Friday, July 30, 2010


Tune in to watch the opening of A Book About Death Omaha live webstream:

The live stream begins on Saturday, July 31, 2010 at 7 PM local, Omaha Time.  That would be CDT.  One hour behind New York, seven hours behind Paris and if you're in Japan or Australia probably just as you're having breakfast.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ray Johnson : From BMC To NYC [96]

A very large and impressive exhibition of Ray Johnson's work from 1943 to 1967 recently closed at The Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina.  Curated by Sebastian Matthews, the exhibition generated a tremendous amount of interest thanks not only to Matthew's Ray Johnson Show blog about putting the show together, but also by John Dancy-Jones' blog, Raleigh Rambles which covered a good part of the activity.

Frances Beatty, director a Richard Feigen Gallery in New York, and one of the key guardians of The Ray Johnson Estate, gave a talk in May 2010 on the adventure of actually putting up an exhibition with Ray Johnson.  A 48-page catalog was also produced, and is available from Black Mountain College.

From the Black Mountain College site on the exhibition: The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) will present the exhibition From BMC to NYC: The Tutelary Years of Ray Johnson (1943-1967) beginning February 19th, 2010, and running through June 12th. In addition, we will host related programs, including a guest lecture, a film screening of the popular documentary How to Draw a Bunny, a collage workshop by Washington DC collagist Krista Franklin and an opening-night performance by Graham Hackett and Poetix Lounge. An exhibition catalogue will be available for purchase.

A seminal Pop Art figure, Ray Johnson has been called the most significant "unknown artist" of the post-war period, a "collagist extraordinaire" who influenced Pop artists such as Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, as well as a generation of contemporary artists. Since his death, however, Johnson has emerged not only as a key member of the 1960's generation, but as one of the major artistic innovators of the second-half of the 20th century.

Black Mountain College—in particular, Johnson’s first teacher, Josef Albers—was a critical factor in Johnson’s development as an artist. Indeed, Johnson’s time at the college can be viewed in retrospect as a platform from which he dove into Manhattan and its vibrant art world. Our exhibition will explore the ways that many of Johnson’s early tutelary influences, both the people and the places, helped create his unique vision. Throughout his career, Johnson always found ways to engage those around him—mentors, friends and strangers alike—in a correspondence “dance” of collage, letter writing and interactive performance art. Following in Marcel Duchamp’s footsteps, Johnson, as one art critic put it, “introduced life into art.”

Through a carefully selected group of paintings, collages and early correspondence, From BMC to NYC: The Tutelary Years of Ray Johnson will explore the early transitions in Johnson’s career—in particular his graduation from high school in Detroit to his three years of serious study at Black Mountain College to his immersion in the Manhattan art scene of the 1950s and 1960s. From BMC to NYC, curated by writer and collage artist Sebastian Matthews, will trace a circle around roughly two decades of Johnson’s early art, creating a spotlight on his explosion from talented painter and master collagist to, by the 1960s, Grand Dean of Dada & Postal Art. The exhibition will provide an interactive, playful presentation of Johnson’s “tutelary” work, highlighting the people and places that influenced Johnson’s creations in order to give the viewer a roadmap of Johnson’s creative process.

The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center is an exhibition space and resource center in downtown Asheville dedicated to exploring the history and legacy of the world's most acclaimed experimental educational community, Black Mountain College. Over the course of its 24 year history, Black Mountain College attracted and created maverick spirits, some of whom went on to become well-known and extremely influential individuals in the latter half of the 20th century. Even now, decades after its closing in 1957, the powerful influence of BMC continues to reverberate.

Photo: Windows of BMC by Charter Weeks.
Ray Johnson letter to Arthur Secunda, bottom right.
Photo: Interior exhibiton Sebastian Matthew's blog.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Signs of Our Times [95]

Signs of Our Times, a project launched by Jane Hsiaoching Wang and is looking for digital entries.  Please visit the site for all information about the exhibition, and contribute your works.

Poster for the project by Angela Ferrara.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Strange Positioning Systems: Caterina Verde Project On Kickstarter

Artist Caterina Verde launches her global, live streaming performance project, Strange Positioning Systems. SPS is a play on GPS, and the essential concept is live high definition video streams from all over the world that express the global village aspects of our brave new world as seen – and performed – by artists in the project. Caterina Verde is the creator of the Wall for A Book About Death.

For the project to get underway, a Kickstarter page was created.  This enables Caterina Verde to achieve her goals and produce high quality streaming video. She is seeking $8500 to produce the project. Each artist participant in the SPS project offers a view of their work and a bit about the their own SPS concept from their place on the planet – Norway, New York, Paris, Vienna, etc.  (See my page here). Contributions of varying amounts are rewarded with artworks. For example, a $75 contribution to the SPS project will reward the donor with my hand-stenciled signed print of DUMB BUNNY.   See all the rewards here: SPS ART WORKS.

Caterina Verde explains: "Strange Positioning Systems (SPS) is a global real-time live streaming performance project. SPS is projecting performances from one space to another---on the street, in a space, on the mountain, etc.

"A play on GPS tracking technology, Strange Positioning Systems (SPS) looks at the aesthetic, cultural and psychological peculiarities of positioning the self and collective enterprises in a fluid, electronically - dislocated environment.

"We are looking for funding for high end live streaming capabilities as well as for furthering a global network for artists doing live action work and helping artists and curators financially realize the work by creating an action fund. We also want to further develop our website so that it is a live portal for the works for the events.

"Given that this time in history seems to be seminal in terms of the horribly strange positioning systems such as the oil in the gulf, the planetary uncertainties both geo-physical and geo-political, we feel that our global community project is even more imperative.

"SPS, Strange Positioning Systems is evolving as a “strange system” or temporary environment with feeds from various places in the world and led by a different artist(s) or presenter(s). One space overlaps another creating a ternary--triple-based architecture. Plunging into the mix a cross breed of formats, moments and actions inform and reflect the actual strange positioning systems that we must all bear in our culture(s).

"Our first presenter in the U.S for live streaming is the Outpost in Queens, NY.   The Outpost has received a small grant from the Annenberg Foundation for our first presentation but we need additional funding for high end streaming capabilities. We are collaborating with artists and organizations from around the world (Norway, France, Iran, Austria, multiple locations in the U.S. and more) and are looking to expand our network into more remote areas."


Please consider contributing to this fascinating project, and if you can, place the Kickstarter widget for SPS on your blog or other web pages.


Fluxface in Space [93]

A Book About Death has helped in many ways to bring artists together, and the result has been a number of group projects that span the globe, tapping the enormous number of creative talents for ever new exhibitions. The most recent is Fluxface in Space, organized by artists Gary A. Bibb and Cecil Touchon.

The essentials: Create a work of art about space exploration, photograph yourself with it and upload it to the NASA web site (yes, the government web site), and then submit it to the Fluxface in Space project for exhibition. (Image, top: Angela Ferrara's poster for the event/exhibition).

Bibb and Touchon write on the Facebook Group Event Page for the project: "Gary A. Bibb in collaboration with Cecil Touchon have conceived an exciting new exhibition project for the Fluxmuseum. Using the Face In Space Program from NASA - we are organizing a 'Fluxface in Space' exhibition to be launched into orbit on the last two Space Shuttles!

"Artists are to create one original postcard sized work of art in any media (preferably collage/ photo-montage) with the themes of Space Exploration & the Arts, the Shuttle Program, Outerspace, Rockets, Astronauts, Astronomy etc . This will be a commemorative project around the fact that the Space Shuttle program is coming to an end after these last two flights."

See the Fluxface in Space Website.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

LuAnn Palazzo Poster & Joan Harrison Invitation: Ray Johnson And A Book About Death At CW Post [92]

The series of exhibitions for A Book About Death has generated nearly two dozen posters, some plucked from the original postcard pieces to the New York City exhibition, and others created by talented artists specifically for subsequent shows.

The artists who have designed posters for the show include: Angela Ferrara, Louise Millmann, Robert Gilmer, April Gornick, Julia Hoffmann, Robert Mars, Cecil Touchon, Caterina Verde, Mark Bloch, Joan Harrison, Ben Elmer, Bibiana Maltos, David Rager, Matthew Rose, Rob White, Osiris Hertz, Keith Buchholz, Jean-Pierre Machain and Nadine Bouler.

Each poster is offered free as a downloadable PDF to any and all, and they serve as vivid and historical markers in the global rolling out of the project. 

Co-curator of the CW Post exhibition of Ray Johnson and A Book About Death, LuAnn Palazzo created the first poster for this fall exhibition.

The artist call for CW Post, well underway, is the first that directly involves Ray Johnson's name and refers to his elegant and simple "book" A Book About Death.  Here, a generous handful of Xerox copies made from drawings and texts, were sent through the mails in loose format.  Those pieces will be on view at The SAL Gallery, C. W. Post College, Brookville, New York.  October 31 - November 5, 2010.

Launched by Joan Harrison, artist and friend of Ray Johnson who made dozens of photographs of the late artist, the CW Post exhibition has already attracted enormous local attention.  Ray Johnson frequented the CW Post campus and was very well known to literally thousands of people on Long Island.  Joan Harrison designed the invitation to the exhibition, right, using her photographs of Ray Johnson taken over the years they were neighbors on Long Island. 

Down load LuAnn Palazzo's poster for Ray Johnson and A Book About Death.