DARKNESS ON THE DARKEST NIGHT

Seriously? The longest night of the year and the heavens conspire to turn out the nightlight right in the middle of it? A hell of a show, we must say, but perhaps a little too much salt-in-the-wound humor for those of us who prefer our nights short and summery. But for the Tillmans, last night—a total lunar eclipse on the winter solstice—was like a high holiday. They've got a pagan streak, or at least a thumb-in-the-eye-of-organized-religion streak, and they whooped it up at the shop compound in celebration. Alas, when the time came to snap a few photos of the coppery totality they were less than focused and most of their pictures were downright blurry. This fine shot by Darnell works well enough though. For a proper time lapse out of Gainesville click here, and for an explanation of the copper color click here.
 
ART BY ARTISTS WE KNOW: KYLE LARABEE

That's right, 37 is a prime number by Kyle Larabee. What's more, it was made by Kyle for Mike Larabee—and since Dave Larabee is typing this blather that makes for a Larabee trifecta, which for our mom is just about perfecto. But enough of that nonsense. The piece is lovely, that's obvious. What may be less obvious is the nod to Sol Lewitt implicit both in the clear instructions for the production of the image and in the subtle lines and satisfying graphic of the piece as a whole. Made for Mike on the occasion of his 37th birthday (ages ago that was!), with a wink at my brothers' shared fascination with prime numbers. It's pleasing too (at least to me) in the way it's reminiscent of both a musical score and DNA prints from the lab. A lovely representation of a lovely life. For more of Kyle's work, click on this text.

 
DB DOES LEWITT (JUST A COINCIDENCE)

Yes, we've shown a version of these photos before, maybe even twice. But this stitched-together view is new and it reminds us of that Sol Lewitt Wall Drawing 51: All architectural points connected by straight lines piece below, except here, of course, are the profiles of our Grasshopper lounge, our Crane side chair (never made it beyond the prototype stage) and our Crane barstool, from our show at the 400 on Bannock a few years back. We extended the lines of the bar profiles out and down to highlight the graphic elements in the designs—in pencil, though the Lewitt snap chalk lines at MASS MoCA are better—thinking it was clever and original and made for a fresh look. Well, just because Lewitt had a similar idea doesn't mean it wasn't original (and we still think it was clever and fresh). The Grasshopper piece is now the highlight of the east wall of our shop, the other two pieces are tucked safely in storage, awaiting an appropriate wall.
 
DB DIE CUTTING

Step two of the global marketing blitz prep: die cutting the fancy-pants folders. Again on a Heidelberg windmill press, though a later vintage than the one we showed yesterday, this one capable of letterpress printing too. The windmill grabs a sheet of paper after it's been lifted off the stack with a row of vacuum suckers and spins it onto the plate that rises to meet the die. The whole machine works with a satisfying set of whirs and pops, all the while affably and stresslessly manned by Ed, the genial former owner and now contented employee with Fridays off. Next up: miniature business cards, letterhead and oh-so-pretty envelopes. Watch out furniture consumers: we're coming for you.
 
DB EMBOSSING

Our new Prima Donna of Sales and Marketing is way into all things paper and thus she's way into letterpress, embossing, foil stamping, die cutting, folding, gluing (we could go on cause she sure does). So by way of preparing for her global sales and marketing blitzkrieg she enlisted Platte River Letterpress (in the neighborhood, not at all sucky) to get busy with some embossing, die cutting and letterpress printing (with mini business cards to boot!) on her behalf. Here's a shot of the front of the fancy-pants folder she's having made with the embossed "db"—very fresh—and a shot of the female side of the die. Solid copper, mofo! An animated gif of the press—a '68 Heidelberg windmill—in action after the jump. We recommend watching it with a little Robyn as accompaniment; that None of Dem track with Röyksopp synchs up like a dream.
Read more...
 
MASS MoCA: SOL LEWITT WALL DRAWINGS 579 AND 792

How long can we keep this up? A long time, it turns out. Though many of Lewitt's subtle pencil drawings (on balance, our favorites) don't photograph for shit the big bold graphics make for fine content on a photo blog—which at the end of the day is mostly what this Sandwiches nonsense is. In fact, we're not even sure most of you can read. For those of you who can, and for those very few of you who actually enjoy it, click on these titles for more information on the drawings: Wall Drawing 792 (left) and Wall Drawing 579 (right).
 
MASS MoCA: SOL LEWITT WALL DRAWING 1211

So it's clear from some of the questions we've been getting that not everyone knows who Sol Lewitt is (or was: he died in 2007 after having planned this show in detail). Well, shame on you if you don't know. Call him a conceptual artist or a minimalist if you must, but really, most of those labels are silly and don't have much meaning if you haven't seen the work. And the work? There are the sculptures and the works on paper but here we've been showing his wall drawings, or versions of his wall drawings anyway. We say versions since they're never exactly the same from show to show: each of the drawings begins as a set of instructions or a simple diagram that's then executed by someone else—in this case a small army of someones working for six months. Good thing the show will be up for 25 years else all that effort might have seemed a total fucking waste. For more on the show and on Lewitt, click on this link to visit the retrospective's website. Above are a pair of shots of Wall Drawing 1211. And, really, do yourself a favor and get to the museum to see the show at some point in the coming decades. What the hell else are you going to be doing?
 
MASS MoCA: THE GEOMETRY OF LIGHT

A second piece from the Material World: Sculpture to Environment show at MASS MoCA. The Geometry of Light by Alyson Shotz.
 
MASS MoCA: WHITE STAG

A piece from the Material World: Sculpture to Environment show at MASS MoCA. White Stag by Wade Kavanaugh & Stephen B. Nguyen.
 
MASS MoCA

A break from the Sol Lewitt posts for a day on MASS MoCA itself, a museum compound of 19th-century factory buildings on 13 acres in North Adams, Mass. The history of the buildings (formerly the home of Arnold Print Works and the Sprague Electric Company) can be found through the link in the text above—no need to bore you with it here. Needless to say the building was repurposed into a major contemporary art hub and is a stunning success (though some of the lighting is headache-harsh). The Lewitt show alone consists of more than a hundred pieces on three floors, all of which demand serious wall space. Of course there are other shows running concurrently, including one of site-specific sculptural installations that, sorry to say, made much (by no means all) of what we saw at Embrace! at the DAM seem a little undersqueezed. More on a couple successful pieces in later posts. Here, a few shots of the MASS MoCA buildings and grounds.
 
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