COMEDIES OBJECTS & IMAGES SERVING THEATERS OF COMIC INTENT

TALENT THE ART DEALERS’ OPTICAL TESTS PETRIFIED FOREST ESTATES LOT #296 PROSE AND CONS MOLD AND MODEL: THE GERMAN RE-UNIFICATION PUBLIC SCULPTURE COMPETITION SCANASONIC CURB DECOR Dough Play

 

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TALENT 1986

Eighteen silver gelatin prints, each 8″ x 10″. Top from left: Alan Belcher, Jenny Holzer, Michael Byron, Larry Johnson, Cindy Sherman, Allan McCollum Middle: Joel Otterson, Clegg & Guttmann, Steven Parrino, Thomas Lawson, Jeff Koons, Gretchen Bender Bottom: Robert Longo, Robin Weglinski, Ashley Bickerton, Peter Nagy, Jennifer Bolande, DR

“The artist as presented by the mass media is an exhausted, stale image inherited from the nineteenth century: someone half mad or mad with genius, starving, unreasonable, romantic, impossibly poetic. This image of the artist seemed to be completely the opposite of my experience in the art world. By and large, the artists I know are very cheerful, funny, generous, reasonable people. And I resented the sort of image that was presented of them — of us — as mad, romantic dreamers hopelessly out of touch with reality. In fact our reality is at least the equal of the dominant model of reality. So I wanted to present a new picture more in keeping with my experience, which is that these are good people, and that art is an entirely reasonable activity in the world.” LEARN MORE

 

 

THE ART DEALERS’ OPTICAL TESTS 1987

In 1987, while researching the mechanics of the eye I came upon a book, published in the early 1960s, that depicted a group of children in the process of taking a variety of simple optical tests… LEARN MORE

 

 

PETRIFIED FOREST ESTATES LOT #296 (A COLLABORATION WITH CLEGG & GUTTMANN) 1987

This work was created in collaboration with Clegg & Guttmann, two Israeli artists who work as a pair. Traveling in the American West by car in the spring of 1987, Michael Clegg, Martin Guttmann and I were casually looking for a way to contribute to the Earth Art tradition. An opportunity to do so presented itself in northeastern Arizona when we drove past a new housing development adjacent to Petrified Forest National Park. We stopped into the land office, purchased a parcel slightly larger than an acre in size — lot #296 — and then photographed our flat scrub-covered desert property. After returning to New York we printed a large Cibachrome color photograph of our land, and affixed the photo to a large, free-standing billboard sign of our design; the back of the sign displayed a map of Arizona and a copy of the deed of sale. Petrified Forest Estates Lot #296 comprised both the photo-billboard and the land.

Petrified Forest Estates Lot #296: Cibachrome, wood, metal, 102″ x 98″ x 72″, and 1 1/8 acre of land. Art was here put in the service of land preservation. Twenty years later, the Petrified Forest Estates housing development has been developed, but in its midst lot #296 sits unused and empty.

 

 

SELECTIONS FROM MOLD AND MODEL: THE GERMAN RE-UNIFICATION PUBLIC SCULPTURE COMPETITION 1991

 

View the “Mold and Model” Ballot

In 1991, the first anniversary of the unification of East and West Germany, I sponsored a competition between proposals for public sculptures that, in one way or another, commemorated the historic merger. The competition allowed entrants to define “public,” “sculpture,” and “site” for themselves. Either written proposals or physical maquettes were acceptable, but no submittal in any medium could be larger than 1 meter square. Professionals and amateurs were equally welcome. LEARN MORE

 

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PROSE AND CONS 1993

As its text this hand-made limited edition book uses an excerpt from “Mr. Entertainment’s Diary,” which chronicles my gradual recognition and eventual embrace of my entertainment-culture imprinting. (See The Velvet Grind.)

Incorporated into the cover design of each of the eighteen books is a unique trio of antique coins. One book in the edition includes the actual coins that figure in the story (reprinted here in its entirety); the other seventeen books include a substitute coin set — i.e. fakes. Buyers of the book are not informed whether their coins are genuine or a substitution.

April 16th As Entertainmentman, I seem to have acquired the ability to inhabit or disinhabit, at will, the commitment to a personal content. I can stand outside of it, and watch it fold, or I can re-inflate the idea of personal content and slip it on like a perfectly tailored second skin. For the past few weeks I’ve thought of this newfound ability only as a kind of personal problem — that is, while it’s fascinated me, I’ve felt guilty about both ability and fascination. This morning, however, an innocent spring morning, an incident occurred which provides exactly the intellectual ammunition needed to cover my flight from older, unicontextual configurations of sincerity. READ MORE

 

 

 

SCANASONIC  2001

“The squeaks, burrs, and hums of a scanner as it reads and translates an image into digital bits — these are a sort of sound that hadn’t quite existed previously. Incidentally rendering the sound of images, the action of the scanner has added another possibility to our aural environment. The decision to use a scanner as a musical instrument seems obvious.

As holds true for any, more conventional instrument, in order to be elevated to the condition of music the ‘notes’ produced by a scanner must be organized and ordered. Achieving this ordering requires no additional instrumentation, though. Computer software allows composers — here Peter Barrickman, Paul Dickinson, Annie Killelea, and Didier Leplae — to manipulate the notes in any way they wish. The transformation of pictures into music thus remains untainted.

To accentuate that purity I’ve selected images of musicians — specifically, the most ancient images of music-makers archived. Introducing pictures of Sumerian, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Greek musicians into present-day technologies via images whose preservation and dissemination have been secured by a nineteenth-century invention — the camera — yields a complex, layered, tense-confounding comedy: Scanasonic. With the help of some contemporary collaborators, the ancients get to perform an encore.” Excerpted from the liner notes to the limited edition Scanasonic audio CD.

 Hear Scanasonic tracks    View music videos: White Taffy and Sandstorm

 

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CURB DECOR 2000-2003

The photographs used in the Curb Decor inkjet prints were taken over a two-year period as I went about my day in the neighborhood near my home on the north side of Milwaukee. It’s an affluent suburb, and a custom has evolved there where, out of respect for your neighbors, when you’re getting rid of furniture you set at the curb just one or two pieces. With the auto-focus camera I kept stored in the glove compartment of my car, between 2000 and 2002 I made about 100 photos of these isolated pieces of curb furniture. I then began combining the photos, sometimes putting “rooms” back together, at other times discovering new relationships between the furniture depicted.

The following themes are embedded in all of the pieces: LEARN MORE

 

 

DOUGH PLAY 2016

A crowdfunded comedy in three currencies on three continents.    

 

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Pictured at top of page: a still from Improv Comedy 2005