PRINT September 2010


Stephen Kaltenbach

“BECOME A LEGEND.” It was a command. But it was also a crazy dream to live by—a stunning credo Stephen Kaltenbach issued to himself and each of the thousands of readers of this magazine in the summer of ’69. This was the eighth of twelve anonymous ads the now seventy-year-old artist placed in Artforum between November 1968 and December 1969. It is still, more than forty years later, the tightest, most thrilling “micro-manifesto” (his term) you could ever read. I want to put an exclamation mark at the end of it, but the original better reflects Kaltenbach’s own decision, made long beforehand, that he would become a legend quietly—in disguise, and through the back door. His art would be full of secrets and misdirection, mysteries and invisibility, hoaxes and questionable ethics, mischievous games and invented personae, sly humor and deferred surprises set to go off in the future

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