The Embankment Gallery—named after the stone railroad trellises that are the last remaining vestiges of Downtown’s railroad past—opened a couple of months ago, according to proprietor Peter Delman, whom I wrote about last year during the Studio Tour. It’s his space. An artist getting into the gallery business. Why not, it’s an old style garage and just a neat urban enclosure.. (visit his website here )
The debut show is a group endeavor that crosses media and has a built in multiplying feature. I was told by one of the artists and I assume a curator, Maya Josepth-Goteiner (visit her website here) that 15 artists participating in the opening of 365 Days of Print. The idea is for artist to take the daily paper and make a daily work of art. The artists comment on the news of the day, the newspaper itself, or just the day. The concept is very open ended. The catalytic moment came last November, according to the show postcard, that after reading about how the New York Times was “grappling” with the idea of discontinuing the print edition, an online site was created to “engage and create a dialogue within all mediums of art regarding the news, media literacy, the experience of reading the newspaper...”
A few 3-D pieces were represented, like a milk crate filled with toy soldiers painted pink next to a stack of New York Times, which was next to a podium on which was a newspaper crumpled up into a ball. The New York Times was the paper of choice in the pieces that featured a newspaper. It’s probably the best newspaper in the world, certainly the best in the country. I love reading it. I’ve been reading it every day since the early 80s. I could dig the newspaper as fetish nature of some of the pictures, such as picture of the paper in a transparent plastic bag. Another image by Maya was a collage, contained in a bottle, with the newspaper featured prominently.. A photograph of the bottled-collage was printed on a sheet—which was the work of art, the collage, the photograph of the collage, the printed version of the collage? Tricky questions, tricky answers, very clever and engaging. There were also things that were just obscure. A picture of Sam Shepard, dogs in the foreground, a cowboy western silhouette in the background. It was a Delman work, “there was a review of one of his books that day in the paper, that picture was with review. the pictures that I used suggest themes by Shepard.”
Where does the collective go from here? They are creating an “online relay residency,” where ten artists will post art every day for a month. The artists will select their replacement every month. My head hurts doing the math, (30 days x 10 artists x 12 months). I think the concept is more daily than daily paper, it’s a simple context that can be open ended. A pretty good crowd had shown up on this Sunday, a week after the tour. Joyce’s Ulysses shows several lives all in a 24 hour period; this is almost the opposite showing a daily universe that culminates in a year of universes.
The initial inspiration may be have been the demise of print, yet supporting print will be digital and internet. Also, the whole point of the print paper is to produce millions of copies of the same item. Here, that copy is repurposed into an individual one of a kind object. Saving Print by not only using competing media but turning print into the opposite of itself in order to appreciate its value. Andre Breton said all I need to know is in the morning paper. With this project we may finally see what he really meant.