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THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from Jan. 6, 2012 – as a late tribute to Kawara, who died last week): This is the very first of the “date” paintings by On Kawara, out of the thousands he’s made since 1966. (Click on the image to expand it.) It is on view in a show that opened today at David Zwirner gallery in New York, along with another 165 canvases from this “Today” series  – including the very latest one. They are usually positioned as austere, rule-bound conceptual art of a distinctly philosophical bent, but I prefer to see them as well within the tradition of the artist’s self-portrait. After all, each one is hand-painted by Kawara himself on the date he inscribes on its surface, meaning that they register his brush-wielding presence in the world, over a specific span of studio time, in much the same way that a mirror-painted portrait does. For lots more on Kawara and his show, see my feature on today’s Daily Beast.
For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Jul 29, 2014

THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from Jan. 6, 2012 – as a late tribute to Kawara, who died last week): This is the very first of the “date” paintings by On Kawara, out of the thousands he’s made since 1966. (Click on the image to expand it.) It is on view in a show that opened today at David Zwirner gallery in New York, along with another 165 canvases from this “Today” series  – including the very latest one. They are usually positioned as austere, rule-bound conceptual art of a distinctly philosophical bent, but I prefer to see them as well within the tradition of the artist’s self-portrait. After all, each one is hand-painted by Kawara himself on the date he inscribes on its surface, meaning that they register his brush-wielding presence in the world, over a specific span of studio time, in much the same way that a mirror-painted portrait does. For lots more on Kawara and his show, see my feature on today’s Daily Beast.

For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Posted at 2:31 PM
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THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from March 1, 2013): This is one image from a 2012 series made by the conceptual artist Sherrie Levine that involves near-perfect duplicates of photos taken by the great German photographer August Sander in the 1920s and 30s, from his “People of the 20th Century” project. Both Levine’s versions and Sander’s are now on view at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York. Levine’s best works all duplicate (or, more correctly, appropriate) works by other artists, which makes her the most derivative creator ever – and by that token, one of the most innovative. The visual impact of source and copy may be similar, but their social and intellectual impact are utterly different. Proof of that lies in the extraordinarily complex caption I’ve been asked to run with this image:

Sherrie Levine. After August Sander (detail), 2012. 18 Lambda prints in artist frames. each: 9 5/8 x 6 7/8 in. overall dimensions variable. August Sander: Rural Bride, ca. 1925-30 © Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archive, Cologne; ARS, New York, 2013. Courtesy Sherrie Levine, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, and Galerie Priska Pasquer, Cologne.
That involved caption, and the copyright issues it confronts, makes clear the spanner that Levine throws into art’s works, and the little crises that she spawns in the aesthetic-industrial complex. The caption is almost a definitive  statement of her work’s meaning and excellence. (Complicating things further is what it omits: That the “original” images were in fact chosen and printed by August’s son Gunther and editioned by his own son Gerd, so that “by August Sander” is a vexed and involved concept.) What many observers may not realize, however, is that August Sander’s magnum opus is almost as complex a conceptual piece as Levine’s. As I’ve argued elsewhere, its avowed aim of cataloging humans by type (and its obvious failure to do so) may in fact be intended as proof that such a catalog – and therefore such typologies  – cannot exist, and should not be attempted.
For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Jul 28, 2014

THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from March 1, 2013): This is one image from a 2012 series made by the conceptual artist Sherrie Levine that involves near-perfect duplicates of photos taken by the great German photographer August Sander in the 1920s and 30s, from his “People of the 20th Century” project. Both Levine’s versions and Sander’s are now on view at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York. Levine’s best works all duplicate (or, more correctly, appropriate) works by other artists, which makes her the most derivative creator ever – and by that token, one of the most innovative. The visual impact of source and copy may be similar, but their social and intellectual impact are utterly different. Proof of that lies in the extraordinarily complex caption I’ve been asked to run with this image:

Sherrie Levine.
After August Sander (detail), 2012.
18 Lambda prints in artist frames.
each: 9 5/8 x 6 7/8 in. overall dimensions variable.
August Sander: Rural Bride, ca. 1925-30 
© Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archive, Cologne; ARS, New York, 2013.
Courtesy Sherrie Levine, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, and Galerie Priska Pasquer, Cologne.

That involved caption, and the copyright issues it confronts, makes clear the spanner that Levine throws into art’s works, and the little crises that she spawns in the aesthetic-industrial complex. The caption is almost a definitive  statement of her work’s meaning and excellence. (Complicating things further is what it omits: That the “original” images were in fact chosen and printed by August’s son Gunther and editioned by his own son Gerd, so that “by August Sander” is a vexed and involved concept.) What many observers may not realize, however, is that August Sander’s magnum opus is almost as complex a conceptual piece as Levine’s. As I’ve argued elsewhere, its avowed aim of cataloging humans by type (and its obvious failure to do so) may in fact be intended as proof that such a catalog – and therefore such typologies  – cannot exist, and should not be attempted.

For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Posted at 6:44 PM
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THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from Aug. 28, 2011):The “KM 3” mixer, designed in 1956 by the great Dieter Rams, designer for the German company Braun. It is now on view in a Rams survey that opened yesterday at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. (Click on the image to enlarge it.) Almost all the principles of so-called “contemporary” design – the entire Apple repertoire – were already in place in Rams’s earliest work. (There’s a slide-show of his objects on the Art Beast page at TheDailyBeast.com.) Disclosure: I still own the  KM 3 that my parents bought in the 1960s, to mix food for a family of eight. And I still enjoy using it every time I take it out. How many small appliances have ever provided almost 50 years of function and, more importantly, pleasure?
For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Jul 25, 2014

THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from Aug. 28, 2011):The “KM 3” mixer, designed in 1956 by the great Dieter Rams, designer for the German company Braun. It is now on view in a Rams survey that opened yesterday at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. (Click on the image to enlarge it.) Almost all the principles of so-called “contemporary” design – the entire Apple repertoire – were already in place in Rams’s earliest work. (There’s a slide-show of his objects on the Art Beast page at TheDailyBeast.com.) Disclosure: I still own the  KM 3 that my parents bought in the 1960s, to mix food for a family of eight. And I still enjoy using it every time I take it out. How many small appliances have ever provided almost 50 years of function and, more importantly, pleasure?

For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Posted at 8:59 AM
[Permalink] 7 notes

THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from Jan. 13, 2012): A full wall of dots by Damien Hirst, from the spot-painting extravaganza that is now filling all the world’s Gagosian galleries. (And that the Daily Pic can’t seem to shake free of.) Of the project’s 331 spotted canvases, the only ones that fail, as art, are the ones that could count as “successful” abstract paintings. The whole glory of Hirst’s project, it seems to me, is that it blows-off stale, Old Masterish notions of fine-art connoisseurship. Hirst drowns the connoisseurial eye in a sea of spots whose colors have been chosen arbitrarily, and so can’t be any more significant, artistically speaking, than the random colors floating on an oil slick. When Hirst’s spot paintings look good, it’s an accident that needs to be ignored. By refusing to let us fall back on easy aesthetic judgments, picture by picture, Hirst forces us to work at what his flood of picture-making might mean, as a whole. Hirst’s dots don’t provide the quick read, as eye candy, that gets some critics to dismiss them. I’d say the project demands the kind of  slow, attentive thought you give to the complexities of a great Cezanne or Picasso. (For more of my posts on Hirst’s dots go here and here and here.)

(Photo by Timothy A. Clary, AFP / Getty Images)
For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Jul 24, 2014

THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from Jan. 13, 2012): A full wall of dots by Damien Hirst, from the spot-painting extravaganza that is now filling all the world’s Gagosian galleries. (And that the Daily Pic can’t seem to shake free of.) Of the project’s 331 spotted canvases, the only ones that fail, as art, are the ones that could count as “successful” abstract paintings. The whole glory of Hirst’s project, it seems to me, is that it blows-off stale, Old Masterish notions of fine-art connoisseurship. Hirst drowns the connoisseurial eye in a sea of spots whose colors have been chosen arbitrarily, and so can’t be any more significant, artistically speaking, than the random colors floating on an oil slick. When Hirst’s spot paintings look good, it’s an accident that needs to be ignored. By refusing to let us fall back on easy aesthetic judgments, picture by picture, Hirst forces us to work at what his flood of picture-making might mean, as a whole. Hirst’s dots don’t provide the quick read, as eye candy, that gets some critics to dismiss them. I’d say the project demands the kind of  slow, attentive thought you give to the complexities of a great Cezanne or Picasso. (For more of my posts on Hirst’s dots go here and here and here.)

(Photo by Timothy A. Clary, AFP / Getty Images)

For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Posted at 11:56 AM
[Permalink] 11 notes

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