Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Clint Burnham, At Work, 2003.  Curated by, or produced in collaboration with, Tim Lee.

The question of quotation, reproduction, repetition etc. in my work.  Reenactments and autonomous photographs made mostly, but not exclusively, digitally, utilizing both "amateur" and "professional" technology, eg., BarbieCam; Leaf digital back on old Mamiya 645.

Reenactment (War Game Tree, 2012) as distinct from appropriation.  So far I've only made two real appropriations, Theft, 2006-7, 2012, and Into Thin Air, 2012, both consisting of other people's photographs that I found (one on the Internet, the other on one of my cameras), color-corrected, printed, and presented as my own.

The Street Views (Metropolitan, CJ, & etc.) aren't appropriations.  They're autonomous pictures, found and framed using my office monitor.  Appropriation implies the seamless translation of a preexisting thing into an alternate context, qv. Sherrie Levine's Walker Evans and Edward Weston photographs.  Art history lumps Levine and Sturtevant together, but there's a difference between the two, and a further distinction between Sturtevant's moreorless seamless reproductions of, say, Felix Gonzalez-Torres' go-go dancer or lightbulb strings, and her somewhat more laboriously handmade recreations of paintings by Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella and others.  Levine and Sturtevant are good artists -- Sturtevant's fearless independence is very important to me -- but I don't think my reenactments, or appropriations, have much to do with either one of them.

Also, contrary to some opinions, I don't exclusively reenact Jeff Wall pictures.  Scott McFarland, David Hockney, John Carpenter and Gustave Courbet have either been or are about to become the lucky recipients of some sustained looking.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
"No one wants to send a 13-year-old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, 'Something must be done.'"
That sentiment might explain his struggle and dissatisfaction: despite all efforts, there are some lost things, or lost moments, or lost people, that remain irretrievable.

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