Christmas card sent by Surrealist artist and poet Kay Sage to Eleanor Howland Bunce (1959). From a new exhibition of personal, handmade holiday cards by American artists at the Smithsonian’s Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. Image gallery here.
You should always have a project that is just your life work. It should be the thing that carries you through the highs and lows. A kind of constant gardening.
Theaster Gates, in a wonderful feature with my friends at Chicago magazine about his life and work. I met Theaster briefly last year and he is as charismatic as he appears on paper. His latest major solo exhibition opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago next weekend. The article is long, but still a “must read.” (via britticisms)
Through Art Basel, until December 8, I will be an in-gallery reader/lector for this at Lotus Projects.
In tandem with the production of objects, Soul Manufacturing Corporation will host programs by a yoga instructor, a DJ, and a reader, all there to care for the makers and the audience. Inspiration for this programming stems from the lectors who presented news, politics, and literature to illiterate workers in the early industrial era. Soul Manufacturing Corporation is a multi-city initiative based in Chicago, working with the urban redevelopment organization Rebuild Foundation on the creative re-use of buildings throughout communities of color. The project navigates the dense relationships between aesthetics, labor and race. The exhibition will also include sculptural and two-dimensional works created with up-cycled materials sourced from sites in Chicago and Miami, underscoring Gates’ interest in the poetics of re-purposed and salvaged materials.
Selections of Marchel Duchamp’s Le Boîte en valise are currently on display in the small-focus exhibition Marcel Duchamp: The Book and the Box. This wonderfully odd work refuses to conform to a traditional bibliographic structure, hovering somewhere between book, objet d’art, and sculpture.
We wouldn’t expect anything less than “wonderfully odd.” The Legion of Honor Museum will be posting more excerpts over the next four days.
Robert Rauschenberg - “Portrait of Iris Clert”
In 1961, Robert Rauschenberg was invited to participate in an exhibition at the Galerie Iris Clert, where artists were to create and display a portrait of the owner, Iris Clert. Rauschenberg’s submission consisted of a telegram sent to the gallery declaring “This is a portrait of Iris Clert if I say so.”
Foto: Ragnar Kjartansson, Scandinavian Pain, 2006-2012, Neon sign installed in Moss, Norway 2006. Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik.
When Baldessari was first getting started, CalArts wasn’t much of a name yet, and it was kind of a hippie school without grades or a curriculum or much structure — Baldessari started teaching there before he became “one of the top conceptual artists in the world.” Here’s a video of him talking about his time teaching there, including recollecting “a class on joint-rolling.” Here are some of the assignments from his list:
1 - Imitate Baldessari in actions and speech.
10 - Create art from our procedures of learning. How does an infant learn?
16 - Given: $1. What art can you do for that amount?
17 - Cooking art. Invent recipes. They are organizations of parts, aren’t they?
23 - What are the minute differences in things that are supposed to be the same?
31 - Steal the trash from Pres. Corrigan’s wastebasket and make a collage of it.
43 - Forgeries. Ea. in class tries to forge my signature on a check by looking at an original. Or forgeries of forgeries of forgeries, etc.
46 - One person copies or makes up random captions. Another person takes photos. Match photos to captions.
68 - Make up a list by looking at art books, talking to artists on things to avoid in making art. Do them. Ask yourself if results are good or bad art.
85 - Describe the visual verbally and the verbal visually.
99 - Art that requires the rental of a Service rather than an Object.
More on Baldessari from the LATimes:
For anyone not wired to contemporary art, John Baldessari is a 58-year-old artist who grew up in the anonymous grubbiness of National City with expectations of going no further in life than teaching high school and making a bit of a local reputation as an artist. He pursued both dreams and wound up a figure of international reputation. Teaching—at CalArts instead of Chula Vista High—he evolved into a kind of guru. His influence, both direct and oblique, is downright astonishing. You can see his fingerprints on virtually every member of the younger generation who continues to dominate the high-risk lane of today’s art from Cindy Sherman to Robert Longo.
We think of artists as making their mark by adding something, something original. Baldessari has functioned by subtraction. Subtraction is not original in contemporary art; it comes from abstract Minimalism.
I became familiar with the list via Rob Walker’s review of Draw It with Your Eyes Closed: The Art of the Art Assignment.
Filed under: John Baldessari
In the early 80s, Gabriel carried around a suitcase full of cassette tapes on which he had recorded snippets of drums from other cultures, television programs, and other random noise that he’d “stolen” to use as the basis for his own works.
“I don’t believe that I can play music belonging to another culture. It’s just, there will be certain key elements which I will steal to start off as a stretcher for something I’m working on. I think if you look at the history of music you this process going on continuously. For me, it’s something which sets up a whole series of challenges and I think has revitalized what I do in my own work.”
Here he is talking about his songwriting process on the English TV program The South Bank Show in 1981: