ROBERT BARRY ALL THE THINGS I KNOW... 1962 to the present Edited by Max Weintraub, Sarah Watson, and Annie Wischmeyer
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Foreword by Lawrence Weiner
Excerpt from Robert Barry Presents Three Shows and a Review
by Lucy R. Lippard, Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris, April 1971
Introduction by Annie Wischmeyer 10–11
“Making a Space for Pedagogy” by Sarah Watson 13–20
Interview with Robert Barry by Max Weintraub 23–38
Checklist for the Exhibition
Fig. 1. Robert Barry in the Faculty Cafeteria, Hunter College, ca. late 1970s
LET INTO THE ATMOSPHERE BY ROBERT BARRY THERE IS AN URBAN MYTH THAT EACH & EVERY RADIO EMISSION REMAINS IN OUR SPHERE FOREVER ROBERT HAS BUILT A BODY OF WORK THAT INFUSED DIGNITY INTO THOSE ASPECTS OF PERCEPTION OFTEN THOUGHT OF AS PRIVATE & PLACED THEM AS A PERMANENT ASPECT OF THE LANDSCAPE WE INHABIT XXX LAWRENCE WEINER AMSTERDAM 2015
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Marking the first major solo exhibition of Robert Barry’s work by an academic institution in New York City—the first in the United States in thirty years—Robert Barry: All the things I know . . . 1962 to the present is a cherished opportunity for the Hunter College Art Galleries to celebrate the work of not only an extraordinary artist but also a Hunter alumnus and a former faculty member. We owe our deepest gratitude to Barry for his willingness to work closely with us—a distinct pleasure and privilege—on this project. We have profited enormously from discussion with Barry, particularly from the wonderful stories and anecdotes that he has shared. We are exceptionally grateful to Julia Barry; and to Lawrence Weiner and Lucy R. Lippard for their publication contributions. We extend our gratitude to our generous sponsors: Carol Goldberg, Agnes Gund, and an anonymous donor. We are also grateful to Judy and Stanley Zabar for their support of Barry’s residency at Hunter through the Judith Zabar Visiting Artist Program. We are especially thankful to Barry’s supporters: Yvon Lambert; Jan Mot; Michèle Didier; Greta Meert; Nicole Klagsbrun; the Ringier Collection, Zurich; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Paul Maenz Collection, Berlin; and the Judith Rothschild Foundation, New York, among others. We are grateful to Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab for her tireless support of the Hunter College Art Galleries; and to Howard Singerman, Phyllis and Joseph Caroff Chair of the Department of Art and Art History, and Joachim Pissarro, Bershad Professor of Art History and Director of the Hunter College Art Galleries, who both championed this project from its inception. We owe a debt of gratitude to Hunter Graduate Fellows Jenn Bratovich and Tatiana Mouarbes for their curatorial support and to Jordon Schranz for his technological wizardry. We sincerely thank Jocelyn Spaar, Assistant to the Director; our preparator, Phi Nguyen; and editor Amelia Kutschbach. Thanks are also due to Elizabeth Ashley Fox for her thoughtful design of this publication and exhibition graphics, with which Tim Laun assisted invaluably. We thank Serra Sabuncuoglu; Hunter College graduate student Isaac Aden; and all of our student performance volunteers. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be a part of this exhibition—thank you to all who have helped to make this possible. Max Weintraub, Sarah Watson, and Annie Wischmeyer January 27, 2015, New York
EXCERPT FROM ROBERT BARRY PRESENTS THREE SHOWS AND A REVIEW BY LUCY R. LIPPARD, GALERIE YVON LAMBERT, PARIS, APRIL 1971 In January, 1971, Yvon Lambert showed a Robert Barry piece that read: “Some places to which we can come and for a while, ‘be free to think about what we are going to do’ (Marcuse).” “Read” is the wrong term; Barry does not work with words; he communicates conditions. The newer work indicates an overlap rather than a gap between art and life, in the sense that it attempts to define (again by circling around something) the place of the artist in the world, not socially (though social impact is implied), but as an art-maker rather than as a person. Perhaps the most important of the many questions raised by Barry’s work are: Does the artist have a place in the world, and, if so, is it changing? Is he/ she simply a questioner or is he/she the imposer of conditions upon the esthetic capacity of everyone else, without which the world would be quite a different place? – Lucy R. Lippard
Reverse page, Fig. 2. Detail, Inert Gas Series: Helium. Sometime during the Morning of March 5, 1969, 2 Cubic Feet of Helium Will Be Released into the Atmosphere, 1969
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INTRODUCTION Look at this thing, consider it carefully and that is all it means.1 —Robert Barry Despite its aesthetic austerity, there is a romantic temperament to the work of Robert Barry (American, born 1936). A retrospective examination of his oeuvre, as in the present exhibition Robert Barry: All the things I know . . . 1962 to the present at the 205 Hudson Street Gallery, Hunter College, reveals a profound concern with the poetics and politics of space: temporal, mental, and physical. It is the space between things—between the artist and the audience, between words, between the object and the viewer—that is the stuff of his work. Earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in 1957 and a Master of Arts (MA) degree in 1963, both at Hunter College, New York, Barry studied under prominent artists of the period. Like many artists of his generation, however, he turned away from the puritanical formalist aesthetics and penchant for monumentality of the previous generation of abstract expressionists and minimalists, and rejected the traditional art object in favor of more ephemeral and time-based media. Beginning his career as a painter, in 1967 Barry began to break down the traditional armature of painting in his work, creating dispersed, fragmentary monochromes placed on the wall to respond to physical space rather than to define it within the frame of the canvas (see Fig. 8). Barry’s Carrier Wave pieces (1968–69) expand his concern with dismantling stale conceptions of space and modes of representation, taking his work into the territory of the invisible. Part of the electromagnetic spectrum, the physical properties of carrier waves allow for them to be bounded and bent by surrounding walls and objects and reflected back. Viewers who occupy the same space as a piece of this type distort the waves, thereby participating, albeit imperceptibly, in the form of the work. In 1969 Barry released a specified volume of helium into the atmosphere in the Mojave Desert as a part of his Inert Gas Series (see Fig. 2). Regarding his choice of materials, the artist recalls, “I got involved with things intangible and immeasurable, physical, yet metaphysical in their effect.”2 Aptly presented as a photograph of an empty landscape and a gas canister, there is little proof of the actual event. The significance of this piece lies
instead in the conceptual reification of space, which invites the viewer to contemplate the work’s infinite expansion in both space and time. By the 1970s Barry was working almost exclusively with words—his next logical step in the progressive retreat from the art object. In these works, the viewer encounters a series of words, alternately spoken, projected, written, or applied to the gallery walls. Culled from a list that he has honed over the years, the selection is intentionally impersonal, and, removed from syntactic context, the words become objectlike. In the absence of qualifiers or narrative imposition, the audience is left to form their own signification. In a similar gesture of participatory generosity, Barry’s Marcuse Piece (1970, see Fig. 9) functions as an overt invitation to the viewer. In this work, the text on the wall reads: “A place to which we can come and for a while, ‘be free to think about what we are going to do.’” Taken from Essay on Liberation (1969) by German philosopher Herbert Marcuse (1898–1979), this work is a utopian provocation, a blank space within which the viewers are confronted with their own agency. As such, this work may be understood as a performance, one that can only be completed through the audience’s collaboration with the artist and their active engagement in the space. In all of Barry’s work, ultimately, the viewer is left to complete the pieces and fill in the gaps that the artist has intentionally left blank. “If I call something ‘art,’” Barry says, “I am using the expression instead of saying: ‘look at this.’”3 The work begins with Barry’s assumption that the viewer is a thinking being, capable of abstract association, contemplation, and close observation—these works are points of departure, spaces to be inhabited. — ANNIE WISCHMEYER
1 “Interview with Robert Barry, October 12, 1969,” in Ursula Meyer, Conceptual Art (New York: Dutton, 1972), p. 39. 2
Meyer, p. 40.
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Fig. 3. Serra Sabuncuoglu performing Untitled Performance, 1972â€“present, at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, February 14, 2014
MAKING A SPACE FOR PEDAGOGY Throughout his career, Robert Barry (American, born 1936) has engaged with teaching. He was an instructor at Hunter College in New York from 1964 to 1979 and a visiting artist and lecturer at universities across the United States and abroad, including California Institute of the Arts, Valencia; Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York; Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; l’École Nationale Supérieure d’Art de la Villa Arson, Nice; and l’Université Paris-Sorbonne. While Barry has maintained a firm separation between his art practice and his teaching, on several occasions he has collaborated with students in the realization of artworks. Two of these pieces, A work submitted to Projects Class, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Fall 1969 (1969, see fig. 4) and Untitled Performance (1972–present, see figs. 3, 6), are included in the exhibition Robert Barry: All the things I know . . . 1962 to the present at 205 Hudson Street Gallery, Hunter College, New York. Both of these pieces fit firmly within Barry’s oeuvre, addressing ongoing concerns of his work, particularly phenomenological questions of communication, the relationship between art and the receiver, and issues of time and space. Before delving into discussions of these works, it is worth considering Barry’s educational background. Barry has a long history with Hunter College, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in 1957, was awarded his Master of Arts (MA) title in 1963, and taught from 1964 to 1979. As an undergraduate, Barry came to Hunter during a period marked by a major shift in the approach of educating artists: away from a mostly vocational education model toward a fine arts paradigm that included hiring working artists as instructors. As evidence of this shift, department chair Edna Wells Luetz hired Robert Motherwell (American, 1915–1991) in 1951, and subsequently brought in William Baziotes (American, 1912–1963), Ray Parker (American, 1922–1990), Fritz Bultman (American, 1919–1985), and Richard Lippold (American, 1915–2002), all artists that Motherwell had encouraged Luetz to pursue as Hunter professors. Tony Smith (American, 1912–1980) joined the faculty in 1962 shortly after Motherwell left.1 Studying with Motherwell during his BFA and with Smith during his MA, Barry stresses the formative importance of these personal connections that resulted from interacting with “real artists.” Significantly, such artists were international in stature, lived and showed in New York, and could discuss the latest art, the art world, and the problems of exhibiting. Through small talk and personal anecdotes, including discussions of their
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most recent gallery shows as well as the challenges of working with dealers and collectors, instructors like Motherwell, Baziotes, and Parker gave Barry a sense of what it was to be an artist, specifically one in New York at this time.2 Since the days of Motherwell, Hunter College continued to hire practicing artists who are concerned with the critical questions of contemporary art. The art critic E. C. Goossen (American, 1920–1997), the chair of the Department of Art as of 1961, hired Barry to teach at Hunter per the recommendations of Smith and art historian and professor Leo Steinberg (American, 1920–2011). According to Barry, prior to his appointment, Smith brought Goossen to his Master’s thesis show, and the chair’s first response was “Does this guy know what he is doing?”3 Nonetheless, Barry got the job and Goossen quickly became a supporter of the new instructor’s work, which Goossen included in “Eight Young Artists,” a 1964 exhibition at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York.4 Tony Smith espoused a teaching style that greatly influenced Barry’s methods. As Barry explains, Smith was very open to and could easily work with students whose art practices varied from realism to conceptualism. “[Smith] approached it all equally—didn’t enforce or push any points his own way. He didn’t try to make little followers, in other words.”5 Barry picked up on Smith’s approach—focusing on dialogue with his students, trying to ascertain their points of view, and enabling them to articulate their ideas and defend their art—creating a space that nurtured critical discourse. One of Barry’s earliest collaborations with students, A work submitted to Projects Class, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Fall 1969 (1969, see fig. 4), was fittingly part of a pedagogical project. This project consists of the written proposal Barry submitted to David Askevold (Canadian, born United States [Montana], 1940–2008), professor of the well-known Projects Class at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax. As part of the class, which ran from 1969 to 1972, Askevold invited practicing artists to submit ideas that his students would then realize. Several influential artists, including Mel Bochner (American, born 1940), Dan Graham (American, born 1942), Douglas Huebler (American, 1924–1997), Sol LeWitt (American, 1928–2007), Lucy Lippard (American, born 1937), and Lawrence Weiner (American, born 1942), submitted proposals. Askevold pushed the traditional format of teaching through his class, explaining: “My idea at the time, as an instructor of art, was to bring students closer to the sensibilities of practicing contemporary artists by engaging them directly with the work.”6
Barry submitted the following proposal in August 1969: The students will gather together in a group and decide among them on a single idea. It can be of any nature, simple or complex. It will be known only to the members of the group. You or I will not know it. The piece will remain in existence as long as the idea remains in the confines of the group. If just one student unknown to anyone else, and at any time, informs someone outside the group the piece will cease to exist. It may exist for just a few seconds or it may go on indefinitely, depending on the nature of the participating students. We may never know when or if the piece comes to an end.7 In A work submitted to Projects Class the function of communication creates an interesting dynamic between the Projects Class’s manifestation of Barry’s proposal in the fall of 1969 and the piece as it is later shown as an art object. (The exhibited materials consist of copies of the handwritten letter Barry sent to Askevold and of a page from the catalogue for Projects Class.) Barry did not receive any feedback from Askevold after he created his proposal. It is only in recent years that Barry learned the outcome of the project, or, more specifically, heard the differing accounts of what happened in Askevold’s class. Askevold gave the first account: Barry spoke to the Projects Class mentor about his proposal in 2004, when they were both part of a panel discussion held in conjunction with the exhibition “A Minimal Future?: Art as Object, 1958–1968” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.8 According to Askevold, one of the participating students told everyone the idea immediately upon leaving the class.9 Contemporary artist Mario Garcia Torres (Mexican, born 1975) provides the second account. Garcia Torres created the work What Happens in Halifax Stays in Halifax (In 36 Slides) (2004–6), which documents his research on Askevold’s students and their participation in Barry’s proposal. What Happens in Halifax Stays in Halifax was made for the Ninth Baltic Triennial of International Art, which took place in Vilnius, Lithuania, and was also shown in the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2007. Garcia Torres informed Barry that the students did enact his proposal during Askevold’s Projects Class, but mostly forgot about the project after the seminar ended. While the conflicting information provided by these accounts adds to the elusiveness of this work, the work’s history is inconsequential. The duration of the piece, whether it
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Fig. 4. A work submitted to Projects Class, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Fall 1969, 1969
lasted five seconds, a few minutes, or still exists, does not form the core of the work. What is most crucial is that Barry’s proposal offered a space for contemplation—activation of intellectual curiosity and encouragement to think outside of the framework of an (in)correct answer. As an art object, Barry’s physical work, the written proposal, stands in for a space of independent thought. By 1969, the year Barry created A work submitted to Projects Class, he had already immersed himself in investigating the boundaries of the art object, pushing it into the realm of the invisible. That same year he also produced AM Radio Carrier Wave Piece, Inert Gas Series (see fig. 2), Psychic Series, and Closed Gallery (see fig. 7), and the previous year made Energy Field (AM 130 KHZ) and Ultrasonic Wave Piece. Concurrently Barry was reading philosophical writings by Martin Heidegger (German, 1889–1976) and Maurice Merleau-Ponty (French, 1908–1961) and was concerned with phenomenological questions of communication—a concern that has continued throughout his career. Barry explains that he was interested in Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty because “They dealt not so much with language but what it was to be a speaker, to be a talking person. To function in the environment of language, and what relation language had—what aspect of our being was language.”10 For Barry these questions of communication also extend to the relationship created between art and the receiver.11 During the early 1970s Barry performed several works that involved reading scripts created from individual words collected by the artist, which he refers to as his “word lists.” These works include Untitled Performance (1972–present, see fig. 3, 6), first performed by Barry; and Two Pieces (1971) and It is . . . it isn’t (1972, see fig. 5), which require a male and a female artist, originally Barry and his wife Julia, to execute. On November 1, 1977, invited by the artist Martha Wilson (American, born 1947), Barry performed all three of these works at the artist-run space Franklin Furnace in New York. In the work Untitled Performance, which is included in Robert Barry: All the things I know . . . 1962 to the present, a performer sits at a table in the gallery and reads aloud one word every thirty seconds. With the utterance of the first word, the audience enters a space of anticipation—waiting for what comes next. As the following word is spoken, it fills the space and then recedes into silence. The isolation of one word, delivered at a deliberate and predetermined pace, accentuates its spoken physicality and, at the same time, its temporal nature. There is nothing remarkable about these ordinary words. As the
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Fig. 5. Robert Barry and Julia Barry perform It is . . . it isnâ€™t, 1972, at Franklin Furnace, New York, November 1, 1977
performer continues speaking, however, the viewer brings his or her own associations to the words, linking each to the next, creating a highly personal encounter. Hunter College students enact this version of Untitled Performance as part of the present exhibition, paying homage to Barry’s teaching, which often included collaboration with students at Hunter in the 1960s and 1970s. At the 1974 opening reception of Barry’s painting show at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, one such performance was enacted. Barry invited four of his students to come to the opening and loudly critique his work. The performance lasted about twenty minutes, during which time the gallery visitors looked on in bewilderment while a preinformed Castelli watched with a group of wealthy-looking collectors from the back office.12 Although Barry explicitly divides his art practice and his teaching, the two are intrinsically linked by their commitment to pedagogy. His work depends on the relationship to the viewer, for whom he opens a space for contemplation, a moment in time to think and question and to communicate with another being. This romantic and optimistic sensibility has a direct correlation with the Hunter College environment in which Barry was trained as an artist and which he has fostered as a teacher. He approaches teaching with an openness to intellectual debate, striving to create a dialogue with his students, never imposing a strict way of thinking or a predetermined way of being. — SARAH WATSON
1 During the spring of 2015, the exhibition “Robert Motherwell and the New York School at Hunter” will be on view at the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery, Hunter College, New York. This exhibition documents the ways in which Motherwell permanently transformed Hunter’s Department of Art and Art History by attracting many committed modern painters and sculptors to join the faculty. 2 Robert Barry, phone conversations with the author, January 15 and 26, 2015. 3 Oral History Interview with Robert Barry, May 14–15, 2010, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 4 “Eight Young Artists” was Robert Barry’s first group show and included Carl Andre, Walter Darby Bannard, Robert Barry, Robert Huot, Patricia Johanson, Antoni Milkowski, Doug Ohlson,
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and Terrence Syverson. In 1991 Goossen curated the exhibition “Eight Young Artists, Then and Now, 1964–1991” at the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery, Hunter College, New York. 5
Robert Barry, phone conversations with the author, January 15 and 26, 2015.
6 “David Askevold and the Projects Class: Removals Halfway between the Equator and the North Pole,” Writing Workshop: NSCAD History Project, posted October 23, 2008, http://nscadhistoryworkshop.blogspot.com/2008/10/david-askevold-and-projects-class.html. Robert Barry, A work submitted to Projects Class, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Fall 1969, 7 1969. Copies from a handwritten letter to David Askevold and from a page from the catalogue Projects Class, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Fall 1969 (Halifax: Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1969). 8 “A Minimal Future?: Art As Object, 1958–1968,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, March 14–August 2, 2004, was curated by Ann Goldstein and included artists Carl Andre, Richard Artschwager, Michael Asher, Jo Baer, Robert Barry, Larry Bell, Ronald Bladen, Mel Bochner, John Chamberlain, Judy Chicago, Dan Flavin, Dan Graham, Robert Grosvenor, Hans Haacke, Eva Hesse, Douglas Huebler, Ralph Humphrey, Robert Huot, Robert Irwin, Patricia Johanson, Donald Judd, Craig Kauffman, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Brice Marden, Agnes Martin, John McCracken, Paul Mogensen, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, David Novros, Claes Oldenburg, Dorothea Rockburne, Robert Ryman, Richard Serra, Tony Smith, Robert Smithson, Frank Stella, Anne Truitt, and Lawrence Weiner. See the catalogue Ann Goldstein, A Minimal Future?: Art As Object, 1958–1968 (Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art; Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2004), which was published to accompany the exhibition. 9 Robert Barry, phone conversations with the author, January 15 and 26, 2015. 10 Robert Barry, Erich Franz, and Robert C. Morgan, Robert Barry: An Artist Book / Ein Künstlerbuch (Bielefeld: Karl Kerber, 1986), p. 64. 11 Ibid., p. 69. 12 Robert Barry, phone conversations with the author, January 15 and 26, 2015.
Fig. 6. Detail, page 1 of 4, Untitled Performance script, 1972â€“present
Fig. 7. 1 of 3 invitation cards for Closed Gallery, 1969 (Art & Project, Eugenia Butler, Galleria Sperone)
INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT BARRY Reflecting on six decades of artistic production, Robert Barry discusses a range of topics, including his time as a student and teacher at Hunter College, his early artistic influences and experiences, and the importance of time and duration in his art. Max Weintraub: You had once mentioned that you consider your artistic development to be a logical progression from your earliest paintings. It seems that you were working right at a certain inflection point—where you have the ascendancy of abstract expressionist painting as a means of personal expression or as transcendental experience on the one hand, and minimalist, more reductive tendencies and their various references to industrial production and finish on the other. Can you situate the paintings that you were doing in the 1960s—the monochromes, the square paintings (see fig. 8)—in the context of the painting scene at that time? Robert Barry: There was a big [Piet] Mondrian show just before I went in the army. I remember going to see this show, and there was also a big show of Barnett Newman. I remember hearing about it because Newman hadn’t really shown a lot, and you didn’t really see a lot of artists like Mondrian and so forth. [Robert] Motherwell, who was my big adviser in the last year of my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree [at Hunter College]—he was my mentor, really—and he wasn’t into that kind of minimal aesthetic at all. So, I had like two years to think about all of this. It was the last thing I saw when I went into the army. I had thought about Mondrian. I had always been moved by him. I saw his work at MoMA [in New York]. The two big shows were: Barnett Newman at French and Company [in New York in 1959] and then there was the big [Henri] Matisse show at MoMA. And so, yes, I was thinking about this, and it was going through my
Interview conducted at 205 Hudson Street Gallery, Hunter College, New York, January 9 and 20, 2015
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mind, and you don’t think much about art for two years [while in the army]. So, finally when I came out of the army I decided I was going to get a graduate degree. I thought that it was important. The first teacher that I encountered was Tony Smith. I can’t say I ever really met anybody like him: the high pitched-voice, the three-piece suit, standing up, talking about [author] James Joyce. He talked about artists that I was not familiar with, that he had liked. Early Ellsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland, and one in particular who had just really started showing was Agnes Martin. And Agnes Martin had a show at a gallery called [Robert] Elkon Gallery [in New York]. I never saw anything like that. I thought, “How the hell did she make those things?”—with the fine ink line on gray, brown canvas. I just thought it was amazing. That’s really what led me on—and [Smith] spoke about artists like Ad Reinhardt and people like that. MW: So it was really Tony Smith that guided you into thinking about different artists and artistic possibilities? RB: Yes, he was the first person that I encountered when I got out of the army and decided to go back to graduate school. What he spoke about, I really thought that this is something that I should look into. I wasn’t making art. I hadn’t made anything. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with it. I really didn’t want to go back to a kind of free-form, abstract expressionist painting. So it started with Tony Smith, and then I met Gene [E. C.] Goossen. There were all these different people teaching [at Hunter College] at the time who had come in in a period of maybe three years. So, I started looking at that work and getting into it, and I just decided to move in that direction. It meant something to me. To me, it was very moving work and very intense, and it looked like there were possibilities there that were interesting. I had no interest in pop art or anything like that. It was not my style at all.
MW: What about the range of abstraction to which you were being exposed? I mean, you have Reinhardt, Kelly, and [Frank] Stella who are offering a certain alternative modernism, a critique of the pure visuality or opticality of a previous generation. It seems that their foregrounding of the physicality or materiality of the painting becomes important for your own practice, as does the related concern with the experience of viewing—the environmental and durational aspects of experiencing the work of art. How did you situate yourself, your own interests, within all these different forms of and impulses in abstraction at the time? RB: Push it as far as you could go. People would say that Ad Reinhardt is the end of painting. That’s it. Where can you go from that? Plenty of places, it seemed to me, just intuitively. I was interested in pushing it as far as I could push it, and then it just led into others things, into the space around the painting, and it began to break out of the confines of the painting itself. MW: Who led you there, conceptually? Was it Reinhardt and the temporal aspect present in the experience of his work? Where did you initially get that appreciation for the situational aspect of even an abstract painting, and when did it elevate to a key aspect of your pictorial concerns? RB: Boy, that’s a good question, and I think it was just a recognition of that’s where I should go. I can’t pinpoint any specific artist or reason why I decided to. I think it just dawned on me that the space around the painting was interesting. I think it was a recognition of where I could go with this. And when you’re young like that, my head was full of things that I could do that seemed to me full of possibilities, that I could take this someplace. This was not the end of anything. It was really just one step that I could move away from. I knew I couldn’t imitate Agnes Martin. I didn’t want to do that although I was very moved by her work. If anything, she was probably as much of an influence
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on me as anybody living at that time. And she seemed to be very friendly with Tony Smith, too. I think they knew each other pretty well, and he and I used to talk about her work a lot. Tony and I had many conversations. I think he dug the way I thought about things, because he’s the one that told Goossen that he should hire me as a teacher. We just got along. I think he really liked what I was doing in class at that time and saw my development and my work. In the ‘50s, my watercolor teacher was William Baziotes, whom I loved. He was wonderful. Motherwell operated on some sort of godlike level. He just seemed to know everything about everything. He had answers for everything. He was so wise. I would just listen to him go on and on. MW: And you have mentioned to me that Motherwell didn’t pull his punches either. RB: Oh no. He was very critical of my work. He tore it apart at our first meeting. He hated everything. MW: In 1964 you participated in Goossen’s “Eight Young Artists” exhibition. In his catalogue essay, Goossen collectively positioned the work in that show as a kind of extension of or a progression from Greenbergian Modernism. RB:
He did, yes.
And Goossen emphasized less the optical and visual aspect and MW: instead focus[ed] on the physicality of the paintings—their intrinsic qualities. So, when you start to think about what you’re doing at the time in the mid-‘60s, moving beyond this singular, autonomous aspect of the painting toward more situational concerns—that point of departure from Goossen and certainly from the status quo—did that seem an inevitable trajectory to you? RB: Yes, I think my natural inclination was always to push it as far as it’ll go.
And Tony Smith . . .
RB: You have to remember that, in Tony’s classes, there was a lot of talk about the grid. It was that invisible thing; I even made grid paintings. If you look at some of the works from the “Eight Young Artists” [exhibition] and so forth, . . . there was a point in ‘61 or so where the grid was the basis upon which you started work. MW:
The modernist grid that both defines and structures the work.
RB: But it didn’t anticipate beyond the frame, really. The idea of going beyond that frame was what I did, to break out, to smash the edge, to move the grid out into the space, which is what I wanted to do. If you look at the paintings closely, you can see they’re very brushy. There is a lot of painting going on there. MW: Did that brushwork function as a means of personal expression or was it more about exploring the properties of the pigment? RB: I had a feeling for paint. I just had a feeling for the freehand, the hand of the artist in there. You have to think about the times. At that time, if you were to go out into the art world you would see a lot of second and third generation paintings. But I was really trying to move away from that. You think about [Mark] Rothko, and even Ad Reinhardt—all of those are hand-painted. If you look very closely, you can see the very carefully painted line. I don’t think Reinhardt used tape. I got a feeling that the edge of the paint was hand-painted. MW:
Even Newman’s line . . .
RB: Newman was another one. These were the artists that Tony [Smith] spoke about. He was very close with Newman. So, as your awareness was growing of the situational context in MW: which your paintings were hanging and were being experienced—
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Fig. 8. Installation view, Untitled (4 beige squares), 1967
the spatial and environmental context—it was these artists, Rothko, Reinhardt, Newman that were important. RB: It dawned on me that this is what it is about, in my studio, looking at these things. Newman made a statement, which I disagree with. He said he wanted his paintings to look in the gallery the way they looked in his studio. And it dawned on me: that’s impossible. It just seemed to me obvious that they looked one way in the studio with the artificial studio lights. And then I would take them to Hunter to show Tony [Smith] and set everything up. You had the window light coming in, and it was totally different. What is Newman talking about? How does he make it? Does he adjust the lights and so forth? I mean, the context of where it is and when it’s being looked at is as important as what is in it—what the content is. And it just seemed obvious to me that you have got to build in that change in the painting. That has to be part of the subject matter, that these things change over time. MW:
The history of art and the history of its reception are always changing.
RB: Yes. The way we think about a masterpiece, an old masterpiece today, is not the way it was thought about four hundred years ago, when it was made. It just seemed to me this was so blatantly obvious in art, that it has to be incorporated into the work, so that the wall, the light, everything, is part of the overall experience. MW: Because Newman’s statement implicitly reinforces this idea of art’s autonomy. Were you aware of Robert Rauschenberg’s White Paintings from the early ‘50s, which were very much about engaging with the context of their exhibition and display? RB: I wasn’t aware of them then to tell you the truth. I don’t remember going to see them. MW: So it was a really intuitive moment where you had this idea of countering art’s autonomy.
ROBERT BARRY ALL THE THINGS I KNOW...
It made no sense to me.
MW: So first it was about the situational context of the wall and the general space of exhibition, and then you started to also think about—and include—the viewer as an active participant in or even coproducer of the meaning of the work? RB: I think it was really that. Tony [Smith] would talk about how he would design a building—a house for somebody—and when he would go back to see it a couple years later they would have completely changed everything. [The owners] bought furniture, and he hated that he didn’t have control over the look; ultimately, all of his ideas would just be gone. They would paint a wall the color they wanted to paint it, and hang drapes up where there aren’t supposed to be any. Once a work gets out into the world, you lose control over it. MW: And that aversion to a certain control over the work and the stability of meaning is part of why I suspect that you don’t like the term “conceptual art,” since, among other things, it prescribes a certain meaning and definition to a very loose movement. It is a term that has come to emphasize linguistic performativity, which can be a very prescriptive and limiting way of thinking about your concerns at that time. This was a point of contention with me and some of my fellow RB: conceptualists who wrote long texts about the meaning of their work and trying to explain what it was all about; I found it very limiting. You can’t really tell somebody what to think. You can set them in the right direction with the work, but you ultimately can’t tell them what to think. Whatever they are going to think, whatever context they bring, whatever their history is, is going to be fed into it. There has to be something in the work that would draw them in, and get them going, but ultimately, the final meaning is going to be out in the world someplace, in their own heads, in history or
elsewhere. We don’t have much control over it. And that has to be built into it. I think that that’s what led me to using words, to tell you the truth. MW: Because of the way words take on meaning because of the context in which they operate, reminding us that meaning is never stable? RB: Right, and [the term “conceptual art”] just made no sense to me, and had nothing to do with the real world. I only want to make art for the real world, for the way it is in the world. I know the relationship between the world and art was something that I was always thinking about all the time. There was a very anti–white box gallery feeling in those days [the 1960s], that the gallery was not just commercial, but confining, in terms of what art could be. A lot of this is based on ideas that were in the air at that time—if you went to some bar to hang out, or went to Max’s Kansas City and sat around with [Lawrence] Weiner, you would bullshit about all this stuff. It was in the air when you would go to fellow artists’ studios. It’s what people were talking about—things like John Cage. These were the kinds of things that people were talking about in those days, and the ideas were just floating around, going in and out of your head, and somehow you would absorb it and fit it into your style or what you wanted to do [as an artist]. That’s what it was like in those days. MW: One thing that really struck me that you’ve said before was how you describe your early interest in cinema and film as a young boy. You speak not just about the content of the film, but of the physicality of your experience of the film, of sitting in the theater, in the darkness of it, of getting to the theater early and immersing yourself in the atmosphere of it all. Cinema as an embodied, multisensory experience grounded in the specificity of time and the space of the event. In certain theoretical circles there was, in the 1960s, a real interest in embodied perception versus the ideas of consciousness as the site of knowledge, and the way you talk about cinema to me suggests a fascination at a young age with the spatial and temporal aspects of experience.
ROBERT BARRY ALL THE THINGS I KNOW...
RB: As a little kid I spent a lot of time in movies. You could go to a double feature for a dime or twelve cents when I was really young. The Valentine Theater on [East] Fordham Road in the Bronx [, New York]. I would get there early in the morning and sit in the front row. And then all of a sudden, dum da dum dum: the screen would come alive. MW: This idea of a child excitedly sitting in the darkness of the theater calls to mind the viewing experience you have constructed with slide carousels in Belmont 1967 [from 1977] and other works, where darkness and anticipation are such a part of the viewing experience, where the passage of time is such a critical aspect of the experience. RB: [Films and slide projections] both had that creative energy. The light [from the slide projector] would come up out of the darkness, and you would sit and wait for the next slide to come from the [slide] carousel. It was like a clock ticking, and this total experience is what it was really about. How important was anticipation—as you wait for the next slide to MW: appear—as an aspect of your work? Totally important. With the slide projections you were never quite RB: sure what the next word would be. I still do that in my videos, where I break up a text so that you’re never quite sure what the next phrase will be, or how it relates to the image that is in the background. It all had to do with time. That’s why I never showed an image in a rectangle. I always showed them in a circle, which brought you back to the idea of cycles. The only projectors I ever used were the Kodak carousels, because they would keep cycling through the slides. It didn’t present them in linear way. I liked the idea of the cycle. But that early immersive, embodied experience of being in the MW: theater was very important to you.
RB: Yes. That was very important. Being in the theater and getting caught up, losing yourself in these images and the light, and just being a part of it, and then at the end the lights came up, and it was all over. MW:
So very spatial, and also very temporal or durational.
MW: And I think the Electromagnetic Energy Field and Carrier Wave Pieces and even the Inert Gas Series (see fig. 2), which are often discussed in terms of immateriality but, there’s always a key component of time in those that I think isn’t considered enough. RB:
Why did you choose the noble gases; why inert gases?
RB: I just remembered them, to tell you the truth. They were called the noble gases. They were taught in high school, and I remembered that. It was somehow in the back of my mind. I read something that mentioned that the Greek names—neon, xenon, and so on—mean something different. Neon is derived from new; xenon is derived from strange; krypton is MW: derived from mystery. RB: There you go. Perfect. Can you make a work of art out of mystery? It seemed to me that that was a pretty good idea, if you can do it. I think an artist’s style is very important. And it’s not just the way something looks—everything about it is a style. What you can see and what you can’t see, what isn’t evident right away until you dig under the surface and discover various meanings underneath. That is when it becomes important. And, it was a natural progression from the electronics and radio waves to the inert gas or telepathic
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thought. If you are looking around for elusive, invisible things to make art out of, if you are really challenging the nature of what art can be and expanding it, that’s where I went. MW: The radio and telepathic pieces not only speak to the expanded possibilities of art but also function as meditations on the possibilities and the limitations of human perception. The Greek names for the inert gases allude to discoveries that changed what we thought we knew, to the gaps that existed and exist in knowledge. We have this desire to master the world around us, but then we are occasionally reminded that there are aspects of the universe that were there all along but we never knew. Then suddenly we “discover” them, like the noble gasses, and we give them names that reveal that gap in knowledge, names that mean “new” or “strange” or “mystery.” RB: Isn’t that what art is about? It seemed to me that this was what modern art was about. The great revolution of twentieth-century art was in applying meaning to things that we didn’t think had meaning, or that we didn’t think had serious meaning, and make art out of [them]. I find [the Electromagnetic Energy Field and Inert Gas Series] very much in the tradition of modern twentieth-century art. It seemed to me that this is what it was about. MW: And in those works there seems to be this idea that there is something that eludes us. We attempt to apprehend it in its entirety, and yet it constantly evades our attempts to master it, and that elusiveness becomes part of the thing. RB:
Right. So does the shifting spatial and durational aspect of your MW: work functions as a reminder of the elusiveness of the thing? RB: To feel something slipping through your fingers. It’s one of the subjects of my work. Even today my work is very dependent on
the lighting and the looking and the moving further away and closer, trying to figure out what is actually on the canvas. I try to get it in my paintings, in the wall pieces, in the installations. This is something Sol LeWitt was very aware of. I was there at that Paula Cooper [Gallery] show where Sol came in, and he sat down in a little chair with a ruler, and he made that first pencil wall drawing with the diagonal lines. He would deal with the most basic things that you think are somehow solid and unchanging, and yet you could see that they are actually part of something bigger and changing—that they are infinite in what the possibilities are. As I sat with Sol while he was doing this it just seemed to me that this is really what art is about, what life is about. Somehow you can capture that in your work. You can figure out the relation between art and life or art and reality, what that relation is, what the role of art is. Goossen used to say, “Art is a form of knowledge,” and knowledge is important not because you go over the same old things all the time, but because you are able to somehow figure out something different or new, to present something in a way that people haven’t thought about before. It just seemed to me that if I’m going to be an artist, then this is what I’m supposed to do. MW: Is it fair to say, then, that your interest in how art functions and changes in time and in space is a way of expressing the fluxional nature of experience and life, versus more traditional considerations of the art object? Anything traditional is limiting. The point is to somehow try and RB: get beyond that. Very few people can do it. Hopefully I have, but I don’t know. MW: What is it about the Lucy R. Lippard quotation that you chose to reproduce in this catalogue that resonates so much with you? RB: I think that it sums up the position that I took at the time, which reflected a lot of the thinking at the end of the modern period
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in the ‘60s and ‘70s, where some artists thought of themselves as changing what art could be and asking themselves what could it be other than what it had been before in terms of painting and subject matter and things like that. This idea wasn’t new—it was already several generations old—but we continued on that road and branched out into the relation between the public and the artist and the work itself. Is what happens when [the artwork] gets into the public the ultimate meaning of what a work could be about? These are the things that we were talking about at the time, and Lucy’s statement reflects very concisely—and very beautifully, I think—the point of view that we had at that time. I don’t think that is the case today. I think artists now are working in a different way. It is more of a personal expression, borrowing ideas that were developed by previous generations. [Lippard’s quotation] is the way I envisioned my role as an artist toward the end of the so-called modernist period. The modernist period really revolutionized not just the way art looked but what art could be—what its role in society was, what different kinds of things we could legitimately call art, and that we could convince people that what we were doing really was art. MW:
Did this feel collective and radical at the time?
I think all artists work individually, not in groups, but when we RB: got together in the evenings at Max’s [Kansas City] or somewhere, this is what we talked about, or when we went to each other’s studios, or looked at each other’s work. Somebody would have some new work to show us so we would go over to the studio, or Seth [Siegelaub] would have something up [in his gallery], or on Saturdays we would go over and visit the galleries and see what was going on. So you were not just alone in the studio, but you participated in the group that you felt comfortable with, where people were sympathetic to what you were doing. You didn’t have to listen to a lot of stupid criticism and people who didn’t know what the hell you were up to. So, yes, there were definitely ideas in the air. But the great thing for me was [the idea that you] “don’t
imitate what other people are doing.” This was very important— how do I move on in my own way based on what I had done before? It was important to keep moving and not repeat myself. That’s what made it interesting; otherwise it got boring for me if I didn’t think that way. Fortunately I kept having ideas. MW: So the energy to innovate and to be creative within the parameters of your own work was the way forward to push art’s boundaries? RB:
Carl [Andre] used to say “Oh, there’s nothing really new in art,” and I disagreed with him. Sure we’re all based on the past, and I was a big art history fan. There were certain artists that I loved, and I would borrow their ideas but not their look, not their technique. This was very important to dig underneath the surface of the look for the ideas and ask what were they thinking about when they made this work? Why does it still relate to me four hundred years after they made it? This was the thing that was interesting to me: the deep-down ideas—if you want to say the concepts—behind the work. Not necessarily just the look, but what information is the look of it, the subject matter, [and] the style conveying beyond the surface? What ideas are going on underneath? How does it relate to human beings on a very basic level, and what can I learn from it? What can I learn from somebody who made a painting five hundred years ago? There is plenty to learn, believe me.
Is there something essential or enduring or even timeless beneath the MW: surface to be appreciated? RB: There must be something timeless in there. There has to be. I think that there are certain universal things that just haven’t been discovered yet. They seem to be there all the time; we just hadn’t focused on it yet. Basically when you look under a Jackson Pollock or somebody like that, he is really on a certain level a very traditional artist, a very poetic artist. When you get past the basic look of it, and you get a little bit deeper into the rhythms of it and the style and
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the ideas behind it and get in close and experience it, you are really dealing with quite traditional, solid, artistic ideas. MW: [Charles] Baudelaire said that the modern was a combination of the fleeting and the eternal. RB: Hopefully. But you don’t leave it fleeting, you keep trying to make it solid for yourself. Art is fleeting, yes. There are aspects of it where you can’t hold onto it, but the point is that when you make it solid, you point out something that maybe had not been pointed out in the infinity of reality, and you focus in on it and show it to other people. And then maybe they say, “Oh yeah, that’s right. I didn’t really think about it that way.”
Fig. 9. Installation view, Marcuse Piece, 1970–present, from “1965–1975: Reconsidering the Object of Art,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1995
Fig. 10. Robert Barry working on an installation at the Joslyn Museum, Omaha, Neb., September 1980
CHECKLIST FOR THE EXHIBITION Untitled, 1962 Oil on canvas 48 x 50 inches Courtesy of the artist Diptych, 1962–2014 Consisting of the following: Untitled, 1962; acrylic on canvas, 56 x 47 1/2 inches INCOMPLETE . . ., 2014; acrylic on wood panel, each 24 x 18 inches Overall 56 x 97 1/2 inches Collection of Julia Barry Untitled, 1964 Tempera and gesso on canvas 14 1/8 x 14 1/8 inches Collection of Julia Barry Untitled, 1965 Ink on unprimed canvas 32 x 32 inches Courtesy of the artist Untitled (Monochrome), 1965 Acrylic on canvas on board 70 x 12 inches Courtesy of the artist Untitled (4 beige squares), 1967 (Fig. 8) Acrylic on canvas on wood Overall 72 x 72 inches, each 8 x 8 inches, Collection Nicole Klagsbrun Electromagnetic Energy Field (AM 1000 MHz), 1968 Aluminum box and electromagnetic transmitter 3 x 4 x 2 1/2 inches Courtesy of the artist Xerox Book: One Million Dots, 1968 Artist’s book, published by Siegelaub / Wendler, New York Edition of 1000 8 1/2 x 11 inches Courtesy of the artist All the things I know but of which I am not at the moment thinking—1:36 p.m.; June 15, 1969, 1969 (Fig. 11) Pencil on wall Dimensions variable Exhibition copy
Ringier Collection, Zurich Barry, Huebler, Kosuth, Weiner: January 5–31, 1969, 1969 Exhibition catalogue, Seth Siegelaub, New York 8 1/2 x 7 inches Courtesy of the artist Carl Andre, Robert Barry, Daniel Buren, Jan Dibbets, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, N.E. Thing Co. Ltd., Robert Smithson, Lawrence Weiner: July, August, September 1969, 1969 Exhibition catalogue, Seth Siegelaub, New York 10 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches Courtesy of the artist Closed Gallery, 1969 (fig. 7) Three invitation cards, offset printing on paper Dimensions variable Exhibition copy National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Inert Gas Series: Helium 2, 1969 Photographs and typed statement on paper Four photographs: each 10 x 8 inches Typed statement on paper: 8 1/2 x 11 inches Courtesy of the artist Inert Gas Series: Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton, Xenon, from a Measured Volume to Indefinite Expansion, 1969 Letterpress 35 x 23 inches Courtesy of the artist Inert Gas Series: Helium. Sometime during the Morning of March 5, 1969, 2 Cubic Feet of Helium Will Be Released into the Atmosphere, 1969 (Fig. 2) Photograph: 6 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches Typed statement on paper: 8 1/2 x 11 inches Exhibition copy Paul Maenz Collection, Berlin Interview Piece, 1969 Page 26 from Prospect 69: Katalog-Zeichnung zur Internationalen Vorschau auf die Kunst in den Galerien der Avantgarde Exhibition catalogue, Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, September 30–October 12, 1969 Offset printing on paper 14 x 20 1/2 inches Courtesy of the artist
Telepathic Piece, 1969 (Fig. 7) Two pages and folder from Simon Fraser Exhibition Catalogue, Centre for Communications and the Arts, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, May 19– June 19, 1969 Each page 9 x 6 inches Exhibition copy Private collection Untitled (Something I was once conscious of, but have now forgotten), 1969 Typewriting on paper 10 13/16 x 8 3/4 inches Exhibition copy Paul Maenz Collection, Berlin Untitled (Something that is taking shape in my mind and will sometime come to consciousness), 1969 Typewriting on paper 10 13/16 x 8 3/4 inches Exhibition copy Paul Maenz Collection, Berlin A work submitted to Projects Class, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Fall 1969, 1969 (Fig. 4) Copies from a handwritten letter to David Askevold and page from Projects Class, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Fall 1969 Exhibition catalogue, Halifax, Fall 1969 Two sheets 11 x 8 3/8 inches and 11 x 7 7/8 inches Courtesy of the artist 30 Pieces, 1969–71 Typewriting on paper, five pages, Each page 8 1/2 x 11 inches Exhibition copy Judith Rothschild Foundation, New York Marcuse Piece, 1970–present (Fig. 9) Vinyl letters mounted on wall 85 3/4 x 19 1/2 inches Exhibition copy Ringier Collection, Zurich Art & Project Bulletin 37, 1971 Ink on paper 8 x 11 1/2 inches Courtesy of the artist
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Art & Project Bulletin 51, 1971 Ink on paper 8 x 11 1/2 inches Courtesy of the artist Robert Barry, 1971 Artist’s book, published by Galerie Gerd de Vries, Cologne 11 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches Courtesy of the artist Robert Barry Presents Three Shows and a Review by Lucy R. Lippard, 1971 Exhibition postcard for Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris, April 1971, and two-page review Postcard: 5 1/4 x 8 1/4 inches Review: 11 x 8 3/8 inches Courtesy of the artist Untitled (Projection: Arrow moving left to right along a dotted line), 1972 Pen on 10-by-10-to-the-inch grid vellum 11 x 17 inches Courtesy of the artist Untitled (Projection: Arrow moving left to right through lines of nonsense), 1972 Letraset and pen on 10-by-10-to-the-inch grid vellum 11 x 17 inches Courtesy of the artist Invitation Piece, 1972–73 Eight invitation cards, offset printing on paper Edition of 8, plus open edition of artist’s proofs Dimensions variable Artist’s proof Courtesy of the artist Untitled Performance, 1972–present (figs. 3, 6) Performer, chair, desk, and script Dimensions variable Courtesy of the artist Robert Barry, 1974 Artist’s book, published by Art & Project, Amsterdam Edition of 300 4 x 8 1/4 inches Courtesy of the artist
Robert Barry, 1974 Exhibition catalogue (no. 565), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, September 13–October 20, 1974 10 3/4 x 8 1/8 inches Courtesy of the artist Art & Project Bulletin 97, 1976 Ink on paper 8 x 11 1/2 inches Courtesy of the artist Belmont 1967, 1977 Artist’s book, published by Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, and Museum Folkwang Essen 8 1/4 x 11 inches Courtesy of the artist Sometime in the 1980s to 2014, ca. 1980s–2014 Acrylic on canvas 42 x 42 inches Courtesy of the artist Otherwise, 1981 Record, produced by the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven 33 1/3 rpm, Diam. Courtesy of the artist Robert Barry, There It Is, 1982 Artist’s book, published by Ottenhausen, Aachen 8 x 8 inches Courtesy of the artist Untitled (Diptych), 1988 Acrylic on canvas and graphite on wall Painting: 70 x 70 inches Wall drawing: Diam. 70 inches Overall 70 x 146 inches Courtesy of the artist Untitled, 1990 Black gesso and colored pencil on canvas 60 1/4 x 60 1/4 inches Courtesy of the artist Going Through, 1995 Artist’s book, published by Alain Buyse and Kaatje Cusse, Lille Edition 70 of 100 12 x 12 inches Courtesy of the artist
Unititled, 1996 Pamphlet-stitched artist’s book 11 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches Courtesy of the artist Art Lovers, 2006 Portfolio of photographs, published by MfcMichèle Didier, Brussels Edition 29 of 30, plus artist’s proof 11 x 11 inches Courtesy of the artist Autobiography, 2006 Artist’s book, published by Éditions Incertain Sens, Châteaugiron 8 3/4 x 8 1/2 inches Courtesy of the artist One Page Book, 2007 Artist’s book, published by Onestar Press, Paris Edition 90 of 250 5 1/2 x 9 inches Courtesy of the artist Inserts: Something That is Not Like Anything Else . . ., 2013 Portfolio of offset printed text, published by MOREpublishers, Brussels Edition of 40, signed and numbered, plus 7 artist’s proofs 11 3/4 x 8 3/4 inches Courtesy of the artist Something In a Box, 2014 Walnut box and sixty-two statements on index cards Edition of 24, signed and numbered, plus 6 artist’s proofs Overall 7 x 5 x 2 inches, each card 4 x 6 inches Courtesy of the artist INCOMPLETE . . ., 2015 Vinyl on wall 11 1/2 x 124 1/2 inches Courtesy of the artist Untitled (Window Piece), 2015 Light blue transparent vinyl on glass Dimensions variable Courtesy of the artist Untitled Diptych (Wall Piece), 2015 Glossy white and chrome vinyl on wall Dimensions variable Courtesy of the artist
Published on the occasion of the exhibition Robert Barry: All the things I know…1962 to the present Organized by Max Weintraub, Hunter College Visiting Assistant Professor; Sarah Watson, Hunter College Art Galleries Acting Director and Curator; and Annie Wischmeyer, Assistant Curator Additional exhibition support provided by Graduate Fellows Jenn Bratovich, Tatiana Mouarbes, and Jordon Schranz, and by Jocelyn Spaar, Assistant to the Director, Hunter College Art Galleries 205 Hudson Street Gallery February 6 – April 4, 2015 This exhibition and publication are made possible by the leadership support of Carol Goldberg, Agnes Gund, and an anonymous donor. We are also grateful to Judy and Stanley Zabar for their support of Robert Barry’s residency at Hunter College through the Judith Zabar Visiting Artist Program. HUNTER COLLEGE, THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK Jennifer J. Raab, President Vita Rabinowitz, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Andrew J. Polsky, Acting Ruth and Harold Newman Dean, School of Arts and Sciences Howard Singerman, Phyllis and Joseph Caroff Chair, Department of Art and Art History HUNTER COLLEGE ART GALLERIES Howard Singerman, Executive Director Joachim Pissarro, Bershad Professor of Art History and Director Katy Siegel, Chief Curator Sarah Watson, Acting Director and Curator Annie Wischmeyer, Assistant Curator Jocelyn Spaar, Assistant to the Director Phi Nguyen, Preparator Tim Laun, Director of Operations, Hunter College MFA Campus 205 HUDSON STREET GALLERY 205 Hudson Street New York, N.Y. 10013 Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 1–6pm Information: 212-772-4991 www.hunter.cuny.edu/art/galleries Designed by Elizabeth Ashley Fox Edited by Amelia Kutschbach Printed by Digital City Edition of 500 ISBN 978-0-9887976-3-5 Credits All images courtesy of the artist, unless otherwise noted. Fig. 3. Photograph by Martin Seck Fig. 5. Courtesy of Franklin Furnace Archives Fig. 10. Photograph by Holly Day
Fig. 11. All the things I know but of which I am not at the moment thinkingâ€”1:36 p.m.; June 15, 1969, 1969