PRINT April 2007


Kay Rosen

Based in Gary, Indiana, Kay Rosen recently had a solo exhibition at Yvon Lambert in New York, and this fall her work will be included in multiple group exhibitions, including “Sign Language” at the Des Moines Art Center. She is one of the artists illustrating Four Corners Books’s upcoming series of new editions of literary works. A collection of her writings will be published by Sara Ranchouse Publishing in May.

  1. ALLEN RUPPERSBERG, THE NEW FIVE FOOT SHELF: MEMOIR/NOVEL/INDEX, 2004 Commissioned by the Dia Art Foundation, this web version of Ruppersberg’s 2001 installation The New Five Foot Shelf comprises fifty electronic “volumes” of texts written by the artist, plus close-up photographs of the cluttered SoHo studio he used from 1986 to 2001. Ruppersberg describes the project as “the rearrangement of Everything. A collection of notes, letters, quotes, photos, words, works, texts, books, ideas, stories, poems, etc. A personal reference library.” One feels a little voyeuristic engaging with the site, peeking in on and mentally reassembling the artist’s personal collection of texts and his work space.

    Allen Ruppersberg, The New Five Foot Shelf: Memoir/Novel/Index (detail), 2004, web project. Allen Ruppersberg, The New Five Foot Shelf: Memoir/Novel/Index (detail), 2004, web project.
  2. GEORGES PEREC, LIFE: A USER’S MANUAL (1978) As viewers must visually piece together Ruppersberg’s crowded studio through an assortment of images, so readers of this novel must compose, using details gradually released over the course of the book, the narratives of the residents of a large apartment building in Paris. The story, therefore, is structured as a puzzle (and puzzles are, in fact, central to the plot). The novel reads almost like nonfiction because its descriptions are so excruciatingly detailed that they seem like the kind of thing that is almost impossible to fabricate.

  3. KENNETH GOLDSMITH, AMERICAN TRILOGY Published by Make Now Press, this series by poet Kenneth Goldsmith comprises The Weather (2005), a year’s worth of daily one-minute New York City weather reports; Traffic (2007), traffic reports from the same radio station on the worst traffic day of the year; and the forthcoming Sports (January 2008). Divorced from their original sources and uses and presented as novels, these found materials, of the type that we consume and dispose of daily, become surprisingly romantic and dramatic.

  4. AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH (2006) As a member of eight environmental organizations, I thought I knew everything about global warming—but Al Gore’s film was a true revelation. While laying out his well-researched case, Gore shows a gift for narrative that rivals that of such mesmerizing scientist-storytellers as Carl Sagan. And the movie’s Oscar win couldn’t come at a better time: As I write this, the New York Times and Der Spiegel report that global warming is occurring at an even faster rate, and is inflicting worse damage, than previously predicted.

    Davis Guggenheim, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006, still from a color film in 35 mm, 100 minutes. Al Gore. Davis Guggenheim, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006, still from a color film in 35 mm, 100 minutes. Al Gore.
  5. STEVE REICH, WRITINGS ABOUT MUSIC (1974) In the essays in this small yet inspiring collection, Reich writes about his own music and performances, including the seminal It’s Gonna Rain, 1965, in which two recordings of the same apocalyptic speech by a street preacher are played simultaneously, gradually shifting in and out of sync with each other due to technological inconsistencies between the two recorders. The book is, inadvertently, a chronicle of the ’60s and ’70s, since, in writing about his music, Reich necessarily discusses the groundbreaking composers, dancers, musicians, and works of that time.

  6. JOËLLE TUERLINCKX AND ARTURO HERRERA Tuerlinckx’s exhibition “Drawing Inventory” (2006), at the Drawing Center in New York, which consisted of workstations that displayed various materials indexing measurements of the space, and Herrera’s show “Separated, but Nevertheless Together” (2005) at the DAAD Galerie in Berlin, which featured rooms meticulously painted with “leaking” red stripes, might, on first look, appear to be very dissimilar. But despite their distinct visual vocabularies and artistic processes, these two artists rely on one underlying concern for their projects—the site-specific conditions residing in the architecture of their exhibition spaces.

    Arturo Herrera, Untitled, 2005, acrylic on wall. Installation view, DAAD Galerie, Berlin. Photo: Jens Zuhe. Arturo Herrera, Untitled, 2005, acrylic on wall. Installation view, DAAD Galerie, Berlin. Photo: Jens Zuhe.
  7. PAUL ELLIMAN’S FOUND FONT Since 1989, London-based designer Paul Elliman has collected hundreds of letter-shaped industrial scraps. Always adding to his collection—part of which was recently shown in the exhibition “Accidental Collectors” at the Aram Gallery in London—Elliman is working toward generating a “found” font that would allow one to write a text without having to use the same character twice, a uniqueness that is precisely contrary to what a font traditionally is.

    Characters from Paul Elliman’s found font. Characters from Paul Elliman’s found font.
  8. THE SUBURBAN Artists Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam founded this gem of an art space in 1999 behind their house in Oak Park, Illinois. Since then, it has attracted thousands of visitors who have come to see projects by nearly one hundred artists from all over the world, including Matthew Higgs, Kevin Wolff, and Luc Tuymans. It has developed considerable cachet, being one of, if not the, most interesting spaces in the Chicago area, arguably due to its distance from the market and to the hosts’ hands-off approach and their curatorial acuity.

    Exterior of The Suburban, Oak Park, IL, 2007. Exterior of The Suburban, Oak Park, IL, 2007.
  9. HA HA Serious subjects presented humorously have always delivered more punch for me than serious subjects presented seriously, perhaps because the joke is unexpected. And the more slapshtick the better. Richard Jackson’s sculptures of army generals as ducks, the works in Cary Leibowitz’s show “I Love Warhol Piss Paintings,” and Kathe Burkhart’s confrontational canvases of Elizabeth Taylor are all examples of art I’ve recently seen that effectively sheathes tough subjects in humor.

  10. NORTHWEST INDIANA COALITION AGAINST THE IRAQ WAR I am proud to participate in this grassroots organization that has been actively protesting the Iraq War through various actions since 2005. One of our most visible accomplishments is a billboard that has been up for nine months on I-90 between Chicago and Gary, which confronts thousands of drivers each day with the message OUT OF IRAQ.