Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What Digital Can't Do...Yet

Harkening back not only to a series they had produced themselves in 1970, but to a rich tradition of fine art subscription programs in the US, Art in America's summer issue includes a clever "original" by Rirkrit Tiravanija in the form of two graphics that mimic the subscription cards that you tear out (or that fall out of some magazines), fill in, and mail back to sign up. Rather than a form, however, Rirkrit's pieces replicate politically charged text works he's done recently : "Where Is Ai Wei Wei," and "Fear Eats the Soul."

As Editor in Chief, Lindsay Pollock, notes in the issue's "Editor's Letter," AiA has published multiples before. Back in 1970:
The editors lined up a blue-ribbon roster that featured Paul Jenkins, Alexander Calder, Ray Parker, and Robert Rauschenberg, among others, who each designed a colorful, fold-out print, elevating the magazine from printed matter to collectible in one feel swoop.
Each issue comes with only one of the Tiravanija works (and it's glued into the magazine binding, making it a dilemma as to whether you keep the whole magazine as the collectible and place it somewhere special or, in the spirit of the piece, tear it off along its perforated edge and put the magazine on the shelf (to not leave a gap in your library [it's always the exact issue of AiA I need that seems to have disappeared from the stack]). This also creates a scenario in which, if you want both of the works, you have to buy another copy (I'm not sure whether any given newsstand has a mix of the two or you'd need to ride around town to various locations).

Leave it to Lindsay (who, when she took over the helm at AiA, I had noted "has always stood out to me as the arts writer who best connected the digital dots in a seemingly effortless way. And I've assumed that this knack was in part what attracted the powers that be at AiA to hire her for the job") to also zero in on what it is that digital can't do (not yet anyway): deliver works on paper by artists the way print still can.

Simply brilliant.

Now, I need to find a quarter to flip, to determine whether I tear out the Rirkrit or not.

Labels: Art in America, digital age, Lindsay Pollock


Blogger christian said...

Well, but digital could have a high res file attached to it that would let you print your own copy!

6/15/2011 12:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Gam said...

on an aside of how digital can make a different connections:

6/15/2011 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger tskross said...

tear it out!!

6/16/2011 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

For next time: Those cards you described as ". . .that you tear out (or that fall out . . ." are called "bind-ins" and "blow-ins." Kind of S&M-y, but to the point.

6/16/2011 02:43:00 PM  

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