Through the end of this month, VCS faculty member Amy Wilson has two works on display in the group exhibition “Canceled: Alternative Manifestations and Productive Failures” at the Center for Book Arts in New York City, organized by Independent Curator Lauren van Haaften-Schick. Here is a description of the exhibition from the Center for Book Arts website:
This exhibition presents cancelled or otherwise prohibited exhibitions that now exist as publications or in other formats. These publications document the process and politics of cancelation, exist as an alternative manifestation of the exhibit, act as a critique of the forces that called for its cancelation, or they may be an admission and exposition of an ultimately productive failure. In the context of the Center for Book Arts, Canceled highlights the book form as a crucial means of disseminating documentation and information on a wide and accessible scale, potentially in ways that are more historically stable, and more effective, than the original exhibition would have been. Through utilizing printed matter, these artists and curators have found alternative routes by which the politics surrounding the presentation and creation of art become at least as relevant as the work itself.
A full color catalogue will be produced in conjunction with the exhibition, with essays by Lauren van Haaften-Schick, Curator, and contributions by Guerrilla Girls and Sérgio Muñoz Sarmiento.
Publications, Works, and Documentation: Bas Jan Ader, Greg Allen, Jo Baer, Wallace Berman, Christoph Büchel v. Mass MoCA, Patrick Cariou v. Richard Prince, Dexter Sinister, Exit Art, Brendan Fowler, Guerrilla Girls, Hans Haacke, David Horvitz, Douglas Huebler, Wu Hung, Jill Magid, Rhoda Rosen, Seth Siegelaub, Temporary Services, Lawrence Weiner, Werkplaats Typografie, Anton Vidokle, Marion van Wijk and Koos Dalstra, Amy Wilson, David Wojnarowicz, and others.
You can read more about “Canceled” in the reviews linked below, and see a list of the exhibitions and projects featured in the show at this link:
- Alexis Clements, “When Controversy and Failure Become Art,” Hyperallergic, May 29, 2012
- Christopher Howard, “The Show Must Go On: ‘Canceled’,” L Magazine, May 23, 2012
Wilson’s contributions to the show relate to “Training Ground for Democracy” by artist Christoph Büchel, which was scheduled to open at The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art on December 16, 2006, but was left unfinished due to a series of disagreements between Büchel and the museum over budgeting and logistical issues. A subsequent dispute over the project’s ownership led to a protracted legal battle in which a judge ruled that Mass MoCA could exhibit the unfinished installation without the artist’s permission. To read more about the controversy and its fallout, see the following articles:
- Ken Johnson, “No admittance: Mass MoCA has mishandled disputed art installation,” The Boston Globe, July 1, 2007
- Roberta Smith, “Is It Art Yet? And Who Decides?” The New York Times, September 16, 2007
- John Dyer, “Judge rules Mass MoCA can show controversial unfinished installation,” The Boston Globe, September 22, 2007
The dispute was also discussed in the VCS-sponsored lecture and panel discussion David Cohen: Artists Rights and Wrongs, with Karen Gover and Walter Robinson, which can be seen on video at these links: part 1, part 2. Mass MoCA’s statement on the controversy is available at this FAQ on the museum’s website.
Shortly before the legal ruling was handed down, Wilson visited Mass MoCA and saw Büchel’s unfinished work, which was then “on display” (partially covered by yellow tarps) in a space connecting two other exhibitions at the museum. While at the museum, she surreptitiously took a couple of photos that became the basis for two small paintings, one of which she posted on her artist’s blog. In a subsequent post, she wrote about her thoughts on the situation and engaged in an extended debate with several commenters. Her posts caught the attention of several writers who were following the story, and her paintings were later featured in the following article in the print and online editions of the journal Art Lies:
You can read about some of the other works in “Canceled” at these posts by Ania Stypulkowski on the Center for Book Arts blog:
- Wednesday Exhibitions: Guerrilla Girls’ “Do Women Have to Get Naked to Get into the Met. Museum?” (1989)
- Wednesday Exhibitions: A Fire in My Belly and Rarely Seen Bas Jan Ader Film
- Wednesday Exhibitions: Illegal America
“Canceled” will be on display through June 30th at the Center for Book Arts, which is located on the 3rd Floor at 28 West 27th Street in New York City. The Center is open to the public Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm, and Saturday 10 am to 4 pm. The Center is closed on Sundays; admission is free. For more information, visit their website or contact them at (212) 481-0295 or firstname.lastname@example.org