Exhibition of invisible art

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London's Hayward Gallery is mounting an exhibition of Invisible Art. The exhibition includes pieces such as Andy Warhol's Invisible Sculpture, essentially an empty pedestal, and, seen above, Tom Friedman's "1000 Hours of Staring," a large blank sheet of paper that he looked at repeatedly over five years. They should play John Cage's 4'33" as the exhibit soundtrack. From The Telegraph:

Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery, said: ''I think visitors will find that there is plenty to see and experience in this exhibition of invisible art. From the amusing to the philosophical, you will be able to explore an invisible labyrinth that only materializes as you move around it, see an artwork that has been created by the artist staring at it for 1000 hours, walk through an installation designed to evoke the afterlife, and be in the presence of Andy Warhol's celebrity aura.

''This exhibition highlights that art isn't about material objects, it's about setting our imaginations alight, and that's what the artists in this show do in many varied ways.''

"Empty plinth and blank piece of paper to feature in exhibition of invisible art" (The Telegraph) Invisible (Hayward Gallery)



  1. I love the nude portrait of Sue Richards.

    (On a related note, I’ve been spending more time on BB than I can spare at the moment so I’m gonna turn invisible myself for a while. See y’all around…)

  2. You know, I could just stay home and have the exact same experience.

    Besides, how can we verify if the guy actually looked at the paper for 1000 hours?  Are we sure he wasn’t rounding up?

  3. Gotta love it when a curator actively trolls the “but is this even art!??!” crowd.

    Lucy Lippard wrote a really good essay about artists trying to explore the ‘zero’ of art, called ‘The Dematerialization of the Art Object’, which I highly recommend. I’ve heard you can find a .pdf of the book ‘Conceptual Art’, which contains it, with a quick google search.

  4. Is anyone else but me imagining people, wine glasses in hand, wandering through this exhibit making knowing commentary on the absent works of art?

  5. ”                                              “

  6. If someone is gullible enough to pay money for a blank canvas just because an artist hung it up in a museum, let them. Personally I think its crass, if you want to be a dadaist at least leave your fucking studio.

  7. Aww, they should have had ‘Untitled 1′ at this exhibition.
    They didn’t.
    So, I’m not gonna see it.

  8. FINALLY! An exhibition of the works that made fine art a laughing stock and peed in the pool for all the artists who followed. All the lazy skilless art student wannabes should eat this up like ice cream.

  9. Everyone knows modern art is vapid just like everyone knows anchovies and brussels sprouts taste disgusting without ever having to actually try them. If they weren’t disgusting, why would everybody make jokes about them? Hurr hurr hurr.

    If you like art that looks like stuff, fine, but I’d like to flush about 80% of these glib one-line “critiques” of modern art down Duchamp’s Fountain. These are the same people who think (a) 4’33” is a joke and (b) the joke is that it’s 4.5 minutes of dead silence; the same sort of people whose concept of “real art” is whatever the hell pieces of musty aristocrat portraiture and reverently safe apples on desks their teachers imprinted on them as “real art.”

    What these scolds call “realness” is more like a kind of historical mildew, the reality of Great Books By Mail Order and the novelty T-shirt, and I don’t see why it’s THAT good of a substitute for the bent, symbolic metaphysics of installation art. Such literal-minded people do have every right to exist, but I avoid them scrupulously at parties.

    1.  Yes, but things like this get too precious. When you have to read the description of a piece to even understand what it’s about, the artist as communicator has failed. I love a lot of modern work – things that are *about* something. Dadaism, to me, is intellectual laziness, or trolling with a grad degree.

      What is it about people who are into modern art that they’re highly offended by people calling this stuff crap? Not everybody likes all forms of art…

    2. …the same sort of people whose concept of “real art” is whatever the hell pieces of musty aristocrat portraiture and reverently safe apples on desks their teachers imprinted on them as “real art.”

      What a strange knock on the establishment. You understand there are probably more people who recognize 4’33” as real art simply because their teachers said so than the opposite, right?

    3. To be fair, some of the glib comments are just glib, not dismissive. I don’t how you can not have a sense of humour about a work of art that consists of a blank page that has been intensely stared at for 1000 hours. It’s ludicrous and wonderful. Nature of art, value of human attention, quantum theory, blah blah blah Ginger. I like it but man, you cannot stop me from taking the piss, it’s just too easy, and as far as I can tell, always implicitly asked for when you give the public a piece like this.

  10. Since its been brought up several times, 4’33” isn’t just silence, its four and a half minutes of the ambient sounds of where ever its performed. That I think is the beauty of it.

  11. That doesn’t look invisible enough. Get rid of the paper and then I will be able to contemplate its invisibleness more fully.

  12. “Yeah, there was no painting.  I saw it.”  – Capt. Geoffrey T. Spalding

  13. I hope they’ve increased security, if any of these pieces were stolen…

    How are sales?

  14. Invisibility needs context. Without that context, you can’t see what you can’t see. This  exhibition’s legitimacy draws from its attention to the unnoticeable. Drawing attention to the unnoticed would, however, be more difficult and more of an achievement.

  15. I hope they show my favorite invisible work, “Erased De Kooning”, I have always wanted to see it.

  16. I’m sorry but that is NOT “1000 Hours of Staring”.   That is “Albino Cows in a Snowy Field” by Andrew Whiteth

  17. I’d like it better if it were the faded spots on a wall where paintings used to be…  all different shapes and such.  and empty sculpture plynths.  there’s just something to the aesthetic of a white, empty space.

  18. all art becomes invisible after leaving the gallery wall.  if the art is lucky it might hang up on a wall in a mansion for a year or two.  Then the interior decorator or the art consultant finds something better for that spot and the art is taken off the wall.  it is placed in a box or crate and stored away somewhere dark to be aged like wine.   maybe art historians will decide it had been a good year for the production of that work and they will insist it be taken out and sampled but it always goes back in the box to remain invisible to everyone but in their minds.

  19. i wonder if they’ve included a “nothing” by ray johnson. pat hearn wanted to do a ray johnson show. she asked me to talk to him (i was one of the small handful of people in contact with ray). i said: ray, pat wants to do a show with you (she was about the hottest gallery in new york at that time). ray said: okay, tell pat she can do a “nothing”. pat advertised the show and sent out announcements but beyond that nothing happened.

  20. I accidentally knocked over the Warhol sculpture and it shattered into a million pieces but it didn’t make a sound. Sorry!

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