CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/19/2014
"In December 1968, at the Galerie Rene Block in Berlin, Sigmar Polke mounted a show called Moderne Kunst (Modern art). Alongside other works was a canvas of the same name, with the title painted inside a white border in black italics, like a caption for an image in an old exhibition catalogue (pictured). The painting resembled what many people might regard as a typical specimen of modern art: a black background with the upper-right and lower-left corners painted red and white, a yellow squiggle curving downward from the top, a spiral looping upward, and angular strokes forming a number four and a cross that floats diagonally across the composition. Polke had finished it off with a splatter of bright purple paint. Many art historians have seen this painting as a summation of Polke's position on abstraction circa 1968. In 1976 Barbara Reise recalled its humor and Polke's 'knowledgeable irreverence about contemporary fashions in 20th century art history and criticism'; in 1982 Benjamin H. D. Buchloh—who had put Modern Art on the cover of the catalogue for the retrospective he organized in 1976—drew attention to the arbitrariness and incompatibility of the abstract styles in the painting, writing, 'We find gestures of Modernist painting emptied, made futile by parodistic repetition.' By quoting and debasing the language of abstraction associated with Kazimir Malevich, Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, El Lissitzky, and Jackson Pollock, Polke seemed to signal that each set of forms had become a cliche, and that the claims once made by these artists and on their behalf could no longer be taken seriously." Featured passage, from Mark Godfrey's catalogue essay, is excerpted from Sigmar Polke: Alibis, published to accompany the major retrospective on view at MoMA through August 3.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/17/2014
"In the 1970s travel, like meditation or drug consumption, was one of what Michel Foucault would later call "technologies of the self": practices or techniques that promised expanded consciousness and psychedelic experiences. Drifters and young members of various subcultures created a kind of alternative tourism, opening new routes and means of travel remote from the streams of tourists in more expected places. Like many artists in the early 1970s Polke hit the road. Like other tourists he brought cameras and film. In 1978 he made large-format prints of some black-and-white photographs that he had taken in Pakistan four years earlier, one of which shows men smoking water or opium pipes..." Featured passage, from Kathrin Rottmann's catalog essay, is excerpted from Sigmar Polke: Alibis, the exhibition catalog to the major retrospective opening at MoMA April 19. Featured image is "Untitled (Quetta, Pakistan)" (1974-78). To read the full quotation, continue to the blog page.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/16/2014
In celebration of 'Early Work,' the magnificent new monograph published by David Zwirner and Steidl, artist Richard Serra will speak and sign books at the Strand on Tuesday, April 22, from 7-8 PM, and he will appear in conversation with Hal Foster at The New York Public Library on Wednesday, April 30 from 6-8 PM.
DAN NADEL | DATE 4/15/2014
There's nothing so satisfying for me as hearing or reading an artist unfurling the tangled strands of their art history, biography and ideas in casual conversation. In the case of Wayne Thiebaud in Black Square Editions' new release, Episodes with Wayne Thiebaud, it's doubly satisfying since, despite the seeming ubiquity of his images, the man himself has mostly remained silent, preferring the paintings to speak for themselves. Two former students, the painters Eve Aschheim and Chris Dauber, set out to remedy this via four lengthy interviews (the titular episodes) from 2009 to 2011. Thiebaud emerges as voluble, modest, and quietly cool on these pages, as he recounts his early days in Sacramento, his visits to New York, and his own pantheon of art historical heroes, about whom he is insightful and, even at age 93, with whom he is still clearly enamored. Best of all, and what makes this book delightful and even essential, is the way he deftly moves from modest theory to first-hand knowledge, as in this passage on how paintings function in different spaces >>more...
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/13/2014
Speaking of the featured image, "The Painter and His Muse" (1996), in Pressed Wafer's new release, How I Became a Painter: Trevor Winkfield in Conversation with Miles Champion, Winkfield calls the painting "a kind of sop to the popular misconception that the artist's vivid imagination must be the result of something else—some external stimulus. All the techniques I used to construct the painting were of the dumbed-down variety; in fact, the whole enterprise might be seen as a confirmation of Duchamp's scathing observation, 'stupid as a painter.' As far as I can recall, the composition began with cobbling together stray elements to form the easel, which led to the legless eagle, following the Rousselian path of phonetically stepping from 'easel' to 'eagle.'" In celebration of How I Became a Painter and The Song Cave's equally anticipated new release, Georges Braque & Others: The Selected Art Writings of Trevor Winkfield, 1990-2009, Winkfield will appear in conversation with Champion Tuesday, April 15 at McNally Jackson.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/10/2014
Morbid Academy Library and ARTBOOK | D.A.P. invite you to join Richard Barnett for a lecture and book signing of 'The Sick Rose: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration' next Thursday, April 17 at 8PM.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/10/2014
Featured image is an advertisement designed by Andy Warhol for New York Daily
News delivery trucks circa 1967. Part of Warhol's Flash-November 22, 1963 series, published as an unbound illustrated book five years after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, it is reproduced from Hatje Cantz's fascinating but almost sold-out survey of Warhol's work in printed books, Reading Andy Warhol. Essayist Jordan Troeller writes, "The title refers to the conventions of the newsroom. 'Flash,' in distinction to 'first lead' and 'bulletin,' prefaces the most urgent reports as they come in on the wire. Thirty-five of these reports chronicle the events from the arrival of Kennedy in Dallas to the funeral three days later. The title also conjures the flashbulb of the reporter’s camera, and the experience of shock following such grisly illumination."
CORY REYOLDS | DATE 4/9/2014
In the April 7 edition of Artspace, Ian Wallace writes, "Jens Hoffmann is positioning himself to be a major player in this emerging field of the exhibition-as-exhibition-history: his most recent book Show Time: The 50 Most Influential Exhibitions of Contemporary Art, published by D.A.P., is a useful compendium of the most important museum exhibitions, biennials, and experimental exhibition projects from the late 1980s through today, offering a thorough look at art exhibitions from the past 30 years that have dramatically altered the way artists, curators, and art patrons experience the contemporary exhibition. It's a must-read for the art history nerds out there, and a fascinating introduction to a nascent field for everyone else." Featured image, Ayşe Erkmen's 1997 "Sculptures on Air" installation for Sculpture Projects Münster 97, is reproduced from Show Time.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/7/2014
In Eva Hesse: One More Than One, Gioia Timpanelli is quoted, "In our friendship Eva and I had spirit. We were full of beans and full of spirit, and very ordinary things. We had a lot of good times. A pretty good way for an artist to live, for a culture to live too, because if you live that way, you also know what's happening and what's going to happen; the kind of long story of our lives. Then you put in things, and you get serious and somehow, without knowing why, the whole thing falls into a center that's very complicated. It's a little bit like wilderness. The wilderness has not exactly a clean center. That's not its purpose. Eva's center had a lot of complicated stuff, had a lot of threads in it that she wove and unwove, and it was just magnificent. That's why she was profound. That's why her soul was there. That's why she made great art. She did not deny anything." Featured image, of Hesse in her 134 Bowery studio, circa 1966 (originally published in Lucy R. Lippard's remembrance in ARTFORUM, 2008), is reproduced from One More Than One.
MARIE AQUILINO | DATE 4/4/2014
This week on the Metropolis Books website, 'Beyond Shelter' author Marie Aquilino reports on the successes and failures of her group's efforts in Titanyen, Haiti.
"Paging through a book is like closing a door behind you that simultaneously opens another onto a new room -- all the while keeping the previous room available, just behind the now-closed door of the turned page. Here I am in the hallway of the introduction..." -- excerpt from Sharon Helgason Gallagher's remarks at the New York Public Library panel discussion The Future of the Art Book
What are the kinds of books we ought to be publishing today as exemplars of the book for the future? What is the enduring legacy of "bookishness" that we want to -- may I say "ought to" -- transmit to the future? What kinds of meaning are and can be transmitted uniquely in the book form? What is the "bookishness" of the book that does not survive conversion, translation, adaptation, or reformatting as a digital publication? And what kinds of books even posses this quality?
Tonight, TamTam Books launches Gilles Verlant's authoritative new biography of the legendary French pop star, Serge Gainsbourg. Below is an excerpt: Verlant's chapter on Gainsbourg's passionate but short-lived love affair with screen legend, Brigitte Bardot.
"ONE DAY Schindler was looking at the floor plan of a house that had just been developed in quarter scale from the rough plan he had made directly on the surveyor’s eight-scale contour map."