September 2012

Christine A. Tarantino - Hjuler BROTKATZE collaborations on exhibit at FzKKe Gallery, Germany, Sept. 1 - 30, 2012.

With the Blood of a Daylily - Poems & Drawings by the Homeless Poet by Christine A. Tarantino, published by Words of Light:

THESE HANDS PRAY FOR GERONIMO, a visual poem of American Indians, by Christine A. Tarantino, published by Words of Light:

Christine A. Tarantino's ECDYSIS, snake skin artist book exhibited with 99 other book artists in Italy, curated by Maddalena Castegnaro.

Christine A. Tarantino, Sign and Language Group Exhibit, Open Stal, The Netherlands.

Christine A. Tarantino series of 40,"Being Human"
published by Redfoxpress, Assembling Box #20,

RED LIPS - What is Your Version for Me? by Christine Tarantino is published by Words of Light now available in print or eBook formats. New version includes ALL 42 artists from 13 countries plus additional text and images by Christine Tarantino.

August internet art exhibit @ CHRISTINE TARANTINO
features artist STEVE RANDOM.

WORDS OF LIGHT BOOKS, Art Publications By
Contemporary Artists, new blog offering various format books
published by Christine A. Tarantino.

Christine A. Tarantino/Words of Light publishes THE
by Walter Festuccia.

Christine Tarantino, "Instant Person 1 & 2", self-portraits with Polaroid Camera for POLAROID MADNESS, project of Franticham, Ireland. On-line exhibit and exhibition Kassel, Germany during the DOCUMENTA 2012. "INSTANT PEOPLE"250 polaroid self-portraits by 175 artists from 22 countries.11.– 23. Juli 2012 Zur Eröffnung der Ausstellung am Mittwoch, dem 11. Juli 2012 ab 19 Uhr möchten wir Sie und Ihre Freunde herzlich in denKasseler KunstvereinWerner-Hilpert-Straße 2334117 Kassel, einladen.

Christine A. TARANTINO, "Ecdysis" artist book exhibited at Villa Excelsa, Sannicola, Italia. Curator, Maddalena Castegnaro
Opening night:

July internet art exhibit @ Christine Tarantino Collection features Anna Banana, Darlene Altschul, & John Mountain.

"THESE HANDS" call for entries, newest project from Christine TARANTINO.

June internet art exhibit @ Christine Tarantino Collection features Antoni Miró.

"Fear No NewNew Art" artist book published by Redfoxpress, Assembling Box #19, Ireland.

"E-mail Between the Artist & Her Lover" artist book exhibited Villa Giulia, Italia. Curator Marisa Cortese.

"WHO AM I?" artist book exhibited Mostra Internazionale, Italia. Curator Virginia Milici.

"RED LIPS of Christine Tarantino", art booklet by Bruno Chiarlone published in Italy.

May internet art exhibit @ CHRISTINE TARANTINO COLLECTION features artist RYOSUKE COHEN.

Christine TARANTINO, "RED LIPS FOR DALAI LAMA" exhibition @ INviso, Padiglione TIBET, AssociazioneSal Viana frazione Saliana Pianello del Lario (CO)curated by Ruggero Maggi.

April internet art exhibit @ CHRISTINE TARANTINO COLLECTION features artists Daniel C. Boyer and Richard Canard.

Christine Tarantino, "NEWNEW ART Mono-Prints"
published in"Franticham's Fluxus Assembling Box Nr 18",
Redfoxpress, IRELAND.

DODODADIANI featured this month
in internet art exhibit at Christine Tarantino Collection. Dododadiani
internet art exhibit

RED LIPS Project: What is your
version for me? Send or RED LIPS, Box
121, Wendell, MA 01379 USA
"Sometimes I need red apple. Sometimes I need
redlips."-- Nam June Paik
Your RED LIPS art modification will yield
online documentation, maileddocumentation, and potential publication. Please
include a mailing address withyour submission.

Christine Tarantino, "Better Together: Harmony; Radiance; Consciousness; Evolution", International Mother Language Day Art Exhibit, Kathmandu, NEPAL, by invitation of Rafique Sulayman, Curator.

Christine Tarantino, "Flux-USA Gallery of Stars with Lucy Chew Intervention" exhibited in Group Show: Fluxfest Chicago 2012 (Chicago, USA) FROM THE ARCHIVE Mailart and Fluxus from the archives of Fluxus/St. Louis. Opening reception Chicago Art Institute, Joan Flasch Library.

February online art exhibits from 'The Christine Tarantino Collection' features Guido Vermeulen and Gerson Wenglinski this month, both artists from Belgium.

Christine Tarantino, "RED-BERRY Series" published in "Franticham's Fluxus Assembling Box Nr 17", Redfoxpress, IRELAND.

FAX Exhibit, The DeVos Art Museum, Michigan, USA, curated by Ribas; organized by The Drawing Center and ICI, NYC. TARANTINO "I of the EYE-FAX", asemic writing series:

Wooden Postcard Exhibit, Stehekin Post Office, Stehekin, Washington, USA. Christine Tarantino work:

Christine Tarantino, "PhotoBooth" work published in new book, "Photobooth Performances" by Ginny Lloyd.

Christine Tarantino, Mail Art and Video Performance at Galleriea Terre Rare, Bologna, Italy, January 28 - February 8, 2012. Project of Maurizio Follin, Italia.

Christine Tarantino, RED LIPS for Dalai Lama, collage exhibited at Venice Biennial Tibet Pavilion – Palazzo delle Esposizioni Sala Nervi - Torino, project of Ruggero Maggi, Milan, Italy.

Christine Tarantino exhibited at Foundation IK New Year Celebration Exhibit "I WISH", The Netherlands, by invitation of Ko de Jonge.

The Christine Tarantino Collection, newest Christine Tarantino art blog started on January 1, 2012. Showcasing selected works from my 20 year collection of works on paper from artists around the globe.

Christine Tarantino-Hjuler BROTKATZE Collaboration exhibited at GALERIE "Offenes Atelier D.U. Design", Austria, Barbara Rapp, Curator.

Monday, June 16, 2008

ART REVIEW; Gibes at the Experts From an Enigmatic Chatterbox By HOLLAND COTTER

The New York Times Arts Section

"Ray Johnson's suicide by drowning in 1995 brought him the kind of public attention that his art never had. Not that he was ever invisible. But for years he invited exposure only on his own terms, and kept careful control of how high his profile rose.
He was, for example, at least partly responsible for the rare appearance of his seminal collages in museums or commercial galleries. Shows were proposed; typically, he hemmed and hawed and finally said no. Like Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein and so many other American thinkers one deeply and permanently loves, he had an ingrained distrust of institutions of all kinds.

An exception in Johnson's case, though, was the United States Post Office, in which he placed great faith. Very early in his career he invented what came to be called mail art. And for nearly four decades, from the 1950's until his death, denizens of the New York art world would receive his work, unsolicited, among the letters, bills and junk fliers that arrived in their daily mail.
Much of that work, produced under the auspices of Johnson's own mock-institutional New York Correspondence School, took the form of photocopied drawings and assemblages of found images. Some were customized for a particular recipient; others were designed to be passed on, chain-letter style, to third parties.

But behind the mail art lay other work that fewer people saw: notably, the collages that were Johnson's masterworks. That exalted label is not too grand for them. They are wonderful things. Made with cheap materials (shirt cardboard, Elmer's glue), they involved an intricate process of cutting and pasting, painting and writing, sanding and scraping, which often took decades to complete.

The visual elements they incorporated were equally diverse: pieces of photographs, magazine clips, commercial logos, abstract shapes, cartoons and, above all, words: jokes, puns, anagrams, song lyrics, poetry, nonsense syllables, exclamations, dedications and lists of names of artists and actors, social luminaries and friends. The results amount to an urbane, literate outsider art by a consummate insider, a figure who was at once everywhere and nowhere in the art world, and who used his work to spin a personal myth.

That myth is on view in ''Ray Johnson: Correspondences,'' a retrospective exhibition organized by Donna De Salvo for the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, and making its debut at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The show is arranged along rough chronological lines and touches on Johnson's many interests, including graphic design and performances, painting and drawing, and his loose affiliations with art movements like Fluxus and with avant-garde poetry. But the focus is on the collages. Many of them were also included in the superb memorial show at the Richard L. Feigen Gallery in Manhattan after Johnson's death; others have come to light since and are being exhibited for the first time.

Johnson was born in Detroit in 1927 and started out as an abstract artist, studying with Josef Albers at Black Mountain College in North Carolina in the late 1940's. Two paintings from that time, quiltlike patterns of nested squares, are in the show. And although little that Johnson did later resembles them, they suggest an important lesson he learned from Albers: the dynamic potential of systems in art. One could do a single thing over and over with minute variations and achieve something revelatory through repetition.

Johnson arrived in New York in 1948, just as Abstract Expressionism had peaked. New art was heading in other directions, becoming smaller, zanier, more hermetic. He considered Kurt Schwitters, Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Cornell and John Cage's Dada- and Zen-inspired esthetic of found materials and chance effects. And along with contemporaries like Robert Rauschenberg, he savored popular culture.

The earliest collages in the show are, in fact, startlingly prescient of Pop Art to come. His ''Untitled (James Dean in the Rain)'' and the smoldering, sunset-colored ''Elvis No. 1,'' both from the mid-50's, were produced years before Andy Warhol began to make his reputation with the same icons.

But Warhol and Johnson (who became friends) adapted such images in very different ways. Warhol took a deadpan, hands-off approach, exploiting the inherent glamour of his subjects to celebrate and question a cult of celebrity. Johnson marked the images up and personalized them by pasting on other elements -- squiggly black scarlike shapes to Dean's figure, bloody tears and Band-Aid-like patches to Elvis's face -- which carry homoerotic implications of tenderness and violence.

Such applied forms were the atomic elements of Johnson's art. Some were literally building blocks, tiny rectangles of thick, sanded cardboard that he joined into mosaiclike patterns. Others were commercial ready-mades, like target-shaped Lucky Strike labels. Still others were cartoons of phallic snakes and bunny heads that Johnson turned into a signature.
Although he was later inclined to pile these elements up, many of his best collages from the 50's through the early 70's are memorable for their spareness and clarity. The 1971 ''Keir Dullea Gone Tomorrow,'' with a picture of the artist Ed Ruscha and a single sanded block on a white field, is an example. So is the text piece ''Keep Mouth Closed'' (1966), which has the look of concrete poetry.

Perhaps most striking is a handful of monochromatic, whitish-gray abstract pieces in which faces and letters dimly surface from beneath layers of brushing and erasure. Collage is an inadequate term for these works (painting is closer to the mark), and they point to an austere, reductive, even monkish side of Johnson's character that his edgy humor often hides.
In 1968 Johnson moved to Locust Valley on Long Island, where he lived alone and communicated with his Manhattan friends by telephone and mail. His collages from the late 1970's and 80's grew increasingly dense, congested, even turgid, as if each were a repository for decades of accrued ideas and motifs. This is especially true of a series of black silhouette portraits, in which the sitters' heads are festooned with appliqued elements and over-drawing almost to the point of obliteration.

These portraits echo the 1950's Elvis collages, and the link points up a crucial feature of Johnson's output. Models of progress and development apply only minimally to his career. Its logic was nonlinear and self-reflexive. Core concepts and images ricochet back and forth over time. Collages were chopped up and recycled into other collages, which is why so many of them bear multiple dates, decades apart, or no date at all.

The Whitney show, installed on an entire floor of the museum, is to be commended for giving Johnson a full-dress retrospective treatment. But his work doesn't really fit the standard from-here-to-there template, and spacial generosity creates problems. Johnson's own preferred way for presenting his collages was to bunch them together in clusters so that their formal variety and thematic tensions were evident at a glance.

In the Whitney's glacial, open galleries, this effect is diminished. Individual pieces look lonely and adrift; the riffs and cadences that contribute to the excited texture of Johnson's oeuvre are hard to discern at a distance. An exception comes in a tight grouping of several pieces owned by William S. Wilson, one of the artist's most discerning critics. Otherwise much of the show's energy rises from vitrines jammed with letters, found objects and other ephemera.
This is a minor complaint. Everything Johnson did, however highly wrought, seems designed to mock the concepts of singularity and greatness. He specialized in the little nothing, the demi-masterpiece, and wore ''minor'' like a badge, a suit of armor, a gibe at the experts who worry themselves silly about this-is-better-than-that distinctions and whether they are getting them right.

But is his an art one can embrace and love? It is witty, technically brilliant and intellectually stimulating. It constantly courts preciousness, then adds resistance -- a shot of vulgarity, a flash of oddball beauty -- like a grain of a sand in an oyster. But it is also chilly, even creepy in its relentless linguistic games (Johnson said the only people who interested him were those whose names lent themselves to anagrams), its chatterbox formalism, its covert morbidity and its uninnocent connect-the-dots gossip.

A critic once said of Marianne Moore, a poet whom Johnson admired, ''She has great limitations: her work is one long triumph of them.'' The same is true of Johnson. His limitations are not those of Cornell, the artist who may have influenced him more than any other. Cornell's boxes exude an unguarded, fetishistic air, as if they were made for an audience of one, the artist himself, and anyone else is intruding. Their embarrassing, damaged vulnerability is their strength.

Johnson's art, for all its codes and keys, is public work, produced for a far wider audience. True, it was an audience that he more or less hand-picked, narrowed down like his mailing lists, and that's where limitations come in. But for that audience, he fashioned something complex and complete: a self-contained universe that is both internally coherent and, at its best, connects exhilaratingly with a wider world."
-reviewer unknown



wonderful article.
i have been a ray johnson for years.


Christine A. Tarantino said...

thanks for commenting!