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Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda

Following their first major solo exhibition in the US, at REDCAT in Los Angeles this past summer, artists Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda are currently preparing a show to open at Francesca Pia Gallery, Zurich, in 2013. They live and work in Berlin.

  1. ROBERT MUSIL, THE MAN WITHOUT QUALITIES (1930–42)

    In one of the many subplots of this expansive Viennese novel, General Stumm von Bordwehr makes a visit to the Imperial Library. Neither a socialite nor one much for literature, Stumm hopes that by reading the same books as Diotima (his elusive muse and the hostess of Austria’s leading salon), he might come to better understand her and “the arts of peace.” Little does Stumm know, Diotima is chronically unable to think for herself—her words are merely lines parroted from Arnheim, the German businessman with whom she, in turn, is infatuated.

  2. MILOŠ FORMAN, AMADEUS (1984)

    This film, written by the English playwright Peter Shaffer, sparked a worldwide Mozart craze. We like to think it was because audiences identified with the immortally bitter and covetous Salieri, the story’s real hero. It’s funny that when Shaffer describes the film’s success he happens to sound just like Mozart’s rival, writing: “More people actually received and rejoiced in Mozart’s music in one year than in all the nearly two hundred years since his death. . . . The tapes of our sound track (designed by myself)[,] misused in apparently every café on earth[,] could not stale the eternal miracle of his sound.”

    *Miloš Forman, _Amadeus_, 1984*, 35 mm, color, sound, 160 minutes. Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham). Miloš Forman, Amadeus, 1984, 35 mm, color, sound, 160 minutes. Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham).
  3. JANA EULER

    Cutthroat Städelschule students: rumor or legend? In the stormy twilight scene of one recent painting by this Städel alum, dancers-slash-synchronized-swimmers balance on pedestals, half-submerged. The figures’ sinewy, Speedo-clad bodies form letters of the alphabet, while their faces contort into abstract grimaces and smiles. Taken together, the bodies spell out A-N-O-N-Y-M-O-U-S, while the heads, which appear to be melting, read P-O-W-E-R-G-A-M-E. The work resonated so greatly with its audience when it was unveiled last year, it immediately incited a three-way bidding war.

    *Jana Euler, _Anonymous Powergame_, 2011*, oil on canvas, 48 x 33 7/8". Jana Euler, Anonymous Powergame, 2011, oil on canvas, 48 x 33 7/8".
  4. KAZUO ISHIGURO, NEVER LET ME GO (2005)

    The sheltered teenage protagonists in this book imitate what they see on TV, lie about their virginity, engage one another in mind games, and generally aspire to be cool. At times the novel rings true, but Ishiguro’s apparent artlessness renders his characters’ preoccupations trivial, as if to imply that, in the grand scheme of things, life-and-death matters are insignificant. Set in a dystopian future, the story quickly reveals the kids to be clones––adolescents raised in private institutions not for their own aesthetic enlightenment, as they first believe, but for their vital organs—viscera to be harvested, one operation at a time.

  5. TRUEFACE.COM

    could spell the undoing of your perfect Facebook profile. On this social-networking platform, you won’t create your own page; someone else will anonymously create one about you. As others update your profile, an identity will grad­ually emerge. See something about yourself you don’t like? You can’t delete it, though you can respond. Through this site you will come to know how you’re seen in the eyes of others, be it with admiration or with scorn.

  6. LOUISE LAWLER, THEY HAVE ALWAYS WANTED ME TO DO THIS, 1995

    This photograph is just like her others in that it self-reflexively depicts art as displayed in real space—in particular, art by artists who have immediately recognizable styles. With this piece, however, Lawler takes this strategy to its tautological limit by rephotographing Auction II, 1990, a work of her own (which, in turn, features a Warhol and a Lichtenstein), hanging against a background of floral wallpaper. Lawler depicts her own work just as she would any other––with a connoisseur’s eye––but it’s as if this metapiece weren’t made for her own sake. They have always wanted me to do this. But who is the titular they, and why do they always want an empty formality?

    *Louise Lawler, _They Have Always Wanted Me to Do This_, 1995*, Cibachrome, museum box, 23 5/8 x 18 1/2". Louise Lawler, They Have Always Wanted Me to Do This, 1995, Cibachrome, museum box, 23 5/8 x 18 1/2".
  7. SECOND GENERATION CONCEPTUAL ARTISTS, 1974

    When we think of the wooden arrangements in our own family photos and home videos we wince, but what if they were as elegantly choreographed as this eleven-minute document by Douglas Huebler and Stephani Weinschel? The fond parents tape their adult children doing little skits (on the deck or in the woods) that allude to the history of Conceptual art. One segment shows the actors flirtatiously whispering into one another’s ears (an homage to Huebler himself?), before they break into laughter. As the kids are descendants, “second generation” in both the biological and the artistic sense, this video strips the term of its pejorative connotations. That we only learned of this impossibly obscure classic from an erudite undergrad art student definitely bodes well for the future. Maybe there is hope after all.

    *Douglas Huebler and Stephani Weinschel, _Second Generation Conceptual Artists_, 1974*, video, black-and-white, sound, 11 minutes. Douglas Huebler and Stephani Weinschel, Second Generation Conceptual Artists, 1974, video, black-and-white, sound, 11 minutes.
  8. PIERRE THORETTON, L’AMOUR FOU (2011)

    At the climax of this documentary, Pierre Bergé is shown in Paris at the Grand Palais, overseeing the auction of the art he collected with his late partner of nearly fifty years, Yves Saint-Laurent. Though Bergé is visibly melancholy, he is fully engaged in the auction’s proceedings, which, in addition to serving as a form of funeral rite, appear as the ne plus ultra of capitalist exchange. It is as if Bergé is completely cognizant that the objects for sale are all the more valuable for having been infused with traces of his personal life with the reclusive Saint-Laurent. Watch in awe as he encourages two potential bidders to compete. It’s not art on the block. It’s his lover’s soul.

  9. FIFTY PERCENT OF THE LOUVRE’S VISITORS ARE UNDER THIRTY,

    and on many evenings it seems like more. Is this the result of some demographically targeted behavioral experiment (an Apple Store now exists by the ticket machines), or has France (shrewdly) decreed that the palace be ruled by those age 18–26? There’s hardly a guard to tell them off, and you can hear them, constantly, in the distance, traipsing freely through the halls in little packs. Absorbed in their own world, these young museumgoers don’t seem to notice the art or the mind-boggling technical infrastructure that enables their indifference.

  10. THE FIRST TIME WE VISITED ANTWERP,

    a friend, the artist Jason Dodge, had given us a list of interesting things to see in the form of a walk through the city. Starting with the well-known nineteenth-century statue of Brabo throwing a giant’s squirting, severed hand, the route continued on past all sorts of other less obvious sights, such as, in Jason’s words, “the Memling paintings of guys that look like they are from state-fair metal bands.” Recently, we passed through Antwerp again, but with no list, the place closed itself off behind a single, undifferentiated facade.

    *Jef Lambeaux’s 1887 sculpture of Silvius Brabo, Grote Markt, Antwerp, Belgium, 2007*. Photo: Ph.viny/Wikicommons. Jef Lambeaux’s 1887 sculpture of Silvius Brabo, Grote Markt, Antwerp, Belgium, 2007. Photo: Ph.viny/Wikicommons.