london

John Wood and Paul Harrison, Semi-Automatic Painting Machine, 2014, HD video, color, sound, 19 minutes.

John Wood and Paul Harrison

Carroll / Fletcher

John Wood and Paul Harrison, Semi-Automatic Painting Machine, 2014, HD video, color, sound, 19 minutes.

A 2006 essay by artist Ian White gently chided what he saw as the default critical approach to John Wood and Paul Harrison’s short, epigrammatic films and sculptures: a rush to immediate, endless comparison with historical examples of Minimalism, Conceptualism, process art, philosophy, absurdism, slapstick, and more. However, White (having his cake and eating it) also listed a few dozen of the usual comparators, including Donald Judd, Bruce Nauman, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Yvonne Rainer, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Samuel Beckett. He thought this contextual “stickiness” was mere reading-in, but that’s debatable. Wood and Harrison might not intend each and every one of these comparisons, but the availability of their work for multiple art-historical (and other) associations seems entirely strategic.

White’s list overlooked Roman Signer—oddly, since the artists themselves

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