Paul Laster: Let’s talk about some of your heroes that are celebrated in the show, starting historically with Marcel Duchamp. Why is he important to you and how would you explain the way that you are paying homage?
Awol Erizku: Duchamp is the Master and Hammons is the Godfather. I find Duchamp important because I find Hammons very important. Duchamp and Hammons worked with found objects or everyday objects to create visual puns. In doing so, they ask the viewer to question the intention of the work. For example, Duchamp’s ready-mades shocked the art world, putting in question to whether these objects were even “art.” Hammons employs a similar technique of using found objects; but he also wants the viewer to question the connotations of these objects in the context of race and class. These themes are visible in many of my works in The Only Way Is Up.
I pay homage to both artists, directly, in two different works. First, an installation of jerseys hanging on a rack, titled Duchamp, Marcel 1887; Simpson, Lorna, 1960; Outterbridge, John 1933; Hammons, David 1943; Judd, Donald 1928; Marshall, Kerry James 1955; Storr, Rob 1950; Wilson, Fred 1954; Prince, Richard 1949, 2014, which includes the last names of artists that have influenced me most silkscreened on the back of the shirts, in a similar motif of a sports jersey with the abbreviated year they were born.
I also silk screened canvases, Hammons, David 1943, 2014 and Duchamp, Marcel 1887, 2014 in the same sports jersey motif with the names and birth years of Duchamp and Hammons. This group of artists represents my “team,” from which I believe I have received the most influence and support. They are my idols and deserve recognition for what they have contributed to my artistic growth.
Hammons was my window to Duchamp. Hammons made Duchamp really cool for me. Found objects and ready-mades are now a major part of my art practice. I walk around New York City looking for anything and everything that can be a part of my sculptures. I never go out with the intention of looking for something specific, but always recognize it when I see it. It is an intuitive process.
Text Excerpt: A portion of ‘Awol Erizku: The Only Way Is Up,’ an interview of Awol Erizku by Paul Laster, published in Whitehot Magazine, July 2014. For the full article, click here,
Erizku was recently included in DEEP END: Yale MFA Photography Thesis Exhibition, curated by Roe Ethridge, on view at the FLAG Art Foundation from June 5 – June 20, 2014. For information on DEEP END, click here.
Genevieve Gaignard (b. 1981) is an artist living and working in Wendell, MA. She received an MFA in photography from Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT in 2014, and a BFA in photography from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA in 2007. Gaignard has been included in recent group exhibitions, including Deep End: Yale MFA Photography Thesis Exhibition, curated by Roe Ethridge, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY (2014); Deep End: Yale MFA Photography Thesis Exhibition, curated by Fumi Ishino and Hannah Price, Green Hall Gallery, Yale University, New Haven, CT (2014); 13 Artists: Yale’s First All-Black Art Show, Yale University, New Haven, CT (2014); among others. Gaignard has recently been featured New York Magazine and ‘In The Air,’ Blouin ARTINFO. For links to Gaignard’s video work, click here.
Gaignard was included in DEEP END: Yale MFA Photography Thesis Exhibition, curated by Roe Ethridge, on view at the FLAG Art Foundation from June 5 – June 20, 2014. For information on DEEP END, click here. Gaignard’s work is DEEP END: YALE MFA PHOTO 2014, curated by Awol Erizku, on view at Diane Rosenstein Fine Art, LA, from July 19 – August 23, 2014. For more information, click here.
Image Credits: Top: Genevieve Gaignard. Installation view from DEEP END, Green Hall Gallery, Yale University, New Haven, CT. Bottom: Genevieve Gaignard. The “Birds and the Beez” Wedge Boot, 2013/2014. Glitter with soil, silk flowers, foam objects, 10 ½ x 9 x 5 ½ inches.
a living world of each color
My taste defiantly tends to drift to more archaic objects because they capture the spirit of a person long-gone and there is a mystery to looking at an object that derives from a distant set of aesthetic priorities. A lot of my interests are based in very old and basic traditions. I’m more genuinely intrigued with what people can do with techniques of inventiveness of making something out of nothing. I prefer keeping the evidence of the handmade apparent in my work as a means to capture my own spirit. I fell if you so that genuinely there is always a chance you will potentially capture the spirit of the times around you.
After having gone through several periods, my research has led me to paint unified monochrome pictures. My canvases are therefore covered by one or several layers of a single color after a certain preparation of the support and using various technical procedures. No drawing is visible, no variation in hue; there is nothing but the UNITY of a single color. The dominant invades the entire picture, as it were. In this way I seek to individualize the color, because I have come to believe that there is a living world of each color and I express these worlds. My paintings, moreover, represent an idea of absolute unity in perfect serenity; an abstract idea represented abstractly, which has made me rank myself with the abstract painters. But I hasten to point out to you that the abstractionists do not understand it this way and they reproach me, among other things, for refusing to provoke relations between colors. I think that the color “yellow,” for example, is quite sufficient in itself to render an atmosphere and a climate “beyond the thinkable”; what is more, the nuances of yellow are infinite, leaving the possibility to interpret it in many different ways.
For me, each nuance of a color is in some way an individual, a being who is not only from the same race as the base color, but who definitely possesses a distinct character and personal soul.… Nuances can be gentle, evil, violent, majestic, vulgar, calm, etc. In sum, each nuance of each color is definitely a “presence,” a living being, an active force which is born and dies after having lived a sort of drama of the life of colors.
Text Citation: Top: An excerpt of an interview between Nicola Trezzi & Anya Kielar, include in: Trezzi, Nicola, “Portrait of a Lady.” In Anya Kielar: Women. Exhibition Catalogue, New York: Rachel Uffner Gallery with Picturebox, 2012. Bottom: An excerpt of a text by Yves Klein, distributed at the first public exhibition of Yves Peintures, Club des Solitaires, Paris, France (1955). For more information, click here.
Image Credits: Left: Anya Kielar. Purple Nose, 2010. Masonite board, mixed media, paint, sand, 34 x 21 x 5 inches. Courtesy of Rachel Uffner Gallery and Anya Kielar. Right: Yves Klein. Piège bleu pour lignes (S 17), 1957, 14 x 6.4 x 5.7 cm.
Kielar’s work is included in East Side to the West Side on view at FLAG from June 26 – August 15, 2014. For more information, click here.
His life was not confining and the delight he took in this observation could not be explained by its suggestion of escape. He seemed to see, with a cartographer’s eye, that string of swimming pools, that quasi-subterranean stream that curved across the county. He had made a discovery, a contribution to modern geography; he would name the stream Lucinda after his wife. He was not a practical joker nor was he a fool but he was determinedly original and had a vague and modest idea of himself as a legendary figure. The day was beautiful and it seemed to him that a long swim might enlarge and celebrate its beauty.
Image Credit: Spread, Ed Ruscha, Nine Swimming Pools and a Broken Glass, 1968, printed 1976.
Text Citation: Cheever, John. “The Swimmer.” The New Yorker. July 18, 1964, Vol. 40 Issue 22, p28. For the full story, click here.
WALL ROCKETS: Contemporary Artists and Ed Ruscha, curated by Lisa Dennison, was on view at FLAG from October 3 – April 18, 2009. For more information, click here.
Funny how romance, once so deadly, has now proven itself to be, in a certain sense, immortal. The act of loving killed; the art of loving remains pristine and wrapped in plastic on gallery floors; time keeps ticking, perfectly synched between the hearts of the living and the dead.
…Yet today it matters more to me that he made a work that taught me how to live life, best exemplified in the twin clocks of Felix’s “Untitled” Perfect Lovers. Felix said that all human relationships were defined by spans of time, from one relationship with family, to the quickest romance, and that the idea that anything was more infinite than that was an illusion born of the very human desire for permanence and stability, a desire that our mortality makes impossible. In every relationship, someone leaves first, via death or the door. And yet every relationship adds value and meaning to our experience of this world in ways that have little to do with how long they last. I have never forgotten that lesson when people in my life had died, moved or left since then. Including the artist himself.
No man has ever lived in the past, and none will live in the future; the present alone is the form of all life, and is a possession that no misfortune can take away… . We might compare time to an infinitely revolving circle: the half that is always sinking would be the past, that which is always rising would be the future; but the indivisible point at the top which the tangent touches, would be the present. Motionless like the tangent, that extensionless present marks the point of contact of the object, whose form is time, with the subject, which has no form because it does not belong to the knowable but is the precondition of all knowledge.
Image Credits: Top: Installation view of Floating a Boulder, the FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY, October 1, 2009 – January 31, 2010. Photo by: Genevieve Hanson. Bottom: Installation view of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Double, PLATEAU and Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea, June 21 - September. 28, 2012. Image courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery.
Text Citation: Top: Bond, Justin. “On Floating a Boulder.” Floating a Boulder. The FLAG Art Foundation (2010): 27.* Middle: Arning, Bill. “Some Shared Time.” Floating a Boulder. The FLAG Art Foundation (2010): 24-25.* Bottom: Schopenhauer, Arthur. Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (The Will as World and Representation). Volume I., 1818. This abbreviated Schopenhauer quote is included in Jorge Luis Borges’s essay A New Refutation of Time, taken from Borges, Jorge Luis. Labyrinths, ed. Donald A Yates and James F. Irby, New York, 1962. A New Refutation of Time is translated by Irby.
*This catalogue was produced in tandem with the exhibition Floating a Boulder: Works by Felix Gonzalez Torres and Jim Hodges, on view at FLAG from Oct. 1, 2009 – Jan 31, 2010. For more information, click here.
an architecture of the air
I was to arrive in my development at an architecture of the air, because only there could I finally produce and stabilize pictorial sensibility in the raw material state. Until this point in still very precise architectonic space, I have been painting monochromes in the most enlightened manner possible; the still very material color sensibility must be reduced to a more pneumatic immaterial sensibility.
Nicola Trezzi: The history of modern art, especially the aesthetic style of the avant-garde, plays an important role in Kielar’s practice. Her work can be perceived as an example of anachronism: Her art making is a continuous attempt to escape time, trying to avoid what is current, the so-called “contemporary.” In the a-temporality that she constructs her work can look like a fresco from Pompeii as much as a painting by Marc Chagall – which reminds us of her Central European roots – or even one of Yves Klein’s anthropometries – partly due to the big presence of blue in her art. It might actually be the opposite: By exercising total freedom from the language of contemporary art, Kielar is able to incorporate all of her disparate interest into a practice that can shift and change form.
Anya Kielar: My taste defiantly tends to drift to more archaic objects because they capture the spirit of a person long-gone and there is a mystery to looking at an object that derives from a distant set of aesthetic priorities. A lot of my interests are based in very old and basic traditions. I’m more genuinely intrigued with what people can do with techniques of inventiveness of making something out of nothing. I prefer keeping the evidence of the handmade apparent in my work as a means to capture my own spirit. I fell if you so that genuinely there is always a chance you will potentially capture the spirit of the times around you.
Text Citation: Top: In 1959, Yves Klein gave a lecture at the Sorbonne entitled L’évolution de l’art vers l’immatériel (Art’s Evolution Toward the Immaterial). Bottom: Trezzi, Nicola, “Portrait of a Lady.” In Anya Kielar: Women. Exhibition Catalogue, New York: Rachel Uffner Gallery with Picturebox, 2012.
Image Credits: Left: Yves Klein. Suaire de Mondo Cane [Mondo Cane Shroud], 1961. Dry pigment and synthetic resin on gauze. 108 x 118-1/2 in. (274.3 x 301 cm). Collection Walker Art Center. Right: Anya Kielar, Panties, Socks, Gloves and Bras, 2013. Acrylic on canvas, 98 x 52 in. (248.9 x 132.1 cm). Image courtesy the artist and Rachel Uffner Gallery.
Kielar’s work is included in East Side to the West Side on view at FLAG from June 26 – August 15, 2014. For more information, click here.
ON KAWARA, R.I.P. (1933-2014)
Left: On Kawara. 24 FEV. 1969, 1969. From “Today” series, 1966-2014. Acrylic on canvas, 8 x 10 inches. Right: On Kawara. 23 JUL. 1982, 1982. From “Today” series, 1966-2014. Acrylic on canvas, 8 x 10 inches. Images courtesy David Zwirner.
Tom Molloy’s September (2012) depicts in precise detail a casually dressed man (sports jacket, trousers, and white, Velcro-fastened sneakers) with his hands held behind his back studying Gerhard Richter’s painting September (2005). Standing at a safe distance behind the museum’s floor barrier, he holds what we may assume is an exhibition brochure, or some form of literature that operates as guide, map and interpretative tool for the works on display. It is unclear whether the man has consulted the booklet in advance of the photograph being taken, or if has chosen not to refer to it at all. Richter’s September (2005) is a history painting depicting the attack on the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. The genre of history painting is traditionally grand in scale, placing its viewer in the center of the “action.” Richter has decided upon a scale that is, by contrast, anti-spectacular and decidedly unheroic. It is not the artist’s concern to make claims regarding the event, to offer meaning, or to attempt some kind of moralistic commentary. Like his group of paintings titled October 18, 1977, it is an attempt to address a historically specific public experience. His only interest is to register in paint the reality of its occurrence. It is not a painting about a particular death, or about the event’s impact on the civilians of New York; instead it is about the moment of destruction and the collective loss of life, the passenger, the terrorists, as well as the occupants of the World Trade Center’s South Tower. Molloy’s intense scrutiny and meticulous graphic rendering of his photograph of a man looking at Richter’s painting establishes further layer of withdrawal from the events of September 11. Those events were captured in a press photograph of the Twin Towers, which formed the basis of Richter’s September. In the painting, the towers are represented and then obscured b the artist’s trademark blurring technique. Richter’s oblique rendering of this iconic image is subjected to a further degree of abstraction in Molloy’s photograph, where the painting is viewed by a man, who is in turn captured by the artist’s camera. Finally, this second photograph is copied in pencil by Molloy and presented as a drawing to a new set of spectators. This layering of images, in which a drawing is based on a photograph of a painting, which was in turn based on a photograph, prompts us to consider questions of mediation, representation, and commemoration. The man in Molloy’s drawing – who might serve as a stand-in for the artist himself- is engaged in a personal experience of remembering and attempting to understand, on his own terms, recent historical events. Facilitated by Richter and captured by Molloy, his is a very difference experience from that of the millions of people who were connected to the tragic events of 9/11 via their television and mobile devices. The lone, contemplative activity that man is engaged in refuses to spectacularize the events of that day.
Image Credits: Top: Tom Molloy. September, 2012. Pencil on paper, 91/2 x 6 1/4 inches. Bottom: Gerhard Richter, September, 2005. Oil on canvas. 52 x 72 cm. ©Gerhard Richter, 2014
Text Citation: An excerpt from “Vestiges of History: on the Work of Tom Molloy,” an essay by Gavin Delahunty for the catalogue published in conjunction with Tom Molloy, Issue, on view at FLAG from February 8 – May 18, 2013. For more information on this exhibition, click here.
Ostalgie (n.) (Ger) (also ‘Ostalgia’): Nostalgia for life in former East Germany; portmanteau of Ost (east) and Nostalgie (nostalgia)
That Forster’s agenda transcends any particular history is evidenced by several projects in which he unites disparate realities. For example, the 2011 series American Pastoral / Ostalgie Pattern places drawings of frolicking nudes derived from internet photographs alongside transcripts of wallpaper and fabric patters that Forster found in the DDR museum.[…]
[…]Blurry and out-of-focus, the graphite halves are again visually joined by drawn and painted tape…Which brings us back to the artist’s [Forster’s] motivation. Referring to the American Pastoral series specifically, Forster observes, “my photocopy-realism and collage aims to bring the two social histories together [America in the twenties and Eastern Europe after World War II] through the instantaneous collapsing of time that the internet accesses. This time is then extended in the arduous, even earnest, task of drawing an intimate representation that involves my own skills and labor time.” Taken more generally, Forster’s photocopy-method appears to enable him to insert himself into history’s ceaseless flow and to acquire some purchase, however abstract, over its intangible representation. In this regard, Forster’s drawings are as much about him, or at least about his needs and desires vis-à-vis his subjects, as they are about the subjects themselves. In response to an early critique that his seascapes felt claustrophobic [a tight, compressed space is in fact typical of Forster’s work to date], Forster opined that this could be attributable to the position of the sea’s horizon line in relation to the top edge of the picture, but that it might also result from the fact that for a long time he continued to do as much of his drawing within the confines of his bedroom, a practice he began as a teenager. It is as if this habit of gathering images and “filtering [them] in a private space” allowed him to process the political events that seemed so distant from his cloistered suburban upbringing even as they inevitably impacted it.
Put differently, one might say that Forster is present in the space of his drawings; in the shots he chooses to translate; in the joins and gaps he inserts and transcribes; in the sooty, monochrome world his graphite pencil evokes. […]
Image Credits: Top: Richard Forster. American Pastoral / Ostalgie Pattern with Tape, 2011. Graphite, acrylic medium and watercolor on Bristol board, 30 x 42.5 cm. Private Collection, New York, NY. Bottom: Richard Forster. American Pastoral / Ostalgie Pattern with Tape II, 2011. Graphite, acrylic medium and watercolor on Bristol board, 30 x 42 cm. Private Collection, New York.
Text Citation: Gilman, Claire. “Richard Forster and the Space of Drawing.” In Richard Forster: Modern, 15- 41. Edinburgh: Ingleby Gallery, 2014.
A solo exhibition of Forster’s work was presented at FLAG from January 21 – May 12, 2012. For more information, click here.