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THE DAILY PIC: With my current Koons obsession (there’s more to come of that) it’s no wonder that I can’t stop thinking about Marcel Duchamp’s readymades. And wouldn’t you know it, just when the Koons retrospective is up at the Whitney in New York, barely up the street from it at Gagosian Gallery we can take in a lovely little survey of Duchamp’s editioned works from the 1960s – of which this, of course, is “Fountain”, from 1964.
Except this “Fountain” is not a readymade, by any stretch. A readymade is, by definition, a found or purchased object that is normally used to fulfill some mundane function, and is then repurposed by an artist to count as art. Duchamp’s 1964 piece is not that at all: It is a hand-crafted, editioned, gallery-sanctioned, sort-of-signed simulation of the functional urinal that Duchamp bought and showed as art in 1917. (There’s a theory out there that even the 1917 urinal was originally a one-off ceramic sculpture, but I don’t buy it .)
That is, the 1964 object is essentially a perfectly normal work of art that should be classed as part of the ancient high realist tradition: It presents the illusion of some other object that was once in the world. It could even count as one of the last great flourishes in the grand tradition of trompe-l’oeil. (Note that Koons’s remade readymades are another thing altogether: They imperceptibly replace his original purchased vinyl flowers, thus underlining the fact that his pieces are about the qualities of the objects themselves, not about the gesture of presenting them as art.)
The camera that took today’s photo is almost positioned to focus on a crucial giveaway detail in the 1964 “Fountain”: the ceramic tube that, in the 1917 version, would have been attached to a water supply but that in this edition could never be plumbed, because it is partly blocked with clay.
The fact that the 1964 “Fountain” is not a readymade is no knock against it, or Duchamp. As I’ve said before, it shows Duchamp smartly realizing that to remake his lost work from 1917, just because some unusually dumb collectors wished they could own it, would have been an absurdity – an impossibility, almost. (He had earlier told some “Fountain”-hungry collectors to go out and buy their own urinals, but that wouldn’t have given them a Duchamp; they would have ended up with their own weak derivations from his original gesture.) In 1964, Duchamp decided to turn out a brand-new, editioned, fine-art sculpture that commented on how art circulates in the world, just as the 1917 readymade did, while also adding a satiric, sardonic comment about the folly of collectors and the art market.
I like to think that, when Andy Warhol traded one of his portraits for one of Duchamp’s high-realist “Fountains”, sometime after 1974, that dedicated Duchampian and master of commodity culture knew precisely what he was getting. (©Succession Marcel Duchamp / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2014; photo by Robert McKeever)
The Daily Pic also appears at ArtnetNews.com. For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Aug 22, 2014

THE DAILY PIC: With my current Koons obsession (there’s more to come of that) it’s no wonder that I can’t stop thinking about Marcel Duchamp’s readymades. And wouldn’t you know it, just when the Koons retrospective is up at the Whitney in New York, barely up the street from it at Gagosian Gallery we can take in a lovely little survey of Duchamp’s editioned works from the 1960s – of which this, of course, is “Fountain”, from 1964.

Except this “Fountain” is not a readymade, by any stretch. A readymade is, by definition, a found or purchased object that is normally used to fulfill some mundane function, and is then repurposed by an artist to count as art. Duchamp’s 1964 piece is not that at all: It is a hand-crafted, editioned, gallery-sanctioned, sort-of-signed simulation of the functional urinal that Duchamp bought and showed as art in 1917. (There’s a theory out there that even the 1917 urinal was originally a one-off ceramic sculpture, but I don’t buy it .)

That is, the 1964 object is essentially a perfectly normal work of art that should be classed as part of the ancient high realist tradition: It presents the illusion of some other object that was once in the world. It could even count as one of the last great flourishes in the grand tradition of trompe-l’oeil. (Note that Koons’s remade readymades are another thing altogether: They imperceptibly replace his original purchased vinyl flowers, thus underlining the fact that his pieces are about the qualities of the objects themselves, not about the gesture of presenting them as art.)

The camera that took today’s photo is almost positioned to focus on a crucial giveaway detail in the 1964 “Fountain”: the ceramic tube that, in the 1917 version, would have been attached to a water supply but that in this edition could never be plumbed, because it is partly blocked with clay.

The fact that the 1964 “Fountain” is not a readymade is no knock against it, or Duchamp. As I’ve said before, it shows Duchamp smartly realizing that to remake his lost work from 1917, just because some unusually dumb collectors wished they could own it, would have been an absurdity – an impossibility, almost. (He had earlier told some “Fountain”-hungry collectors to go out and buy their own urinals, but that wouldn’t have given them a Duchamp; they would have ended up with their own weak derivations from his original gesture.) In 1964, Duchamp decided to turn out a brand-new, editioned, fine-art sculpture that commented on how art circulates in the world, just as the 1917 readymade did, while also adding a satiric, sardonic comment about the folly of collectors and the art market.

I like to think that, when Andy Warhol traded one of his portraits for one of Duchamp’s high-realist “Fountains”, sometime after 1974, that dedicated Duchampian and master of commodity culture knew precisely what he was getting. (©Succession Marcel Duchamp / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2014; photo by Robert McKeever)

The Daily Pic also appears at ArtnetNews.com. For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.


THE DAILY PIC: Today’s Pic shows the Metropolitan Museum of Art just about redeeming itself from the disgrace of the show it gave, last year, to the high-net-worth kitsch of Parisian jeweler J.A.R.  The Met’s redemption comes about thanks to a show called “Unique by Design: Contemporary Jewelry in the Donna Schneier Collection.” That show, too, has more bling than it should, but it also has objects such as this bracelet called “Gold Makes You Blind”, by the great Swiss avant-gardist Otto Kunzli. Kunzli is to J.A.R. what Marcel Duchamp is to painter-of-light Thomas Kinkade. Except that Kunzli is deliberately going after the J.A.R.s of this world, who care more about glitz and glamor and pointless craft than about the intellectual substance of art. Kunzli’s piece is (in theory, but unprovably) a bracelet made of massy gold that he’s covered in black rubber, denying its wearer the pleasure of conspicuous display. (Of course, there’s just a chance that hiding  your golden hoard is actually the most conspicuous display of all–and I think Kunzli’s perfectly aware of that.)

As a special treat, I’m offering a second image from the show. Below is a ring by Karl Fritsch that goes down the same road as Kunzli’s bracelet, just not quite as far. It is made of silver and diamonds, but the silver is deliberately tarnished and the stones are left rough.
The Daily Pic also appears at ArtnetNews.com. For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive

Aug 21, 2014

THE DAILY PIC: Today’s Pic shows the Metropolitan Museum of Art just about redeeming itself from the disgrace of the show it gave, last year, to the high-net-worth kitsch of Parisian jeweler J.A.R.  The Met’s redemption comes about thanks to a show called “Unique by Design: Contemporary Jewelry in the Donna Schneier Collection.” That show, too, has more bling than it should, but it also has objects such as this bracelet called “Gold Makes You Blind”, by the great Swiss avant-gardist Otto Kunzli. Kunzli is to J.A.R. what Marcel Duchamp is to painter-of-light Thomas Kinkade. Except that Kunzli is deliberately going after the J.A.R.s of this world, who care more about glitz and glamor and pointless craft than about the intellectual substance of art. Kunzli’s piece is (in theory, but unprovably) a bracelet made of massy gold that he’s covered in black rubber, denying its wearer the pleasure of conspicuous display. (Of course, there’s just a chance that hiding your golden hoard is actually the most conspicuous display of all–and I think Kunzli’s perfectly aware of that.)

As a special treat, I’m offering a second image from the show. Below is a ring by Karl Fritsch that goes down the same road as Kunzli’s bracelet, just not quite as far. It is made of silver and diamonds, but the silver is deliberately tarnished and the stones are left rough.

The Daily Pic also appears at ArtnetNews.com. For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive


THE DAILY PIC: I saw this shirt on a recent visit to the Textile Museum in Toronto. It’s part of a series called “Les nébuleuses,” from a solo show by the clothing-artist Ying Gao.
Some of her pieces are very high-tech, deploying motors and sensors of various kinds. These ones, made of a fabric called “super organza”, go in just the other direction. They are so simple, so barely-there, that they’re at the point where clothing dissolves into nudity – where it’s more thought than substance. (Photo by Dominique Lafond)
The Daily Pic also appears at ArtnetNews.com. For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive

Aug 20, 2014

THE DAILY PIC: I saw this shirt on a recent visit to the Textile Museum in Toronto. It’s part of a series called “Les nébuleuses,” from a solo show by the clothing-artist Ying Gao.

Some of her pieces are very high-tech, deploying motors and sensors of various kinds. These ones, made of a fabric called “super organza”, go in just the other direction. They are so simple, so barely-there, that they’re at the point where clothing dissolves into nudity – where it’s more thought than substance. (Photo by Dominique Lafond)

The Daily Pic also appears at ArtnetNews.com. For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive

Posted at 4:00 PM
[Permalink] 10 notes #art  #ying gao  #textiles  #clothing 

THE DAILY PIC: Here’s Jackson Pollock’s “One: Number 31, 1950”, now (and always, one hopes) on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I recently spent an hour in front of it with Christian Viveros-Fauné, taping the latest of our “Strictly Critical” videos, which edits those 60 minutes down to five. (Click on my image to watch the vid.) One discussion whose details ended up on the cutting-room floor was about how Jackson Pollock’s enemies were endlessly comparing his work to tablecloths and ties and other works of design. I haven’t done the in-depth research yet, but that seems to imply that designers had come up with some of the painter’s ideas before he did. Of course, sociologically and in terms of semiotics, a tie and a canvas – or any work of design versus any work of art – are very different things, however much they may look the same. The makers of Duchamp’s urinal can’t take credit for what it means as art. Still, I want to know precisely what Pollock’s critics had in mind when they saw parallels to his art in fabrics. Was it just about repeats, alloverism, and laciness, or were the textile precedents stronger than that? If they were, there’s no way a tough-guy AbEx-er like him could admit to borrowing from such feminine arts: He might as well have gone around wearing an apron.
The Daily Pic also appears at ArtnetNews.com. For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive

Aug 19, 2014

THE DAILY PIC: Here’s Jackson Pollock’s “One: Number 31, 1950”, now (and always, one hopes) on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I recently spent an hour in front of it with Christian Viveros-Fauné, taping the latest of our “Strictly Critical” videos, which edits those 60 minutes down to five. (Click on my image to watch the vid.) One discussion whose details ended up on the cutting-room floor was about how Jackson Pollock’s enemies were endlessly comparing his work to tablecloths and ties and other works of design. I haven’t done the in-depth research yet, but that seems to imply that designers had come up with some of the painter’s ideas before he did. Of course, sociologically and in terms of semiotics, a tie and a canvas – or any work of design versus any work of art – are very different things, however much they may look the same. The makers of Duchamp’s urinal can’t take credit for what it means as art. Still, I want to know precisely what Pollock’s critics had in mind when they saw parallels to his art in fabrics. Was it just about repeats, alloverism, and laciness, or were the textile precedents stronger than that? If they were, there’s no way a tough-guy AbEx-er like him could admit to borrowing from such feminine arts: He might as well have gone around wearing an apron.

The Daily Pic also appears at ArtnetNews.com. For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive


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