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Installation View, Nicholas Gottlund: Always at Paris London Hong Kong

This experimental review was written and edited collectively during a 70 minute group workshop, Peer Review, led by artist Brandon Alvendia on June 7, 2014. Its time-limited and collaborative context should be considered when reading.


opening lines for review: Nottlund

NG evokes questions on threshold, meaning, and literacy
“Printing always printing/ Framing always framing/ Boring always boring?”


It is very formal, a sort of printmaker’s orgasm. crisp large format half tone one-of-a-kind screen prints on brown cardstock. Below the prints, which ring the room, are horizontal bands of color that are red and black. The prints are enlargements drawn from a book of prints the artist made blowing up the black and white photos printed in a book called Farming, Always Farming.

makes viewer aware of the photographic material, silver halide grain. like offset/halftone.

printers inside of a farming community – mechanization of farming vs mechanization of printing. is a return to an artisanal farming practice an echo of Gottlund’s formal practice?

It is “good” that it provides access to these things, provides patterns we can read into; he’s leaving crumbs
enlightenment authorship fetish
here’s my game and figure it out
books are not paratext, they are part of the exhibition, on a pedestal in the center
wouldn’t feel comfortable touching it unless someone did first
the conversation is generous
this is different from a crit because we’re trying to think about what this format affords in terms of a voice
what is the character we’re conceiving of?
economies of of
the less information something has the more expensive it becomes
do I like farming? should i?

ultimately the level of interest hinges on a sentimentality that is what makes the artist interested in the work but is not necessarily of interest to us.
lots of artists have worked with memory and tangibility
it’s closed off
overarching notion of what it means to “register” an experience
story that brought this show & the story of the mediation


Printing Always Printing (Summer Kitchen), 2014

the artist speckles the negative space around the screen printing dots that shift the tonal ground
the tan paper is traditionally used as an encasement for archival materials in institutional settings much like those you would find the book palette, library blue, forest green, burgundy
controlled environment
print is centered and takes up about 60% of the surface
mounted with bookbinding posts
speckling adds texture, makes it look “dusty” / aged becomes frame only on
some of the “spanners” reference the sun-bleaching of the original book
bitmapped pixels are fuzzy but sharp
reproduction of a reproduction / degradation of the image
30” by 40” except 2 larger except the one with the address
spanners reference
low hang of the spanners subconsciously referencing offset printing calibration marks
color bars on monochromatic images?
width of the color bars reference a spread rather than an individual page 7 or 8
this edit/selection site specific??
the works are invite an idea of a threshold, extremely mediated, when do images become legible? what is possible on either side of legibility. it evokes a photographic mysticism

evokes a WPA project or even sensibility, there is a documenting and a meta-documenting

spatial memory in the age of mechanical reproduction

there is a shallowness in the exhibition formally that is a red herring to the potential conceptual implications

A sense of longing mediated through

the book and the address are stepping stones into the artist’s personality, research perspective
normally on, it asks for a high amount of reconciliation

“pretty research” we don’t learn about farming or printing

spanners are a literal
book fetish

Red Herrings: One of the colored metal (?) panels had fallen on the floor when I entered the space.

I am not sure why a group of people would write about this show, there is not much going on to “unpack” as it were.

It all looks good in its understated designy-ness. Artists are always wanting to make their work, labor, mean something.

Like morally. It is moral to be an artist doing the labor of analog screen printing like the rich tradition of farming the land. But that is kind of insulting to the hard working farmers who are practicing actual labor and actual work, not artistic work. All this seems to be done to justify or add weight to the essentially aesthetic undertaking of making nice, abstracted prints of half-tone patterns. Printmaking about printmaking.

Printing Always Printing (Outhouse), 2014. Below: Spanner #4, 2014

Printing Always Printing (Outhouse), 2014. Below: Spanner #4, 2014


The work is not bad. It’s just kind of boring, which is worse.

Whether or not you can pull out or put in the content about labor and farming and hard work doesn’t matter. It’s all there when you walk in.

It’s a closed system. You can look at it, and basically guess what is going on. Then you are done. There isn’t any tension or problems to keep you wrestling with it.
Art’s not really about being good or bad, just presenting the viewer with some stuff you have to come to terms with. If you are able to instantly “get-it” or comprehend it, then you could say that’s “bad”.

Which is at odds with the general public, as seen in Yelp reviews, which takes the position of, “if I don’t get it, it’s not art.” Personal history is a construct.

The final impression of the show is that of an artist looking to push through the mediating layers that constitute the reason for these objects/images’ existences to stick his (our?) finger into the middle of the artist’s so-called psyche of the Pennsylvanian German Farm that is the backdrop for this line of inquiry.

Nicholas Gottlund: Always at Paris London Hong Kong, 845 W. Washington Blvd 2R, is on view through July 26th, 2014.