Elegant in its simplicity, this drawing is an exceptional example of Gates’ work on paper. Although paper is only one of a multitude of media he uses, this particular image is a reflection of the central theme of his artistic practice which is his dedication to the acquisition, renovation, and redeployment of abandoned properties in the neighborhood in which he lives on the south side of Chicago.
The hors texte illustrations by Daniel Buren reflect his hallmark style of brightly colored vertical strips while the four separate serigraphs alternate between figures with hard-edged lines and soft fur-like circular shapes. The content of Martinique writer Aimé Césaire's book, which inspired Buren, is similarly a mix but of poetry and prose, and it explores the cultural identity of black Africans in a colonial setting. The book was first published in 1939.
Buren designed the die-cut pages in some cases to reveal selected words or phrases from the text and, in others, to change his own striped artwork as the pages are turned.
The book is signed by the author and is blindly embossed with the artist’s initials (using a stamp designed by the artist); each serigraph is embossed with the artist’s initials.
This work grew out of a performance piece undertaken by AbramoviÄ‡ in Studio Stefania Miscetti, an Italian art gallery, where the artist used pig’s blood to write the “recipes” in the portfolio on the walls of the gallery. As with Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit, the recipes take the form of instructions, such as “look in the mirror / for as long as it is necessary / for your face to disappear / don’t eat the light.” In the gallery, each recipe was accompanied with a small icon also painted with pig's blood and, in the portfolio, each is accompanied by an etching with aquatint. There are twelve etchings in all.
The Italian performance and the printed work grew into a series of Spirit Cooking dinner parties hosted by the artist in her New York apartment. To these events, which seved conventional food, she invited collectors, donors, and friends. A political controversy arose after Wikileaks released a large number of emails from the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, including one forwarded to campaign manager John Podesta by his brother Tony, an AbramoviÄ‡ collector, inviting John to one of the dinners. Podesta did not attend but the release of the email created a fair amount of controversy among certain fringe political groups. The controversy was serious enough, however, that AbramoviÄ‡ saw a need to dismiss it in a presentation in 2017 at London’s Royal Festival Hall: “It’s just poetry.”
This edition is limited to 21 copies of which numbers 1-8 are bound as books and numbers 10-21 are boxed portfolios. This copy in Number 10.
John Cage, whose visual work consists mainly of works on paper, spent fifteen years beginning in 1978 working at the Crown Point Press in San Francisco and elsewhere making etchings, monotypes, drawings, watercolors, and lithographs. It is from this period that this aquatint, published by Crown Point in 1989, comes.
Cage was a practitioner of Zen Buddhism and through it became enamored with aleatory, or random, processes as a way of making art. His use of the I Ching, or “Book of Changes,” is well documented and he used its hexagrams, or six-element arrangements of solid or broken lines, to determine, for this work, the placement of the smoked paper on the press and the arrangement of the vertical lines. The use of smoke to distress the paper is another element of the work’s randomness.
Drawn in Smoke is a project created by conceptual artist Harriet Bart to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911. Historically important for the changes in labor practices it galvanized, this tragedy claimed the lives of 160 victims, most of them young immigrant women and girls. An important work in Bart’s oeuvre, Drawn in Smoke continues the artist’s practice of advocating for women and memorializing the sacrifices of those who often go unrecognized. Working with a list of the victims held at the Cornell University Archive, Bart used smoke to create an original abstract “portrait” for each woman whose name is on the list.
In this work, typical of Ligon's use of text, the artist mimcs not only the typical nineteenth century design and typeface of a slave narrative but also a nineteenth century vernacular. This allows him to bring the experience of slavery forward in time and make the point that it still affects the culture of the African American community. He includes quotations from Hilton Als, Josephine Baker, and Derek Walcott, but in the end, as usual with the work of Ligon, the story is quite obviously about his own life as a modern day African American.