A sculptopictorial installation
By PUNCH

Oil, reflective tape, construction netting, on boards and scaffolding
2017

Surrounding the structure PUNCH’s essay —if read “correctly” —speaks to the tower of babble. By pulling random bits from old Dia Center pamphlets, PUNCH has rendered a text which at once mocks art speak and praises the artist’s own efforts.


The Text:

At once systematic and yet never predetermined, this conceptual as well as pictorial work proves itself to be a singularly quixotic avatar of arcane divination beautifully articulating such manifest implausibility as to propel the question of observation into free-fall. Itself demonstrating that no medium has a systematic, knowable foundation but that all approaches to interpretation can only be handled by means of experience, intensive analysis, patient research and inquiry, this single exercise in contrapuntal linguistics speaks plainly to the notion that looking can itself become, self-evidently, a participatory activity. “Review”, though it begins with the actualities, the quiddities, of the literal, phenomenal world of boards and paint and plaster, ends by embodying an existential philosophy of placelessness — oscillating between moving and fixing, looking and even remembering (where remembering is realized as the ironic manifestation of groundlessness.) Not being fixed to a single focus, “Review” stands out as a statement, a sort of manifesto, that exceeds all metaphor: we live not in facts, but fictions. Once these concepts are encapsulated within the confines of the white cube, it is arguably irrelevant whether they elicit answers or elucidate conundra. The artist, who has tenaciously, even obsessively explored the boundaries of visual and linguistic expression over the last decade has once again demonstrated that an art which relies upon an analytical, deconstructive methodology can still reflect, in it’s plastic pictorial space, the rich legacy of Pollock, at once conjuring a layered optical space and vividly inscribing the metaphysics at the core of our continuous pictorial tradition. The lack of a center has something to do with lack of certainties and so discharges an unprecedented level of exchange and engagement between the viewer, the medium, the surrounding environment and those who would attempt to interpret them. Executed by assistants, each sculptural painting harkens to the traces of it’s own development and comes eventually to circle around the present task confronting the painter himself through a boldly pared palette and an almost exculpatory vocabulary of repose and disequilibrium. The sheer scale of the piece, with its implicit scaffolding limnes the parameters of a vision of rippling linear movements with a multi-focal lexicon of overt and subliminal references and offers a point of departure which, structuring a complex and diverse journey through the lyrical flow of spatial relations, eventually accomplishes the deployment of control via an interiorized depth best elucidated by site-specificity.

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How to Talk about Art #H2TaA:

Caption:  The Architecture of Life, 2013, Bronze, 136hx235wx159d cms Photo: Marc Quinn Studio. Courtesy: Marc Quinn Studio. Via Mary Boone Gallery Press Release
The Architecture of Life, 2013, Bronze, 136hx235wx159d cms
Photo: Marc Quinn Studio. Courtesy: Marc Quinn Studio. Via Mary Boone Gallery Press Release

Rule: Amaze Yourself & Your Readers with Gross Exaggeration!

E.g: This bit-o-PR yakking about Marc Quinn’s lovely conch shell sculptures:

” With these sculptures, the artist is able to collaborate with creatures from the beginning of time, and the beginning of art, and therefore somehow making the shells a part of the space-time continuum.”

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MARY BOONE GALLERY
MARC QUINN
All the Time in the World
May 4–June 29, 2013

How To Talk About Art: Conceptual Art Edition

86281309_d6b84a19b2_zWith long time champion of the most boring cerebral — art in the world, the Dia Foundation, finalizing plans to move back to Chelsea, it’s time to put on our thinking caps and learn how to talk about conceptual art. Don’t be caught with your pants down in front of some inexplicable wall full of squiggles: not only will you get arrested , but you’ll look like a schmuck.

Read the rest on Hyperallergic

Read Past H2TaA articles on Hyperallergic

Read the rest on Salon

How To Talk About Art: Now a Column on Hyperallergic

Koons-TrainHow to Talk about Art (H2TaA ) has been The Art Machine’s slowly growing manual for those who wish to master artspeak as practiced by art critics, art educators, galleries, dealers, copywriters, and journalists.

Now, H2TaA has moved from The Art Machine’s umbrella and into the arms of Hyperallergic.com. You can read the first installment at: How To Talk About Art (#h2taa): Jeff Koons Edition by Cat Weaver on April 30, 2012

About the Column:

Originating with the need to validate and describe artwork which was no longer narrative and which relied more and more heavily on inside jokes and academic references, artspeak has grown into its own with a lexicon that is comprised, not only of tropes and catch phrases, but of technical, scientific, and otherwise borrowed terms which have been adapted to its own needs. “Virtual space”, “gesture” ,”intervention”, “appropriation”: these are all words which used to be safely housed in the worlds of aesthetics, dance, psychology, and legal documents and are now used to create press releases for anything from sculpture to performance to collage.

It is my opinion, that many people who feel they can’t talk about art, much less speak TO it, are actually lacking a background in artspeak. H2TaA seeks to span that educational gap.

I also believe that by studying artspeak, one can pull the mask off artspeak-agents and reveal the mechanizations behind the catalogs and pamphlets, bringing to light an artist’s laziness of imagination, or a curator’s dependance on slang and technique, or the general trade tendency to make excuses for work that is overly subjective (or too academic) to be enjoyable. In brief, an interpretation of wall cards can shed light on all of the unnecessary posturing that has led to the elitist view that contemporary art is somehow beyond the ken of the public when it is, actually, beyond the ken of EVERYONE.

Learning H2TaA is just another way to bring art out of the academic tool box and into the light.

BITS: Prince’s Jokes (Explained) & $treet Art

It’s Not Funny if You Have to Explain It

RICHARD PRINCE Untitled Joke Painting, 2009 Collage and acrylic on canvas. 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm.) Signed and dated “R. Prince 2009” on the reverse. ESTIMATE $350,000-450,000 PROVENANCE Gagosian Gallery, New York Photo via Phillips dePury & Company

Phillips dePury has topped past unintentionally funny catalog copy with a new gem describing Lot 30 in it’s upcoming Contemporary Art Auction.  Lauding Richard Prince’s “Untitled Joke Painting,” dePury opens with this dubious gusher:

“Richard Prince’s Joke Paintings have remained a constant high point within the artist’s output for over two decades.”

Mm-hmm: Yes. Yes they have remained the high point. Sadly.

Then, having prepped us with the bad news, dePury goes on to do the WORST thing you can ever do to a comic: they EXPLAIN his joke!

“The work is technically lush, utilizing both acrylic and collage. The centered block letters read, in nine rows, “I never had a penny to my name, so I changed my name. Again, I never had a penn.” Prince’s obvious joke is corroborated by letters cut in half, and even missing with respect to final “y” in penny. One must assume that he did not have enough to his name even to get the text set correctly.”

Yeah. Heh heh. That must be it.

Oh, but there’s a leetle bit more: in case you missed that other funny…

“Interestingly, the joke Prince prints across the present lot is entirely unrelated to the subject of nurses, and thus the viewer might be left wondering what the connection is between the subject and its background. …If what he has collected also amounts to the oeuvre he has amassed, perhaps it’s simply natural for one piece to pratfall over another.”

Thank you. We might otherwise have assumed that Richard Prince just had a few nurses to get rid of.

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“Street Art” is Just a Word for “Emerging Designer”

We’ve all seen it. Shep, Damien, Banksy… they started out hanging from the eves with a spray can, and ended up hawking t-shirts and limited edition art objects online.  Yet even the advent of “Mr. Brainwash” didn’t really force us to just come out and SAY it.

But hell, now it’s time: The streets are just a starter kit for emerging artists with “urban” flavor: the goal is a corporate brand like OBEY or Objective Criteria.

Still, The Guardian sought out, Jeffrey Deitch, for the final word on street art as “big business.”

“Today, somebody does a tag in Russia, China, Japan, or Africa, a friend photographs it and within a few hours it’ll be viewed on websites all over the world,” says Jeffrey Deitch, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, which recently opened a major show on the subject. “I think you can make a good case that street art is now the most influential art movement of the past 30 years. The penetration of urban culture is huge, and it’s influencing everything from skateboard design to high fashion. Some of these guys have even been hired to design Louis Vuitton handbags.”

How to Talk About Art: Always throw in a ringer.

Hermes bearing the good person by Praxiteles. Parian marble, H. 2.15 m (7 ft. ½ in.). Archaeological museum of ancient Olympia, Greece. From the German excavations of the Heraion at Olympia, 1877.

Jeff Koons, at the 2010 Whitney Gala and Studio Party, listing the “influences” for his latest oil paintings and marble works : “Dali, Manet, Velazquez, Titian, you know… DaVinci, Praxiteles.”

Go Deep: Jeff Koons’ Made in Heaven at Luxembourg and Dayan

 

Jeff Koons, Ponies, 1991 Oil inks silkscreened on canvas228.6 x 152.4 cm (90 x 60 inches)
Jeff Koons, Ponies, 1991 Oil inks silkscreened on canvas 228.6 x 152.4 cm via Spreadart Culture

 

The thing about the Luxembourg and Dayan gallery is that it’s small. It’s small and the walls are close. And the thing about Jeff KoonsMade in Heaven series, is that the paintings are huge. They are huge and very intimate. The situation makes for an interesting immersive experience.

What grabs you, when you step into this exhibit, is how it lends new meaning to “in your face.”

As I distracted myself with the paint jet dithering, I tried to think about Fragonard. But Ilona’s pale spotted bum, really sat heavily on my I.Q. The people standing nearby carried on a did-you-know patter about the print process, and “eternal virgins” and the Violet Ice (Kama Sutra) glass piece —but honestly, on an intellectual level, it’s mostly “been there, done that” isn’t it?

What I mean to say is, since these works were unveiled at the 1990 Venice Biennale, we’ve had 20 years to talk it over. But I recall none of that here, back to back with strangers and surrounded by more crack than an alphabet dweller in the late 80s. I”m all eyes for the long nails — really? There? — and the bad shave: sorry, that looks raspy.

Now, believe me, I KNOW I’m being childish. I am quite clear on that by now. It’s all supposed to be about the talking points: you make sure to have your Ecstasy of St. Theresa and you discuss Fragonard and you wink at the old dutch with their personal cabinets of pretty portraits, and then you give Koons the big nod of history. That’s how you are supposed to do it.

But I can’t. I know what I’m going to say and it’s not about art history.

Um: I like Ponies.

Purchasing Intangibles: MoMA

gold-at-symbol-2

MoMA is pioneering the latest art establishment encroahment on anti-establishment art: the purchasing of intangibles.

Spearheading their efforts in the field of performance art is Chief curator at large, Klaus Biesenback, a colorful character whose famously spare apartment was recently featured in W magazine.

In June 2008, under Biesenback’s guidance, MoMA purchased Tino Sehgal’s “Kiss” , a performance piece of subtle intricacy that was, until this purchase, only passed on by word of mouth and hands on (as it were) demonstration: from dancer to dancer.

Question: So how did they “buy” it?
Answer: by spoken contract.

Tino Sehgal described the piece to a MoMA curator; the MoMA curator passed it on. Along with the purchase of the spoken legacy, the MoMA also purchased reproduction rights. Save for the contracts, MoMA has succeded in purchasing something utterly intangible.

So far two other museums have purchased “The Kiss,” and The Tate, in London, and the Walker Art Center, in Minneapolis, are also grappling with new ways to save and sustain ephemeral and intangible arts.

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RELATED STORY:

“Online comments at MoMA’s site were fast and curious, ranging from “neat” and “cool” to “intellectual garbage,” “I’m mystified,” “pretentious nonsense,” and suspicions that the announcement was an early April Fools’ joke. Some of those in the “neat” and “cool” camp even proposed acquiring “e” and “ñ,” while the art blog Hyperallergic reported that the Chinese government had taken possession of the rest of the keyboard.”

ARTrocities: Timeline of the Bad and the Ugly

1961 Piero Manzoni: The Artist’s Shit: the artist sells, essentially, his “shit” in limited edition cans. We all have our favorites: this one’s a favorite of mine.

Of the many things I love about this piece, the most important is that it is the baldest, most hideously obscene insult that has ever been delivered by a piece of art.  It falls within a great tradition of biting the hand that feeds, and the subset of that, insulting the audience.

pieromanzoni_merda d'artista
Mr. Manzoni's Doodies, Apparently

1971 Chris Burden Shoot: A documented performance wherein the artist has his friend shoot him in the arm. You know you love it.

1972 Vito Acconci: Seedbed: A performance / installation wherein Mr. Acconci whispers not-so-sweet somethings while jerking off under the floorboards at the Sonnabend Gallery. How do we know he was really pulling it? Well, there are some pix…

vito_acconci_seedbed_1972
Vito Not Barry White

Continue reading “ARTrocities: Timeline of the Bad and the Ugly”

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