New York

Henry Flynt

Emily Harvey Gallery

SAMO© appeared as a cryptic message scrawled across the sides of buildings and trucks in downtown Manhattan as the ’70s drew to a close, and Henry Flynt photographed the graffiti because it must have moved him somehow. Eleven years later, after the rise and fall of the ’80s art boom and the death of SAMO©’s primary creator, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Flynt’s images function as documents of a moment in recent art history.

Straight photography is quite a leap for Flynt. Based on difficult principles of mathematics and optics, the work of this early Conceptual artist is known for its stubborn obscurity. Flynt has adamantly remained an outsider, and he offered a challenge to Conceptual artists as recently as last year in the form of full-page ads in two of the major art magazines.

What made Flynt document the SAMO© graffiti must have been the recognition of an important force at work in the

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.