Triple Candie currently has a show up of "approximations" of Cady Noland's work. Noland is an influential installation artist who reached the top of the art world and "dropped out" about 10 years ago; the gallery has re-created some of her work, based on documentary sources but without consulting or notifying the self-disappeared artist. The "approximators" also published detailed notes of where they fell short in the installation process, both in finding information and relocating materials. From the press release it is obvious the project was conceived in a spirit of admiration for Noland and an intellectual fascination with "compromised forms of representation"; the eloquent commentary below by Amory Blaine (who I suspect is one of the creators or somehow involved with the project, although the gallery says it doesn't know who s/he is), describes the show as "part ghost story, part lament."

By contrast, critical response has been harsh and negative. Without any evidence to back it up, the New York Times and Village Voice interpreted the phrase "without consulting or notifying the artist" as "done against the artist's wishes" (not the same thing--what are these critics, mind readers? as Atrios would say, time for a blogger ethics panel). The Voice said Noland should "get a lawyer and get medieval on Triple Candie." Another scolding defender of Cady Noland is critic Brian Sholis, who is taken to the cleaners by "Amory Blaine" (a pseudonym from F. Scott Fitzgerald) in a colloquy from Edward Winkleman's blog, which I have reproduced immediately following Sholis' blog post.

BRIAN SHOLIS (from his blog) on Triple Candie's "Cady Noland Approximately" Show:
Far be it from me to police what a gallery chooses to exhibit, but it seems to me that making an exhibition-of-photocopied-reproductions-as-homage in the spirit of one artist [Triple Candie's David Hammons show --tm]—an exhibition that leads even the Times to wonder if the artist is involved [but wait--the Voice said Hammons was "livid" --tm]—is one thing. It is far different, and less malicious, than re-creating the artworks of an elusive artist, no matter how poorly and with how much transparency. As someone said last night at dinner, "This show cannot even begin to look like a Cady Noland show. Cady has very specific reasons for installing her objects the way she does; the relationships between them are of equal importance to the sculptures themselves. This cannot be re-created by others' hands." Hammons is enigmatic, and his relationship to exhibitions and the market can be seen, in some way, as part of his oeuvre; Noland's relationship with the art world is much closer to a categorical "no." In my mind, the differences between those stances outweigh the similarities described above.

AMORY BLAINE said... (all quotes from this point forward are from a comment thread on Edward Winkleman's blog)
Too bad Brian Sholis has bought in bulk the preciousness that the art market demands in shunning the Triple Candie project. Too bad he thinks that "cognoscenti" and "the public" are one and the same.

>>If these aren't Cady Noland sculptures, and those responsible for creating them aren't willing to claim them as something else (à la Sturtevant, or some such), then what are they?

They're approximations, Brian. One thing that you get to do when you make things in a new way, you get to name the terms. It seems that approximations may have both named and unnamed collaborators.

This show is a gesture whose faults are outweighed by the complexities of its combined virtues. It is part ghost story, part lament. Its honesty might very well be a little too intense for some to handle, but for those with a taste for that, it will taste sweet. That the beginning of Mr. Sholis's blog is laced with a threat of legal action from the artist is plenty to go on. Any writer who's first thoughts of a show include litigation should be put in the stocks. Your Fucking Face, indeed.
4/23/2006 03:12:03 PM

I guess I should clarify the first sentence of my post: I was not suggesting that Noland would threaten legal action. In fact, after hearing from people who know her better than I do (I've only met her once, and corresponded with her briefly), I don't think she'll do anything at all in response to the exhibition. When I wrote, ". . . that will be very short-lived if Cady Noland responds to this exhibition the way she has to exhibitions that include artworks she actually made," I was referring to the numerous recent instances in which Noland has harangued gallerists that have chosen to exhibit her work, or convinced dealers who asked for her permission to give up on including her in their shows. It has more to do with respecting Noland's wishes than any legal action. (I know of no instance where she has threatened or taken legal action.)

As I noted at the end of my post, we "need instead to stoke Noland's desire to collaborate with a gallery or institution on an exhibition of her own work." My condemnation of the Triple Candie exhibition—which I am eager to see—stems more from a disappointment in the Harlem non-profit's misunderstanding of Noland's feelings. I think Noland is one of the most important artists of her generation, and it pains me to think she might slip from our consciousness (hence "Why We Should Talk About Cady Noland"). That Triple Candie's exhibition might increase her reluctance to show her work again is in my mind a true shame.

I have the same desire that Peter and Shelly have. I just feel—again, without yet seeing the exhibition—that they have gone about achieving it in the wrong way.
Best, Brian
4/25/2006 10:40:23 PM

This trend of caring about artists' feelings is interesting and new. The other trend, however, of writing on things one hasn't seen, is not very new or interesting.

There's nothing complicated in wanting to make something contentious? It's a whole lot more complicated than serving up pablum, or offering something tried-and-true. What irritates me about some of these reactions is the knee-jerk argument of "wrongness". Are you offering that there is some objective "right"? Is that "rightness" comprised of adulation, supplication, inaction, and silent reverence?

No thanks, I don't go to that church.

And I would think that, like the Unauthorized Retrospective, this exhibition was done in the only way that triple candie could do it. In no time, with help from friends, and with very little money. I think that it's a tribute to the currency of her work that a group of people would go out of their way to make a gesture that would attempt to somehow fill the gap of her absence (a futile but encouraging effort) and bring her name out of their throats in a clear and ringing tone. More like a barbaric "Yalp" than Neil Simon's whispered "Cancer".

If anything, this show is an entreaty to Cady Noland. As much a curtain call as "Why We Should Talk About Cady Noland". It's just that it's not words, it's concrete. It's confusing. Damned ambivalent.

Looking at knock-offs is not interesting? Why not? Is it due to an overbearing sense of "the original", of some "authentic" experience? I think it is a reverence for a brand. Then there can be no satisfaction, even if the pieces were 1:1 exact replicas with no observable difference from the products straight from Ms. Noland's studio. What you're after is an interaction with your fetish object. This has absolutely nothing to do with the ideas behind Cady's work. You're only seeing what's not there. Like a petulent child who didn't get exactly what they wanted for Christmas, you're spoiling what fun is to be had for the rest of us. Mature. Adult. Human. Beings.

Boycott Triple Candie? That has got to be the most obscenely stupid thing I have ever heard. What are you going to do? Stop not giving them money? Stop not bringing all your friends to the openings? Stop not helping them install shows? Great. I can't wait to not see you around there anymore. With friends like you, who needs friends?

It saddens me to see fans and writers and critics displaying such a lack of flexibility when it comes to engaging the topic of replication, reproduction, approximation in absentia, ... alternative modes of production, folks. It's not like we haven't been here before. A million goddamn times.

What interests me is how exciting this feels. I haven't been this excited about a show and its ramifications in a very long time.
4/28/2006 06:09:28 PM

Hi Amory,
[...] My "caring about the artist's feelings" stems from the ramifications of this exhibition on Noland's desire to continue making (and exhibiting) her own art. What gives me most pause about "CN Approximately" is not the questions of replication, reproduction, and approximately that it raises, but rather this--admittedly nebulous and arguable--negative impact on Noland's production. For those fans of her work who hold on to the hope that she may one day reverse course and exhibit, any narrowing of the horizon of possibility is painful. For this reason I still wish that this show had not taken its current form.

Nonetheless, I agree that the thorny issues brought up by this show are productive complications, ones both exciting and well worth thinking about. I don't, however, think that this was the "only way" Triple Candie could have put the exhibition together. For clarification's sake, I never suggested boycotting the show or that looking at knock-offs is not interesting; I believe those are responses to another person commenting on this post.

At this point I have to recuse myself from further posts on this thread, as I was traveling this weekend and have personal- and work-related obligations this week that will keep me from my usual blog-reading. If you'd like to continue this conversation, however, feel free to write me (my e-mail address is in the right-hand column of the site linked to this profile). I'd be happy to keep talking (although perhaps at a slower pace) . . . especially after I have seen the exhibition.
Best, Brian
5/01/2006 12:52:26 PM

- tom moody 5-16-2006 9:11 pm

"As someone said last night at dinner, "This show cannot even begin to look like a Cady Noland show. Cady has very specific reasons for installing her objects the way she does; the relationships between them are of equal importance to the sculptures themselves. This cannot be re-created by others' hands."

how fucking trite.
- steve 5-17-2006 4:58 pm [add a comment]

Holy shit! The silence has been broken! *Chorus of angels*
Thanks, steve, you are my first commenter since I started this topic.

We've had discussion going on bill's page, and I've had some email back and forth on the topic, but it does seem like calling out the critics is being treated like a no-no. My feeling is facts are facts, and if they're wrong they need to be corrected, and as for opinion, why can't we talk about it?

I don't think the silence is all just fear of the writers' awesome (undeniable) power. It's also the subject matter. Cady Noland is already problematic enough for some people without having to wrap your head around someone appropriating her. Also, a lot of people don't know who Cady Noland is.

To be perfectly cynical, the magic spot the gallery hit was pissing off all the critics who like to say Cady Noland is their favorite artist, without actually having Noland around embarrassing them with bad, late career work (like Sherrie Levine's gold plated urinals). Triple Candie lobbed the bomb into that hornet's nest, and the angry responses are cries of "Fire in the hole!"

Well, now I need to get back to talking about the solo show I have up, now that I've "committed career suicide." To the art world hunkered down in fear of a few workaholic critics I say, "baa baa" (as in sheep.)

- tom moody 5-17-2006 7:37 pm [add a comment]

OMG -- Amory Blaine, will you marry me? you had me at " I don't go to that church."
- underbelly 5-17-2006 8:53 pm [add a comment]

Yeah, Amory is a hero to me. He really rope-a-dopes Sholis. I was going to have "My condemnation of the Triple Candie exhibition—which I am eager to see..." in bold as the headline to this post, but decided it was just too cruel.

As for Sholis' essay, it's kind of the standard academic rubber stamp. He treats Noland as a solitary genius that emerged fully formed into the world. A more interesting essay would place her in the New York scene from the East Village and "Neo Geo" era, with references to artists doing similar work.

Sholis mentions that Noland included "work by New York artists" in her Documenta installation. He doesn't say which ones. Maybe she was a little more generous than her critical advocate(s).

I know artist Bill Schwarz, who also emerged out of the East Village scene and was in several Bob Nickas-curated shows, had a minimal style piece called 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall that predated Noland, and the late Steven Parrino had a painting at Metro Pictures of stocks (as in the Colonial era punishment), a motif which Noland also used, in sculpture form.

The great essay still to be written (?) puts Cady Noland in context of radical or nihilist interpretations of Minimalism in the Reagan '80s, with all the connections to her peer group.
- tom moody 5-17-2006 9:25 pm [add a comment]

Last summer we had an almost endless amount of fun with a reviewer, who so desperately wanted to pan a group show, that he previewed the work during installation and in his essay actually wrote that certain artist's works were still in bubble wrap but he was sure that they would be typical examples. (and that bit of x-ray vision was published in a national newspaper)

So, no, your proposed headline for this post is not too cruel.
- L.M. 5-17-2006 10:01 pm [add a comment]

It's always great when they actually hand you the words...
I gave Sholis a break since he wrote that statement in blog comments, where you don't always get to go back and edit, and because he was at least willing to wade into the "fever swamp" of cybercomments, even if only to get beat bloody.

- tom moody 5-17-2006 10:14 pm [add a comment]

Point taken, that's fair.
- L.M. 5-17-2006 10:41 pm [add a comment]

Let's find Amory Blaine. I want to marry him/her too.
"What interests me is how exciting this feels."
I love this show (I'll see it this weekend).
Thanks Tom.
- anonymous (guest) 5-18-2006 1:29 am [add a comment]

I'm sure we can ALL marry Amory, if we could only find him/her; from all appearances Amory has amorous tendencies. Lawdy, we're all so excited/excitable. (read as: poor us, we've been sitting in mothballs for eons....)
- underbelly 5-18-2006 7:28 pm [add a comment]

Maybe Triple Candie should do a Parrino show; approximate the misstretched paintings that wound up as duct-taped wad sculptures.
- steve 5-20-2006 8:33 am [add a comment]

Yoko Ono had an album called "Approximately Infinite Universe", and one of the songs on that album was entitled "What a Mess".

- Bud Wiser (guest) 5-23-2006 8:12 am [add a comment]

Thanks, everyone. And here I was thinking that nobody was watching me piss into the wind.

Now let's get back to work.


P.S.: Just for the record, I wasn't involved in the execution of Cady Noland Approximately, nor am I an employee, intern, or lackey of Triple Candie (though I am clearly a fan). I am also not married. I'm waiting for Scotty to write that into a book somewhere, but he hasn't been returning any of my calls.

- Amory Blaine (guest) 5-29-2006 5:29 pm [add a comment]

just a little more attention drifting in (i guess, seattle is a safe distance to have an approving opinion - although im not sure i understand the closing sentences):

Some people are exploring these issues instead of talking jive. This month at the New York gallery Triple Candie, curators Shelly Bancroft and Peter Nesbett and other fabricators made imperfect copies of works by the stubbornly reclusive artist Cady Noland, detailing their production in wall labels that compare them to the real works. How these are made is more important than what they are. The terrific Village Voice critic Jerry Saltz registered his ambivalence about the show, calling it "challenging," "radical," and "fascinating" before suggesting Noland get herself a lawyer. "In a way, Cady Noland Approximately makes one believe in artistic aura again," he wrote. Aura is like God. We desire it as much as we doubt it.

- bill 5-29-2006 6:11 pm [add a comment]

ah ha! too little, too late, as is the way of all (msm) newspaper corrections / damage done and without apology (and does not show up in a google news search :

Correction: May 24, 2006, Wednesday A brief art review in Weekend on May 12 about ''Cady Noland Approximately'' at the Triple Candie gallery in Harlem referred incorrectly to the genesis of that exhibition and of an earlier one, ''David Hammons: The Unauthorized Retrospective,'' both of which exhibited copies instead of original artworks. Mr. Hammons did not respond to the gallery's efforts to contact him about exhibiting there, and no effort was made to contact Ms. Noland; neither artist rejected an invitation to exhibit at the gallery.
slap your self on the back tom!
- bill 5-29-2006 6:24 pm [add a comment]

I can't take credit--I think the gallery pressed for the correction, but it's nice to be right.

Thanks for finding that--I will now blast it all over my "front page."
- tom moody 5-29-2006 6:58 pm [add a comment]

and a little more blog attention

I haven't seen this show yet either, but I'm curious too. I've heard that Noland has fairly strong objections to it though, and while Triple Candie's idea isn't completely devoid of interest, I must admit that I instinctively side with the artist on this one.
where do they get this stuff?
- bill 6-01-2006 11:42 pm [add a comment]

from art law blog

But there's no question that Triple Candie's actions here amounted to a blatant violation of Noland's copyrights.

- bill 6-02-2006 12:00 am [add a comment]

Nothing about the actual issues of the show--authorship, "approximation," the life or death of aura, cults of personality in the art world, the "ghost story or lament" aspect. It's all ad hominem attacks and irrelevant legal hokum. Nice to see Amory in there calling folks out for preReviewing the show.
- tom moody 6-02-2006 12:25 am [add a comment]

It's funny to have legal folks in here arguing about copyright issues regarding an artist functioning in the "art world" where copyright issues have almost zero currency.

Is there an open-door policy to lawyers in this blog?

Shit. I need to consult my lawyer. I might get called out for approximating someone else's approach to "speaking truth to power"...

I cower in my boots!
- Amory Blaine 6-02-2006 6:33 am [add a comment]

I know it's well below the decorum of this post to say such, but I must be the one to tell the folks at "art law blog" to go fuck themselves.

Thank you and goodnight!
- Amory Blaine 6-02-2006 6:42 am [add a comment]

Yeah, I've railed a few times on the blog about lawyers and judges mucking about in the art world. The conclusions they reach are...jejune. It's particularly bad when critics and young fogey bloggers cite those conclusions first, before doing any actual criticism, as you pointed out to Mr. Sholis.

I updated my comment to add your "ghost story or lament" to the content the fogeys might have considered if they hadn't had their noses buried in the law books.
- tom moody 6-02-2006 6:49 am [add a comment]

Still available ...
- mark 6-02-2006 12:18 pm [add a comment]

Hello . I'm unsure which thread to post this on, but I'd like to point that I'm almost positive that there is nothing factually inaccurate about what I wrote on my blog six weeks ago, nor did I quote the factually inaccurate elements of the Times and Voice reviews when I added my so-called "I told you so" update to that post.

I don't mean to throw grease on the fire, but having seen the show twice and having been "beaten bloody" by Amory et al. on Ed Winkleman's blog, I maintain that the show is a misguided endeavor for the reasons I stated then, no matter how interesting the questions it raises are or how much I am enjoying the back-and-forth in all of the online threads. I was disappointed, however, that when I had to step away from the Winkleman thread for a trip and to deal with personal issues (caring for a sick partner), no one contacted me by e-mail to continue the discussion. I'm still up for that, however.

- Brian Sholis (guest) 6-02-2006 11:33 pm [add a comment]

PS - For what it's worth, among the people I've spoken to here at the Artforum office, opinion is definitely split over the show and its concept. By no means do all currently publishing critics take the line that I have expressed.
- Brian Sholis (guest) 6-02-2006 11:34 pm [add a comment]

Thanks for your comments, Brian.

My off the cuff response is that "misguided" is another epithet aimed at the gallery's and the artists' motivation and the focus should be taken off that somehow and put onto the work.

The press response and most of the blogospheric reaction has been aimed at the people, not the art.

I honestly, perhaps naively, think that with Johnson's and Saltz's premise--that the gallery did two shows "against artists' wishes"--revealed to be based on not one, but two, factual errors they would have to stop looking behind the rather ingenuous press release for snarky motivation and actually take it at its word.

Then the evaluation would begin with, "Is this like the work by Cady I know?" "How is it the same?" "How is it different?" "Would I feel the same way if I didn't have a critical and emotional stake in Cady?" "Could I possibly review this as if Cady never existed?" "Is it true what the gallery says about Cady's influence on Kelley Walker, Banks Violette, etc.?" "Can I see that influence from this show?" "Is it fair to judge that influence from this show since the show came after them?" "Is it possible these Cady approximations are more influenced by those artists than by Cady (the zeitgeist of now as opposed to '86-'96)?" "Is the culture of re-enactment (Civil War, Jeremy Deller's striking miners, etc) relevant here? Can the art world stretch that much or are notions of aura and cults of personality too entrenched?" "Is Cady Noland still relevant?"

Instead, talk of lawsuits and finger wagging at the gallerists. So much less interesting.

- tom moody 6-03-2006 1:35 am [add a comment]

As I gruffly push my walker aside, I am reminded of a little uproar surrounding the recreation of Bas Jan Aders work by Patrick Painter Editions a couple of years ago. So when does an artists moral rights over their work end?
- Robert Huffmann (guest) 6-03-2006 4:09 am [add a comment]

When they stop speaking up to assert them?

That's another mystery to me--this lugubrious concern for artists' feelings when the artists themselves don't speak up* (", brian does seem to have a point that this could make noland retreat even further into the black hole..." cries "Lauren").

Altruism so profound that the perceived offenders of the artists must be smeared and destroyed.
In bloggerspeak that's called being a "concern troll."

*Or in Bas Jan Ader's case, can't speak up because he is presumed no longer among the living (I just learned from Wikipedia he was lost at sea in '75. You'll have to fill me in on the Painter scandal--it wasn't like the Noland show, though, done by a non-profit--it's always different when money's involved, because then moral rights translate into stipends for artists and heirs)

- tom moody 6-03-2006 4:17 am [add a comment]

As I was unable to see the show, I don't really have an opinion on it. As I understand the gallerist's motives and objectives it does seem legit to me, academic/monographic/historical and all that. What I am trying to get at is more on what precedent this show and others like it have set; and are we seeing a real-world adaptation of the sort of free-use share-a-like concepts we appreciate on the internet. Less concern troll, more devil's adovcate.

As for Cady Nolan, well, I guess silence equals consent.
- Robert Huffmann (guest) 6-03-2006 6:00 am [add a comment]

"are we seeing a real-world adaptation of the sort of free-use share-a-like concepts we appreciate on the internet"

Yes! Thank you. That's an excellent way to frame it. Let's add it to the list of "more interesting to think about than lawsuits and those mean gallerists who might not actually be mean gallerists." Cady as shareware--she still has credit for her piece of an evolving project, but the ideas are interconnected and changing as times, technologies and materials change.

Robert, would you please move up here and take over at the Times or the Village Voice?
- tom moody 6-03-2006 6:24 am [add a comment]

Hi Tom,

My use of "misguided" doesn't slander their motivation--I trust that they really are fans of her work. I don't mean to be pedantic, but the first definition I just looked up online says, "Based or acting on error; misled: well-intentioned but misguided efforts; misguided do-gooders." I'd count the show as a well-intentioned but misguided effort.

Your list of questions to consider is a very good one. Were I to review the show it would make for a great guide, though I would be hard pressed to answer every question in the typical space of a review.

- anonymous (guest) 6-03-2006 6:58 pm [add a comment]

Not trying to have the last word, but, if they are good questions, how could the gallerists be misguided if they led me to them? I think all those issues are in the work.
- tom moody 6-03-2006 7:35 pm [add a comment]

I'm disappointed in Art Law Blog -- usually they don't talk crap; for instance, note the interesting coverage they've given to the stupid Dale Chihuly "case":
- joy 6-03-2006 10:12 pm [add a comment]

... and gee, it's possible that the vast majority of shows would fit that category: "well-intentioned but misguided effort" .... How much can you really accomplish in a 4-5 week window, even with money? Here one moment, then gone. This show's efforts at least got notice and drew fire, and it's not like there's nothing else going on... good for them.... and "Cady as shareware--she still has credit for her piece of an evolving project, but the ideas are interconnected and changing as times, technologies and materials change." -- that's great. If art history is the history of the Copy (the Remix) then all art is Shareware.
- joy 6-03-2006 10:37 pm [add a comment]

this 5/28/06 post just showed up / someone "gets it." rather gets the aspects of this project which raise issues and which dont :

personally, I think the David Hammons thing is slightly more interesting... it's basically doing for galleries/art what Napster did for the internet/music... proving that in the information age, everything is available for free to anyone with a modem (even if it is just a poor quality reproduction)... that as soon as you release something to the world, it no longer belongs to you, it belongs to the world, and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it

- bill 6-24-2006 9:04 pm [add a comment]

Thanks. Looks like songtosetmefree also experienced the "Cady Noland Approximately comment vacuum"--except we got some here, finally, after I yelled through a megaphone for a week and steve started this thread.
- tom moody 6-24-2006 9:11 pm [add a comment]

I would just like to add that those who were engaged, or rather, excited, by this show are artists and enthusiasts. And those most vociferiously against it were those who had the most to lose. Self-appointed authorities. Cognescenti. And so on.
I expect that the triple candie will go on poking their fingers in places that make many of the latter desperately uncomfortable, and by this they will fix themselves in the firmament of those that dared to matter. A constellation that I and many I hold dear will look up towards to find our bearings again and again.
- Amory Blaine 7-03-2006 8:52 am [add a comment]