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Contents for March 26, 2013

1. Joseph Keckler, FF Fund recipient 2012-13, at Dixon Place, Manhattan, April 5-27

Dixon Place presents a World Premiere

I Am An Opera

APRIL 5 & 6, 12 & 13, 19 & 20 and 26 & 27 at 7:30PM

written, composed, & performed by

Read about the show in the latest issue of INTERVIEW!

Directed by UWE MENGEL
Music Direction by PATRICK GRANT

Lighting Design by BEN KATO
Video in collaboration with NED STRESEN-REUTER & LAURA TERRUSO
Featuring Costume Elements by ANDREW JORDAN

$15 (advance), $18 (door), $12 (stu / sen) or TDF

Buy Your Tickets on Ovation!

PLEASE NOTE: advance tickets must be picked up 10 minutes before the listed show time to be guaranteed a seat.

Beckoning the audience into a labyrinth of memories and visions, award-winning singer, interdisciplinary artist, and writer Joseph Keckler performs his own radical rendition of an opera. Follow @josephkeckler and on Facebook.

"I am an Opera simultaneously deconstructs and re-animates the operatic form, making it contemporary, relevant, and even urgent... An exquisite exercise in operatic abstraction." -Cassie Peterson, BOMB

"One of the finest performances in years... an unmatched range, endless and flawless... -Alternative Blog, Netherlands

"Extraordinary range, richness and malleability: he sings from low baritone to glass-shattering falsetto." -The Irish Times

"A singer with a four-octave range who sometimes sounds like Paul Robeson." -Artinfo
estimated runtime: 75 minutes

JOSEPH KECKLER is a singer, writer, and performer. His shows have recently been seen at The New Museum, BAM Fischer Center, SXSW Music, Joe's Pub at The Public Theater, Afterglow Festival, Cameo Gallery, La MaMa ETC, PS 122, The Stone, Theatre Bellevue in Amsterdam, Abrons Art Center and various other music venues, galleries, theaters, and museums across the country and abroad. He has been awarded residencies at MacDowell Artist Colony and Yaddo Artist Colony and has received a 2012 NYFA Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Work as well as a grant from the Franklin Furnace Fund for performance art. Joseph is currently under commission by Dixon Place. He is in the process of creating on a new performance piece, videos, recordings, and a collection of stories.

This DP commission is supported by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; and with private funds from the Jerome Foundation. This work was made possible, in part, by the Franklin Furnace Fund supported by Jerome Foundation; the Lambent Foundation, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.



2. Tom Murrin, FF Alumn, Performance Award at Dixon Place, Manhattan, April 25

Tom Murrin Performance Award at Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street btwn Rivington & Delancey
April 25 at 9pm
Free Admission

NYC performance company ANIMALS will be awarded the First Annual Tom Murrin Performance Award on Thursday, April 25th at 9pm at Dixon Place. The award has been created to honor and celebrate the life and work of Tom Murrin (aka the Alien Comic) by providing a transformative career opportunity to an emerging artist, selected by a distinguished panel of producers, artistic directors and artists.

ANIMALS is Nikki Calonge, Michael De Angelis and Mike Mikos. Their work includes dance, video, puppetry and crafted objects to serve elements of surprise, cultural exchange and irreverence to create moments that question the flexibility of the world and the nature of humans through instinct, ability and play. ANIMALS has performed at the Bushwick Starr, Invisible Dog, Dixon Place, Three-Legged Dog Art and Technology Center and Incubator Arts Project. For more information, please visit www.bearelephantibex.com

The Tom Murrin Performance Award, aka 'The Tommy', is an annual award granted to a NYC based early career artist who embodies Tom's generous artistic spirit and gift for unearthing big, meaningful ideas by creating resourceful, exuberant, mysterious, enlightening, theatrical, luminous, remarkable performance. The recipient receives a 2013 Dixon Place residency, followed by a 3-night run and an honorarium. The "Tommy" was created to honor Tom Murrin, beloved artist who died in 2012. He was an inspiration, a mentor and a role model for countless young and emerging artists.
The Tom Murrin Award is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Jerome Foundation and awarded by Dixon Place.

For more information visit www.dixonplace.org.



3. General Idea, Hannah Higgins, Alison Knowles, Larry Miller, Lucio Pozzi, Kiki Smith, FF Alumns, in NewObservations magazine, Spring/Summer 2013

General Idea, Hannah Higgins, Alison Knowles, Larry Miller, Lucio Pozzi, Kiki Smith, FF Alumns, are featured in "Out of the Box: The Way of Art on the Loose", the newest edition of NewObservations magazine, Spring/Summer 2013



4. Claes Oldenburg, FF Alumn, at MoMA, Manhattan, April 14-Aug. 5

Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store and Claes Oldenburg: Mouse Museum/Ray Gun Wing will be on exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, NY, from April 14-August 5, 2013.



5. Susan Bee, FF Alumn, at AIR Gallery, Brooklyn, thru March 30, and more

Emma Bee Bernstein has a photo and I have a painting in 40/40: A 40th Anniversary show, curated by Lilly Wei at A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn. Closes March 30th.

TALK: Johanna Drucker and Susan Bee will be giving a talk about theirr collaborations on Friday, March 29th at 7pm. Unnameable Books, 600 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn.

SOLO SHOW: Susan Bee. Criss-Cross: New Paintings. Accola Griefen Gallery, May 23-June 29. Opening Thursday, May 23, 6-8pm; catalog available with essay by Raphael Rubinstein

•"Theater of Painting": an Interview with Bradley Rubenstein at ArtSlant
•Breathing Room, Brooklyn Rail, March 2013,
•Digital reissue of all M/E/A/N/I/N/G issues: 1986-1996- Jacket 2



6. Susan Bee, Quimetta Perle, FF Alumns, at Westbeth Art Gallery, Manhattan, Apr. 6-21

GROUP SHOW: No Regrets:| Jackie Lipton, Susan Bee, Nina Fonoroff, Meredith Lund, Quimetta Perle, Carleen Zimbalatti. Curated by Jackie Lipton. Westbeth Art Gallery, 55 Bethune Street Courtyard, New York, April 6 to 21, Wednesdays-Sundays noon-6pm. Opening reception: Saturday, April 6, 6-8pm;



7. Kanene Holder, FF Alumn, at My Images Studio Harlem, Manhattan, March 27

Kanene Holder, Creative Capital Finalist and Huffington Post Blogger will be performing an excerpt of $earching for American Justice: The Pursuit of Happiness for a salon of creative game changers At the My Image Studios Harlem (MIST) produced by the Harlem Arts Festival on Wednesday March 27th at 10 pm at MIST (46 W. 116th St)

Searching for American Justice: The Pursuit of Happiness was highlighted in Alternet's 6 Activist Projects to Watch and is an interactive satire featuring AmericanJustice whose blind allegiance to the status-quo, highlights our search for justice. AmericanJustice (AJ) aka "AmiJ" is a "d-list" celebrity in the mold of Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton. LegallyBlonde & LegallyBlind, AJ is the heiress to the scales of Justice. Infantilized by our latent national pseudo-information-age, and totally out of touch with reality, AmiJ, like Paris and Kim and Chloe (and all the rest of them), is a parasitic socialite. AmiJ is preoccupied with making red-carpet, public cameo appearances for unabashedly-ubiquitous social media self-promotion.

This special open mic jam session will feature artists from the HAF 2012 and local up and coming musicians, performers, and spoken word artists.

Wednesday March 27th at 10 pm at MIST (46 W. 116th St) $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Drink specials.

Featuring: Stacy Dillard, Julian Litwack, Ben Barson, The Westerlies, Soul'd Out Band, Lynette Williams, James Browning Kepple, Kanene Holder, the Mighty Third Rail, Jaylene Clark, Hollis Heath, and Michelle AMMAE Payne

For more information please visit www.searchingforaj.com

Kanene Ayo Holder (Educator & Artist) Mobile: 917-318-8115

I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence. Frederick Douglass

$earching for American Justice: The Pursuit of Happiness


"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
-Nelson Madiba Mandela



8. Annie Lanzillotto, FF Alumn, now online at www.biographile.com

VOTE AT: www.biographile.com
CLICK the big limerick box
CLICK next to Annie L

You can vote once a day

My Life-Story Limerick is a finalist
in a Random House sponsored contest.

"A butch from the Bronx threw her ball
at every stoop sidewalk and wall
She grew up got cancer
Loved a post-modern dancer
And lived to tell it all."

My goal is to get this website to review my book and to get to know some of the folks at Random House

Stranger "ways in" have happened. After decades of writing, if a limerick helps my career, its as amazing as nailing Capone for taxes

Annie Lanzillotto



9. Bradley Eros, Jeanne Liotta, FF Alumns, at Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn, through April 15

microscope gallery presents

Bradley Eros | Jeanne Liotta | Kenneth Curwood
March 24 - April 15, 2013
opening reception Sunday March 24, 6-9pm

MICROSCOPE GALLERY is extremely pleased to present Triple Blind an exhibition of moving-image installations and objects by Bradley Eros, Jeanne Liotta and Kenneth Curwood. Each of the artists - who are friends and collaborators and have previously shown at the gallery - work in multiple mediums, with an emphasis on light-based forms, including film and expanded cinema. While acknowledging these and other shared interests including the usage of found footage, cameraless cinema, decay and deterioration processes, and - perhaps most strongly - science and its relationship to art, Triple Blind strives to avoid making assumptions or postulations about the relationships among these artists and their current practices.

To that effect, Triple Blind, Eros, Liotta, and Curwood were invited to contribute installations of their own choosing, independent of subject matter and without knowledge of the other participants in the show. The approach to the exhibit - as the name suggests - is one of random control, not only in curation, but also in the inherent nature of the film and slide installations on view.

Bradley Eros's new light composition "approximating the golden spiral" contemplates the intersection of myth and science. 35mm slides hand-made from colored gels, reflective metals and photo collage are arranged within the looping slide carousel according to a Fibonacci sequence. In "diagram square" by Jeanne Liotta, two 16mm found physic films dealing with the concepts of Time Dilation and Relativity of Simultaneity are projected upon original digital prints from the artist's "Spontaneous Geometry" series, expanding both the viewing of the films and the static prints. Kenneth Curwood's contribution is a highly personal and private cinematic experience featuring altered toy Super 8mm film viewers in which the artist has replaced the original footage with his own hand-processed film. The viewers permit the user to change the speed of a film or to watch it frame-by-frame. The magic of cinema is in the observer's hand.

BRADLEY EROS is an artist working in myriad media: experimental film & video, collage, photography, performance, sound, text, contracted and expanded cinema & installation. He has exhibited at the Whitney Biennial, NY; The American Century at the Whitney Musuem, NY; MoMA, NY; MoMA PS1, Queens, NY; The Kitchen, NY; New Museum, NY; Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA; Performs09, Exit Art, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), NY; The New York, London & Rotterdam Film Festivals, among many others. He has collaborated with the Alchemical Theater, the band Circle X, Voom HD Lab, expanded cinema groups kinoSonik & Arcane Project, and most recently with the Optipus film group.

JEANNE LIOTTA was born and raised in NYC where she makes films and other ephemera - including photographs, works on paper and live projection performances. Her latest body of work takes place at a curious intersection of art, science, and natural philosophy. Her 16mm film OBSERVANDO EL CIELO received the Tiger Award for Short Film at the 2008 Rotterdam Film Festival and her work has been represented in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, The New York Film Festival ; KunstFilm Biennale, Cologne; The Wexner Center for the Arts, The Museum of Modern Art; and The Sundance Channel among others. She has been the recipient of awards from The Jerome Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and The Museum of Contemporary Cinema. She is currently on the Faculty of the Film Studies Department at the University of Colorado Bolder and at the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College.

KENNETH CURWOOD is an artist and filmmaker from New York. In his work, Curwood often takes apart old movie cameras and projectors, and re-purposes them to photograph movies one frame at a time (DIY optical printing). He then processes the film in home-made chemical mixtures. Curwood's works have been shown among others at Anthology Film Archives, Canada Gallery, Union Docs, Louis V E.S.P., and Heliopolis Gallery. Kenneth Curwood graduated with a BA in sculpture from the School of the Visual Arts.

Triple Blind continues through Monday April 15th.

4 Charles Place (at Myrtle btwn Bushwick & Evergreen Aves)
Brooklyn, NY 11221
tel: 347.925.1433
email: info@microscopegallery.com
t: @MicrosopeEvents
Gallery Hours: Thurs to Mon 1-6PM
or by appointment
Nearest Subway: J/M/Z Mytrle/Broadway
other options L - Morgan Ave or Jefferson Street



10. Roberta Allen, FF Alumn, at AC Institute, Manhattan, opening April 4, and more

I have work in 2 Group Shows Opening April 4

"One Of A Kind"
Unique Artist Books
AC Institute
547 W. 27 St. #610
6-8 PM

"Drink To Me"
Porter Contemporary
548 W. 28 St.
6:30-8:30 PM

You can read 4 stories at DEEPSHELF.COM




11. Liliana Porter, FF Alumn, at Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston, MA, thru April 20

Liliana Porter: Solo show at Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston , Mass. 16 March till 20 April 2013

Barbara Krakow Gallery is pleased to announce:

In 1973, Liliana Porter had a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibition focused on her installations of hooks, string and shadow that played with the relationships between reality and illusion conflating three and two dimensions. The body of work currently exhibited at Barbara Krakow Gallery were conceived directly after the MoMA show. The work consists of photographs of the artist's hand and lines that traverse the skin onto the surface on which the hands rest. These photographs were taken in 1973. Forty years later, those 'time' lines continue. When Porter finally printed the works in 2012, she drew on the silver gelatin photos to extend the lines to the edges of the paper, as she had originally conceived. In 2013, the gallery matted and framed the works, all the while continuing to draw the line across the mat per Porter's instructions. Last week, the works were installed and the lines were continued onto the walls of the gallery. Each time these works are installed, the line is drawn anew, thus making the works a never-ending timeline. This theme of continuity, which began with the hands gesturing for the viewers' eyes to notice the lines and connecting the fore- and backgrounds of the images through the line, continues indefinitely through time. To do so, with such consistency, focus, humour, poetry and simplicity are marks of Liliana Porter's work, whether from the 1960's and 70's or her most recent works.

The show runs through April 20, 2013 and can be seen both in person from Tuesday - Saturday 10-5:30 or on our website and if you have questions or need more information, please feel free to contact us.

10 Newbury Street Boston Massachusetts 02116
617.262.4490 www.barbarakrakowgallery.com
Tuesday - Saturday, 10 - 5:30



12. Agnes Denes, FF Alumn, in Art in America, March 2013, and more

Art in America
Agnes Denes
Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects
March 2013
by Kirsten Swenson
NEW YORK Smashing an animal skull with a femur bone, an ape in Stanley Kubrickʼs 2001: A Space Odyssey enacts a critical moment in human evolution: the discovery of a tool instantly giving way to a deadly will to power. This drama of the human condition famously unfolds in the shadow of a polished black monolith. Is it a tombstone? An alien intelligence? A Tony Smith?

Early works by Agnes Denes, contemporaneous with both Kubrickʼs 1968 film and the Tet Offensive, similarly traverse time in tragicomic human portrayals grounded in science fiction and a sense of the sublime. The recent exhibition "Sculptures of the Mind: 1968 to Now" presented two dozen items, including sculpture, photographic documentation and text- and photo-based conceptual pieces. Two of the earliest works-The World of Thorns (1968) and The Debate (One Million BC-One Million AD), 1969-are glowing, hot pink, electroplated acrylic cubes (about 14 inches) engineered by Denes to achieve reflectivity and luminosity. The World of Thorns contains broken twigs of an acrylic "plant," reflected through mirrors to infinity. The Debate contains a pair of seated plastic skeletons arguing ad infinitum, also within a house of mirrors.

Near the pink cubes, a glass capsule containing chunks of human bone suggested the archeological find of some future species studying the extinct human race. Titled Human Dust (1969), the piece is one component of Denesʼs larger philosophical project "Study of Dust," and was accompanied by a wall text providing a statistical portrait of the deceased (in fact, an imagined individual, and the source of the human bones was not revealed). Love, politics, art-all return to dust.

Saber Thorns and The Plant (both ca. 1970) are lustrous, menacing acrylic barbed stems that, like the earlier World of Thorns, evoke a "silent spring" anxiety (also at play in Lee Bontecouʼs vacuum-formed plastic flowers from the same period). This botanical trilogy presages Denesʼs ecological art. By the 1980s, the raw, agnostic sensibility of her Vietnam-era pieces had given way to a more direct engagement with the environment and human values.

For Wheatfield: A Confrontation (1982), Denes planted an acre and a half of wheat on the Battery Park City landfill, calling it "a symbol, a universal concept" representing "food, energy, commerce, world trade, economics. It refers to mismanagement and world hunger." The wheat field was made iconic through photographs of the World Trade Center looming over the golden field, and of the artist waist-high in wheat like a Pre-Raphaelite farmer, but the exhibition presented a poignant, finer-grained account of the projectʼs generative power with photographs of insects living among the shafts. The lesser-known, long-term Tree Mountain-11,000 trees planted between 1992 and ʼ96 in a spiral pattern in Finland-was represented in a plan and a photograph, and suggests the extension of Denesʼs environmental art into abstract territory.

Denes, whose collected writings were published in 2008, could be considered, along with Robert Smithson and Joseph Beuys, to be one of the great artist-philosophers of her day. Yet the depth and rigor of her concepts were only hinted at here. The elegant, neon Human Argument IV-Light Matrix (1987/2012)-a 6-foot-high, multicolored, triangular wall piece-is inscrutable without more context. A broad, in-depth evaluation of Denesʼs work is long overdue.


Agnes Denes
Nick Stillman

WHEN AGNES DENES planted and harvested almost one thousand pounds of wheat in what is now New York's Battery Park City, the action- and the astonishing photographs showing the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty looming over the endless golden grain cemented her reputation as an unconventional land artist and environmental visionary. In becoming her signature piece, however, Wheatfield - A Confrontation, 1982, has also somewhat obscured the complexity of her long career. From the literally germinal work of eco-art Rice/Tree/Burial, 1968-79, through her more recent plans for the reclamation and renewal of the Netherlands' Waterline (a fifty-mile string of fortifications dating to the seventeenth century), Denes has demonstrated a powerful commitment to the environment. But just as intrinsic to her practice is an exploration of the interplay between manifestation and concept, instance and system, including the representational and diagrammatic structures of math and science, which, as she shows, have their own lyricism. Her environmental works can't really be understood apart from the two-dimensional works, especially her drawings.

Concurrent exhibitions of Denes's work at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects in New York and the Santa Monica Museum of Art this past autumn, in addition to her inclusion in the Brooklyn Museum's recent "Materializing 'Six Years': Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art," may help bring the full range of her practice to light. Curated by Jeffrey Uslip, the Santa Monica Museum's "Agnes Denes: Body Prints, Philosophical Drawings, and Map Projections, 1969-1978" brought together a noteworthy variety of Denes's works on paper- a facet of her production often overlooked despite its critical role in her work, to say nothing of the sheer impressiveness of her draftsmanship. Sans Wheatfield, the concise exhibition worked toward a declassification of Denes as primarily a Land artist. This is an overdue correction for an artist whose approach favors the subversion of categorical thinking in all its forms.

Most of the works are on graph paper. Lee Lozano used the same support in the early 1970s for her scarily revealing lab reports of the soul, and in Denes's graph-paper works, too, the clinical, gridded backdrop is in tension with persona l, funny, and often-startlingly for those familiar only with her better-known works-off-color iconography. An early-'70s group of body prints (incidentally concurrent with David Hammons's great early body prints) are especially bawdy. Still Life #1 and Still Life #2, both 1970,each showcase eight individual breast imprints in black ink with five cock prints poking nosily into their force field. Two other works show veritable police lineups of erect clicks. One, Napoleonic Series II: Investigation of World Rulers-Some More Napoleons Overlooking the Elba, 1971, lines up phallic forms in pathetically descending order, presumably inversely proportional to the size of their owners' complexes.

One doesn't immediately think of Denes when mentally ticking off female artists whose early-'70s work actively dealt with sexual politics. But the combination of abstract science with the corporeal is quintessential for her. When, in Design of the Universe, 1971, she pairs a lone breast print with a rendering of a globe (with nipple and North Pole wittily occupying the same location and surface area of their respective curvatures), she intertwines the human body- that irrational, illogical thing- with the inexorable laws guiding it and the representational systems defining it.

The show demonstrates how geometry and architectural modeling have driven Denes's drawing style since the early days of her practice. In Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space: Map Projections- The Pyramid (The World from Below), 1978, the planet, with its identifiable land masses, is hypothesized as a pyramid instead of a globe. Such pyramidal forms pervade her imagery, linking ancient past and sci-fi future. The map drawings can have a proto-CAD stiffness about them, yet the bizarrely gorgeous rendering of continents floating within the tubular form of a hot dog ( Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space: Map Projections - The Hot Dog, 1976) is more evidence of the artist's wit. Is the work Denes's link between American hegemony and the future advent of a thoroughly processed and culturally Americanized planet? An intuitive, astral logic is also evidenced in the "philosophical drawings," which graph such phenomena as energy, time, space, evolution, and truth, plotting them as infinitely malleable, nonlinear continuums.

It's not surprising that Denes's emergence onto a greater institutional stage has been a slow process. Her early work was perhaps too prescient (especially her pioneering vision of Land art not as monument but as renewal) and eccentric; in addition, scientifically inclined female Conceptualists eager to poke fun at male power weren't exactly carving out an easy path to acclaim. Regardless of whether Uslip's modest exhibition raises Denes to the stature she deserves, it showed her from a significantly different angle. In any case, what was perhaps ahead of its time in Denes's early work now feels acutely timely. In 1970, she wrote that her art is a response to an environment rife with misinformation, misconceptions, misinterpretations, and delusions: "Transmission and reception are distorted or blocked, while all exchanges are dangling. . . themselves perhaps false and illusory." The universe that Denes maps and charts is intimately personal, but it's also very much ours.



Modern Painters March, 2013 Agnes Denes

IF FOR NOTHING EL SE , Denes should own a secure place in the annals of art history for her land art piece from the summer of 1982, Wheatfield-A Confrontation, a fully operational, two-acre wheat field on a landfill just a stone's throw away from the World Trade Center, in New York

This survey of more modest two- and three­ dimensional works shows us another side of a unique artist who managed a universal poiesis via an exceptional drive for precise aesthetic reconciliation. After walking through a series of photographs documenting Wheatfield, the viewer is met in a low-lit gallery by The Human Argument IV- Light Matrix, 1987/2012, a complex triangular grid of multicolored neon segments that give the form (based on Pascal's triangle) a fluorescent intensity this wall sculpture, like much of Denes's work, finds a marvelous intersection between highly finished product and scientific or philosophical underpinning that is rare for much of today's contemporary art production. Saber Thorns, 1970, is a similarly transformative work made of Plexiglas and steel, that not only abstracts an endless thorny stalk (wittily critiquing Brancusi's Endless Column, of 1938) but also encapsulates the religiosity of a holy object, evoking both nature's unyielding force and, ironically, its destructive power.

Further in the exhibition, one converges with Human Dust, 1969, the most direct and emphatic of Denes's early sculptures. Consisting of a glass-covered disk displaying calcified and cremated human remains, Human Dust is as close as the human body can come to complete obliteration while still being recognizable as having once been alive. Through this sculpture and a series of related photos (also titled "Human Dust"), Denes actively forces the viewer to examine the less observed parts of the life cycle, when the body dissipates and rejoins the rest of the world's material. This poignant thread is woven into much of this artist's oeuvre-a tremendously thoughtful and sensitive body of work that deserves a considerably longer look from the artistic community.
Ryan E. Steadman


Agnes Denes's -Sly Eco-Conceptualism Seems More Relevant Than Ever
by Ben Davis
Published: January 10, 2013

In the history books, Agnes Denes will rank as both a key practitioner of Conceptual Art and as a pioneer of Land Art, that is, of art at its most heady and dematerialized and of art at its most materially rooted. The entirety of the blithely polymathic practice of this Hungarian-born artist, who is now in her early 80s, can be read as an extended riff on this collision of opposites. Understanding this fact is the key to unlocking the humor and social consciousness that makes her work endearing, enduring, maybe even prophetic.

A sampler-sized retrospective of Denes's odd Plexiglas sculptures, intricate diagrams, project documentation, and protean artist books is currently on view Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, and seems particularly worth considering given the current show at the Brooklyn Museum on the legacy of art critic Lucy Lippard and her famous history of Conceptual Art, Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object. The Tonkonow exhibition includes a new work by Denes, a triangular wall relief formed of a dense lattice of multicolored neon sections, the latest evolution of the artist's long-running series, "The Human Argument" (begun in 1969); the first version appeared in Six Years. A lithograph centering on the original diagram is also on display here, each of the small triangles that link together to form the pyramidal chart filled in with an equation in the notation of symbolic logic. To the layperson, this is impenetrable gobbledygook. A caption explains that the work intends to serve as a matrix for how all human relationships can be distilled into equation form.

Such a claim would chime with the hyper-rationalistic rhetoric of classic-period Conceptualism, which made a totem of Wittgenstein and the aloof argot of academic philosophy. In Denes's case, however, the trope is infused by brainy irony. As a wall label explains, "The Human Argument" is meant as "a satire." Her graph is not actually about reducing human relationships to quasi-mathematical symbols. It is a pataphysical joke about what happens when you try to do so.

Such is also the spirit behind Denes's most affecting project, "Human Dust" (1969), which consists of a dish full of chalky white shards that purport to be human remains, set alongside a large text panel narrating the life of the anonymous artist whose remains they purport to be, reduced to a series of numerical milestones: "He ate 56,000 meals, slept 146,850 hours and moved his bowels 18,548 times," etc. - an intentionally absurd account of a life, drawing some wry comedy from rendering lived experience as a series of numerical achievements. At the same time, since the figure in question is identified as an artist, "Human Dust" also turns back on itself, becoming about how, in the cosmic scheme of things, our human creative aspirations will be footnotes, or less.

Already here you have a sense of humanity's relationship to the universe that points to the more outwardly engaged side of her work. "I feel so much love and compassion for humanity," Denes said in a recent interview, "and I feel so sorry for us, the problems the world is having." Vintage Conceptual Art can be faulted for many things, but what makes it still lovable for me is realizing just how '60s it was. Lippard's Six Years emphasized how it chimed with the countercultural aspirations of the era, how what gave idea-based art its original allure was the implied quasi-political mission of creating an alternative culture, one that escaped conventional institutional bounds and could be shared in new ways.

Such idealism was not long for this world - as my colleague Chloe Wyma recently remembered in reviewing the Brooklyn Museum's Lippard show, by the turn of the decade, it had already become clear to all that this adventurous new art was just one more style that was being incorporated into the mainstream, rather than a robust alternative to it. Meanwhile, its forms came to seem a little too close for comfort to the bureaucratic mindset that the rest of the '60s counterculture pitted itself against, so that the trajectory of its more engaged practitioners (Michael Asher, Hans Haacke) fled from the "aesthetics of administration to the critique of institutions," as Benjamin Buchloh once put it - from the creation of arbitrary rule-based games to subverting the power structures of the art world itself. Denes's witty but skeptical version of Conceptual Art already implied this disillusionment. However, she went in a different direction to escape its limitations.

The period of classic Conceptual Art also coincided with the birth of modern environmental consciousness: Rachel Carson's Silent Spring was published in 1962, leading in the span of a decade to a ban on DDT; the first Earth Day, conceived of as a mass environmental teach-in, was held in 1970. And it was to the environment that Denes looked to escape the deadlock of simon-pure Conceptualism. Thus, she is credited with what is widely regarded as the first eco-conscious work of art, Rice/Tree/Burial, of 1968 (not represented at Tonkonow). And Denes's most famous project - here glimpsed via concept drawings and photo documentation - is "Wheatfield - A Confrontation" (1982), a Public Art Fund commission for which she planted and cultivated wheat in a plot in Lower Manhattan, just below the site of the World Trade Center towers - a surrealist version of Occupy Wall Street, with wheat.

The words "A Confrontation" in the title are important, and point to how this work is, in its own way, as subtly questioning of Land Art as her more philosophical works are of Conceptual Art. For the most obvious component of this famous piece is that it brings nature to the city, rather than taking culture to the wilderness and looking to nature as a pure alternative or escape or locus of transcendental experience. Reviewing the photo documentation at Tonkonow, you note that Denes has carefully organized it to represent a dialogue between human reactions to the incongruous wheatfield (a fireworks show to celebrate it, tugboats shooting multicolored water into the air) and natural ones (spiders making their home in the pop-up farm).

"The Human Argument" was a satire of hyperrationalism as applied to human nature; "Wheatfield - A Confrontation" was about man's "argument" with nature itself. It is about how culture and nature interlock and interact, clash and contrast; her postiche farm celebrates the earth as a sustaining force for civilization but also expresses how we tend to turn nature into culture, making it into a parody of itself - much the way the formulae in "The Human Argument" render human relations as schematic, hollowed out versions of lived experience.

The theme that society is out of joint with the environment has only grown more relevant; the passage of time has given Denes's work more and more gravity. And that may be a final twist, since one of her themes has been, as with "Human Dust," how the lofty perspective of time defeats human pretentions, and makes them seem trivial. But then, some sense of humor is probably exactly what you need to endure history, as best you can.

Agnes Denes, "Sculptures of the Mind: 1968 to Now," is on view at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, at 535 West 22nd Street, through January 19, 2013



13. Sol LeWitt, FF Alumn, at the University of Texas at Austin
Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin, brings two works by renowned artist Sol LeWitt to the Austin campus.

The fourteen-foot-tall structure titled Circle with Towers enhances the Speedway entrance to the new Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex and Dell Computer Science Hall, and Wall Drawing #520 adds vivid color to three walls that lead to the auditorium of the complex.

Recognized as a pioneer of modern and conceptual art, Sol LeWitt proposed a different model for artistic creation that elevated the concept of an artwork over its execution. He likened his role as an artist to that of an architect or composer, preparing a detailed set of plans for others to fulfill. Two works now in the Landmarks collection follow this approach: A master draftsman from the LeWitt estate used the artist's diagram to orchestrate the execution of each work while the hands of local Austin artists and masons gave them shape. In keeping with LeWitt's wishes and collaborative approach, the team of artists is recognized for their critical/creative role in helping to realize his work.

Made entirely of concrete block, Circle with Towers is a low circular wall twenty-five feet in diameter, punctuated by eight vertical towers spaced at equal intervals. It illustrates LeWitt's use of modular structures and simple, geometric forms. Designed for interaction, the structure provides a social gathering place for the community, as well as an artistic focal point on one of the university's major thoroughfares. The university acquired the three-dimensional work in 2011 from The Madison Square Park Conservancy in New York.

In 2012 Landmarks secured a twenty-five-year renewable loan from the LeWitt Estate for Wall Drawing #520: Tilted forms with colored ink washes superimposed. This represents the first time in twenty-five years that the drawing has been exhibited since its initial installation at The Whitney Museum of American Art's 1987 Whitney Biennial. While it differs from the concrete block structure outside in its colorful two-dimensionality, both works feature the cube as subject, a signature motif in LeWitt's work.

"Circle with Towers and Wall Drawing #520 provide an important introduction to the nature of conceptual art for many in our community," said Andrée Bober director of Landmarks. "Having these two works in close proximity allows viewers to recognize the consistent elements in LeWitt's work and appreciate the collaborative spirit and contextual interpretations of his ideas."

Both efforts were funded through the capital improvement project of the Department of Computer Science at the university. Bruce Porter, chairman of the Department of Computer Science said, "While not obvious at first glance, there are deep parallels between Sol LeWitt's work and computer coding, the work of the computer sciences field. Both rely on a sense of calibrated order and repetition, both can be understood as generative languages and both are elegant in their simplicity."

On 21 March 2013 at 5pm Landmarks will host a special lecture on LeWitt and these works given by Veronica Roberts, former director of research for the Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing Catalogue Raisonné and curator at The Blanton Museum of Art. The free lecture will be held in the auditorium located on the ground floor of the complex.

Landmarks is the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin. Its collection contains more than 30 modern and contemporary works. The collection and its supporting programs support the university's position as a leading education and research institution and provide a source of civic pride and welfare. For more information about Landmarks, please visit the Landmarks Website.

Jennifer Modesett T 512 495 4315 / jmodesett@austin.utexas.edu
Leslie Lyon T 512 475 7033 / leslie.lyon@austin.utexas.edu



14. David Medalla, FF Alumn, at Musee du quai Branly, Paris, France, April 11, and more

David Medalla, FF alum, will give a talk and a conversation
with Purissima Benitez-Johannot
at the Musee du quai Branly in Paris, France,
on April 11, 2013, at 7 p.m.
The event is part of an important exhibition of Philippine art.
Purissima Benitez-Johannot, formerly with the education department
of MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art of New York)
and presently the President of the Museum Foundation of the Philippines,
edited a recent book on the life and art of David Medalla,
published by the Vibal Foundation of the Philippines.
The book, with textual and photographic contributions
by Guy Brett, Adam Nankervis, John Dugger and John Strausbaugh (among others),
was launched last year (2012) during the historic 'Migrations' exhibition
at Tate Britain in London, England.
The event at the Musee du quai Branly in Paris on April 11, 2013, at 7 p.m.,
will be coordinated by Muriel Lardau.
The event is open to the public, admission free.

David Medalla is also featured in an exhibition curated by Mathieu Copeland,
and coordinated by Edwige Baron, currently showing
at the Jeu de Paume, Place de la Concorde, Jardin des Tuileries, in Paris.
The exhibition was initially shown at the David Roberts Foundation in London
and subsequently at the Swiss Centre in Manhattan, New York, during 'Performa 7'.
David Medalla presented live performances at both venues.
Twelve New York-based artists participated in the performance at the Swiss Centre.


On Saturday, April 14, 2013, at 6 p.m., David Medalla and Adam Nankervis
(co-founders of the legendary Mondrian Fan Club)
will create a participatory impromptu performance
on the Pont Mirabeau in Paris, dedicated to the memory of the poet
Guillaume Apollinaire,
Everyone is invited to this event.
Those who wish to participate in the performance are requested to bring
white cotton handkerchiefs, white silk scarves, safety pins, a gold pen
and a ball of string.
During the performance Adam Nankervis and David Medalla
will lead the choral recitation of Apollinaire's poem in French and English.


A video of the event on the Pont Mirabeau
will be shown on the First May 2013 at 8 p.m.,
to coincide with the vernissage of an exhibition of
David Medalla's Archives,
at 'another vacant space.',
the art showroom which Adam Nankervis directs,
at Biesentallerstrasse no.16,
in the Wedding district of Berlin, Germany.



15. Judy Dunaway, FF Alumn, European Tour, April 5 - May 13




16. Raquel Rabinovich, FF Member, at AC Institute, Manhattan, opening April 4

My piece River Library 378 with Footnotes, 2011, is included in a group show called One of a Kind IV: Unique Artist Books at the AC-Institute, a nonprofit gallery in Chelsea. The opening will be on Thursday April 4th from 6-8pm (547 W. 27th St, 2nd Floor #210. New York, NY 10001) and the show will run through May 18th.

Raquel Rabinovich www.raquelrabinovich.com



17. Irina Danilova, FF Alumn, at The Active Space, Brooklyn, NY, opening Apr. 5

Project 59 presents it newest show with vydavy at The Active Space,
566 Johnson Ave., Brooklyn, NY
April 5th - 28th; Reception April 5th 7-10 pm

TRACKING SIGNALS HIGH AND LOW featuring most recent works by two artist collectives - vydavy and Project 59 that deal with behavioral patterns of two different scales: global and domestic.

Project 59 develops multi-year projects on a global scale and within a unifying theme, investigating alternative means for different kinds of connectivity; analyzing the relation between potential and implemented, while tracking and reflecting events and changes in life, cultures and societies. Utilizing both basic materials and new technology, Project 59 focuses on the intersection of real life and cybernetic experiences, by creating virtual and actual site-specific installations.

IN MEDIAS RES (into the middle of things) by vydavy explores collaborative process and uses symbolic language and video to document a series of performances. Using in medias res as a technique where the relating of a story begins at the midpoint, rather than at the beginning, establishing setting, character, and conflict via flashback or expository conversations relating the pertinent past, vydavy combines video, performance and juxtaposing images to create a phrase or a sentence that is a world of it's own and which bears controversy of personal experience.



Goings On is compiled weekly by Harley Spiller