions for starting a fire are tied to binding thread.; "For Franklin Furnace Nancy Spero & Burning in Hell"
- Colophon

Available from Printed Matter, here, for $250.00 ($225.00 for members).

Philip Glass | Quartet # 4 (Buczak)

Philip Glass
Quartet # 4 (Buczak)
New York City, Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc., 1989
23 min
Edition size unknown

Brian Buczak was born in 1954, in Detroit, where he received his BFA from the Center for Creative Studies. He moved to New York City in 1975 at age 21, and met Geoffrey Hendricks shortly afterwards. His work, which includes paintings, drawing, writings, artist's books, film and performance - has been exhibited internationally, including Canada, Italy, and Iceland.

Buczak and Hendricks c-founded the Money For Food Press and produced many collaborations together. Buczak died from AIDS at the age of 33, on July 4th, 1987.

Hendricks commissioned Philip Glass to compose a piece to commemorate Buczak's life (offering a large canvas work in trade). It premiered on the second anniversary of Buczak's death, at either Hauser Gallery or Emily Harvey (online reports differ).

The work can be heard on the CD Kronos Quartet Performs Philip Glass (Nonesuch, 1995), and online here.

"The music of Philip Glass, especially works composed after the formative period of the late '60s and early '70s, demonstrates a stylistic consistency that critics deride as utter predictability. And certainly, some of his most characteristic gestures have become movie music clichés: the murmuring minor third alternations and subtle shifts of metric accentuation that so drew in viewers of director Errol Morris' startling documentary The Thin Blue Line, for example, have been borrowed by numerous other composers looking to cast an anxious, pensive mood on a tense, cinematic moment. Still, even his harshest critics must admit that in a handful of works, Glass ventures rather far afield of his minimalist roots, exploring sounds and textures that merge with his more characteristic techniques in surprising and often moving ways.

Such is the case with Glass' String Quartet No. 4, subtitled "Buczak." The subtitle derives from the work's memorial nature, composed as it was in memory of artist Brian Buczak, who succumbed to AIDS in 1988 [sic]. The inevitable combination of mourning and remembrance play out in the work's musical character, which is likewise conflicted in its textures and techniques. At the core of the work's first movement is a device typical of Glass' oeuvre: a chord progression carried by slippery semitone voiceleading through a string of unexpected tonalities before finally and unexpectedly arriving at its starting point. Likewise, the metrical terrain constantly shifts, with units of three and four beats unpredictably juxtaposed (a trait not as prominent in Glass' later works, but central to expanding and contracting melodic cells of his early pieces).

What sets this movement off, however, is its occasional use of strident polytonal complexes. A theme with variations, the movement occasionally bifurcates the strings into divergent harmonic camps, carving out arpeggios and melodies on entirely different planes (an idea carried even further in Glass' Symphony No. 2). This stratification is enhanced by contrasts between arco and pizzicato articulations. The second movement is more mellow, but also more melancholy, its chromaticism drawn out into long, lyrical melodies and delicately strident harmonies reminiscent of Fauré or Debussy in a dark mood; reaching into the extended upper range, the violins evoke a yearning for transcendence. The third and final movement alternates between long-breathed chords and somber, minor-mode polyphonies, ultimately settling into the major mode and ending on a note of serene repose.

Glass wanted his fourth quartet to represent "a musical impression of [Buczak] as a person as well as a tribute to his life's work".

- Jeremy Grimshaw, Allmusic

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak | Rulers, Ladders, and Buckets

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak
Rulers, Ladders, and Buckets
New York City, USA: Money for Food Press, 1977
24 pp., 15 x 15 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

The first publication by Money For Food Press, this square booklet documents a performance by Brian Buczak and Geoffrey Hendricks at the Institute of Art & Urban Resources P.S. 1 in NYC, October 9 & 16, 1977. The slim titled featured seven reproduced photos and drawings and is signed by both artists on the cover.

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak | The Wisdom of the Money for Food Lady

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak
The Wisdom of the Money for Food Lady
New York  City, USA: Money for Food Press, 1978
25.3 x 25.3 cm.
Edition of fifty signed and numbered copies

A companion piece to the folder of the same name (see previous post), this cardboard boxed work contains a bent umbrella handle with a label that reads “THIS OBJECT FOUND ON MARCH 2, 1978”.

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak | The Wisdom of the Money for Food Lady

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak
The Wisdom of the Money for Food Lady
New York  City, USA: Money for Food Press, 1978
30 x 24 cm.
Edition of 50 signed and numbered copies

Produced for a performance and reading at Franklin Furnace, this pocket folder contains two pages from a medical book, a photographic slide, a flyer, a leaflet and a stapled price list. Hendricks had established the Money for Food Press with his partner Brian Buczak, a year prior.

"MFFP was originally created to expand the practices of its founders' artwork, which was rooted in Fluxus and Ray Johnson's New York Correspondence School. The press began with the booklet "Rulers, Ladders and Buckets," which documented a performance by Buczak and Hendricks at P.S. 1 in 1977. Over the next decade, dozens of publications were produced and distributed that intersected with the practices of New York-based artists such as George Maciunas, Lawrence Wiener, Alison Knowles and Nancy Spero. MFFP remained an essential compliment to Buczak's painting and post-Fluxus practice until his death from HIV/AIDS and related complications in 1987 and the exhibition reflects this through the inclusion of over thirty of his individual publications.

Throughout its existence, MFFP has embraced an accessible, democratic, do-it-yourself practice that encourages the breakdown of boundaries separating art and life. In the introduction to the offerings in their 1980 catalog, Dick Higgins writes "They exist as paradigms for our own imaginative processes rather than (at least primarily) investment commodities. Buy them and live well – keep them in your own private treasure chest, to be fished out and shown only to those with whom you share your own private elegances."

- Printed Matter press release

Bici Forbes Hendricks | Statement of Aims and Purposes of the Black Thumb Press

Bici Forbes Hendricks
Statement of Aims and Purposes of the Black Thumb Press
New York City, USA: Black Thumb Press, Inc., 1966
7 pp., 22.8 x 15.2 cm., staplebound.
Edition size unknown

A manifesto by Bici Forbes (now Nye Ffarrabas) for The Black Thumb Press, the publishing venture she co-founded with her then-husband Geoffrey Hendricks.

"[...] my feeling was that, well, Happenings are Kaprow, Events are Brecht, and Watts was there with Maciunas and the beginnings of Fluxus. It was exciting, but I wanted to find my own voice within this, rather than just being a part of what this circle of artists around me were generating. I was also involved in a heterosexual marriage, and in ’64 we had the birth of our daughter which had some impact in ways that deflected certain creative juices and drives. But I was also feeling connected with it all. Really, from ’63 when the Fluxus people came back from Europe, Bici/Nye and I were involved in doing things of this nature. I guess it was around this time that she asked Bob Watts, “how do you become a member of Fluxus?” and Bob sorta shrugged his shoulders and said “well you either are or you aren’t. It’s nothing you can join.” So we started the Black Thumb Press, and sent out cards, and kept an ongoing journal we called The Friday Book of White Noise where we would write down scores, thoughts, ideas. Then, when Watts and Brecht brought together their Monday Night Letter at the Café au Go-Go, we did a reading of “The Friday Book of White Noise” and Bici/Nye made a script/scroll as a Möbius strip — it was a continuous thing. These were Fluxus-like scores. And then, by ’65, George Maciunas began including us on his mailing list of names and we were taking part in Fluxus Banquets and a paper concert at the Time Life Building. So, sort of by osmosis, in the 60’s we began to be part of Fluxus, but still we were also in a little bit of an outsider role — something that my life has always had."

Geoffrey Hendricks | 100 Skies

Geoffrey Hendricks
100 Skies
Worpswede, Germany: Barkenhoff-Stiftung, 1986
[unpaginated], 12 x 11 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

The first of three editions, the work features water colour images of skies by Hendricks alongside texts by Henry Martin.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Geoffrey Hendricks | Sky Underpants

Geoffrey Hendricks
Sky Underpants
New York City, USA: Self-published, 2009
30 x 45 x 2 cm.
Unique work

Acrylic paint on cotton underwear. Unique from a series created for the exhibition Hidden Delights, Lingerie in the Arts, by Harry Ruhé and Jeannette Dekeukeleire.

Available from, here, for 1600 Euros.

"They were modeled by professional models and this fall Harry Ruhé will be having them modelled at the Artists Editions Book Fair in New York, where I will also be working with Robin Kahn on other activities.

Right now I'm at my place on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.

Best regards,


Geoffrey Hendricks | Between Two Points, Meditative Rituals

Geoffrey Hendricks
Between Two Points, Meditative Rituals
Verona, Italy: Francesco Conz, 1974-1976
56 x 67 x 13 cm.
Edition of 15 signed and numbered copies

A wooden box containing a folder, fabric covered boxes (containing photographic documentation of performances), and ten numbered relics. The work documents ritualistic performances in Norway and Italy in 1974.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Geoffrey Hendricks | Ring Piece

Geoffrey Hendricks
Ring Piece
New York City/Barton, USA: Something Else Press, 1973
79 pp., 13.5 x 10.5 cm., softcover
Edition of 2000

Subtitled "The Journal of a Twelve Hour Silent Meditation", this slim volume documents the artist's performance at the 8th Annual Avant Garde Festival. Organized by Charlotte Moorman, the event took place on November 19, 1971, at the 69th Regiment Infantry Armory, in Manhattan. Other participants included Christo, Joe Jones, John Lennon, Hermann Nitsch, Yoko Ono, Ralph Oritz, Joey Skaggs, Bob Watts, and many others.

Hendricks sat in a tuxedo in silence for twelve hours, atop a six-foot tall mound of dirt, in the exact centre of the Armory, under which was buried his wedding ring, and various other relics relating to his marriage.

One of the smallest titles put out by the press, the book is designed to be the exact size of the little red journal that Hendricks kept during the 12 hour long meditation. "Good words from the Cloudsmith" is how it is described in the Something Else Press newsletter from January 1973. The title sold for $5.45, and a cloth signed and numbered edition (of 100) was offered for $15.00.

"For the Avant Garde Festival, which followed the Flux Divorce, I was asked by Charlotte Moorman what I wanted to do and I said "I'd like to dump a truckload of dirt in the middle of the Armory and bury my wedding ring there and sit on top of it. Bici and I are deciding to separate," Hendricks told me in the mid-nineties.

And, unless I'm mistranslating this casual interview, the ring in Ring Piece was absent:

GH: There had always been a certain amount of animosity between [George Maciunas] and Charlotte Moorman. Charlotte was someone who was all-embracing and George was very selective: "You're in, you're out". Even with the people who were part of this closer group, if he was irritated at somebody he would excommunicate them. And then they'd be back again, later. So he decided he was going to have nothing to do with anybody who participated in the festival. At first it was just that he was not going to help anybody, because I think Yoko was wanting him to fabricate her work and he was deciding that he didn't want to do this.

Since he had provided me with the box (for the ring) and glued it together and did the die-stamping I couldn't use it, because he didn't want any participation at all.

So the ring wasn't under me during the performance, but other relics were.

George ended up giving me a little text to post about how he would not have any verbal communication with anyone who participated in the so-called Avant Garde festival.

DD: For one year, was it?

GH: Yes, for one year, until the next festival.

DD: Did he keep his word?

GH: Pretty much. He used Barbara Moore as a conduit. He would call Barbara and tell her to call Geoff, or Joe Jones, or whoever and tell them that I need this, or I want this. If we wanted to reach George we'd have to call Barbara and say "Barbara, can you see if George has this?" or "What does he think about this or that",  whatever.

Ring Piece was preceded by Flux Divorce Album (see previous post), another work about his separation from Nye Ffarrabas (formerly Bici Forbes Hendricks), his partner of ten years and the mother of his two children.