Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Ger van Elk

“What I want is a realistic depiction of unrealistic situations”
said Ger van Elk in a 1977 interview. (Via's obituary)

Van Elk's sensibility was characterized by simple, humorous and often touching gestures. The artist's direct approach is perfectly on display in the piece he contributed to Gery Schum's Fernsehgalerie. In the 1960s and 70s Gerry Schum ran a television gallery, an entity whose exhibitions existed only as broadcasts on German television. For the exhibition themed "Identifications" van Elk produced the work seen below.

Ger van Elk died on August 17th at the age of 73.

Ger van Elk • The Well-Shaven Cactus • 1970 • from Indentifications  - Fernsehausstellung II, Fernsehgalerie Schum

For you videophiles out there, you can also find a high quality transfer on vimeo.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

JULY 10, 2014

On Kawara • I AM STILL ALIVE • telegram sent in 1979 • via Bukowski's

JAN. 2, 1933

JULY 10, 2014

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Rene Ricard

I met Rene Ricard in 2002 when he came to give a lecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I was a student. Ambitious young artist and writer that I was, I set up an interview with him. Instead of a brief chat, I was pulled into his frenetic world. I only spent a short week with him, but it was a life changing experience, something I suspect happened with almost everyone whose life intersected with his. Rene (no accent mark!) passed away in early February.

Rene in 2003 • Nancy Smith, artnet

“The clubs were just filled with all these... ‘Young geniuses.’ Of course that’s all gone now. The whole art world is dead. No one goes to the clubs anymore, there’s nothing interesting happening.”

“But maybe–not to be brash.”

“Oh, please, be brash.”

“Not to be brash.”

“Yes, yes, get on with it.”

“Maybe you just don’t know where any of the good clubs are.”

“Yes, yes, I’m old and boring and nobody loves me. I don’t get invited to any of the good parties. Is that what you mean, you little bitch?” Gasps, silence and then laughter. Rene Ricard takes a drag from his unfiltered Camel cigarette, one of many he’s been chain-smoking throughout his lecture. “…Or whatever you are?” Holds the fag daintily and gently taps the ash off. “Or did I hit the nail right on the head?”


In the early 1960s, when Rene was seventeen he saw one of the Warhol Flower paintings at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. He stared at it until the museum closed; he’d been sitting there for three hours. After that he immediately went to New York and joined the Factory. He had a Screen Test, he was in Chelsea Girls and he was one of Warhol’s Superstars.

Rene Ricard (left) with Andy Warhol (center) during the Factory days • photo via Hotel Chelsea Blog

“Can I ask you a gossipy question?”

“Oh No! Gossip. No, go ahead. But just one.”

“So can you talk about the fight you had with Andy?” I asked.

“We had so many! Ha!”