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► PROJEC PROJECT EXPOSITION 5—31 JANVIER 2009 Ecole des beaux—arts de Cherbourg—Octeville (ESBACO) du 5 au 31 janvier 2009 _______________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ ______________________________________

0.1 ARGUMENT

The scope both symbolic & educational, economic & political of the 5— 31, 1969 show reminds us of its basic virtues. 20 years after that experience, Seth Siegelaub could already notice the following, which, besides, has lost nothing of its topicality1: “This was certainly the most seriously sustained attempt to date to avoid the fatality of the art object as commodity.2”

That was one of the consequences of the same Seth Siegelaub's initiative in 1969, when designing January 5—31, 1969. This exhibition was organized on the following principle: “The exhibition consists of (the idea communicated in) the catalog; the physical presence (of the work) is supplementary to the catalog.”

What is today our essential motive for the current invitation is: 1/ The opportunity to commemorate this historic exhibition, 40 years later3. 2/ The specific context of a higher Institute of artistic Education called ESBACO4.

1- For example, see Sighard Neckel, Kunst für Hedgefonds, http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2008-08-12neckel-de.html 2- Seth Siegelaub, “Some remarks on so-called 'Conceptual Art' - extracts from unpublished interviews with Robert Horvitz (1987) and Claude Gintz (1989)", http://www.volny.cz/rhorvitz/seth.html 3- “The implication of this new mode of art for the market were enormous, as evidenced by Patricia Norvell’s somewhat puzzled observation during the early 1969 interview with Siegelaub: ‘You can’t make anyone pay for thinking about [art.]’” A. Alberro, Conceptual Art and The Politics of Publicity, Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 2003, p. 155 ; let's recall with Sol Levritt the general historic importance of this period : “Conceptual art became the liberating idea that gave the art of the next 40 years its real impetus. All of the significant art of today stems from Conceptual art. This includes the art of installation, political, feminist and socially directed art. The other great development has been in photography, but that too was influenced by Conceptual art.” “Sol LeWitt by Saul Ostrow”, Bomb Magazine, Issue 85, Fall 2003, http://www.bombsite.com/issues/85/articles/2583 4- Especially at the time of the European Higher Education reform; see for example http://www.andea.fr/documents/lettreAndea-Cneea_ministre.pdf


It is because of this double condition that 5—31, 1969 is strongly suggesting you could contribute to a show that will take place at Cherbourg next year on the following principle: AN ART EXHIBITION WHICH WHICH IS (A ( TEACHING COMMUNICATED IN)) THE GALLERY THE CATALOGUE, THE PHYSICAL PRESENCE (OF ( OF/OR THE SCHOOL)) IS SUPPLEMENTARY TO TO THE CATALOGUE. BETTER STILL: THE CATALOGUE CATALOGUE AS SUCH IS THE THE TEACHING AND NOT ANY VARIOUS OBJECTS, OBJECTS, PLACES, KINDS OF OF EDUCATIONAL ACTS EXTRINSIC TO THE THE CATALOGUE5.

We would like then to act on the authority of Seth Siegelaub: “…when art does not any longer depend upon its physical presence, when it has become an abstraction, it is not distorded and altered by its representation in books and catalogues. It becomes primary information, while the reproduction of conventional art in books or catalogues is necessarily secondary information. For example, a photograph of a painting is different from painting, but a photograph of a photograph is just a photograph, or the setting of a line of type is just a line of type. When information is primary, the catalogue can become the exhibition and a catalogue auxiliary to it, whereas in the January, 1969 show, the catalogue was primary and the physical exhibition was auxiliary to it. You know, it’s turn the whole thing around.6”

5- In this respect, the present proposition is related to Texte, as opposed to Oeuvre (Work) according to Roland Barthes; deliberate transposition of the 1969 Seth Siegelaub's wording, our proposition as such, results from "the intertextuality inherent in any text, since it is itself the inter-text of another text that cannot be confused with any origin of the text. Quoted by C. Harrison/P. Wood, Art en théorie 1900-1990, une anthologie, Paris, Hazan, 1993, « De l’œuvre au texte » (1971), p. 1027. 6- Cf. Lucy Lippard, Six Years…, London, Studio Vista, 1973, p. 125.


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0.2 5—31 JANVIER 2009 AS EXHIBITION AS TEACHING TEACHING AS CATALOGUE …

The necessary changes having been made, the 5—31 JANVIER 2009 catalogue should work as a primary teaching, unlike secondary training arts background given by the institution (through for example the Fine Art schools, universities & the other educational institutions etc, including handbooks, reviews, and other cultural media as well). In this respect, let's recall that the 5—31 JANVIER 2009 exhibition was contemporaneous of the constitution of the Art Workers' Coalition that Seth Siegelaub worked with7. The scope of the artistic education, just as the art market, was itself affected by the insurrectionary atmosphere of the period8, as attested for example, by this statement of Gary Smith: “(II) / Begin to break down the system of education practiced in schools and construct new places of education for artists. It should be a place where all artists are teachers and all teachers are students, a place of exchange, not give and take, of doing not telling. It should be a place of communication not a school.9”

The necessary changes having been made, the diagnosis of the Architects' Resistance explains a same aspiration to change. “The architectural profession designes [sic] a mere 10% of buildings constructed in this country. This 10% is mostly monuments build for the business world to symbolize its power and wealth and to attract more profit. It is mausoleums to house Government and its oppressive agencies. It is schools where creativity is treated as a discipline problem, and cultural differences as delinquencies .10”

Finally, beyond the Atlantic Ocean, and again in 1969, Joseph Beuys was to state: To be a teacher is my greatest work of art. The rest is the waste product, a demonstration..11” 7- Cf. Kirsten Forkert, The Art Workers Coalition (revisited): a call to participate, http://www.joaap.org/articles/forkert.htm; Cf. also http://www.leftmatrix.com/artworkerscolist.html ; http://www.takissculpture.com/statements_main.htm

January 8, 1970, Art Workers' Coalition and the Guerilla Art Action Group protest in front of Picasso's Guernica at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City with the AWC's And babies? poster.

8- Among other people, Jean Toche precisely made the connexion : “I believe that the objective should not be to obtain a series of reform from the museum, but to get effective participation in the running of these institutions in the same manner as, today, students are fighting for the control of the schools and universities.” http://www.joaap.org/articles/forkert.htm 9- http://www.joaap.org/articles/forkert.htm 10- Ibid. 11- Lucy Lippard, Six Years…, London, Studio Vista, 1973, p. 121.


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0.3 A[U]TOPIC UTOPIA A TOPIC OF AN ARTISTIC [A]UTOPI UTOPIA ?

Finally, Lucy Lippard could write in 1973, just in the same way: "Much art now is transported by the artist, or in the artist himself, rather than by watered-down, belated circulating exhibitions or by existing information networks such as mail, books, telex, video, radio, etc.12 5— 31 JANVIER 2009 wants it to be reminded. Selma Brody, for example, in light of the AWC, implies the same thing: “Each of us is a changing museum and our exhibition buildings should mirror the artists as well as the people of New York and the world.13» So if art lies in the artist himself, therefore, according to the Japanese Bikyōtō Group in 1974, “The museum emerges wherever one conducts an act of art making.14 » Isn'it the same thing, when it comes to the artists' relationship to their teaching (and to their schools)? Doesn't a school arise as a result of the mere fact of teaching? As a result, it is obvious that, taking account of both the artists' heterotopia and their specific teaching — broadly and literally speaking —, 5—31 JANVIER 2009 will seem more utopic than atopic. However, are all these enough reason not to support the undermentioned recent observation of Seth Siegelaub: “I think a number of artists are a bit let down by the period because we promised so much – to get rid of capitalist art values and the commodification of the object, etc. – and didn’t quite do it, but the promise is still there.15”

Be that as it may, 5—31 JANVIER 2009 subscribes to that promise by asking a question: what does it mean to teach (or to run an art school) without any subventions, nor premises, not to mention lack of administrative system now that, according to Seth Siegelaub's predictions as soon as 1969, the teachers like the “Artists have finally been accepted as idea men and not merely as craftsmen with poetic thoughts16”? In other words now that they would have finally been accepted as (wo)men rather than mere employees and/or civil servants?

Jean-Charles Agboton-Jumeau, Head of ESBACO.

12- L. Lippard, op. cit., “Interview with Ursula Meyer”, december 1969, p. 8. 13- http://www.joaap.org/5/pdfs/awcdocuments%20Folder.1/selmabrody.pdf 14- Quoted by Howard Slater, The spoiled Ideals of Lost Situations – Some Notes on Political Conceptual Art, http://www.infopool.org.uk/hs.htm, June 2000, note 4. 15- “Action Man : Paul O’Neill interviews Seth Siegelaub”, The Internationaler, June 2006, Issue I, p. 5-7, http://www.curatorial.net/go/data/en/files/ActionMan(SethSiegelaub).pdf 16- Quoted by Alexander Alberro, op. cit., http://books.google.com/books?id=h9sx3X4s4FMC&pg=PT223&dq=alexander+alberro,+mit+press&ei=Q2e 9SPmqJY-4swOf89HqBw&hl=fr&sig=ACfU3U2EIJjCkPYTCdCyUYi4Meqs7_J9bA#PPT135,M1

January 5-31, 2009 argument  

January 5-31, 2009 project & invitation

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