Saturday, October 31, 2020

Factory Records & Visual Artists

Michael H. Shamberg (1952-2014) was an artist, filmmaker, video producer, and the head of Factory Records US, which he ran out of an office above White Columns gallery at 325 Spring Street. 

From 1975 to 1977, he worked at The Kitchen in New York, as a video assistant. Here he organized screenings and video installations by artists such as Vito Acconci, Dan Graham, Nancy Holt, Lawrence Weiner and Robert Wilson. He was the Director of Photography on two of Lawrence Weiner's 1976 videos: Do you Believe in Water? and A Bit of Matter and a Little Bit More. 

When he began making videos with Factory Records bands such as New Order and A Certain Ratio he invited filmmakers from the art world to direct them. Robert Longo shot New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” in 1986 and Robert Frank filmed "Run 2" in 1989. William Wegman shot one of several music videos for the song "Blue Monday" and Chris Marker shot "Getting Away With It" by New Order side-project Electronic. 

Shamberg asked Kathryn Bigelow to film New Order's 1987 video for "Touched by the Hand of God", a few years before her breakthrough feature films (Blue Steel, Point Break, and Strange Days) and over twenty years before her Oscar winning film The Hurt Locker

He invited John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger and Lawrence Weiner to create the posters for New Order events. 

For the rest of the week I'll post examples of album covers, posters and promotional materials designed by Lawrence Weiner, John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger, Robert Breer and others. 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Dick Higgins | Thirteen Serious Considerations

Dick Higgins
Thirteen Serious Considerations
15 pp., 10 x 16.5 cm., loose leaves
West Glover, USA: Self-published, 1978
Edition size unknown

A rubber-stamped manilla envelope - which also serves as the mailer - houses fifteen postcards: twelve on yellow paper and two on white, one of which is glossy and slightly larger. The works borrows its format from Robert Filliou's Ample Food For Stupid Thought, which Higgins' Something Else Press published thirteen years prior. 

The above copies were sent to American art critic Kim Levin (The Village Voice, Artnews, Flash Art, etc) and Rosanna Chiessi (1934 -  2016), an Italian publisher and gallery owner, who published Higgins’ graphic score Emmett Williams' Ear the year before, in 1977. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Judith Doyle | Transcript

Judith Doyle
Buffalo, USA: Hallwells, 1981
[9] pp., 22 x 14 cm., staple-bound
Edition size unknown

Top Stories was a prose periodical featuring experimental writing by women authors and artists. The series included staple-bound booklets by Jenny Holzer, Kathy Acker, Laurie Anderson, Pati Hill, Mary Kelly and others. 

The eighth issue (of a total of 29 publications) features a transcript from a performance based on personal accounts exploring the subject of physical pain as it relates to emotional numbness, in particular the feeling of being in a strange new place.

Available for $25 US, here

Sunday, October 25, 2020

This week on Tumblr: Ben Vautier

 This week on Tumblr: Boxed works by Ben Vautier.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Joseph Beuys' Capri Battery stolen

Joseph Beuys
Capri Battery
Naples, Italy: Edizione Lucio Amelio, 1985
8 x 11 x 6 cm.
Edition of 200 [+ a few a.p] signed and numbered copies

On October 18th, the Joseph Beuys multiple Capri Battery - which is valued at between thirty and forty thousand dollars - was stolen from an exhibition in Oberhausen, Germany. The work was taken from the exhibition “Pollution. Body States. Fascism: Christoph Schlingenseif and the Art” at the Oberhausen Theater, where it was on loan from the LWL Museum for Art and Culture in Münster. The theft initially went unnoticed, but is now under investigation by German authorities. 

The German artist collective Frankfurter Hauptschule has announced that its members are responsible for stealing the work, and delivering it to the Iringa Boma regional museum and cultural centre in Tanzania as a “symbolic act of restitution to the former German colony.” 

A video titled “Bad Beuys Go Africa” was posted by the group to their Youtube page. The lighthearted clip (soundtracked with a choral cover of Toto's song "Africa") allegedly shows the trio in mid-heist, followed by the group celebrating aboard a plane en route to Tanzania. 

In a text accompanying the video, Frankfurter Hauptschule claims that the work is now on display “alongside traditional objects of the craftsmanship of the Hehe tribe.” The group further asserts, “Under the colonial regime, art objects, cultural assets and skulls of Hehe leaders were stolen from Iringa and brought to Germany in inextricable numbers.”

Beuys conceived of the work - one of his final multiples - on the island of Capri in Italy, while the artist was staying at the villa of his dealer Lucio Amelio. It consists of a yellow light bulb, a plug socket and lemon, housed in a wooden box with a signed certificate. On the side of the box, the following instructions are printed: ‘After 1000 hours, change the battery.’

The work exists in an edition of 200, with iterations residing in the collections of the MoMA, RISD Museum, Harvard Art Museum, The Walker Art Centre, The Tate, and the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, among other institutions.

Martha Wilson | 1. Truck 2. Fuck 3. Muck

Martha Wilson
1. Truck 2. Fuck 3. Muck
New York City, USA: Self-published, 1975
11 pp., 28 x 22 cm., staple-bound
Edition size unknown

Truck Fuck Muck is a collection of three short stories about a hitchhiker’s tryst with a truck driver, told from three different points of view, and written in a clinical self-detached. The bottom image is an installation view from an exhibition at White Columns, held between November 29th to December 18th, of 1975.

Join Wilson for a live virtual Zoom talk tomorrow at 1pm. 

Presented in conjunction with the upcoming exhibition Now Bulletin: Artworks, Letters and Printed Matter from the Garry Neill Kennedy Collection 1968 - 2019, Wilson will talk about her experiences as a young artist in Halifax in the 1970’s where she become involved with the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design’s arts community. 

Friday, October 23, 2020

Christo | Look

Cologne, Germany: Edition MAT/Galerie der Spiegel, 1964
56 x 45.6 x 8.2 cm
Edition of 100 signed and numbered copies

Christo first wrapped magazines in 1961, and his first multiple was a wrapped copy of the German magazine Der Spiegel. In 1963, he produced a large work containing various wrapped magazines, also titled Look

His second multiple was produced for Daniel Spoerri's Edition MAT and featured various copies of Look over sheets of foam, wrapped in polyethylene and cord, on a wooden support. 

Christo and his partner Jeanne-Claude has relocated to New York the year prior and Look magazine represented the essence of American consumerist culture. Headlines in the issues he selected included "The American Woman", "The Changing World of Japanese Women", "The Negro Now", "Catholic Revolution", "Flight from Dallas", "The Day JFK Died", and "Kennedy" (see below). 

When the works were shipped from New York to Karl Gertsner (who coedited Edition MAT MOT with artist Daniel Spoerri) in Cologne, customs agents unwrapped several, not recognizing them as artworks. 

In an undated letter to the artist from the Spoerri archives at the Swiss National library, Gertsner proposes adding the black wooden frame, so that the works might be read as "pictures" (Wrapped Der Spiegel had been designed to lay flat). This would also allow them to be mounted on the wall for a forthcoming Edition MAT exhibition that was being planned at the time. Perhaps most important to the publisher, mounting the works made them more marketable. The editions from the 64 series that were not hung proved more difficult to sell. 

Look initially sold for under $200. Recent auction prices today hover around $20,000.