In 1934 Marcel Duchamp created La boîte verte—an archive of his previous works, an artwork in its own right, and a means of making his oeuvre more accessible. Inside each green box—he created an edition of 166—were 94 collotypes, each one a reproduction of a past work, specially sized to fit in the boîte. Contemporary artists Paul Branca, David Horvitz, and Fawn Krieger have developed their own multifaceted projects, through original approaches, that result in collections of artworks, objects, or metadata, that are extensions of their artistic practices. Duchamp’s boîte is reimagined this month at West den Haag in “Autonomy Exchange Archive,” an exhibition that will present mini-retrospectives of the three artists, while resurfacing the documentary materials and ephemera that were created as a result of their past works. We take a look at each of the artists and their projects.
Paul Branca, who is also the curator of the show, along with Lisa Hayes Williams, creates participatory works and projects that continue to evolve beyond the time of creation. For his Fruit and Vegetable Stand, a performative piece carried out in Queens in 2012 and 2013, he invited fellow artists to join him in selling paintings of produce. He also asked artists to create grisaille—gray monochrome—paintings to document the work, instead of employing photography; these works are shown at West for the first time. Two other painting series are also on view, “24 ore di gatti colorati” and “Promised Paintings,” which exemplify his meditations on the monetary and ideological values that we assign to art.
Like Branca, David Horvitz works collaboratively with fellow artists, doing so in order to explore issues surrounding the dissemination of art. For his 2010 “Drugstore Beetle” project, Horvitz recruited 27 artist to create 30 exhibitions that were contained in archival boxes. He then sent the boxes to libraries around the world, inciting a dialogue on preservation and ownership, tracing how the editions changed with the change of hands. For another work, “Carry-On,” Horvitz asked fellow artists to contribute an artwork, which he would then place in a carry-on suitcase and travel with to The Haegue. He documented these travels, never leaving the suitcase alone.
Fawn Krieger creates sculptural responses to relevant contemporary issues, with a particular interest in value systems. For her 2009 show “National Park,” Krieger staged a sculptural installation that imagined a fictional American park, a commentary on commodification that was complete with “take-home” pieces to serve as souvenirs. In 2010, she created an exhibition titled “Ruin Value” where she presented a series of ceramic works that were priced based on weight.
“Autonomy Exchange Archive,” is on view at West den Haag, Apr. 23rd–Jun. 6th, 2014.