Sunday, September 13, 2009

You Can Take It With You!




Bill at the A Book About Death Opening
** My “final” word on the A Book About Death exhibition – I am happy to be a page! The opening September 10th was huge! It was crowded beyond belief plus a 400-person line to get in the gallery covered the sidewalk between Spring and Prince Street here in NYC. An inconvenience to those waiting, but a testament to the global, viral and ultimately egalitarian nature of the project.
Missed the show or the line was too much? Emily Harvey (537 Broadway, NYC) is open 1- 7pm Tue-Sat and the shows runs through Sept. 22nd; but plan to attend before the pages "expire."
Not in NYC - visit the blog or web wall.
Matthew Rose comments on A Book About Death
Before the opening of the exhibition I shot video of a few words by the very busy Matthew Rose who organized and shepherded the project to completion. “The only exhibition that you take with you” sums up a key point to the exhibit. All the artists involved in the project produced 500 postcards to the project. Gallery visitors are encouraged to take “pages’ with them to form their personal "Book About Death”


Scene from the opening of A Book About Death
As a tribute to the Ray Johnson the exhibit is purposely ephemeral. Best said by Christian Xatrec, NYC director of the Emily Harvey Foundation, “The developing mission of the Foundation, and Rose’s show, refuse the notion of hierarchy and the buttressing of institutional framings.” Indeed, many artists aided the development of the project in a 21st century continuation of Johnson’s fascination with the distribution of art by correspondence.


Pages of the Book About Death waiting for a home
I personally became aware of the project through the social networking of blogging. ABAD gained a steady global following through Facebook, Twitter and bloggers. As the press release notes, artist from Spain, Belgium, Australia, Asia, South America; indeed across the globe contributed a kaleidoscope of works. Caterina Verde, artist and website designer of the “wall site” for ABAD commented that “to see the images submitted from around the world and cultural permutations of the subject, the variations of temperament, thoughts, aesthetics - is as we observe ourselves walking through life; Ordinary and Extraordinary.
I capture Charlotte Soehner as she greets the opening crowd in English, French and Chinese
I arrived early afternoon of opening night and was able to lend a hand making sure all the artists who submitted work were represented on the wall. While I had been fairly diligent in viewing work as posted on the growing virtual wall, I gained a new perspective from handling the art of so many people I had become friends with because of the exhibit.
Many new friends lie in repose here at ABAD
Well done Matthew Rose! I think Ray Johnson was with you.

7 comments:

JafaBrit's Art said...

That is an amazing event to pull together and present and what a crowd, that is really awesome.

I never got around to doing anything for it but I have sure enjoyed watching others get involved and seeing the results.
congratulations to all.

van Dyck said...

I wish I could have been there to experience first hand this collection but I hope that in the future the exhibit may have a chance to travel to major cities in the US and in Europe.

Thank you for sharing.
Egmont

MATTHEW ROSE said...

HELLO BILL!

Just posted your link w/the videos on the blog on the press links list. Thank you for a great piece and for documenting every aspect of this from your own creation to the exhibition opening. Fantastic stuff.

Best,

Matthew

Owen said...

Bill, this must have been an incredible experience to participate in this project and see it all unfold at close range. I was peripherally aware of it through your blog but hadn't had time to look much closer... would have loved to take part in something like this... maybe someday if I ever get a life and get away from corporate employment... sigh...

Ravenna Taylor said...

I loved being a part of it too! Yesterday I was explaining it to a friend here; as has happened a number of times, when I spoke the title, "A Book About Death," an expression of distaste passed over the person's face. It's been a revelation to me, both how many people can not get comfortable with the merest mention of death, let alone an exhibit dedicated to it - but also by contrast, my own comfort with the words, dead, death, dying, with the idea, with the absence that makes our presence here so compelling and in a sense miraculous. Thank you to everyone who joined me and especially to Matthew Rose and the Emily Harvey Foundation.

Ravenna Taylor

Bill Evertson said...

Thanks Jafa and van Dyck - It was great seeing how this came together then started disappearing.
Matthew did a spectacular job staying on top of this project; without his strong concept and commitment this never would have had the depth the subject demanded.
Owen - many of us that follow your blog would love to see an exhibit; don't wait forever ;)
Hi Ravenna - I've had the same reaction on occasion; but viewing the global differences on the subject was refreshing. It was difficult to begin, as I wanted to deal with some painful ideas, but the insights shared by fellow artists helped the process.

WEE-HOO said...

Bill, it was great to meet you... I'm still overwhelmed with the thought of being in NYC, the thought of being at ABAD, the thought that I met the people I met and did the things I did...

cheers,

jjz