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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