Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Espresso Book Machine

The Espresso Book Machine (EBM), shown here on display at the London Book Fair, has been billed as the most revolutionary development in books for half a century.

See it.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Art Lies
Issue No. 61, Spring 2009
Second Acts


When Guest Editorial Contributor Stuart Horodner first approached me with his concept for this issue of Art Lies, "Second Acts," my first thought was that it would be a novel departure from the rigor and density of recent issues. Stuart proposed the commissioning of essays, projects, recipes, images—you name it—by artists, curators and writers who are deeply engaged in "other" acts, be they gardening, cooking, fishing, traveling or collecting. As our discussions continued, it became apparent that his concept was not as straightforward as it first seemed. People generally do not think of creative types—artists in particular—as being in need of respite from their work. This fallacy is either indicative of a romanticized notion of what it means to be an artist (or curator or writer) or systemic underappreciation of what it means to have a real studio practice.

Thus, as it turns out, the premise of Second Acts is a bit deceptive in its simplicity because it addresses the multifarious rituals of assigning value. Being a self-sustaining, full-time artist/curator/writer requires a set of skills not unlike those in other professional arenas. The endeavors chronicled herein may be deemed hobbies by some, but they could also be considered passions, social experiments—even coping mechanisms that counterbalance the often hermetic nature of artistic practice. And, highlighting the wonder, joy, recognition and satisfaction gained by "additional" endeavors offers insight into the complexity and/or contradictions involved in attempting to separate a person's primary and secondary interests—to dislodge what one does for money from what one does for love, for release, for relief—and what we are willing to risk in the process.

-Anjali Gupta, Editor

Feature Contributors:
Regine Basha
Zoe Crosher
Stuart Horodner
Scott Ingram
Jörg Jakoby
Germaine Koh
Dominic Molon
Chris Riley
Jacinda Russell
Joe Sola
Jack Whitten

With artwork by: Zoe Crosher, Adam Helms, Stuart Horodner, Matthew Lusk, Melaine Manchot, Rachel Owens, Adam Overton, Justin Parr, Lucy Raven, Steve Roden and Stephen Vitiello, Stephen Schofield and Erin Shirreff.

Reviews Include:
Atlanta-Susan Richmond on Avantika Bawa
Austin-Kurt Mueller on Temporary Services
Boston-Evan Garza on Douglas Weathersby
Dallas-Noah Simblist on Olafur Eliasson
Houston-Garland Fielder on Soledad Arias
New Orleans-Erin Starr White on Prospect 1
New York-Riley O'Bryan on Artist as Troublemaker
Philadelphia-John Ewing on Field Reports
San Antonio-Wendy Weil Atwell on Alex Rubio & David Vega
And Alex Jovanovich on Doubt by Richard Shiff

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Book Works

We are looking for artists and writers interested in experimental prose fiction, who transgress all the boundaries separating art and literature. Think of the ways in which Paul Gilroy theorised the history of modernism through the rubric of the Black Atlantic, W.E.B. Du Bois and double-consciousness, and the inescapable links between race and class: Anthony Joseph, Kathy Acker, Amiri Baraka, Samuel R. Delany, Darius James, Ishmael Reed, Ann Quin, Clarence Cooper Jr, Claude Cahun etc. Above all we're looking for artists and writers willing to take risks with their prose and who demonstrate total disregard for the conventions that structure received ideas about fiction.

Semina takes its inspiration from a series of nine loose-leaf magazines issued by Californian beat artist Wallace Berman in the 1950s and 1960s. The series is commissioned and edited by artist and writer Stewart Home. The series will publish nine books, six of which will be selected from open submission, two commissioned by the editor, with Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie by Stewart Home the final title in the series.

The selection from open submissions will be made by Stewart Home and Book Works. The series is designed by Fraser Muggeridge studio.

Deadline for applications is 29 May 2009.

Contact gavin@bookworks.org.uk or visit our website for more information http://www.bookworks.org.uk

Semina series:
No. 1 Index by Bridget Penney (2008)
No. 2 One Break, A Thousand Blows! by Maxi Kim (2008)
No. 3 Bubble Entendre by Mark Waugh (2009)
No. 4 Rape New York by Jana Leo (2009)
No. 5 To Whom Life by Ashkan Sepahvand (2009)
No. 9 Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie by Stewart Home (2010)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bob Cobbing was the first explorer of sound poetry in England and a long-time experimenter in visual and performance poetry. His activities beginning with the Hendon Experimental Art Club in 1951 eventually grew into his press, Writers Forum which began publishing in 1963. Within ten years he produced over a hundred small press publications of experimental writing with hardly no budget. His weekly Experimental Poetry Workshop and numerous performances of his own poetry, influenced a whole generation of English experimental poets.

favourite typewriters - hmmm....
Merci a Brett, qui a trouvé ce travail sonore:

Le cinéma pour aveugles
Raymond Queneau’s One Hundred Million Million Poems
An Introduction to Guillaume Apollinaire

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vision in verse from the bard of the boardroom
By David Honigmann
Published: March 17 2009 02:00 | Financial Times

Twenty years ago, David Whyte, a Yorkshire-born poet, was invited by a consultant into the world of business. Ever since, he has made it his mission, through corporate speaking tours and seminars, to help businesses harness the insights and metaphors that poetry can offer to broaden their language, improve interaction within the workplace and stir imaginations.

His first serious in-company work was with AT&T and, over the years, he has worked with corporations from Boeing to Microsoft and organisations from Nasa to Kaiser Permanente. He is an associate fellow of Saïd Business School in Oxford, and is about to talk to MBAs at Stanford.

A poet's craft, for him, is as "a maker of identity". Sometimes he is a guest speaker running through a conference; other times he will give seminars in-house. Typically, he has about five long-term clients at a timeand he works with their senior management.

He begins with poetry (his own and that of Rilke, Wordsworth, Yeats and many others), and then broadens out into conversation and reflection. "I do everything from 45 minutes to three days," he explains. He recites the poems slowly, repeating lines until he is clear that his point has hit home. He does not work in soundbites, but through a scrupulous precision over language, listening and talking to a group until he is able to articulate an uncomfortable and unspoken truth.

"All these organisations are like Shakespearean plays writ large, with the nobles telling their truths from the podium while the gravediggers are telling it like it really is in the bathroom. And every epoch ends with a lot of blood on the floor," he says.


Monday, March 16, 2009

From the Green Box to Typo/Topography: Duchamp and Hamilton's Dialogue in Print
by Paul Thirkell

This paper examines Marcel Duchamp's use of the collotype printing process for publishing the contents of his Green Box and Boîte-en-valise in the 1930s. It subsequently traces the linguistic and graphic interpretations of this work by the British artist Richard Hamilton in his 1960 The Green Book and in his recent fusion of this work with the 'topography' of the Large Glass in the print Typo/Topography, published in 2003.

Between text and Image in Kandinsky's Oeuvre: A Consideration of the Album Sounds
by Christopher Short
Between text and image in Kandinsky's oeuvre: a consideration of Klange in relation to the synthesis of the arts Focusing on the album of poetry and woodcuts called Sounds (Klänge), published c.1912, this paper examines how Kandinsky understood and exploited the relationship between text and image. It shows how he conceived of the album as an example of synthetic art and explores the broader principles underlying his idea of artistic synthesis.

Some Notes on Words and Things in Cy Twombly’s Sculptural Practice
by Kate Nesin.

Tate Papers Issue 10 2008. Read the essay here.

One particular kind of visual description is also the oldest type of writing about art in the West. Called ekphrasis, it was created by the Greeks. The goal of this literary form is to make the reader envision the thing described as if it were physically present. In many cases, however, the subject never actually existed, making the ekphrastic description a demonstration of both the creative imagination and the skill of the writer. For most readers of famous Greek and Latin texts, it did not matter whether the subject was actual or imagined. The texts were studied to form habits of thinking and writing, not as art historical evidence.

from Writing about Art by Marjorie Munsterberg.
Ekphrasis -- A Poetry Journal

We are looking for well-crafted poetry, the main content of which addresses individual works from any artistic genre. Please identify the specific work that is the focus of your poem. Because the source work will not be reproduced, the poem should stand on its own.

Acceptable ekphrastic verse transcends mere description; it stands as transformative interpretational statement.

All poems published in Ekphrasis within a given calendar year will be considered for the Ekphrasis Prize. The awarded poem will be selected by the editors of Ekphrasis. Currently, a $500 consideration will accompany this selection. No entry fees are required.

Ekphrasis is published twice yearly, and the annual subscription fee covering two issues is $12, payable to Laverne Frith in US funds. Send checks to the submission address listed below.

Submissions should include a stamped, self-addressed envelope for reply/return, a cover letter with bio, address, telephone #, and email address. Send 3 to 5 poems. No email or simultaneous submissions. We will occasionally consider previously published verse if properly credited. Send to:

P.O. Box 161236
Sacramento, CA 95816-1236


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thomas Elovsson
Diamonds, Clown, Rock bands, Crayons
12 mars – 25 april 2009
vernissage 12 mars kl 18 -20
Roger Björkholmen Galleri
Kommendörsgatan 15
Öppet: Ti-Fre 13-17 Lö 12-16
För ytterligare information kontakta galleriet 08- 611 26 30

A tip from Ron:

Det är med stor glädje Roger Björkholmen Galleri presenterar Thomas Elovssons fjärde utställning på galleriet,
Clowns, Diamonds, Rock Bands, Crayons.Det är en serie nya målningar baserade på texter, fotografier och abstrakt måleri som relaterar och refererar till olika typer av musik, underhållning, clowneri och konstnärliga strategier. Hela utställningen blir till ett färgtest där färgens betydelse - historiskt, politiskt, socialt prövas och undersöks. Texterna i målningarna kan vara direkta citat eller återgivningar men är handskrivna (målade) och har karaktären av en hastig minnesanteckning eller något upphittat. De kan anspela på en specifik situation eller händelse, men visar sig också innehålla en annan historia som sedan kan komma att gå igen i ett annat verk i utställningen.
Clowner är målningar i sig, deras ansikten dolda bakom smink och lösnäsor och peruk. Clownen blir därför en symbol för en snubblande, stapplande figur som ständigt försöker på nytt och aldrig slås ned. En slags överlevare
–som måleriet. En serie abstrakta målningar använder sig av utseenden och gestik som känns igen genom historien av abstrakt måleri. Här är de utförda som monokromer och befriade från all sentimentalitet. De tillåts rymma berättelsen om sin tillkomst och sina beståndsdelar.

I utställningen visas också verket ”The Red Krayola with Art and Language”, som består utav 96 teckningar där varje färg i krittillverkaren Crayolas serie av vaxkritor används. Verket är ett arkiv över alla kulörer men beskriver också ett samarbete mellan rockgruppen The Red Krayola och konstnärsgruppen Art & Language, och i förlängningen sig självt – vaxkrita, konst, språk.

I sammanställningen av olika verk uppstår betydelser och samband som inte funnits där tidigare. Elovssons metod är den fria associationen där kopplingar kan uppstå mellan olika berättelser.
...Each of these three organizations seeks to eliminate physical suffering by using words...

Atrocity and Interrogation
by James Dawes
To enter the headquarters for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Turkey, you must pass through barbed wire gates and a security checkpoint. If you are applying for asylum (because, for example, you have escaped Iraq after being raped and tortured or because you will be executed if forced to return to Iran), you will be escorted through these gates and then taken downstairs into the holding chambers of the basement. There you will be required to answer a series of questions to determine whether you meet the specific conditions for refugee status under international law. If your answers do not suffice, you will be deported back to your country of origin. The interview rooms are small with poor ventilation. Larry Bottinick, eligibility officer for the UNHCR, explains that they will be moving to a new building soon. "Whenever you ask an Iraqi to describe the conditions of their detention," he says of refugees from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, "they answer: `It was like this room.'"
But this article is not about what it feels like to be interrogated. It is about what it feels like to interrogate someone. I visited the UNHCR in Turkey as part of a larger research project on organizations that intervene in humanitarian crises by using language instead of food, medicine, or weapons, organizations whose most important act is, finally, not delivering supplies but asking questions. Through a series of formal and informal interviews I documented the organizational dynamics and communicative practices of some of the world's most recognizable humanitarian inquisitors: the UNHCR, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the Human Rights Association (HRA). I focused in particular on the everyday practices of activists in the field, hoping to better understand not only how we can use language to alter the operations of violence but also to see how, by using language in such ways, we might be altered.


Friday, March 13, 2009


'THE OTHER SIDE OF A CUL-DE-SAC' is a major new exhibition by Lawrence Weiner, commissioned by The Power Plant. The project highlights the continuing vitality and currency of Weiner's sculptural practice through the commissioning of new work and by providing a striking architectural context in which to situate his works, including interior, transitional and exterior spaces and surfaces of The Power Plant building. For Weiner, the literal realization of a work is in many ways superfluous its existence. 'THE OTHER SIDE OF A CUL-DE-SAC' intentionally highlights this conceptual pre-condition by emphasizing opportunities for reception of the works in the exhibition beyond the gallery spaces of The Power Plant.

'THE OTHER SIDE OF A CUL-DE-SAC' consists of five works that function as fragments of a whole. The lobby of The Power Plant creates the entrance to the exhibition with Weiner's FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE (2001). Its attendant multifarious meanings lead into to the largest gallery on the ground floor of The Power Plant, which contains MORE THAN ENOUGH (1998). This alchemical work culminates, or explodes if you will, into a fragment MORE THAN ENOUGH, a work commissioned for the smokestack of The Power Plant. CUL-DE-SAC (2009), the newest work and produced expressly for the exhibition, responds to a culmination of sorts on the forty-foot high walls of the clerestory of The Power Plant.

The fifth element of the project is the forty-eight page hardcover publication THE OTHER SIDE OF A CUL-DE-SAC, which shares the title of the exhibition. Co-designed by Weiner and Hahn studio, Toronto, the publication re-configures the works within the book format, and includes texts by exhibition curator and Director of The Power Plant Gregory Burke and critic and poet Wystan Curnow.

His most substantial exhibition of new work in Toronto to date, 'THE OTHER SIDE OF A CUL-DE-SAC' also builds upon Weiner's long-term relationship with the city. This enduring relationship began in earnest in 1977 with an engagement at the Centre for Experimental Art and Communication (CEAC), where he created one of his earliest sound-work installations.

Curated by Gregory Burke, Director of The Power Plant

Lead Donor:
Albert and Temmy Latner Family Foundation

Smokestack Commission Support Donors:
Michael F. B. Nesbitt
Victoria Webster & Gabe Gonda

CAREY YOUNG, 'Counter Offer'
Drawing together works in video, photography, text and performance, 'Counter Offer' presents an overview of Carey Young's witty and insightful explorations of corporate and legal culture. For the past decade Young has investigated art's links with global commerce, together with legacies of Conceptual art and institutional critique. Immersing herself in the business and legal worlds, Young examines them from the inside out. As such Young makes no claims to an outsider status, but teases out her own, her viewers' and her host organizations' complicity with corporate values and processes as a way to discuss ideas of critical distance.

The video I Am a Revolutionary (2001) shows a motivational trainer coaching Young to sound like a convincing 'radical'. In Product Recall (2007) we see the artist in a psychotherapy session attempting to match advertising slogans about creativity with their respective global brands. Notions of listening, learning and speaking figure in other key works. For the public speaking project Speechcraft (2007 and ongoing) Young collaborates with a Toronto Toastmasters club. Meanwhile the video Everything You've Heard is Wrong (1999) shows Young trying to lead a corporate communication skills workshop at Speaker's Corner.

Carey Young (born in 1970, in Lusaka, Zambia, lives in London, UK) has exhibited widely, recently with a solo show at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (2007) and Thomas Dane Project Space, London (2008). 'Counter Offer' is her first solo show in Canada.

Curated by Senior Curator of Programs, Helena Reckitt

Carey Young 'Counter Offer' Support Sponsor:
Aylesworth LLP

Carey Young 'Counter Offer' additionally supported by:
Charter Communications

All Systems Go: Recovering Jack Burnham’s ‘Systems Aesthetics’
Luke Skrebowski


I want to argue that we might think systems theory (as mediated to the art world by Burnham’s systems aesthetics) as a productive methodological framework for considering postformalist art as a whole. 14 As Pamela Lee has recently reminded us: ‘systems theory was applied to emerging forms of digital media ... but it also served to explain art not expressly associated with technology today: conceptual art and its linguistic propositions, site-specific work and its environmental dimensions, performance art and its mattering of real time, minimalism even.’15 Although Burnham used concepts drawn from technoscience in his theorisation of postformalist art, I want to insist that this is not the same thing as advocating art that simply dramatises scientific or technical development (a position he has unjustly, but perhaps to some degree understandably, come to be associated with).

The Aesthetics of Intelligent Systems
by Jack Burnham

in On the Future of Art (New York: Viking Press, 1970), pages 95-122

Online here.
Art by Telephone (1969), 44:00

Shortly after its opening, the Museum of Contemporary Art planned an exhibition to record the trend, incipient then and pervasive today, toward conceptualization of art. This exhibition, scheduled for the spring of 1968 and abandoned because of technical difficulties, consisted of works in different media, conceived by artists in this country and Europe and executed in Chicago on their behalf. The telephone was designated the most fitting means of communication in relaying instructions to those entrusted with fabrication of the artists' projects or enactment of their ideas. To heighten the challenge of a wholly verbal exchange, drawings, blueprints or written descriptions were avoided. -Jan van der Marck (covertext)

Participating artists: Siah Armajani, Richard Artschwager, John Baldessari, Iain Baxter, Mel Bochner, Geoge Brecht, Jack Burnham, James Lee Byars, Robert H. Cumming, Francoise Dallegret, Jan Dibbets, John Giorno, Robert Grosvenor, Hans Haacke, Richard Hamilton, Dick Higgins, Davi Det Hompson, Robert Huot, Alani Jacquet, Ed Kienholz, Joseph Kosuth, Les Levine, Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenburg, Dennis Oppenheim, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Guenther Uecker, Stan Van Der Beek, Bernar Venet, Frank Lincoln, Viner Wolf Vostell, William Wegman, William T. Wiley.

Cover: b/w, gatefold, documentation-photo, texts about the artists and an introduction by Jan van der Marck. Design: Sherman Mutchnick.

Listen on Ubuweb.
Martha Rosler is an artist who works primarily with images and texts. Most of her work concerns social issues, which are manifested at sites as various as the kitchen, the television set, the streets and the transport systems. Rosler's career retrospective, "Positions in the Life World," was exhibited in five European cities and two museums in New York City. Rosler lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Emotional Rescue
by Jörg Heiser

FRIEZE Issue 71 November-December 2002

Romantic Conceptualism

Andy Warhol’s film Kiss (1963): the screen lights up and without further ado – no titles, no violins, no cuts – we see a black-and-white close-up of a man and a woman kissing. Real kissing. Full lips, full on. Closed eyes and short, excited looks. They kiss for endless minutes before the image whitens, flickers and falters, as if Warhol had simply let the film in his camera run out (which is exactly what he did). The screen remains white for a brief moment, and then the next uninterrupted close-up of a long kiss appears. Out of the 12 kissing couples several are male on male, Gerard Malanga kisses both men and women, and one is a black man (Rufus Collins) and a white woman (Naomi Levine). In 1963 this was a daring statement, the polymorphous evaporation of sexual (and racial) identity through the serial fulfilment of romantic dreams.

Sounding the Alarm, in Words and Light

Jenny Holzer: Protect Protect, including “Red Yellow Looming,” above, and other Holzer works from the past 15 years, is at the Whitney Museum of American Art through May 31. More Photos >

Published: March 12, 2009/The New York Times

Basically, Jenny Holzer has spent the last three decades pelting us with unsettling and increasingly relevant portents of things to come. In tones alternately poetic or oracular, inflamed or numb, Big-Brotherly or tender, Ms. Holzer’s terse snippets of prose have warned of evolving threats to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. She has tracked the inner thoughts of bereft lovers or shellshocked survivors and articulated the baser instincts unleashed by social chaos.

To do this, she has turned various user-friendly, pop-culture modes of public address into early warning systems, including posters, T-shirts, billboards, broadsheets, plaques, giant projections and incised marble benches. Electronic LED signs are her best-known, most spectacular method; they also reflect the military-commercial-entertainment complex that, bit by bit, her art exposes.

Ms. Holzer has infused Conceptual Art’s playful language with real-life seriousness and has put words in Minimalism’s sleek mouth. And few contemporary artists have as much right as she to say this: I told you so.

Why Jonathan Jones is wrong about art
To accuse art of killing culture is to lump all art-making into a monumental mass. It's far more complicated than that

by Michael Archer

Now, here's a trite comment: "All the shallowness of modern mass culture began in avant-garde art 40 years ago. We're Warhol's ugly brood". This was Jonathan Jones in his art blog earlier this week, lamenting the fact that modern art has "killed culture". This was the day after he told us that, anyway, "art as we know it is finished". Jones was bemoaning the absence of the sad, the severe and the serious, dimensions to experience that we were once regularly forced to encounter and deal with in art. I read his words at the end of a fortnight in which I had discussed with my students a range of contemporary artists whose work variously deals with economic exploitation in west Africa, the fraught politics of Israeli-Palestinian relations (from a number of perspectives), the quality of urban experience in India, the indelible trace of the holocaust in central Europe, power relations between central America and the US, and much more. All this work had been exhibited in Britain within the past year or so. All of it, too, was able to speak as it did of the human dimension to these issues through the command of the artists concerned over the possibilities inherent in the imagery and materials they used.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Assignment 3


1. “Ekphrasis and the Other” W.J.T. Mitchell (handout)

2. An Inadequate History of Conceptual Art Silvia Kolbowski
October, Vol. 92, (Spring, 2000), pp. 52-70

(available via JSTOR)

Reflect on the relation between image and text. i) Find an ekphrastic text which you feel is particularly effective. Prepare a short class presentation (5 mins) on why you feel your chosen example is so effective. Be specific and persuasive. ii) Select an image, event or artefact of your own choosing (this may include your own work if you wish) and write a short text (1 page) which attempts to engage imaginatively and critically with your chosen image/artefact. Bring both source material (image/artefact) and text (copied for other students) to the next class.

Monday, March 09, 2009


John Cage performing "Water Walk" in January, 1960 on the popular TV show I've Got A Secret. via WFMU.

Animated poem read by Flora Coker

Lost and Found
Animated poem read by the poet.

Born Digital
A poet in the forefront of the field explores what is—and is not—electronic literature.


Read at the Poetry Foundation.
Concealment and Law in the Work of Carey Young
Clancco || 4 March 2008
Carey Young’s art projects—invoking legal language and procedures—highlight the connection between law and visual culture without divorcing themselves from art historical discourses. Young’s work revolves around the role of categorization, narrative, and rhetorical/linguistic contestations. In particular, Young’s work seeks to elucidate how these three modes of linguistic production function not only within legal frameworks, but also how they in turn frame and are framed by other cultural discourses.

Read more.
Antonin Artaud
Henri Chopin at Poesiefestival, Berlin 2003


Pioneer of sound poetry Live at ESPACE GANTNER - Bourogne - France 2005 - at 84 years old.

'Sounding-board of thought and feeling'
Sarah Maguire and Martin Argles present an illustrated performance of her poem, 'My Father's Piano'

We meet in S1 all day tomorrow. Schedule is as follows:

9.30-11.00: Assignment 2 crit
11-00-12.00: Ron Jones x+1 (on how to respond to the ‘But is it art?’ question).
13.00-15.00: Tanja von Dahlgren: Word & Art & Film
15.00-16.00: Rolf Hughes: Ekphrasis

13.00: Kim West: Word + Film (as per schedule)

Tom Sandqvist: Word + Dada (as per schedule)

Each meeting in S1.

Please document Assignments 1 and 2 in a way that is accessible online (as well as in other forms as appropriate).

Sunday, March 08, 2009


12 March - 31 May 2009
Curated by: Ellen Blumenstein

When describing the crucial years in the genesis of Minimal and Conceptual Art, the American art critic Lucy Lippard stated that there was a "cult of neutrality" in 1960's Minimalism, while Conceptual Art, around the same time, was focusing on the clarity of the idea. Taking this as a reference, the exhibition A mancha humana is based on the opposite extreme: the presumption that not only was this supposed purity and neutrality exceeded by the neo-conceptual artists of the eighties and nineties, but that a 'human stain' (a reference taken from the title of a book by the novelist Philip Roth) was always a constituent element of Conceptual Art from its very beginnings.

German curator Ellen Blumenstein has delved into the CGAC and Fundación ARCO collections focusing on the common rather than the dividing aspects of the relationship between Conceptual and non-Conceptual Art. The main aim of her curatorial project is to demonstrate that the notion of 'idea' is not necessarily opposed to 'subjectivity', 'poetry' or 'politics', but that a productive tension may arise from the relationships established between these diverse elements which run through a work of art.

A mancha humana begins with one of the most important –and recently acquired– works in the collection, the early Conceptual work by Joseph Kosuth, Clear, Square, Glass, Leaning (1965), in which he introduces a dialogue with other artistic positions of the same period in time: Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt and Joseph Beuys, among others. It also considers a unique group of feminist artists such as Martha Rosler, Ana Mendieta, Helena Almeida or Anna Maria Maiolino; and politically-committed positions, as shown by the eastern European artists Július Koller or Mladen Stilinonovic. Finally, it contrasts these more historical positions with exponents of neo-Conceptualism such as Liam Gillick, Jac Leirner or Iñaki Bonillas.

CGAC (Galician Center for Contemporary Art)
Valle Inclán s/n
15704 Santiago de Compostela
A Coruña (Spain)
Telephone: 981 546619
Fax: 981 546625


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Assignment 2
Due: Tuesday 10 March 2009

A. Read

1. Dissociated Objects: The Statements/Sculptures of Lawrence Weiner
Birgit Pelzer and John Goodman
October, Vol. 90, (Autumn, 1999), pp. 76-108

2. An Inadequate History of Conceptual Art
Silvia Kolbowski
October, Vol. 92, (Spring, 2000), pp. 52-70

Both available via JSTOR

B. Write/design

“Using language + materials of your choice, in less than 100 words, design an ‘experience’ for your audience/viewer/reader.”

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Assignment 1

Devise a distribution system for your own practice designed to enhance the impact of its content on a target group of decision makers living in a specific region of your choice in Sweden. Define the content, visually, with language or otherwise and then describe how and why the system would work and estimate its effectiveness.

Presentation: 15 mins.

Due: Wednesday 4th March
Recommended reading for lectures on Thursday 5th March

My thanks to Ronald Jones for the following references:

Michael Fried, “Art and Objecthood
Rosalind Krauss, Passages in Modern Sculpture
Rosalind Krauss, “Sculpture in the Expanded Field
Alex Potts, “Space, Time and Situation
*Philip Leider, “Literalism and Abstraction
Donald Judd, “Specific Objects”
Tony Smith, Interview with Samuel Wagstaff
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “Eye and Mind”
*Rosalind Krauss, “1965”

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MARCH 01 – APRIL 12, 2009

Pimps Up
Rain or shine, it’s my habit, about five of an evening, to go for a stroll in the Palais-Royal. It’s me you see there, invariably alone, sitting on the d’Argenson bench, musing. I converse with myself about politics, love, taste, or philosophy. I give my mind license to wander wherever it fancies. I leave it completely free to pursue the first wise or foolish idea that it encounters, just as, on the Allée de Foy, you see our young rakes pursuing a flighty, smiling, sharp-eyed, snub-nosed little whore, abandoning this one to follow that one, trying them all but not settling on any. In my case, my thoughts are my whores.
--Denis Diderot, Rameau’s Nephew, 1761/1774

By the time Diderot finished Rameau’s Nephew, the Enlightment was conscious enough of itself as a movement to embrace its own caricature. If anyone had earned this right it was Diderot. His imprisonment in 1746 following publication of Letter on the Blind, in which he openly questioned the existence of God, helped unify the circle of French intellectuals known as the philosophes. Their use of empiricism to challenge a Christian worldview defined the so-called Age of Reason. As humanists, the philosophes’ writings touched on a range of subjects that would eventually evolve into discrete intellectual disciplines ranging from economics to natural history, and from the physical to the social sciences. Their critique of the morals, beliefs and laws regulating social relations was based on an inquiry into the origin of society. There was no shortage of paradigms to overturn as the philosophes were trying to understand the world in human rather than divine terms. Of the topics where social theory and a critique of morality would converge, none could form as volatile and complex a nucleus of discussion as sex.

Regarding sex, however, Enlightenment thought was distinguished neither by its critique of morality nor its consideration of sexual relations as being at the basis of society. As a staple of mores the world over, sex, by default, lends itself to any critique of morality. And the teleological relationship between sex and society has been part of a Western intellectual tradition since Plato’s Symposium. Instead, Enlightenment thought was marked by its use of sex to consider not the origins but the limits of society. Within a Christian framework, humankind was created in God’s image. Sex, however, in confirming humans as animals, spoke to our literally lower rather than higher selves. In an Enlightenment discourse challenging a Christian worldview, pleasures involving a regression to base instincts then became the site of transgression. As a result, sexual sovereignty was cast as the supreme expression of individual freedom. This last line of thought was indelibly inscribed into the trajectory of modernity by none other than the Marquis de Sade.

My laws are my whores. The immediate question raised by this provocative title, namely who pimps the law, belongs less to Diderot, from whom it was derived, and more to, say, Jean Genet. In answer to this question, Paul Chan has graced the entrance to his Renaissance Society exhibition with charcoal portraits of the nine United States Supreme Court Justices. As an artist whose work is informed by his political activism, Chan has never been one to shy away from pointed and scathing satire. The snarky hyperbole of Re: The Operation (2002), a 27-minute video in which Chan uses the genre of the soldier’s letter home to flesh out the psyches of former president George W. Bush’s inner circle, while highly entertaining, is also tragically on the mark in its depiction of an utterly vainglorious administration. In what was surely a surfeit of script-worthy material, Chan’s wit rose to the occasion. By comparison, the drawings of the Justices are a restrained affair. Their stilted quality is not a parody so much as an underscoring of their source in state portraiture. The only feature suggestive of caricature is the eerily recurring, smug, beatific grin that translates into a sense of detachment. Hung in the upper portion of the gallery, well over viewers’ heads, the Justices are literally above it all. But they are not the overseers in the sense of a panopticon. Instead, the Justices have been thrust to a more remote, ethereal, yet expansive realm of authority, making for a notable shift of tone in Chan’s work as his target has changed from the executive to the judicial branch of government.

Whereas the executive branch embodies the government in action, the High Court is the government in its guise as law, which does not avail itself to an accountability of the directness leveled at the presidency. This does not, however, preclude Chan from asking the simple question, who is the law, just as one might ask who is the president. As an answer, Chan, a champion of the literal, offers up these nine charcoal portraits of the Justices. But the larger question for Chan is, what is the law, specifically human law. If the remainder of the exhibition is taken as an answer, then, in a word, it is sex.

The portraits of the Justices find their corollary in fourteen large text-based drawings done after characters from works by Sade. A bowdlerized redux of the language describing the various characters’ sexual exploits and misfortunes, these drawings, although strictly text-based, nonetheless qualify as portraits albeit linguistically. These drawings are also studies for fonts which Chan has produced and made available on his website nationalphilistine.com. Each letter and symbol on the keyboard corresponds to a titillating phrase so that once installed, anything typed is rendered nonsensical pornographic drivel. The loss of control over what one types is metaphorically orgasmic. In addition to computer-based fonts, Chan has also had other texts translated into his fonts, as is the case with the episode of Law and Order featured on the plasma screen monitor. Chan translated the dialogue into one of his fonts and then reintroduced it as a running subtitle after removing the audio track.

In forsaking the figurative for the textual, Chan’s interest in sex proves to be something other than the pornographically explicit sense that comes to mind when one thinks of Sade. For Chan, the discourse of sex is where an inner law of human impulses and desire interfaces with an outer law responsible for regulating and/or containing libidinal forces. Marriage. Adultery. Sodomy. Pederasty. Rape. Incest. Sexual harassment. Prostitution. The state’s regulation of sexual relationships is arguably at the heart of the social compact as liberty’s limits are mapped within the most intersubjective of realms. The efficacy of the social compact in maximizing the pursuit of happiness is then mirrored in sexual relations as spelled out by the law, which over and above origin and limit, comprises the very structure of society. More significant than being a form of authority, a society’s laws are its architecture, which in Sade’s case was a cage whose bars he spent the better part of his life rattling. Chan’s juxtaposition of Sade and the Supreme Court Justices constructs an historical trajectory in which the United States is unavoidably to be viewed as the child of the Enlightenment. For better or for worse, Sade’s thought remains with us in perpetuity. Chan, however, is hardly interested in Sade the overly celebrated libertine. Of greater importance is the relationship between sex and the law, in which sex, as a basis of society, is also an issue for which the law achieves a degree of opacity, revealing its role in structuring society at its most fundamental level. For Chan, this is yet another layer of overtly political subject matter he has been steadily plying for the last decade.

Chan belongs to a generation of artists and collectives that are heir to debates about the relationship between aesthetics and politics; debates that emerged in the wake of a neo-autonomous minimalism on the one hand and widespread social unrest of the 1960s on the other. Told from the present vantage point, however, what were once two camps now find themselves partners in an expanded field of cultural production. The question of art’s relationship to affecting social change used to be fraught with a tension confirming the art world as a bubble with a discrete inside and outside. Thanks to the likes of Chan, activism, which once stood firmly outside the bubble, has become indispensable for the manner in which it informs a range of practices such that politics is no longer a quality of the work of art proper, but has instead become a way of looking. Likewise, the reverse is true. Activism may be viewed culturally, making its means and ends the subject of critique usually reserved for art. This two-way dialogue has helped dispense with false categories such as “political art,” and allowed artists to adopt a broader range of methods available to them on an as-needed basis. In this respect, Chan is a poster child for the post-medium era. His output includes activist pamphlets, production of large-scale performances (mounting Beckett’s Waiting for Godot in New Orleans’ lower 9th Ward), a website, drawings, collages, video installations and last but not least, several single-channel videos which in and of themselves display a range of approaches. Chan’s transition to a new body of work has taken place on the still-warm grave of the Bush presidency. Just as there was a need for socially engaged practices before George W. Bush’s presidency, the same applies afterward, even if at a minimum, to facilitate the transition from anger to hope.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Picasso, Images and Language

A dense and busy show on Picasso at Yale University investigates the importance of words — written, painted, printed, spoken — in Picasso’s art.

Check out NYT slideshow here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Many thanks to Brett for finding and sharing this:

The Pressures of the Text
Format: Quicktime .mov
Size: 537mb
Duration: 17 min.
Year: 1983

The Pressures of the Text integrates direct address, invented languages, ideographic subtitles, sign language, and simultaneous translation to investigate the feel and form of sense, the shifting boundaries between meaning and meaninglessness. A parody of art/critspeak, educational instruction, gothic narrative, and pornography, it has been performed as a live work at major media centers and new music festivals in the US and Europe. The piece was written, directed and delivered by Peter Rose; co-directed by Jessie Lewis; with sign language and ideographic symbols by Jessie Lewis; and with English simultran by Fred Curchack. The work was featured in the 1985 Whitney Biennial.


Monday, February 09, 2009

The Arts of Transmission

Critical Inquiry
Volume 31 no. 1
Lawrence Weiner on working with words
A New Yorker born and raised, Lawrence Weiner’s mission in life is to get straight to the point. It’s a quality you cannot miss in his artwork, in which big ideas are communicated using the minimum of words. In this film, Weiner tells us why he’s against Helvetica, and how he came to design his own font. He also shows us around his studio and allows us a sneak preview of projects that are still on the drawing board.His work is included in the exhibition Colour Chart, which comes to Tate Liverpool in May 2009.

Watch the short film (3 mins.) here on Tateshots Issue 19 NYC Special
Lawrence Weiner: I am one of those lucky artists who has been able to remain in exactly the same position as a human being as when I first jumped onto the ice floe. And luckily people have dropped sandwiches and cigarettes on the iceberg along the way, so I can sort of sit there. Where I’d like to be tomorrow is where I am now, doing public installations about things that interest me. I’m doing one in Denmark which takes over this whole city. I’m building the whole piece out of cobblestones. It breaks right into the highway, and on the highway people are offered a choice between paper and stone, and water and fire. Every single child knows what it means. I don’t know if adults know any longer. Fire and water means joining the circus; paper and stone is to make yourself a stable set up in that society. The piece runs through the vestibule of a building into this enormous courtyard, and in this courtyard it says, “When in doubt, play tic-tac-toe and hope for the best.” And all through the town this slogan is reiterated. So what do you do when a society starts to destroy its circles? You play tic-tac-toe and you hope for the best, you don’t just sit there and watch

in Lawrence Weiner by Marjorie Welish
Bomb Magazine Issue 54 Winter 1996, ART
Specific Objects
Donald Judd

Half or more of the best new work in the last few years has been neither painting nor sculpture. Usually it has been related, closely or distantly, to one or the other. The work is diverse, and much in it that is not in painting and sculpture is also diverse. But there are some things that occur nearly in common.

Donald Judd's "Specific Objects" is required reading for the lecture double bill: Epistemological Conceptualism (5th March), comprising:
1. Ronald Jones: Donald Judd ”Specific Objects”
2. Rolf Hughes: Lawrence Weiner ”The Piece Need Not Be Built”:

Read it here.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Word & Image A Journal of Verbal/Visual Enquiry
Word and Image - a rival blog with lots of interesting posts!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Are you experienced?

by Ronald Jones
Published in Frieze Issue 120 Jan-Feb 2009

How designers are adopting the strategies of Conceptual art

In 1981 the art critic Robert Pincus-Witten differentiated for the first time between two kinds of Conceptual art: between what he called ontological Conceptualism and epistemological Conceptualism. Acknowledging the distinction between these two fundamental methodologies alters what one sees in the rear-view mirror, but it also opens up the opportunity to look forward, towards the emergence of a new discipline called ‘experience design’.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Art After Philosophy
by Joseph Kosuth (1969)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

by Marie de Brugerolle


IN A RECENT CONVERSATION, the French dancer and choreographer Jérôme Bel articulated a distinction between the ‘fine arts artist,’or ‘visual artist,’and the dancer or actor: dramaturgy, that is, time-based work. What trace of dance still remains in the museum? The spectator’s body penetrated by the choreographer, Jérôme Bel’s
headphones or the insistent regard of Tino Sehgal’s stripteasers.
Here I would like to discuss what develops, now at the beginning of the 21st century, after the action, from performance props, from today’s objects, and how they are to be considered. What should be done with what’s left over? What is the status of objects after a happening, event, action or performance? Do they take on a new status, and if so, what? How should one present these objects? Like separate, consummate
works? Like documents, fetishes, leftovers, indices? With these questions in mind I’ll address the work of ten artists who are establishing a new set of stakes.

in Flash Art Online
UBS Openings: Saturday Live
Characters, Figures and Signs

Friday 20 Feb - Saturday 21 Feb

Tate Modern and River Thames

This unique two-day event takes the alternately spoken and movement-based form of the choreographic 'lecture-demonstration' as its' starting point, and presents contemporary dance in dialogue with visual art and discussion. Taking place on a boat on the river Thames, in the Turbine Hall and in the Starr Auditorium at Tate Modern, the programme explores a number of ways in which verbal and gestural languages intersect, staging tensions between language and meaning in a deliberately unresolved manner.

This unique cross-disciplinary event features Jérôme Bel, Julien Bismuth, Pablo Bronstein, Bojana Cvejic, Guillaume Désanges, Jean-Pascal Flavien, Martin Hargreaves, Florian Hecker, Jennifer Lacey, Xavier Le Roy, Robert Morris, Tino Sehgal, Marten Spanberg, Catherine Sullivan, and Ian White. Whilst verbal language is typically seen as a system of communication in which direct meaning is created through discrete relationships between signifier and signified, gesture (and, often, dance) is commonly understood as being 'outside' language: functioning at the level of the image and therefore constituting a "pure mediality" (Giorgio Agamben). Through their interventions and experimental presentations, the artists, curators and choreographers in the programme address notions of 'saying' and 'doing' as distinct forms of signification, challenging the idea that the former is descriptive, the latter, effective. The resulting 'choreographies' propose new cultural forms and imagine ne w modes of communication and participation.

A full programme of events across the Friday and Saturday includes:

Friday 20 February

19.30 – 21.30 Starr Auditorium, Tate Modern, tickets £5, booking recommended

- Talk by artist Bojana Cvejic
- Film screening: artists Robert Morris, 21.3 and Catherine Sullivan, The Chirologic Remedy (extract)
- Artist Tino Sehgal in conversation with Tate Curator Catherine Wood

22.00 – 23.00, Turbine Hall Bridge, Tate Modern
Booking recommended
Performance by celebrated dance choreographer Xavier le Roy, Product of Circumstances.
Over two days Xavier Le Roy, molecular biologist turned choreographer and dancer will conduct 'Product of Circumstance' a carefully devised lecture-performance which will explore the significance of gesture and language at play in the act of creating performance art.

Saturday 21 February
Free daytime events

11.00, 12.00, 14.00 and 15.00 East Room, Tate Modern
Jennifer Lacey/Florian Hecker, Robin Hood: The Tour
Workshop style event, for details and to book a place email vanessa.desclaux@tate.org.uk

15.00, 16.00 and 17.00 Bankside Pier, River Thames
Julien Bismuth and Jean Pascal Flavien, Plouf!
Semaphore flag signalling, reading out loud to each other, and signing between 2 boats on the River Thames!

11.30 – 12.30 Starr Auditorium, Tate Modern
Film screening: dance choreographer Jérôme Bel's Véronique Doisneau and Pablo Bronstein's Plaza Minuet

14.30 – 16.00 Starr Auditorium, Tate Modern
Artist Guillaume Désanges, Signs and Wonders

16.15 – 17.00 Starr Auditorium, Tate Modern
Artist Ian White, Black Flags

19.30 Starr Auditorium, Tate Modern
Artist Pablo Bronstein's film, Intermezzo

20.00 – 21.30 Starr Auditorium, Tate Modern
Round table panel discussion chaired by Ian White including artists Bojana Cvejic, Martin Hargreaves, Jennifer Lacey and Tate Modern Curator Catherine Wood, discussing the relationship between visual art performance and contemporary dance choreography.

22.00 – 23.00 Turbine Hall Bridge, Tate Modern
Booking recommended
Performance by celebrated dance choreographer Xavier le Roy, Product of Circumstances.

For tickets for all events visit http://www.tate.org.uk, or telephone +44 (0) 20 7887 8888, or in person at the Tate booking office

This event is part of UBS Openings: Saturday Live, a series of bi-monthly performance events celebrating contemporary cultural practice at Tate Modern.

Opening up Art
Tate Modern Collection with UBS

UBS Openings: Saturday Live Characters, Figures and Signs is part of Paris Calling, a Franco-British season of performing arts

UBS Openings: Saturday Live Characters, Figures and Signs is curated by Catherine Wood, Curator, contemporary art and performance, and Vanessa Desclaux, Assistant Curator

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Language as Sculpture, Words as Clay

New York Times
Published: October 21, 2007

THE artist Lawrence Weiner had an apocalyptic dream not long ago. Lava surged up from a hole in the earth and coursed over Chelsea, swallowing art galleries as dealers ran from the devastation. “It was like Pompeii,” Mr. Weiner recalled recently, shaking his heavily bearded head. “Very strange dream.”

Given his highly unconventional lifelong relationship with the art world — or at least the artist-as-rock-star version of the art world that has prevailed in much of high-riding Chelsea — the dream could easily be interpreted as a kind of wish fulfillment, a biblical erasure from which a better, purer version of art and commerce may someday rise.

But the dream probably had a lot more to do with the deafening construction project under way across the street from a Chelsea brownstone where Mr. Weiner and his wife, Alice, have been camping out for several months while their West Village house and studio are being renovated. The construction employs a deafening rock drill that was boring down into the Manhattan schist one recent morning when Mr. Weiner answered the door and motioned to a visitor to come inside because words were of little use against the noise.

It’s an unusual way to meet him, given that almost 40 years ago Mr. Weiner decided that words would serve almost exclusively as raw material for his art: words spoken, sung, painted on walls, printed in books and on matchbooks, stamped on coins or manhole covers or elsewhere. In 1968, in a declaration of principles that has become a founding document of Conceptual art (a category that Mr. Weiner, as you might expect, views with great suspicion), he wrote:

“1. The artist may construct the piece.

“2. The piece may be fabricated.

“3. The piece need not be built.

“Each being equal and consistent with the intent of the artist the decision as to condition rests with the receiver upon the occasion of receivership.”

Marcel Broodthaers

"I, too, wondered whether I could not sell something and succeed in life. For some time I had been no good at anything. I am forty years old... Finally the idea of inventing something insincere finally crossed my mind and I set to work straightaway. At the end of three months I showed what I had produced to Philippe Edouard Toussaint, the owner of the Galerie St Laurent. 'But it is art' he said 'and I will willingly exhibit all of it.' 'Agreed' I replied. If I sell something, he takes 30%. It seems these are the usual conditions, some galleries take 75%. What is it? In fact it is objects."

Marcel Broodthaers, 1964
Word & Image by John Langdon and Dan Mall

Animated ambigram of Word & Image by John Langdon and Dan Mall

View (on YouTube)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Saving the Story (the Film Version)

Published: November 17, 2008
LOS ANGELES — The movie world has been fretting for years about the collapse of stardom. Now there are growing fears that another chunk of film architecture is looking wobbly: the story.

In league with a handful of former Hollywood executives, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory plans to do something about that on Tuesday, with the creation of a new Center for Future Storytelling.

The center is envisioned as a “labette,” a little laboratory, that will examine whether the old way of telling stories — particularly those delivered to the millions on screen, with a beginning, a middle and an end — is in serious trouble.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Epistemological conceptualism

Read Ronald Jones' latest article for Frieze ("Are You Experienced?") on how designers are adopting the strategies of Conceptual art here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

This course (particularly its director, John Hall) influenced my thinking about the potential of Performance Writing as a field:

MA In Performance Writing

Dartington College of Arts, UK

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Received today by email:

Only great minds can read this
This is weird, but interesting!

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can. i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it

“Every artist’s work has a title,” Lawrence Weiner remarks. “Titles are my work.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Mind Poet

Stays in his house.

The house is empty.

And it has no walls.

The poem is seen from all sides,


At once.

Gary Snyder

from As for Poets

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


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