Matthew Brannon

Guy de Cointet, A Page from My Intimate Journal (Part I), 1974, ink on paper, 30 x 22 1/2". Photo: Billy Jim.

GROWING UP in places like Alaska in the 1970s and Montana in the ’80s, I was used to seeing advertisements before I saw the real thing. Eventually, I realized that everything was right there—in the posters, the previews, the signs, the reviews. You could become obsessed with, say, a film from the posters alone; you didn’t have to see the movie to understand. Later, in graduate school, after making a few terrible paintings, I curated student shows and ran the visiting artist program, finally becoming more interested in the promotional residue than in the events themselves. Today posters form the core of my work: They loosely mimic advertising through the balance of text and image; their flat-footed appearance and immediacy are countered by their poetic component; they are full of content but fail to deliver. These are lessons I learned from Guy de Cointet.

I’m sure I first

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