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Sol LeWitt 1928-2007

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"Splotches" (2005)"Splotches" (2005)

My relationship to LeWitt's work is a bit unusual. When I was coming up I detested him, along w/ the other Late Minimalists -- or so was he contextually positioned & critically aspected. At that time, the work seemed yet another desperate attempt by one of that flock to reify a movement which had become completely moribund. However as time went by & LeWitt's work developed I found my view changing. -- & do we privilege work which we came to appreciate over time after having responded negatively initially? Perhaps we do, & perhaps we should, as such work has in a sense fought for our appreciaton.

In retrospect, it is easy to see that LeWitt comprehended his relationship to Minimalism & its position on the gallows of art better than anyone. So, while continuing some of the major Minimalist methodologies, he began stripping his work of all references to that movement, its conventions & (numerous) shibboleths. What resulted was a kind of "art basic", remarkably uninflected & existing in a state of almost beautific disdain for what anyone else was bringing to market.

Kimmelman's obit in the New York Times (see annc posted by GH) is o.k. for that sort of thing however there are 2 points made which bear amplification & emendation respectively. First, to continue the gist of my recent comments in re Kosuth & Pollock, LeWitt addressed the issue of the Acts of the Hand in a profound & largely unrecognized way -- esp as relates to that chimera, "public opinion" (i.e. beyond the art world). Homo Sapiens Sapiens are consummate tool-users. In some cases, as pertains to art, these tools have become transparent, no one looks to the tool before its wielder in a critical appraisal (& at some other point I will attempt to speak to why this dispensation should be seen to fail when it comes to electronic media). In others the tool is still paramount, thus the absurd raft of critical terminology which describes kinds of art by how they were made. As I've said before, the term "computer art" is still ubiquitous (& grotesquely inappropriate) yet no one speaks of "brush art" or "chisel art". So while it may be of critical value to discuss how a work was executed, it is folly to use that for any sort of critical classification (there may be cases where it is somewhat apt in curatorial usage). What then is the ultimate tool qua tool that an artist may use? -- & here we are speaking of micro-utilization rather than the heady arena where grand forces of market & media themselves become the agency of realization -- the ultimate tool, extension of eye, hand, & will, is obviously another human being.

Thus LeWitt fought the good & necessary fight in combating the popular idiocy which has it that an artist is defined by their virtuosity, metier, or "touch". As we all know, great works may be created by artists who never physically touch their work nor engage it thus in any way. Just as previous generations needed to update an uninformed public's innate (& inert) preconception that art was somehow still slaved to the function of facsimile (one might think a century of photography would have disabused them of that canard), so LeWitt was a fine champion of the concept that art can be realized by the tools at hand, in this case, other people's. He succinctly pointed out that in the other arts no one expects an architect to lay bricks themself nor a composer to pick up a violin & take their place in an orchestra. At first, the collecting market balked at work in which they could not easily discern a hand, since in that arena, the hand equates to the Signature, & thus the singular, authored i.d. of the work in Q. Despite this, it was easy to spot a LeWitt, no matter how far removed from the process of physical execution he may have been. While this has been accepted from time immemorial (lovely word, that) it was always considered in re the artist's extended "studio" or "workshop", implying a permanent body or creative organ. That an artist could be a studio or workshop _in_being_, w/out regard to any standing social construct is a wonderful reification of the power of the individual artist, their rights & privileges, of which this is one of the chiefest.

The other crucial point regards Kimmelman's (& others) abbreviated disingenuity in speaking of LeWitt's conceptual process. Yes, the artist sought to strip the works of the baggage which is all art's legacy, go "back to basics" as is said; & yet one must ask how many have tried this, how many works or bodies of work created this way have any value whatsoever? It just isn't that simple. Indeed, LeWitt sought to do this & succeeded famously, yet it was not thru any power inherant in the approach or conceptual methodology... it was about _him_. It was his eye that could see the atomic components w/in the obfuscatory & often bewildering assemblage of those elements (conceptual, virtual, & actual) which constitute a given artwork. It was his mind that could take those components & arrange them in such a way as to make good on art's implicit promise & experiential function. & finally it was his hand which could grow & project so that each of his "painter's fingers" could become a human exectutive -- highlighting the essential distinction between executive & executor, the latter status which he appropriately retained for himself. To put it simply, this is an approach many have tried unsuccessfuly, there is no sovereign power in the means itself, it yet requires an artist's mind to have this wired to this & that wired to that; & that mind, & eye, & hand, to constitute a functional unity. Does this mean "hey kids, don't try this at home", perhaps it does.

In this way the comparison of LeWitt's late work w/ Matisse's cutouts is not inapt. Yet this Sumi-style variety of conceptualism is all about the repudiation of Minimalism & nothing about some redemptive, evolutionary transmogrification which could revivify a bankrupt movement & its attendent world-view. The Minimalist restricts, incarcerates, & denies in excusing their failed quest for truth, beauty, or their personal Sublime. In contrast, LeWitt's late work explodes, enables, & affirms the status of art at its basic & best.

To paraphrase a concept from baseball, LeWitt "changes the viewer's eye", not to make an "out" yet rather to deliver a "strike". What the viewer then does w/ the "pitch" is their own personal part of the art process -- as it should be.

Sol Lewitt Sentences on Conceptual Art (1968)

Very interesting Blackhawk.
Here is something Sol Lewitt did I admire, for the record:

Sol Lewitt Sentences on Conceptual Art (1968)

NOTES * Reprinted from Art-Language, Vol. 1, No. 1 (1969).

1) Conceptual Artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.
2) Rational judgments repeat rational judgments.
3) Illogical judgments lead to new experience.
4) Formal art is essentially rational.
5) Irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically.
6) If the artist changes his mind midway through the execution of the piece he compromises the result and repeats past results.
7) The artist’s will is secondary to the process he initiates from idea to completion. His willfulness may only be ego.
8) When words such as painting and sculpture are used, they connote a whole tradition and imply a consequent acceptance of this tradition, thus placing limitations on the artist who would be reluctant to make art that goes beyond the limitations.
9) The concept and idea are different. The former implies a general direction while the latter is the component. Ideas implement the concept.
10) Ideas alone can be works of art; they are in a chain of development that may eventually find some form. All ideas need not be made physical.
11) Ideas do not necessarily proceed in logical order. They may set one off in unexpected directions but an idea must necessarily be completed in the mind before the next one is formed.
12) For each work of art that becomes physical there are many variations that do not.
13) A work of art may be understood as a conductor from the artists’ mind to the viewers. But it may never reach the viewer, or it may never leave the artists’ mind.
14) The words of one artist to another may induce a chain of ideas, if they share the same concept.
15) Since no form is intrinsically superior to another, the artist may use any form, from an expression of words (written or spoken) to physical reality, equally.
16) If words are used, and they proceed from ideas about art, then they are art and not literature, numbers are not mathematics.
17) All ideas are art if they are concerned with art and fall within the conventions of art.
18) One usually understands the art of the past by applying the conventions of the present thus misunderstanding the art of the past.
19) The conventions of art are altered by works of art.
20) Successful art changes our understanding of the conventions by altering our perceptions.
21) Perception of ideas leads to new ideas.
22) The artist cannot imagine his art, and cannot perceive it until it is complete.
23) One artist may misperceive (understand it differently from the artist) a work of art but still be set off in his own chain of thought by that misconstruing.
24) Perception is subjective.
25) The artist may not necessarily understand his own art. His perception is neither better nor worse than that of others.
26) An artist may perceive the art of others better than his own.
27) The concept of a work of art may involve the matter of the piece or the process in which it is made.
28) Once the idea of the piece is established in the artist’s mind and the final form is decided, the process is carried out blindly. There are many side effects that the artist cannot imagine. These may be used as ideas for new works.
29) The process is mechanical and should not be tampered with. It should run its course.
30) There are many elements involved in a work of art. The most important are the most obvious.
31) If an artist uses the same form in a group of works and changes the material, one would assume the artist’s concept involved the material.
32) Banal ideas cannot be rescued by beautiful execution.
33) It is difficult to bungle a good idea.
34) When an artist learns his craft too well he makes slick art.
35) These sentences comment on art, but are not ar

nifty list

My one issue, & perhaps it's a quibble, is that part of the tyrrany of rationocentricity is its self-reifying assertion that reason is not just the principle form of logic, yet the only form. So despite otherwise attempting to assert a distinction he ends up conflating them here. Art is sometimes rational yet even when it's not, it is always logical. & while I don't think this (or these) logic(s) need to be codified, perhaps if they were then artists would desist from the incredibly annoying habit of reaching to other disciplines for logical forms which already possess a critical language. As SlW suggests (& preciently so), language, in & of, art is important yet not essential. It remains an alfa-channel & work is neither better nor worse if the artist is able or unable to discuss it in critical, philisophical, or simply analytical terms. Plus some of us grognards have had quite enuf of that particular sort of artist who seems to make work solely according to their ability to discuss it. This becomes problematical when the art is actually good, at which point one wishes the artist would simply shut the fuck up & let us enjoy the work. This also holds true for work which functions precisely opposite to the artist's stated claims for it. Ah well, as the toon was captioned: "In Cyberspace no one knows you're a dog."

IP and LeWitt

Hi Blackhawk. Nice summary. To me, evaluating LeWitt is like asking one's opinion about hot and cold running water. You have the benefit of having some perspective on his rise, before and after, which is great to hear.

When doing recent construction work, PS1 discovered a Sol LeWitt drawing under a layer of sheet rock dating from, I believe, the 70's. His studio demanded the work be destroyed immediately and it was. This past-date remnant was considered a "forgery" despite the fact LeWitt had made it himself. We are familar with the idea of the artist's hand not being a requirement of an artwork. The flip side is that LeWitt's hand does not insure its lasting value.

All this is fair enough... But, you know, if I like the work and don't want to play by Apple's, oops, I mean Sol LeWitt's rules doesn't "deauthorizing" also mean I can do what I want with my data? It might be mercantile to want to hold onto the thing itself regardless of LeWitt's conceptual framework and intent... but as a "user" I don't like getting locked into overly-stringent IP... My gut, as I watched PS1 reduce the work to rubble, was remorse over lost data.

there's data & "data"

Not all data is valuable. Think of the genome, a deal of it is essentially scar-matter, corrupted long ago by some primordial simian virus. Amphibians are totally extreme in this re, less then 10% of a frog's genome codes for the frog. Now some people are fascinated by this, I forget his name but there's a respected scientist in Nihon who thinks the human genome contains instructions left by the aliens who uplifted us on how to find their star system -- presumably so we can thank them for getting us out of the trees. [btw, if I recall properly the guy's field is neither genetics nor astrophysics]

You've hit on a grey-zone here, one of the Mysteries of art is that tho it's bought & sold it's never truly owned by anyone other than the artist who made it. As such they _should_ be able to morph it, multiply it, or de-rez it at will. One presumes that a collector given an ultimatum to destroy a particular piece would be compensated for its value, (& further that such a process could itself become an artwork -- the original artist's or perhaps someone else if the originator didn't pracitce that sort of thing).

So w/ an eye to the preceding, what is the status of information? That which constitutes art is obviously entitled to the same privileges & permissions as art by any other media. However if it's not art doesn't it become tantamount to a s/w licencing agreement which supposedly binds one to erase an app after one's migrated it to a new p/form? Do you know anyone (not working for a F5C) who's actually ever done this?

Personally I tend to be a packrat, & also as one in perpetual mourning for the loss of History the danger exists that I'll become some sort of e-collier (& no, that has nothing to do w/ bacteria). Sure, I periodically burn archival discs (wherein I never seem to be able to find anything) & clean off the drive but like everything else, data continues to simply accumulate.

There's an ontogeny here somewhere. Back in the day (& I built my first box more than 20 years ago) I was so thrilled w/ any addition to my data assets it was like finding gold every day. Now when I finish a consulting gig & can erase the client's data I am as relieved as if I'd just gotten over a bout of constipation.

Anyway, in theory it should be easier for a digital artist to maintain direct control over a work remotely (actual "remote control") since it's conceivable that the mechanisms for such control could be built in. But again, let's consider something like Gibson's "virus book", how many actually completed the project by reading it & then sat & watched it erase itself? I read it after someone had broken the virus & hacked out the text. One must presume the collectors did as well.

Ray's "Object to be Destroyed" was of course never destroyed (it was a copy of another piece called "Indestructible Object" which was lost in a fire ^_^). This is all akin to players of CCG's some of whom place their ultra-rares in plastic sleeves. If you ask me, that's totatl bs. It's part of the trade-off, keep them as collectibles & maintain their price, or play w/ them (presumably victoriously {& for those unfamiliar w/ this arena many play for ante so there's $ to be made}) & degrade it. But of course if there's a way to play it both ways the collector will find it.

So to directly A your Q, if you disregard the artist's explicit instruction concerning the status of the work, physical or otherwise, then technically you have de-authored such work. It no longer belongs to the artist & therefore isn't anything beyond its materials. Could one then claim ownership oneself? [who was it who did a piece by erasing someone else's?] 9_9 I wouldn't want to take a case that scenario generates to trial, I'll tell you that...

Worries about DNA

I'm ok with the studio saying that if someone retained the work against their terms that they do not recognize its authenticity... but the studio went further than that. They wanted it purged.

I'm glad you brought up DNA. I have friends that believe a perfect copy of me, for example, would be equivalent to the original. If that were true, you could destroy the source material with no loss of data. I can tell you right now that I, the source material, wouldn't like that.

My point is that there is something to the specifity of matter -- and my hunch is that this sort of materialism is more scientific than the one that says there isn't. There is something about this whole LeWitt-PS1 situation that strikes me as very romantic... it smacks of a deep Victorian preoccupation with the persistance and transport of the soul. Am I going too far here? The studio's enforcement of de-authorization strikes me as between a strong-arm intellectual property issue and naive sciencism.

Your points are all good and I need to think more about them. I love that Rauschenberg piece, btw.

code is code is code is code

No disrespect Paul, yet I think those friends you mention are the naive ones here. & yes, one could say this (as well as the studio's) is a form of scientism, in this case the privileging of uninflected nature over nurture. Yet consider, a music box in Antarctica is not the same as a music box in Benin, even if they're both otherwise identical. & here is where I am drawn to despair -- the overriding consideration becomes one of -context- & that is exactly what our brave new world is eliding. In speaking of human cloning, there is no way to replicate the formative experiences of one individual to another, even if their environments are rigidly controlled (c.f. C.J. Cherryh's clone series).

I think the key may be found in the semiotic linkage between the words "authored" & "authorized", which your comments hi-light. This is why I proposed that in such a case as you describe in re the found SLW, to deny authorization is to deny authorship as well, orphaning it & eradicating its value, intrinsically as well as commercially. It is possible, even likely that this trope will soon cease to obtain. The obvious analogy is the bootleg recording. There is a vibrant market for such & some musicians/composers repudiate such products while others embrace them.

So if one stressed the physical i.d. of an artwork to the exclusion of all else then one could suppose it wouldn't matter if it had been deauthorized, maybe one just really liked looking at the thing & didn't care if it no longer had market value.. ah, I think such a case would be in the extreme minority.

The fact remains, code is code. Programming code is comprable to genetic code, & also to the socio-cultural indicators which assist in providing work w/ (contextual) meaning. So depending on which of these things one's talking about, it's mearly a matter of disassembling, isolating, or decoding respectively -- if it's been put together it can be taken apart. Things assembled organically or accreted may not even be pursuitable 'til one has deconstructed them in such wise. This is most often true of cultural coding & goes back to what I said about the situational irrelevance of an artist's ability to explain their aims or processes.

All of which is to say, no, I don't think your analogy goes too far, since we are indeed talking about the "soul" of an artwork, that is to say its innate "suchness", its achievement of a thing being a thing. While true for everything, there are only so many examples of where the thing can be said to will itself into another state -- art is one of these.

just came to me...

That was Rauschenberg erasing a deKooning.

D' Author and D' Info or D'other In-Faux

Information theory is constantly butting up against property rights. That was the premise behind Faux Conceptual Art. I did the piece 14 years ago. Recently I've been re-visiting and updating the work.
Fibonacci series with calculators and Giant Kosuth Pricelist . In the Kosuth post I mentioned the De Kooning erasure. The whole Faux Conceptual Art Project was an erasure piece on one level. There's also the question of Information theory and in particular web infomatics. It seems to me that we have progressive layers of Signifiers/Signified in the art world. Each has a property impulse. This impulse is on the one hand the artists desire not to have their work mis-represented or mis-interpreted. On the other hand there is a whole marketing and support system for art that operates on property rights and publication rights. What is at stake is that on the internet, and by extension all networks, more copies mean more attention. Attention is the gold of networks. Monetizing attention in the art world is another matter. Somehow it's still tied to an object in circulation. Erasing that whole structure or enlarging it to included networked art and also monetizing network art is the main challenge for all new media artists.

Overt Easy

A brief analysis of the conceptual proteins found in LeWitt, Rauschenberg and DeKooning bear a striking resemblance to the latest findings of Schweitzer, Asara et al. regarding the similarities of T. rex peptide sequences with chickens, frogs, newts and mice. If the richness of conceptual art is more stew than soup, as has been earlier suggested, then Blackhawk's assertion that, 'less then (sic) 10% of a frog's genome codes for the frog' may, by extension mean the other 90% is a sublimation of flesh eating terror. This 1:9 ratio of explicit/implicit may also be extended to the notion of rationalist conceptual aesthetics. (The consequences of the greater peptide match between T. rex and the chicken I leave to others).


Table 2. 68-million-year-old T. rex collagen peptide sequences identified by LC/MS/MS. Organism identity indicates the extant organisms to which the MS/MS fragmentation pattern perfectly aligned. Xcorr, Sequest cross-correlation score; Sp, Sequest preliminary score; *, hydroxylation site after a modified residue. The majority of collagen sequence matches from T. rex align uniquely with chicken from publicly available protein databases.

Peptide sequence Protein Organism identity Xcorr Sp
GATGAP*GIAGAPG*FP*GAR Collagen {alpha}1t1 Chicken, frog 3.77 1099
G*AAGPP*GATGFP*GAAGR Collagen {alpha}1t1 Newt, fish, mouse 3.74 797
GVQGPP*GPQGPR Collagen {alpha}1t1 Chicken 2.54 865
GLPGESGAVGPAGPIGSR Collagen {alpha}2t1 Chicken 2.99 479
GVVGLP*GQR Collagen {alpha}1t1 Multiple organisms 2.55 500
GLVGAPGLRGLPGK Collagen {alpha}1t2 Frog 2.28 410
GAPGPQG*PAGAP*GPK Collagen {alpha}1t1 Newt 2.14 272,,2056218,00.html

Ova Essay

I really wrote "then" instead of "than", huh? In my defense I was dictating, speaking quickly, & hell, those chimpanzees can't get anything right, (I should probably get them some new Olivettis as well...).

While I also saw the findings on T. Rex proteins & chickens I will dispute your conflation of the former w/ frogs (princely or otherwise). While the best progenitive candidates for each both arose in the Late Carboniferous (or Pennsylvanian) Period, they were already quite distinct. I mean who in their right mind would confuse an Eryopid w/ a Protorothyridid? Further, while frog-things doubltless came about somewhere in the Permian, there is no Ur-Frog to be found 'til the Triassic, & while these Protoanurans seem sufficiently froggy to me, there is no conclusive fossil record of genuine frog-frogs 'til the Jurassic, (& that's a 35 million year gap y'all). Meanwhile, also in approximately that phase of the Permian we see mutant Diapsids starting to breed true, eventually giving rise to you-know-what.

Still it is pleasant to cosider what might have obtained had Andrea Zittel not attempted to teach her chickens to fly, yet rather to grow to enormous size & eat paleontologists.

as you lie kit

I wouldn't jump to any hasty conclusions. As recent history has shown, a lack of physical evidence has no bearing on the implicit fact of existence. (It's not so recent though, think of Pascal's Wager and Nietzsche's dictum regarding jelly filled doughnuts).

In any case, as one can tell from the table, the primary T.rex sequence matches are: chicken (3 times), frog (2 times), and newt (2 times) and this is worth keeping in mind.

Rosalind Kraus, in The Originality of the Avant-Garde, while building a case against Kuspit's view of the rationality of LeWitt quotes Smithson's view of LeWitt: (he is) 'concerned with enervating 'concepts' of paradox. Everything LeWitt thinks, writes, or has made is inconsistent and contradictory...Nothing is where it seems to be.' She goes on to quote Beckett and Robbe-Grillet to back up the notion of super-rational expression as the embodiment of an intrinsic non-ratiocentric quasi-pataphysical praxis. In other words the mild mathematical exterior masks the T. rex within.

Therefore the concerns of pj regarding the erasure of the drawing at PS1 should be compared with the ongoing danger presented by the contradictory psychological implications inherent in LeWitt's drawing. The instructions to destroy it were simply in the interests in public safety. A little reported incident happened in Boise, Idaho in 1973 when the local gallery refused to destroy the work and the resident gallery attendant, a post-grad art history student doing a thesis on Botticelli, went insane. According to recent reports the attendant is currently living in a yurt in the Gobi desert getting life coaching from a mongoose named Bill. Let this be a lesson.

Two other examples of LeWitticisms come to mind. The first is the lyric written by Max Romero: 'I'm gonna put on a iron shirt, and chase the devil out of earth/I'm gonna send him to outa space, to find another race.' The second is Shakespeare in Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 3, First witch: 'Here I have a pilot's thumb, wreck'd as homeward he did come.' Both sequences illustrate the dangers previously mentioned.

As for the cross-cultural referencing between chickens, frogs, newts and the romantic tendencies of Kuspital analysis of conceptual practice I leave to the cultural geographers in the crowd.


Pascal's Gambit was theory, the emperor Constantine's was practice (tho one could say the distinction gets muddled in cases of extreme unction).

As stated, I'm not that sure SLW was that clear on the reason/logic distinction (perhaps at some point I'll partially annotate Joseph's list). Certainly, hyper-reason is not rational however there's a simple proof which can be applied: if the desired end is pursuitable thru ecstatic means then the work in Q is not rational.

Genetic matches are evidence of simultaneity, not i.d. That we are 98% genetically identical to my executive bonobos doesn't mean they could author this blog (no, not even if their bananas were w/held). I realize that linear historicity has gone out of fashion however we still need to find that slimy precursor before the issue of scaly or feathery enters into it.

Don't you think cultural geography has become passe? ...given over to cultural cartography (which A's to the cladistical jones I've been trying to assuage here) by the standing practitioners & cultural geology & cultural topography by the young turks.

Kraus should be thrown to the therapods, that or de-syndicated by Westwood One. A more pertinent anecdote can be related concerning her fellow theory-babe (we're talkin' early-70's here), Barbara Rose. My folks were at UCSD at the time & Rose was a visiting lecturer & our house-guest in La Jolla. Aside from getting the 'rents stoned -- which infuriated the early-teen version of myself who felt they were poaching on his preserve, what seemed most significant about Rose was that at this time she was dating Michael Crichton. When my mom asked what that was like Rose replied, "It's o.k. if you like fucking." 'nuff said.

It seems self-evident that opinions about dinosaurs change after having become one.

That being said, howabout we form a collective to exectute an artwork? Let's recreate Zittel's "A-Z Breeding Unit for Reassigning Flight" (1993). [you'd be amazed what you find in searching "poultry art"] Except this time we will train the chickens to revert to their predatory saurian ancestry. We need someone conversant w/ genetic recursion & someone else (at least 1) to work on the structural housing. I see this in the backroom at Postmasters : an aestheticized pen, w/ a partially transparent coop, a day/night lighting simulator, & massive wall-size projection scrs flashing (at the correct seizure-inducing rate) images of T. Rexes (or Tarbosaurs if we want to cash in on the China Art boom) on one wall while another flashes massive b/w text (is Young-Hae Chang available?) alternating between "EAT FLESH" & "GROW".

Redo It All

I think there needs to be a group show of all the restaged, re-made, re-done, re-interpreted etc..

There has been more than a spate or Conceptual Art re-dos. I like America& America Likes Me. (I bite America and America bites me) Several Vito Acconci re-dos and Upgrades. I believe between me doing Faux Conceptual art and MTAA redoing Sam Hsieh's 1 year performance among a slew of other pieces we could have quite a simulatin' old time.

in a trice...

The work would be retitled "Redassignment of Predation" (&c). We're not trying to make them into killing machines; as you obliquely indicate, the easiest way to do _that_ would be to simply have them carry some noxious pathogen. Some wags in Dinoland aren't even sure that the Rexes _were_ predators. They see a scenario where ole Tyrone (or whatever we're calling him) catches a whiff of something tasty (likely part of a herd) & ponderously begins moving after it. Once he gets there tho, something else more swift, or better organized, has cut a straggler from the herd, which then scattered, & dispatched it. However before these (necessarily) smaller things -- presumably a pack of some sort of dromaeosaur -- can commence their buffet Tyrone appears & indicates that he is prepared to jump ugly w/ them. So the dromaeosaurs (velociraptors or something) check their profit/loss risk assessment stochastics & decide to look for another salad-bar (so to dine on the diners).

I'm glad you brought up cockatrices, this puts me in mind of a proposal I made for the Venice Biennale which appeared on the first incarnation of TT ('91? Well, it's back there, somewhere...). It called for the construction of a genome (at least a virtual one) which would code for a St. Mark's Lion -- right, w/ wings. Flight was not a requirement however the beast would be required to flap/flex, maybe as a threat or mating display.

At any rate, I'm distressed that cocatrices are seen by some as identical to basilisks. The way I heard it, they have several crucial differences. One creature is produced by the union of a rooster w/ a female serpent, the other by that of a male serpent w/ a hen (I forget which is which). Cockatrices have wings, basilisks do not. A cockatrice's breath petrifies, w/ a basilisk it's the gaze. Basiliks are by far more problematical due to their habit of phase-shifiting (which renders them functionally invisible) & their preference for sitting under open ladders (which is why one isn't supposed to walk under such). Wikipedia's notation about the "cock's egg" is suspect due to the antique confusion of the words "egg" & "seed" in many bad monastic translations from Greek to Latin.

While the cockatrice is a fine example of the hearsay nature of medieval naturalism (w/ its conflation of wadjet, cobra, & medusa), it's not a very practical beast to keep around. Besides which the government would likely seize them all & release them over Teheran. A strategy might be to make soup out of them, hopefully it would taste like turtle & the Soup Dragons (or whoever holds their rights) won't sue. However speaking of suits, one could call it Cock-A-Leaky & sue everyone else who currently markets that product (presumably made the traditional way {James, can you provide a recipe?}) on the basis of eminent domain. Um... maybe that's not a money-maker.

To return to your proposal (or my proposal -- whatever), we can't use a LeWitt for the coop unless it's been deauthored (as the absence w/in is part of the structure), & we can't use Nauman (as he's a short-sighted smartass in sublimity denial). No, I really like the monstrous flashing text thing: EAT FLESH / GROW / EAT FLESH / GROW / EAT FLESH /GROW/ EAT FLESH / GROW / EAT FLESH / GROW, &c. Doubtless some art-scribbler will tell us it's a comment on the military-consumerist complex.

One last Q, when are puns going to become extinct?

Souper Duper

You want a recipe for 'Cock-a-Leaky'? A wise guy eh? Well, okay, I suppose there are two recipes for that. The first would be to get an STD like gonorrhea the other would be to develop a prostate condition. In either case consult your physician for treatment.

If, on the other hand, you mean, 'Cock-a-Leekie' the most basic recipe is:

350g (12oz) Chicken portions
350g (12oz) Leeks
15g (½ oz) Butter
1.1 litres (2 pints) Chicken Stock
1 Bouquet Garni

Melt the butter and fry the chicken until well browned on all sides.
Cut the leeks into 4 lengthways, then roughly chop.
Reserving the green parts and chop finely.
Add the white pieces of leek to the pan and fry for a few minutes to soften.
Add stock and the bouquet garni.
Bring to the boil, simmer for 30 minutes, the add the chopped leek greens.
Simmer for a further 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken, remove skin and bones and cut into chunks.
Skim the soup if required.
Add the meat to the serving dish, then pour over the soup.
Garnish with parsley.


You know, I'm getting the feeling this project might not get off the ground but maybe we should consider a New Media Cookbook? After all, if Marinetti could do it why can't we? I'm sure Taschen would be interested. They must be running out of ideas right about now.

Mind you, we might have to change, 'EAT FLESH' to 'EAT SOMETHING OR YOU'LL DIE'. Just a thought.

prostrate conditions

Well, it's not gonna work. At least not the way I'd envisioned it. There's really no substitute for the POW! of having living creatures as part of an artwork however there are too many conditionals here. We don't want to write yet another chapter in the Gallery vs. Health Dept. epic. So in addition to the issue of cleaning up after the chickens there is the matter of feeding them. Raw meat would have to be available & since they're not actually going to eat it we need to be concerned about spoilage (afaik poultry feed keeps for a while). I'm told there's a recipe for homunculi on Wikipedia, & that would have been a nice alternative since they'd be to virtual scale assuming the chickens were the size of rexes. So I guess we do it w/ models of chickens & run a docuvid (in the other room?) purporting to show the chickens in training, eating the tiny people, &c. As you suggested previously, MTAA would be a great asset given their experience w/ "faux" work.


BH: "Plus some of us grognards have had quite enuf of that particular sort of artist who seems to make work solely according to their ability to discuss it. This becomes problematical when the art is actually good, at which point one wishes the artist would simply shut the fuck up & let us enjoy the work."

As a long-ago accused (and convicted) acolyte of "Larry" who failed to bow to (i.e. understand, and/or care much about) deconstructionism, I can, without hesitation, say that the above description most impressively and accurately (and with great Le-wit, please forgive...) summarizes decades of "downtown" art.