NewNewCorpse-Installs-01-300 for web

Installation Photographs of The New [New] Corpse

Our October group show, The New [New] Corpse is up until December 11th; below you’ll see the works of Benjamin L. Aman & Marion Auburtin, Joseph Grigely, Young Joon Kwak, Jason Lazarus, Carlos Martiel, Heather Mekkelson, Aay Preston-Myint, Rachel Niffenegger, Xaviera Simmons, Shane Ward, and Shoshanna Weinberger. Come by and see the show in person! We are open Wed-Sat from 2pm-6pm and later on evenings with events.

The New [New] Corpse, Installation View, Sector 2337, 2014. Photo by Joseph Rynkiewicz

The New [New] Corpse, Installation View, Sector 2337, 2014. Photo by Joseph Rynkiewicz. Left to right: Joseph Grigely, “Songs Without Words (Faust),” 2012. Pigment Print, Edition 2 of 3, 35 x 29.5″;  Joseph Grigely, “Songs Without Words (Sekou Sundiata),” 2012. Pigment Print, Edition 2 of 3, 35 x 29.5″; Shane Ward, “Victory,”2014. Lead, flocking, granite, extruded polystrene, 58″ (h) x 14 x 14”; Carlos Martiel, “Break the Night,” 2014; Heather Mekkelson, “Debris Field: dependent clause,” 2008. Steel, ceramic, tile, gypsum, board; Jason Lazarus, “Untitled (Vienna, Austria),” 2008. Photographic print, 35 x 27″.

Rachel Niffenegger, "Slit Witch (Night) Gown with Insignia," 2014. Steel epoxy, white witch costume, pig foot, acrylic, 70" (h) x 26" (diam).

Rachel Niffenegger, “Slit Witch (Night) Gown with Insignia,” 2014. Steel epoxy, white witch costume, pig foot, acrylic, 70″ (h) x 26″ (diam).

The New [New] Corpse, Installation View, Sector 2337, 2014. Photo by Joseph Rynkiewicz

The New [New] Corpse, Installation View, Sector 2337, 2014. Photo by Joseph Rynkiewicz. 

The New [New] Corpse, Installation View. Left to right: Carlos Martiel, "Break the Night," 2014. Documentation of a 2014 performance at Art League Houston; photograph by Alex Barber, 16 x 24"; Heather Mekkelson, "Debris Field: told them to look after the younger ones," 2008. Aluminum blinds, handbag receipts; Jason Lazarus, "Untitled, (Vienna, Austria)", 2008. Photographic print, 35 x 27". Photograph by Joseph Rynkiewicz.

The New [New] Corpse, Installation View. Photo by Joseph Rynkiewicz. Left to right: Carlos Martiel, “Break the Night,” 2014. Documentation of a 2014 performance at Art League Houston; photograph by Alex Barber, 16 x 24″; Heather Mekkelson, “Debris Field: dependent clause,” 2008. Steel, ceramic, tile, gypsum, board; Jason Lazarus, “Untitled, (Vienna, Austria)”, 2008. Photographic print, 35 x 27″.

Aay Preston-Myint, "Of Their Slaves and Of Their Marriages," 2012. Wood, metal, plaster, plastic laminate, enamel, cake, food coloring, frosting, approx. 49" (h) x 16" (diam).

Aay Preston-Myint, “Of Their Slaves and Of Their Marriages,” 2012. Wood, metal, plaster, plastic laminate, enamel, cake, food coloring, frosting, approx. 49″ (h) x 16″ (diam). Photo by Joseph Rynkiewicz.

Shoshanna Weinberger, "Posthumous Pin-Ups," 2014. 15 ink/collage drawings on paper; 11 x 10 ft.

Shoshanna Weinberger, “Posthumous Pin-Ups,” 2014. 15 ink/collage drawings on paper; 11 x 10 ft. Photo by Joseph Rynkiewicz.

Benjamin L. Aman and Marion Auburtin, "Loop Island," 2011. Ceramic and modified musical mechanism, dimensions variable. Photo by Joseph Rynkiewicz.

Benjamin L. Aman and Marion Auburtin, “Loop Island,” 2011. Ceramic and modified musical mechanism, dimensions variable. Photo by Joseph Rynkiewicz.

Young Joon Kwak, "Aggregate Body (Book)," 2014. Edition of 50 + 2 Exhibition copies, 12 x 12  x 1/2".

Young Joon Kwak, “Aggregate Body (Book),” 2014. Edition of 50 + 2 Exhibition copies, 12 x 12 x 1/2″.

The New [New] Corpse, Installation View, Sector 2337, 2014. Photo by Joseph Rynkiewicz

The New [New] Corpse, Installation View, Sector 2337, 2014. Photo by Joseph Rynkiewicz. Left to right: Aman and Auburtin, “Loop Island;” Preston-Myint, “Of Their Slaves and Of Thier Marriages;” Aman and Auburtin, “Loop Island;” Ward, “Victory;” Mekkelson, “Debris Field: told them to look after the young ones;” and Xaviera Simmons, “Super Unknown #2,” 2010, 89 x 42″.



by Moshe Zvi Marvit

Originally published by Tramp Quarterly

The literary cliche was born in 1892 in a comparative anatomy textbook. It was not used in the 20th century outside of this comparative anatomy textbook until it was employed to describe a set of motives in the 28th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. It is not surprising that the term has proliferated so widely in just over a century. Nor is it surprising that the first use of the term was in an anatomy textbook, so long as it was comparative. The surprising thing is that the term did not exist before the turn of the 20th century. Well into the modern era, after Kant and Hegel and Marx, after the Civil War, and after Frege had mapped out the foundations of what was called at the time “common-sense philosophy,” there was still no way to describe the overflowing concept that is the cliche. Of course, this question of what we had before the cliche has now become a cliche, so it will not be investigated here. Instead, the question will remain throughout: what is the cliche? Though we all fill in the blanks of our lives with its easy colors, and though everyone tries to be original in the matters one holds important, very few have stopped to ask what the benefits and uses are of the cliche.

The cliche is perfect, easily communicable, and marks an end. The perfection of the cliche should not be understood primarily in terms of value, but rather in its denotation of completion, or absence of absence. Though its positive connotation is in part intended, this position flows from its neutral quality of perfection. The cliche is as whole as a literary piece can be. Though the incompleteness and ambiguity of language is constantly bemoaned by analytic philosophers and mature seventeen year-olds, the cliche offers an escape. It offers a rare moment of language serving as an exact coincidence and representation of that which it was intended to describe.

The cliche is also supremely communicable, as it means the same thing leaving the speaker’s lips as it does entering the listener’s ears. There is no gap or possibility for miscommunication within the cliche Of course, the application of the cliche is according to the discretion of the speaker and may be as easily misapplied as any other turn of phrase. If a man inserts himself in the middle of a line and then justifies himself to the lady behind him with the following cliche, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” then the cliche is perfectly clear. But he is confused. This understanding that the onus lies in the application rather than within the cliche allows one to see that the cliche is as a weapon. One must choose his weapon carefully, knowing full well that it must be appropriate to the situation and that another weapon may be used against it. The cliche can be countered and contradicted by another cliche. This is, in part, a mark of its perfection. Each cliche is a complete system, wherein no internal elements are antithetical. But when two systems come into contact, they often contradict each other on their own terms. The cliche has a remedy to this tension. It switches the focus from commensurability to comparability. To make commensurate is to be original. It is to recognize complexity and immanent difference and yet seek common enough elements for an ordinal understanding. To compare is to reduce bodies to their most commonly known elements and then hold the objects within view. It is an unfair, but highly useful act. Dust jackets require comparisons to Hemingway and Joyce, though these comparisons belie their efforts. To make the whole world commensurable is the near impossible task of being an artist. The artist places the two editions on the same shelf and understands them beside each other. To make the whole world comparable is to be agreeable, it is the action of an individual on a first date. This man is constantly trying to sell.

The closing is said to be a thrill for the salesman, but it is agony for the artist. The closing, or end, is always a cliche. How could it be otherwise? To finish neatly, where all the elements wrap up nicely, is cheap. To end arbitrarily, and thereby imply that life-real life-does not have quaint endings, has been done before and is no more tender. The ending must then be a cliche of the author’s own choosing. It is why every instance that a novelist has defined the novel, whether Sterne’s Tristam Shandy, Proust’s Remembrance, or Joyce’s Ulysses, the format has been dually declared epitomized and dead. How can one begin a work of genius when the ending must necessarily be recycled? This question has no answer and suggestions will not be attempted here.

In order to avoid the cliche, there must be a sense for the creative impulse. It is indeed a nice thought to picture the author alone in his study creating a text from nowhere. Or perhaps listening to the melodic tones of a muse. But to imagine creation taking this form is to imagine the quaint artist, the eccentric painter, the reclusive genius. These are all personality traits, but not traits of creation. The creative process begins and ends in the interpretation of the world. The way one approaches the world, postures before it, and makes meaning of situations, is the act of creation. Everything else is filtering, reduction to formats-the forms already in place. The act of creation is in interpreting events as original. It is understanding the differences and similarities of a man on his knees in a church and a man on his knees at a porn shop. The subsequent acts of arrangement and connectives are as acts of taxidermy or quilt-making. That is, they are recycling.

But if creation is in original interpretation then the artist is splintered. And once again, the cliche is whole and perfect. In its perfection, it is easily transferable-a fungible good. When it is offered, it is offered as an answer, with all the qualities of finality and endings that answers carry with them. So once again the cliche sneaks to the end; and the end taints the beginning. The investigation again leads back to the practicality of starting something originally while knowing that it will have to end generically.

The central concern of this question cannot be answered here. But a secondary concern of motivations can be teased to some degree. In particular, the question of motivations for this essay will be answered.

Perhaps this essay begs the question: “Why now?” Why question the cliche, which has become nearly ubiquitous, more than one hundred years after it was first used to describe comparative anatomy and sets of motives? The answer will not satisfy, because it is not a cliche. It will not fully answer, again, because it is not a cliche. The answer arises out of circumstances; it is because a new text has been written that can accurately be described as circumscribing the topics of comparative anatomy and motives. It goes beyond inter-special anatomy and encyclopedic intentionality and explores the anatomy of bodies, cities, and language. Its motors are intentionality and motivation, and its governor (if we can extend the mechanical metaphor now in use) is the cliche. The text is God Bless the Squirrel Cage. It is both a plea and a prayer, the title that is. In the text, the cliche becomes a religious matter, whether devil or god, to a devout atheist. Its name is not to be spoken, but its reach is felt constantly. The text explodes the cliche by overworking it, turning it on its head, and eventually understanding its immense benefits and uses. The work that the text does, that we need it to do, ultimately allows this essay to close thusly: Le fin.

Who is Responsible for the American Dream?


“I had a dream a couple years ago in which a new, previously unknown continent was discovered on Earth. The knowledge entered my consciousness first like the ambient news of a radio dispatch. It was an impersonal knowledge, born through the slippery medium of dream space, the source of the transmission overlooked as my dream self wondered instead about the profound consequence such a discovery might have on the rest of humankind. The next thing I remember is that I stood on the ground of the new country. It was made of gypsum, entirely empty except for many animals who seemed to have been living there for a very long time. I woke up shortly thereafter in a warm stupor. Imagine the way our concept of global space would change upon discovering that we had, for so many decades, overlooked an entire continent. It would offer so much to the imagination. A blank place to start again. To be reborn, as they say, with the luxury of retaining prior memories. In his first US solo exhibition, Josef Strau examines such a place. The New World, Application for Turtle Island at The Renaissance Societyreflects a real new world: the Americas.”

Go to Artslant to read the rest of this article.

Review: Forgery

Forgery by Amira Hanafi: Green Lantern Press 2011
by Lily Robert-Foley

Originally Published by Anglehouse Press

I read the last page of Forgery by Amira Hanafi. I close the book, letting the back cover return to its pages, soldered together with string, glue, all pages flush, unlike bricks in that way, the mortar  invisible, abstract, like the structures of language, clamped only by the binding’s powers of persuasion,  although coming apart, air between pages, a sliver of declining shadow in the isosceles triangle made  between cover and cover page, sign of my hours of reading, my opening and stretching of the binding,  the glue.

Forgery (published by The Green Lantern Press, a Chicago based small press), is about Chicago.  Although to say Forgery is about Chicago, is perhaps misleading—not to say it isn’t true. However, the  preposition “about” signifies discursive distance. If I say, this review is “about” Forgery, I picture a set  of imaginary arrows originating in my text and pointing (I imagine downward) at my copy of Forgery,  which is perhaps lying on the floor, my own gaze passing through a page with my review onto the  book. (In fact, I feel it would be more accurate to say that this review is on Forgery, in which case you  can imagine this review placed directly on top Forgery in a stack of books).

Forgery is not about Chicago, Forgery is Chicago. You will say to me, “Forgery is not Chicago,  Forgery is a book. I know the difference between a book and a city. A book is far too small to be a  city. How could anyone live in a book? How could we build structures in a book? How can we carry  out the directives of infrastructure in a book?” The reason I would like to omit the preposition is because prepositions define distances. Although they  may sometimes define the lack of distance (for example: in, through, across etc. and their derivatives),
this lack of distance nevertheless indicates the possibility of distance and therefore of separation. What  Forgery accomplishes is an obliteration of this separation (of the separation between text and subject).

How is this possible? Perhaps it is not. It depends entirely on what you consider the word “Chicago”  to mean. Chicago is a “city.” What does the word “city” mean. No. Not the word. The city. What  does a city mean. Or. No. How does a city mean. This is the question Forgery asks.  In 2009, I moved from Chicago to Paris, where I still live today. Sometimes as I am weaving my way  through the skinny Parisians, negotiating their mimetically skinny streets, I pass by tiny businesses  squeezed into spaces left over between buildings, their windows stacked high with objects in  rhizomatic patterns. I enter, the space is sardined, overflowing with objects seeming to have little or no  coherent relationship with each other. A man behind a counter is perpetually busy (although casually so, taking frequent pauses to chat with a customer or drink a tiny cup of coffee). What does he do?  Nothing. Everything. He fixes things. What things? What do you got? He is a bricoleur.  The principle of bricolage is: I have a problem, I have no idea how to fix it. I have many materials and  tools but none of them correspond absolutely to my problem. So I use something that addresses a part of that problem until that something no longer seems relevant, and then I will look for something else.

The resulting project bears the traces of these tools and materials, reproduces a reciprocation of their  forms, the forms their functions produce. A city is bricolée (The word “bricoleur” or “bricolage” comes from the verb “bricoler.” It is untranslatable). It is patched together by an indeterminate set of tools, it is taken apart, and put back ogether, pieces of it recycled, new buildings constructed from old materials, the materials divorced  from their original function. It is patchwork, the features of its landscape historically contingent,
derived from necessity and not from ideality. I cannot draw a blueprint of a city and then build that  city, the city comes in pieces, birthed in shards, assembled willy-nilly, the blue-print comes after. And  changes always. (Even and especially in Paris, and Chicago, where many have come with their  blueprints to unsuccessfully manufacture a city that corresponds to their idea of the city.)

Forgery is like this. It is a homology of Chicago’s history, its construction process. It does not mimic  nor reproduce the appearance of Chicago, nor interpret it, nor make a story of it, but rather it  reproduces the very mechanisms that created Chicago: bricolage. In this case however, the material is
not steel, brick, concrete, wood… it is DOCUMENTS.Forgery has one page of bibliography for every  11 1/3 pages in the book. It is situated in the tradition of the “cut up” (à la Burroughs, Bellamy etc.)   The text is composed of pieces of source texts, disassembled and rearranged, guided and directed by  our author, Amira Hanafi, to create this lovely, perplexing book, equal parts chaos and control.

In this case however, the question is not the production of text, but the production of the city. Or rather  the place where these two intersect: in the invisible structure that emerges out of the alliance between  the two. This alliance is the stuff of Forgery. In it, we see the history and composition of Chicago  emerge. We see the structures of language dissolve into the material of Chicago, its documents, the  text, texture of history. Forgery is the most objective rendering of history possible, for it is the very  substance of history, and enacts its processes. It is simultaneously concrete and ink, it both builds and edits. This is history: the coming together of raw material and documents. History itself is bricolage,  the echo of Hanafi’s bricolage. Forgery: both the melding of material, and the fabrication of  discourse.

A city is made from steel and wood and plastic and concrete and brick and glass (etc.), that combine  together to make a set of contingent structures. But a city is not merely the sum total of a perpetually  varying number of visible structures. It is also invisible. Assembled from invisible structures such as  those that bind a book, that lock its pages together. Forgery is a representation of these structures, their  production, in perpetual revision, and likewise the forging of an armature that links our tangible cities  to abstract ones.  Out of cities another city is built. I, my body, become an nth city that is invisible, like the structures of  language holding the pages of Hanafi’s book together. These are the structures of my cities. It is  indistinguishable from something I might call my soul or my set of ideologies or my interpretations of  cognitive perceptions. The very visible phenomena of streets, buildings, trains, lamp posts, mailboxes,  sidewalks, the shape of the sky as it appears through the tops of the buildings, shifting according to my  perspective as I make my journeys between the places, the people I know, love, bound to the intangible  networks I use to order my universe, to attach words and things to each other. I read Forgery and I am infused with the documents that give us a history of Chicago. As I read, I bricole. The text is opaque,  concrete, made from actual material (documents, paper, ink, sentences). Unlike most history books,  Forgery does not shine a light through the documents to reveal an invented structure “hiding”  somewhere beneath, for it recognizes that although structure may give birth to documents, those structures are impossible for us see. All we can do is forge new structures from old materials, bricolons  documents to build new texts. In Forgery the order of document to history is inverted. Documents,  normally considered “second” texts, addenda, bibliography, supplementary. In Forgery the document is history, becomes history through its reordering, as it also is Chicago. So how do I read this book that  is Chicago, made from steel, concrete, wood, brick, paper, document? I reassemble it for myself, insert  it into my own city, the nth city that is my pneuma. And in this way Hanafi’s city is part of my invisible ity in the same way Chicago is, a source text in my cut up.

~ ~ ~
Lily Robert-Foley lives in Paris, France where she is currently writing a doctorate in Comparative Literature at  the University of Paris VIII. She participates in conferences and colloquiums abroad and in France. Her creative  and scholarly work has appeared most recently in Critiphoria, Omnia Vanitas Review, Digital Artifacts, and  Bathhouse. She is the author of the annotations to the North Georgia Gazette published by Green Lantern Press  in September of 2009 and of Xerolage #47 forthcoming from Xexoxial Editions this year.

Methodical Handprints: An Interview with Stephen Lapthisophon

The following interview was originally published on Bad at Sports.

Once a resident of Chicago, Stephen Lapthisophon has since moved to Texas where he continues to write and make work while teaching at the University of Texas at Arlington. His ties to Chicago remain strong–what is most recently evidenced by his exhibit, The Construction of a National Identity at the Hyde Park Art Center. Running concurrently in Dallas, Stephen exhibited a second body of work, Spelling Lesson, at Conduit Gallery. In both exhibits he investigates the source and strategies of identity, integrating text and found materials. Recently I had a chance to ask him some questions about his work–Devin, Stephen and I have been working together over the last several months compiling a series of Stephen’s essays for The Green Lantern Press. In the midst of that process, I did not steal an opportunity to ask him about his visual work–what continues to play such a prominent role in his life. The more I learned about his practice, scouring through older publications, (Whitewalls published Hotel Terminus in 1999, as well as an artist catalogue, Writing Art Cinema 1977-2007 ) the more I began to wonder how he negotiates his own identity as an artist, particularly when his work seems so porous. It’s a strange idea, I’ll admit, to think of an art practice as being porous. What I mean is that Stephen seems to pass through accumulations of objects and ideas, undeterred by the cultural status of those materials (whether based in popular culture, day-to-day banalities or philosophy). He collects certain elements, one-liners and imagery, in order to then recompile those remnants through his own lens. Throughout everything he maintains a steady, personable voice. His work is warm, messy, I’d even say generous in its accessibility and boasts a consistent character–which of course points back to identity. Stephen is the author of Writing Art Cinema 1988-2010 (Green Lantern Press).

Caroline Picard: At your Conduit Gallery show, “Spelling Lessons” you address the question of a “signature.” As I understand it, you employ a variety of mediums, as well as text, to undermine/explore the question of a concise artistic identity. Can you talk a little bit about that? And maybe what you think a signature represents? (I’m also interested in this because of your regular incorporation of text, which seems to become it’s own kind of signature…

Stephen Lapthisophon: Yes.

First of all, I have this difficult, hard to spell (and hard to pronounce) last name. So names have been on my mind for a while—the way that names are not really words but instead serve as markers of a sort. I am interested in the way we mark ourselves, mark our place and mark our moment. I am also interested in drawing. And for me writing is closer to the act of drawing than it is to Painting which carries with it a number of assumptions and heavy background. Drawing is mark making, notation, surface and hand.

Also, as we move away from the hand we move away from a different kind of object. Picture making, works of art are no longer “signed” in the same way as they were in the past. Yet artists persist in making works that carry a recognizable identity, via repeated form. I am aiming for an everydayness of experience, signing, marking, making a notation, drawing, scratching and spilling.

I am also interested in the signature’s ability to call into question our thinking about the idea of authenticity. Signatures should not be pre-meditated, forced or over thought. They should just “happen.” We expect signatures to be “natural” and part of our selfhood. Odd then, that we sign a work of art “potentially full of artificial marks” to mark its authenticity.

CP: Following up on that last question, do you think of “text” as a kind of medium in and of itself? One not necessarily relegated to the page of a book, for instance, but even a free standing element? I suppose another way to ask that question is what is your relationship to text? How does that compare with your relationship to an art object?

SL: I am not sure if text is another medium but it is the element that makes certain media unstable. Is a drawing with text the same as a sign? I mean like a hand painted sign for a yard sale? Is a drawing/ painting with words an agreement, a caption for something else…or a list? I think text in visual works of art chips away at the solid place where we see a work of art as self contained and whole and moves it to an in between place–an object without a home.

CP: You have a show, “The Construction of a National Identity” up at The Hyde Park Art Center right now. Here too, you seem to examine traditional ways of locating a self in space and time. On the one hand, it seems like you rely on those traditional mechanisms (i.e. national identity, which relates to place and, even more basic, I think, a kind of “naming” or identification of a particular aspect) and on the other deliberately undermine their integrity (in so far as you point to Paella, for instance, or the idea of hybridity in general). Can you talk a little bit about that tension?

SL: Definitions always fall apart. Either breaking away into tautology or crumbling under the weight iof their own defining terms. We are given many terms with which to define ourselves yet none of them match perfectly. We don’t really add up. Given the hallway space at HPAC it seemed to make sense to push the transitory, ambulatory nature of identity, and the walking nature of the way that we exchange messages with each other in public. The installation is a poem with recipes written on colored walls or recipes for poems drawn on walls or walls marking overheard pieces of recipes signed by a writer. The food materials used to make the piece (saffron, rice, salt, coffee, olive oil, sesame oil and tea all hold associations with place and are part of our everyday lives. We build our sense of self through the repetition of daily rituals of food and drink and mark the day with words and gesture.

CP: Here too I am interested in how you incorporate those elements into tactile mediums. How do you characterize your relationship to your work–in a physical sense? Like when you’re looking at what you make, in your studio, or in a gallery–even when you first approach materials with an intention to “fashion” them–what is your experience of yourself in those moments?

SL: I want my experience and the audience’s experience to be of the moment–in process and in flux. An experience of everything around and in the piece. I want the experience to be heightened by a sense of the transitory and fleeting and of the potential for change. Not that the pieces change but that they have changed. Materiality is important as it claims or sense of space and makes us aware of our body and all aspects of the sensory world. I use a lot of found objects and like to call into question what makes one object “art” while excluding another object from being art. I am drawn to material, older physical objects made by hand, objects that contain handmade marks.

CP: When do you find yourself most “the artist”?

SL: I guess I enjoy the making and the time and place when the surprise happens. I am an advocate of the irritation, of mystery and of ambiguity And I need to have a sense of discovery as I return to the work. I like being in the space.