Artist: Seth Price
Venue: Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York
Date: January 22 – February 22, 2009
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York.
For his third show at Reena Spaulings Fine Art, Seth Price presents selections from an older body of work. Price’s ‘calendar paintings’ were executed in late 2003 and early 2004, but have not been widely exhibited. The graphic design of each calendar was composed by Price, centered around images taken from several sources: American painting between the World Wars, obsolete computer graphics illustrations, and out of date magazine advertisements.
In his video lecture Redistribution, (2007-2008) Price discusses the calendar paintings, some of which were recently exhibited at the Kölnischer Kunstverein:
“All artworks carry their dates around with them. It’s information extrinsic to the piece, but you can’t shake it, it will shadow your work forever. A year calendar poster, with a theme picture and a grid of numbers, seemed interesting, because its aspects kind of cancel each other out. Supposedly function is the main thing, with the art smuggled along in this package that’s about utility, but then the little grid of dates is often so tiny that it’s useless, and you wind up with pure decoration. So the utility is more like a frame for an aesthetic decision: you like cats, you get a cat calendar, you like dogs, you get a dog calendar… Some of these calendar paintings feature obsolete computer graphics, or advertisements made with computers, but mostly American painting between the wars, from before the Americans supplanted the European avant-garde. Where there are signs pointing to the post-war boom in American art, but they’re buried. It’s a kind of odd period in American art, there’s something melancholy about it… It falls outside the normal progression, anyway. It’s almost a kind of Socialist Realism, with the WPA, the New Deal, and those attitudes. So, this is a slide of the calendars as posters glued to the wall. I also had started printing them on canvas, as paintings, but I never showed those; I didn’t have a gallery when I did them, and when I had one later, I was doing something else, and they slipped through the cracks. So showing them here in Cologne is interesting, now that they’re out of date. Sometimes it’s good to go forward and then double back, and circle around again. To those who turned their feet around so that their tracks would confuse their pursuers: why not walk backward?”
Accompanying the calendar paintings are vacuum-formed polystyrene reliefs with a generic mask impression (aside from consumer product packaging, the most common use of vacuum-forming technology is the halloween or Carnevale mask.)
A xeroxed essay by Price, titled “For a Friend” (2007-2008), will be available for sale at the gallery, as well as a compact disc of music by the artist. His video Redistribution will be screened at the gallery, towards the end of the exhibition. Contact Reena Spaulings for further information.