Thursday, August 17, 2017

Wallace Berman and Robert Watts | Arranged Marriage

Wallace Berman and Robert Watts
Arranged Marriage
New York City, USA: Roth Horowitz, 1999
40 pp., 19.2 x 26 cm., spiral bound
Edition of 500

Often referred to as an artists' book, despite the fact that the artists - Watts and Berman - had been dead for 11 and 23 years, respectively. Arranged Marriage, which includes an essay by Fluxus historian Simon Anderson, was published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name that ran from 28 October to 18 December, 1999. The inventive catalogue format includes 2 tipped-in fold-outs and an invitation card bound-in at the front.

Both artists participated in Pop Art exhibitions, but produced work that fell outside the genre's purview.

Critic Kim Levin called Watts "the invisible man of Fluxus and Pop". He was also an active participant in 'Happenings' with Allan Kaprow, George Brecht and others.

Berman has been called the "father" of assemblage art and is known for creating the artists' periodical Semina. He had a small role in Dennis Hopper's film Easy Rider, and appears in the Peter Blake collage for the cover of the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He died in 1976, on his fiftieth birthday.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Keith Sonnier | Air to Air

Keith Sonnier
Air to Air
Los Angeles, USA: Gemini G.E.L., 1975
12" vinyl record, 29:16 minutes
Edition of 1000

The only recording (that I'm aware of) published by Gemini G.E.L., Air to Air documents a sound installation based on a long-distance connection between art gallery patrons at Ace Gallery in Los Angeles and Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City. From February 8th to 22nd, 1975, both venues exhibited a pair of microphones that stood in the centre of each gallery, with speakers mounted on the wall (or on stands, as below?), allowing conversations and incidental sounds to cross the country.

A deluxe signed and numbered edition of Air to Air was also available,  with voice print diagrams printed in offset lithography, in an edition of fifty copies.

"It was two amplified spaces. When you walked into the space in LA you could talk directly to NY without having a telephone and vice versa."
- Keith Sonnier

Hear the recording here:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Takako Saito | Hat Chess Game

Takako Saito
Hat Chess Game
Self-published, 1990
40.6 × 53.3 × 68.6 cm
Edition of 10 [+2 AP]

Reimagined chess sets were a staple of Fluxus, which George Maciunas once described as "a fusion of Spike Jones, gags, games, Vaudeville, Cage and Duchamp." Marcel Duchamp was a chess player reportedly at the 'master' level (“while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists,” he famously said of the game) and taught John Cage so that they could play together (once in public, on stage in Toronto, documented by another Fluxus artist Shigeko Kubota).

Yoko Ono's all-white set (Play it By Trust) remains the best known, but the artist most dedicated to exploring the possibilities of game was Takako Saito, with hat chess being her least compelling. Her other sets include Grinder Chess, Spice Chess and a game where you can only distinguish your pieces from your opponents through smell (Smell Chess).

Hat Chess Game is a bowler hat which is signed and numbered on the inside brim of the hat. It was produced in an edition of 10 black hats with 2 artists proofs in grey (above).

The work is available from Raphael Levy for €4,000, here.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Paul McCarthy | Blockhead

[Paul McCarthy]
Paul McCarthy at Tate Modern: Blockhead & Daddies Bighead [Special Edition]
London, UK: Tate Publishing, 2004
190 pp., 31 x 1.52 x 31 cm., softcover
Edition of 100 signed and dated copies

An exhibition catalogue for an outdoor presentation of two of McCarthy's large inflatable works, installed outside of the Tate Modern. Blockhead and Daddies Bighead loomed over those walking along the riverbank, in the summer of 2003.

A special edition of the catalogue came with a black vinyl cover and an inflatable of its own. 

Copies are rare, but one is available from Harry Ruhe in Amsterdam, here.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

This week on Tumblr: Questions

This week on Tumblr: Interrogative Statements by James Lee Byars, Barbara Kruger, Ben Vautier, Robert Filliou, Cary Leibowitz, Laurie Anderson, Allen Ruppersburg, Kay Rosen, Alec Finlay, Bob & Roberta Smith, Fischli & Weiss, Richard Artschwager, Jenny Holzer, Ben Patterson, Claire Fontaine, Etc.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Wim Delvoye | Trophy

Wim Delvoye
Ghent, Belgium: Self-published, 2012
55 × 108 × 61 cm.
Edition of 3

Produced at the Society of Authors in the Graphic and Plastic Arts, Trophy is a polished bronze version of the 1999 taxidermic work with copulating deers of the same name (below), and the public sculpture the following year (bottom). The latter has been exhibited in sculpture gardens around the world, including some church grounds and (like much of Delvoye's work) has been met with the expected controversy.

"The Trophy piece was influenced by the writings of Charles Darwin and the idea that we are all ... the same. I was reading somewhere that humans are the only animals doing the missionary position and I always doubt when I hear that humans are the only ones doing this or that."
- Wim Delvoye

Friday, August 11, 2017

Roula Partheniou | Untethered (Balloon)

Roula Partheniou
Untethered (Balloon)
Toronto, Canada: Self-published, 2017
38 cm.
Open Edition (each unique)

A series of ten balloons on the ceiling of the reception space of the gallery celebrate MKG127's tenth anniversary last month, in the exhibition titled Again and Again, which closes tomorrow, Saturday August 12th, at 5 pm. 

The works are made of resin, foam, and automotive paint. The above ten have all sold, but the edition is limited only by the number of available balloon colours. 

Contact the gallery for details, here.