Fall 2007

Artist Projects / CMYK

Curated by Walead Beshty

Mathew Brannon, Morgan Fisher, Liam Gillick, Amy Granat, Elin Hansdottir & Darri Lorenzen, Leslie Hewitt, Corey McCorkle, and James Welling

Late in 2006, Walead Beshty approached Cabinet with a proposal to curate an exhibition in our pages, inviting artists to, in his words, “use the material base of the magazine … to produce site-specific works.” The artists’ responses are presented over the next ten pages. Below is Beshty’s introduction to the project, written into “There Is Always a Background,” the preface of Louis Walton Sipley’s 1951 treatise on the history of color reproduction, A Half Century of Color.

There Is Always a Background / CMYK

The newer the field or subject, the greater the probability that monographs or books published regarding it will be of a technical nature since the major concern of students will be the acquisition of skills needed to practice the new process, yet often technical explanation conceals more than it reveals, a more nuanced history lying quietly under the surface. This has been true in the field of Color Processes in the photographic arts... 

Color Reproduction by photo-mechanical processes have more than a century of achievement since the invention of Fredric E. Ives’s Kromskop and the three-color engraving by William Kurtz. The color methods which have come and gone since then have been many. The years have been filled with a changing vocabulary—additive, photochromoscope, single-line screen, Autochrome, imbibition, three-color, four-color, bipack, Paget, Finlay, carbro, wash-off relief, Chromatone, dye coupler, bi-cubic sampling, gamut, Computer to Plate, Pantone, hexachrome, stochastic screening, and so on…

There are without a doubt many art, advertising, and journalistic workers and students who are inspired by the idea of color reproduction and its use, past and present, in the photo-graphic arts; after all, all speech occurs through borrowed voices. … There are many workers in the field itself who are interested in a retrospective view, either because they may relive the by-gone days or because they want to obtain a knowledge of the background of their present activity. It is to these that we address the following pages.

Some things are certain to occur in the compilation and instrumentalization of data of the historical nature presented here. … Every producer is continually faced with a mass of misinformation which must be checked … since the ambition of all compilers of history is to uncover long-hidden facts that can settle years-old controversies, the author of this work may be pardoned a feeling of pride in presenting here a number of such facts.

—Louis Walton Sipley, 1951 / Walead Beshty, 2007

Elin Hansdottir & Darri Lorenzen, Passing Four, 2007. “Four digital photographs, each corresponding to one of the colors in CMYK printing, recombined in Photoshop.”
Corey McCorkle, k/o (a romance), 2007.
Matthew Brannon, untitled, 2007.
Morgan Fisher, untitled, 2007
. Photo Kristian Nordström
Liam Gillick, Public Reinformation Diagram, 2007
. “This free-copyright work can be used as a poster or in any other form. The graphic relates to the specific and complex history of print unions in the UK. Print as a medium leaves a long trail of struggle and battles to define who controls the production of ideas. As we pass the twentieth anniversary of the “Wapping Dispute” in London, it is worth remembering that the separation of CMYK was once integral to the definition of skilled labor in relation to the dissemination of ideology. The dispute against Rupert Murdoch’s imposition of new technology at The Times and The Sun in London was the last moment of print union power in the UK. It came at a time when the Apple Macintosh SE30—the first viable desktop system for small-scale publishing—was released. This poster is a product of awareness of the first struggle and produced via the legacy of the second fact.”
James Welling, Driveway, High Falls, NY, 1998. “To create this tricolor image, three sheets of Kodak Tri-X film were exposed using Kodak color separation filters. Each exposure takes several minutes, resulting in a time difference between each exposure/color channel. The three negatives were then scanned and copied into the red, green, and blue channels of a Photoshop file, requiring only the alignment of the RGB channels. In any process using color separation filters, the blue channel is always out of alignment. This is frequently cheated at the top or bottom of the image. By leaving the images out-of-register, the picture-making process and the passage of time are illustrated.”
Amy Granat, Flip Film #3 (for Walead), 2007.
Leslie Hewitt, Horizon Line (CONTEXTUAL), 2007. “Collage using fragments from the book Harlem on My Mind: Cultural Capital of Black America, 1900–1968 and contemporary images of Harlem (2005) on paper.”

Walead Beshty is an artist and writer based in Los Angeles.

Mathew Brannon is a New York–based artist whose work focuses on pathology through printed matter. His exhibition “Where Were We” was recently on view at the Whitney Museum’s Altria branch.

Morgan Fisher is an artist and filmmaker based in Santa Monica. He exhibited paintings and drawings at Galerie Daniel Buchholz in Cologne in March 2007 and that same spring was a resident at the International Artists Studio Program in Sweden.

Liam Gillick is an artist based in New York and London. Beginning in 2008, a survey of his work will be on view at Witte de With, Rotterdam; Kunsthalle Zurich; and the MCA, Chicago. He recently published Proxemics: Selected Writings, 1988–2006 (JRP-Ringier, 2006).

Amy Granat makes abstract films, photographs, and performances that explore elements of chance. Her work has recently been on view at Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Mandrake/Champion Fine Art, Los Angeles; and Le Confort Modern, Poitiers, France.

Elin Hansdottir is an Icelandic artist working in Berlin. Exhibitions in 2007 include “Frieze Projects” in London and “Between Two Deaths” at the ZKM Mediamuseum in Karlsruhe, Germany. See www.this.is/elinh [link defunct—Eds.] for more information.

Darri Lorenzen is an Icelandic artist based in Berlin making site-specific installations, photographs, and sound works. See www.darrilorenzen.net for more information.

Leslie Hewitt is an artist and writer. She is a 2007 dual artist-in-resident at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Core program and Project Row Houses in Houston, Texas.

Corey McCorkle is a New York–based artist. Recent solo projects include “When a Dog Barks The Response in The Ear of the Sky Is a Star” at Maccarone, New York, and “Random Ceremony” at Stella Lohaus Gallery, Antwerp.

James Welling is an artist based in Los Angeles.

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