Friday, September 30, 2022

Hannah Wilke: A Retrospective

Hannah Wilke
Hannah Wilke: A Retrospective
St. Louis, USA: University of Missouri Press, 1989.
175 pp., 19 x 26 cm., hardcover
Edition size unknown

A monograph published to accompany the exhibition of the same name in 1989 at the University of St. Louis. Edited by Thomas H. Kochheiser, the book features an essay by Joanna Frueh, video texts, performance scripts, and other writings by Wilke. It is illustrated with black & white and colour photographs. 

The title was unable to be reprinted, as the original files were reportedly destroyed. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

The Art Gallery of Ontario

Last night at dinner a close friend told me that while meeting with the Art Gallery of Ontario about some of his work in their archives, he learned that they were also archiving this entire blog for their collection. I don't know exactly what that entails but it's nice to know that if Blogger goes belly-up these 4000+ posts will have an extended life, offline. 

The above images of the AGO come from a collection of clips for my Dead Ringer film, which debuted at Casa Loma on Tuesday. The scenes from Mouthpiece, Chloe and An Eye for Beauty made it into the final work, and the above images from Starcrossed, The Fly, The Vow, Beauty and the Beast and Lost Girl, did not. The Lost Girl episode perpetuates the problem of having the prop department make some fast and cheap knockoffs of artworks and then allow audiences to scoff at them, and dismiss contemporary art as lazy and corrupt. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Geordie Miller and Marilyn Lerch | Disharmonies

Geordie Miller and Marilyn Lerch
Sackville, Canada: The Hardscrabble Press, 2022
46 pp., 27 x 15 cm., Japanese stab-stitch binding
Edition of 100 numbered copies

Written in the throes of the pandemic, Disharmonies is a dialogue between poets Geordie Miller and Marilyn Lerch.

“I think we knew that COVID was an X-ray of our society,” Lerch said at the July launch event, “that it was going to show us the flaws, the inequality…all of that."

Miller noted that “There are people who say that capitalism’s working great and it’s good for everyone. That’s obviously a right-wing, reactionary position. There are people who say, ‘Capitalism is not working great, we need to fix it,' And, that’s kind of a liberal position, to reform, to fix capitalism, to make it work better because of its effects. And, there are people who say ‘Capitalism is working exactly as it’s designed to do…and it’s horrific and it’s monstrous and it’s horrible.'”

Publisher Keagan Hawthorne, described the book to the New Wark Times as "a conversation against capitalism...Angry, honest, comradely, despairing, their lines belong to and look beyond a world organized to generate profit rather than satisfy human needs."

Disharmonies is available from the publisher, here, for $24 CDN. 

Jörg Heiser | Double Lives in Art and Pop Music

Jörg Heiser
Double Lives in Art and Pop Music
London, UK: Sternberg Press, 2020
352 pp., 15.2 × 21 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

One of the first books of theory that I owned was called Art Into Pop by Simon Frith, which I bought in my mid-teens. The 1987 title explored the idea that a disproportionate number of important musicians (from John Lennon to David Byrne) attended art school. Many of my personal favourite 'visual' artists cross over into pop music, or vice-versa; Laurie Anderson, Yoko Ono, Brian Eno, and Rodney Graham to a lesser extant. Others, like Candice Breitz, Cary Leibowitz and Jeremy Deller, use the subject of pop music in their practice.

I haven't started this title yet, but it seems to be a continuation of sort from Frith's now 35 year-old book. The main subject seems to be Heiser's notion of “context switching", which he describes as “the movement of a cultural producer from one art form to another—considered, crucially, in connection with associated markets, milieus, media technologies, and institutions (their contexts), which includes the social factors that shaped the art forms in the first place.” 

Double Lives in Art and Pop Music also explores the fertile space between high and low culture that invariably arises when discussing the cross pollination that happens when artists work in more than one discipline. (I've always tried - unsuccessfully - to get the term "mono-brow" to catch on). 
The book is available for $39 CDN from Art Metropole, here

"Why did Andy Warhol decide to enter the music business by producing the Velvet Underground, and what did the band expect to gain in return? What made Yoko Ono use the skills she developed in the artistic avant-garde in pop music, and what drew John Lennon, in turn, to visual art? Why, in 1982, did Joseph Beuys record the pop single “Sonne statt Reagan,” and why, around the same time did, West German artists such as Michaela Melián move into pop music?

In Double Lives in Art and Pop Music, Jörg Heiser argues that context shifting between art and pop music is an attempt to find solutions for contradictions faced in one field of cultural production. Heiser looks closely at the careers of artists and pop musicians who work in both fields professionally. The seeming acceptance and effortlessness today of current border crossings can be deceptive, since they might be serving vested economic or ideological interests. Exploring a pop and art history of more than fifty years, Heiser shows that those leading double lives in art and pop music may often be best able to detect these vested interests while he points toward radical alternatives."
- publisher's blurb

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Nina Katchadourian | Salt and Pepper Shakers

Nina Katchadourian
Salt and Pepper Shakers
Santa Monica, USA: Peter Norton Family, 2007
10 x 9.8 cm.
Edition size unknown

An elegantly beautiful work that turns salt and pepper shakers into snow globes. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

Jon Sasaki | In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock on the morning

Jon Sasaki
In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock on the morning
Toronto, Canada: Nothing Else Press, 2014
9 x 7 x 3 cm
Edition of 50 signed and numbered copies.

We're down to our last couple of copies of this work, which features potatoes wired to power a science toy clock, broadcast a distressing message. The two potatoes (not included) will power the device for many months, as the second image above illustrates. 

The work is available from the Nothing Else Press website, here. Or follow the recent Instagram account, here, in advance of new editions this fall by Stefano Calligaro, Lenka Clayton and Phillip Andrew Lewis.

"The buyer becomes complicit: they have to stab these two potatoes with electrodes and watch the system run itself down. It’s tragedy, but really only tragicomedy. If it were a sentient being it would be tragedy. It’s comedy because it’s just a potato. There’s something heartbreaking and funny about empathizing with an inanimate object.”
- Jon Sasaki, Canadian Art Magazine, Summer 2014

Micah Lexier | Autobiography

Micah Lexier
Brescia, Italy: Tonini Editore, 2022
64 pp., 12 x 17 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

Published in June of this year,  Lexier's Autobiography is the 8th in a series titles by Tonini Editore, which are published monthly. The series follows a standard format but otherwise the invited artist is free to approach the subject of 'autobiography' however they see fit. 

Lexier's entry follows Claude Closky and is followed by Thomas Hischhorn. Other artists in the series include Jonathan Monk, Koo Jeong-A and Nathalie du Pasquier. The series is curated by a committee that includes Pedro Barbosa (collector and founder of the Coleção Moraes - Barbosa), Alex Bacon (art historian), Claudio Guenzani (gallery owner in Milan, owner of the Studio Guenzani), Michele Lombardelli (artist, composer, typographer and consultant for several publishing houses), Shwetal Ashvin Patel (writer and researcher, founding member of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale), Christoph Schifferli (collector and scholar), and Valentino Tonini (director of the homonymous publishing house).

Autobiography #8 at first appears to be all-blank, possibly as a reference to Piero Manzoni's blank Life and Works book from 1963. But closer inspection reveals that the pages are perforated and can be torn off. This may refer to the tearing of pages from a daily wall calendar (and the idea of life lived vs life still to come, a common theme in Lexier's earlier work) or just a celebration of the circle and the hole, a regular appearance in his more recent output. 

The book is available from les presses du reel, here

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Deanna Bowen

Deanna Bowen
Deanna Bowen
Göttingen, Germany: Steidel Verlag, 2022
234 pp., 24.8 x 30.5 cm., hardcover
Edition size unknown

Co-published as part of the Scotiabank Photography Award, and released two weeks ago, this monograph covers twenty years of Deanna Bowen’s commitment to the "excavation and recontextualization of colonial legacies—particularly those which implicate her family history and the Black diaspora in North America—making her artworks vital, both in Canada and abroad."

Bowen's current exhibition "Proof of Presence" (below) opened September 10th at MKG127, and continues until October 8th. Visit the gallery website, here, for more information. 

Tammy Nguyen | O

Tammy Nguyen
New York City, USA: Ugly Duckling Presse, 2022
143 pp., 4.75 x 9", softcover
Edition of 750

Released last week, O is a poetic story of the artist and writer returning to Vietnam, to visit the Phong Nha Karst cave, in the Quảng Bình province. The 7,729 metres long cave contains 14 grottoes, and a 13,969 metre underground river. 

A wind that carved mountains whistles through a young girl’s teeth in San Francisco. Nguyen has written an "anti-allegory" of the cave, using the titular O as a thread that runs through the text - as a vocal refrain, a bowl, an echo, the mouth of a cave, and a story without a centre. 

Available for $27.00 US, from the publisher, here

"Tammy Nguyen’s O should be filed under “Unclassifiable.” It is a memoir about her uncle, a pilot in the South Vietnamese Air Force who chose David as his American name because he defeated Goliath: a recounting of all the procedures the author went through because she was born with a genetic disorder that caused her to be missing two front teeth; an introduction to Vietnam’s manmade and natural landmarks, including the Ho Chi Minh Trail and a series of caves at least 400 million years old; a guide to real estate investment opportunities on a manmade island near Singapore, where the real estate agent claims there is “no climate change”: a compressed history and status accounting of wealthy Vietnamese families who lived in San Francisco; a report on the author’s visit to a small factory in New York that makes dentures and implants; an updated disquisition on Plato’s Cave; a primer on porcelain; a dream in which all the previous narratives meet. O is a major addition to diasporic literature. Already an accomplished artist, who has exhibited internationally, Nguyen proves herself to be an equally powerful and engaging writer. O belongs on a shelf with Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictée and Sophia Al-Maria’s The Girl Who Fell to Earth: A Memoir."
- John Yau

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Dave Dyment | Dead Ringer

An interview with myself about my forthcoming Casa Loma project, Dead Ringer, appears in today's Toronto Star, here

If the Toronto Star is behind a firewall for you, it seems the Hamilton Spectator picked it up, also: 


Reading Room, Marta Publications 1 - 10

Benjamin Critton and Heidi Korsavong founded Marta in September of 2019, as a venue to host "works at the meeting points of art and design" and to make "space for artists to experiment with the utility of design, and for designers to explore the occasional abandonment of function." 

To celebrate their third anniversary they are opening a "gentle retrospective" this evening, focusing on the first ten publications from the gallery:

Alex Reed
International Ceramics Friendship Park
6.0 × 10.0 in, 48 pp.

Klas Ernflo
Hoodie, Jacket, Dress
3 Prints, ea. 20.0 × 24.0 in

Elvire Bonduelle
Ceci nest pas son des pipes
6.0 × 10.0 in, 48 pp.

Lindsey Muscato & Joshua Friedman
10.0 × 12.0 in, 24 pp.

Various Artists
Under / Over
6.0 × 10.0 in, 160 pp.

Minjae Kim
I Was Evening All Afternoon
6.0 × 10.0 in, 48 pp.

Kristen Wentrcek and Andrew Zebulon
10.0 × 6.0 in, 48 pp.

Various Artists
Built In at the Neutra VDL House
12.0 × 10.0 in, 96 pp.

Roula Partheniou
Strange Objects
48.0 × 10.0 in, Accordion

Ross Hansen
Forty-Eight Samples
6.0 × 10.0 in, 48 pp.

Reading Room opens tonight, Saturday September 24th and continues (Wednesday to Saturday, from Noon – 5PM) until October 22nd. 

The works are available for sale, and - for the first time - available as a complete set. Visit the gallery site here, for more information. 

Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber | Library

Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber
Montreal, Canada: Drawn & Quarterly, 2021
108 pp., 7.4 x 7.3", hardcover
Edition size unknown

The final collaboration between the Royal Art Lodge (then consisting only of Dumontier, Farber and Marcel Dzama) was an accordion-fold, oblong book titled The Books I've Read, published by Martha Street. It's a long screen-printed drawing with some unique additions in pen. I framed my copy and hung it high over some other works in the bedroom of my previous house. Once I was drinking the final bit of cola from a bottle and had to tilt my head back, and I noticed a title I hadn't seen before: "I'll Give You A Punch." Alone in the room, I laughed out loud, almost enough for the Coke to come out through my nose. 

The paintings in this title continue the idea of imagined books, simply rendered and with handwritten titles. Produced between 2013 to 2021, the paintings are reproduced here in a 1:1 scale. The over-a-hundred examples include deadpan jokes, sly observations and the duo's typical clever wordplay. For example: 

The Third Anniversary Of Our Fourth Kiss
My Sing Alongs Were Now Sing Alone
Amoral But Artistic Photographs
You Won't End Up Where You Plan But You Still Need The Plan
My Way Is The Highway
I Have a Medical Condition That Makes it So I Don't Have to Talk to You
My Mom Made Me Out of Food
Things Changed For The Better Then Quickly Changed Back
Slippers Advocate 

Jen and Ed Kernaghan are thanked in the colophon and I suspect the Toronto collectors own many of the original works reproduced here. I accompanied Michael and Neil to their home once, for a nice dinner, and their front rooms are covered floor to ceiling with these paintings, as the poor iPhone pics below will attest. 

Friday, September 23, 2022

Geoffrey Hendricks event


Tomorrow at 3pm, Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery will host a screening and conversation on the late Geoffrey Hendricks' work. Hendricks's spouse and frequent collaborator, Sur Rodney (Sur) will discusses Hendricks's working process and their collaborations together. 

Additionally, two video works will loop from noon to 6pm: "The Artists' Studio" a short film made by Hendricks and (Sur) in 2005 for Exit Art's exhibition Homomuseum: Heroes and Monuments as well as a longer documentary-style film from 2007 of Hendricks discussing his practice and creating a performance installation at the Villa Buttafava in Lombardy, Italy.

The event is part of the current exhibition "Berlin Sky Drawings," which continues until October 15th. 

Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery is at 87 Franklin Street in New York City, on the ground floor. For more information, visit the gallery website, here.