I am implementing a new project/column on Contemporaneous Extension that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time, and I’m putting my money where my mouth is starting NOW. Introducing…Paper Pusher©.
Paper Pusher is a new segment of the blog revolving around contemporary zines and artists’ books. Both genres subsist in the artistic and literary underworld, bartered among friends or supplied by specialty shops and libraries. The primary goal of Paper Pusher is to provide context and connections to these printed endeavors, give credit to innovation, and shed light on the form as an experimental yet personal art object for the populace.
Paper Pusher will provide interviews, reviews, coverage of events and exhibitions related to publications, and articles on trends and traditions in zines and artists’ books. The reader will attain a sense of history as well as learn of current practices and artists experimenting in the scene. Paper Pusher will also address the unique transformative power of zines and artists’ books—they ask to be handled and revisited, creating a personal and accessible connection to an art-object unlike any other. Their ability to address controversial dialogues and aesthetic challenges outside the dictations of the market is both their most valuable and exciting characteristic. Paper Pusher will credit examples of innovation, successful collaboration, and rambunctious spirit.
If you’d like to get involved, send me a zine or artist book you’ve created, recommend an artist or press, or just talk shop, please do not hesitate to drop me a line! Looking forward to it all; keep your eyes peeled for the reviews starting soon.
Filed under: Treatz | Tags: Conrazon, Guajiro, La Mecánica Popular, psychedelic salsa, youth experimental studio
Psychedelic salsa + stop-motion collage = speaking my language.
Video and artwork by youth experimental studio.
Filed under: Hot off the presses | Tags: Max Hetzler Galerie, Muir Beach Acid Test, painting, Richard Phillips, Whitehot Magazine
I am out of the fog of wedding season for now, and had an interview published recently on Whitehot Magazine. Check it out here!
A small outtake from the conversation can be found below.
Filed under: Artist profiles, Hot off the presses | Tags: Charles Traub, Damani, Dolce Via: Italy in the 1980s, Whitehot Magazine
A little reminder that Whitehot Magazine published a review of mine on Charles Traub’s most recent book of photographs. Dolce Via: Italy in the 1980s was a pleasure to ingest, and made me wish I had some nostalgia to attach to the images myself. Below is a little excerpt, with the full review here.
“The balance between sensuality and eroticism is a visual theme that heavily populates this series. Photographs that harp upon the stereotyped affections of Italians are more bologna than prosciutto in the first half of the publication. Couples kissing in parks or on benches are anti-climactic, giving an insight into the natives’ caves of coitus that doesn’t translate well. His recurring depiction of bums and backs, however, contradict the seamless perfection of the marble magnates and Madonnas.
They are total spank-bank material. His subjects’ bodies are clumsy, human. A sprawled nude female on the beach in Ostia looks like she could have been dropped from a UFO, undiscovered by passersby as Traub patiently awaits her mythical revival. He mocks Italy’s sculptures and facades with his own definitions of perfection, of desire and strength. His color-coordination is a sneer in the face of the monochrome tradition in the plastic arts.
Often preconceived as lazy and uninspiring, Traub uses this Minimalist ploy and reinvigorates it with motion and action. From a quick flip through this publication, one may infer that Italians dressed exclusively in primary colors. A bevy of young boys who grip the side of a dingy in Naples are literally swimming in blue. Beautiful ladies in yellow dresses abound, and entire red ensembles can be found outside bars and beside water banks. This serves predominantly as slapstick comedy, confirming that Europeans adore dressing in head-to-toe color, rather than a serendipitous indication that everyone is on the same page.”
Filed under: Hot off the presses, Treatz | Tags: Clear Magazine, Dallas Contemporary, Gagosian, Galerie Max Hetzler, Richard Phillips, Whitehot Magazine
Last month I spoke with Richard Phillips for a forthcoming issue of CLEAR magazine (print relaunch coming soon!!) and ended up having a conversation I couldn’t stand to keep all to myself. Another excerpt will appear in Whitehot Magazine in the near future. Phillips currently has a blockbuster solo exhibition at Dallas Contemporary up through August 10th, and a solo show of his newest works up at Galerie Max Hetzler in Berlin (closing June 7).
LM: In terms of muse, and having muses in artistic practice and art history, is there anyone you’d ideally like to paint for aesthetic or conceptual reasons?
RP: In the past I’ve talked about this idea of a muse and it is a sexist term, because it is something where it’s someone who’s subordinate to musings of a male or dominant figure who somehow has the creative magic to take the energy of the possessed and somehow display it. It’s kind of a way for those who don’t have the ability to have muses hanging around. That’s where it kind of becomes a porn kinda thing. I never really think of the people that I’ve collaborated with as muses because, in fact, it’s them that would agree to work with me— to project their own image, to go through the process, to have that become part of my working process. So they really were collaborations, to the degree that they’ve collaborated with anyone else.
I do understand the conventional notion of the strength of the muse, but I’ve never thought of any of the people I’ve collaborated with as a muse of any sort. I don’t fetishize their involvement, I don’t sexualize it. It’s more about the projection of a certain group of ideas that might include an unstable understanding of sexuality, or an unstable understanding of media in relationship to that. So when it comes to who would I collaborate with in the future, I don’t know. What I really like about the work for Berlin is it does look like that even more because there’s a lack of sensational fame. Even though Catrinel is a well known model inside a segment of the fashion world, and also an actor within a certain segment of entertainment, it’s not like the incredible level of some people that I’ve worked with in the past. It’s like a deal being made in front of your eyes. Is the art more famous than the person? And then what do these values mean?
LM: Do you think this series makes clear why you’ve used females more than males?
RP: Go to a men’s line fashion show and there’s just no comparison in currency. Calvin Klein really was able to turn that on its head by employing Bruce Weber to create these incredible images that live through time. By and large, at least with this body of work, it’s obviously 100% weighted on female sexuality because it’s more heavily consumed. It’s presenting an ideal that is kind of a false ideal.
LM: Temporary, too.
RP: Time goes on—did you live up to that ideal in the moment, in your moment? In the moment, I don’t know. If you live up to the ideal of the painting, can you afford it? Can you go see it? Are you at the right party? Are you able to be at that house? What’s your access? Do you have a code? It becomes this thing, like the reading of art when you turn over the capacity to understand to a mediator. Or if it doesn’t follow a chain of understanding and if you go around that and end up at that point anyway, there is a ton of potential.
LM: There are conflicting levels of importance that rely on the viewer’s assignment. It does, however, undeniably elevate the endowment of contemporary art and it’s ability to make things “important.”
RP: This gets back to art viewership, which is really the subject of that body of work. It’s about parsing value systems and what gets value—art objects or the projection, or people and their role of projecting unreachable ideals? You have a multitude of unreachable ideals: one is the masterwork, and the value that is accrued and on display, and then you have fleeting moments of beauty and sexuality that are entirely unreachable. Catrinel is unreachable to 99.9999 percent of the population and yet there she is with the art that’s supposed to be for all in a public sense but is purely in private hands. It’s about exclusivity and rejection and about not being able to participate at all. There’s an enticement and a distortion of those looks—by the perversion of the art and the perversion of the person. The actuality of it is actually a much tougher look, but the toughness is undone by the raw fact of how they’re made. When you pit these understandings against technical realization there’s an unanticipated tension that exists. It’s no longer an homage anymore. Lichtenstein applying the Lichtenstein language to a Matisse was like, on one hand, a backhanded homage because he’s saying, ‘my technique can run over everything. It doesn’t matter if it’s Miro, my thing is gonna happen.’ But at the same time, it’s kind of like saying, ‘Matisse is great, Miro is great, we’re all great.’ What I’m saying is that we’re not all great. This stuff is out of reach, this stuff is perverted, it’s hoarded. The girls and the beauty and the sex, all these things are built into it. It’s a different type of reality.
Filed under: Artist profiles, Treatz | Tags: Black Maps, David Maisel, Gerd Ludwig, Hide and Seek, Institute, Joseph Beuys, Sam Colson
(Quotation by John Berger)
David Maisel’s “Black Maps” series from 1985 has an Ansel Adams calm that dilutes any reverential similarities. Maisel lucked out on these picturesque compositions catalyzed by open air mining in the American West since the turn of the 20th century. Injection of chemicals into the earth to extract precious minerals is inevitably biting us in the ass, as the degradation of clean air and water continue to be problems lacking solutions. (All images courtesy and copyright of David Maisel, via DavidMaisel.com)
Many debates can sprout from the consideration of photography as truth. This is why I like Max Colson: take an alter-ego, combine him with a photojournalistic project, and voila! I chuckled, I smiled, I brooded. This series, called “Hide and Seek,” investigates suspect vegetation that may be colluding with high-security arenas to influence human behavior. Spurred by the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) model, a theory set in motion by Elizabeth Wood in the 1960s in Chicago, the photographs are accompanied by a thorough Research Document citing his reasons for suspicion and an apology to viewers for stirring souls against plant life. Colson’s series is a provocative instigator that reveals a psychological tilt that may exist in just about any metropolitan construct. (All images courtesy and copyright of Max Colson, via MaxColson.com)
Gerd Ludwig, Joseph Beuys: an exhibition through Lower Rhine: I am a sucker for Joseph Beuys, and these images manage to give one a sense of his movements, his countenance. As he wanders around his childhood home of Kleve with Ludwig, there is a surreal sense of detachment, of being with him as he observes a place he’d so long ago forgotten.