Editions: Josiah McElheny

Josiah McElheny
Two grey disks after a prototype by Blinky Palermo              
Two hand blown, molded glass objects,
Edition of 30, plus 10 APs
8.5 x 5.25 x 2.75 inches 

For more information, or to order an edition, please contact Ramona Rosenberg, at 845.758.7574 or rrosenberg@bard.edu.

This homage to German artist, Blinky Palermo, was created on the occasion of McElheny’s exhibition, If you lived here, you’d be home by now at the Hessel Museum of Art, and accompanying the retrospective of Blinky Palermo at the CCS galleries and Dia:Beacon, both on view in 2011.

The installation by McElheny at the Hessel Museum, described by Roberta Smith as “brilliant”, included re-conceived wall paintings and drawings that McElheny created in several of the galleries according to the particular specifications of Palermo’s original, yet now destroyed, works.

Two grey disks after a prototype by Blinky Palermo (2011), a pair of hand-made glass extruded forms, continues McElheny’s interest in finding new possibilities in historical instances of art and design.  The work was made in his Brooklyn studio in a special metal mold, each with slight variations in grey tonality.  Intended for placement within a domestic setting, Two grey disks was inspired by Palermo’s interest in seriality and editioning of unusual versions of geometric forms, plus his interest in pairs and twinned objects.  They also represent McElheny’s (and Palermo’s) commitment to specificity; they perfectly follow the outline of one of Palermo’s own Prototypen, 1970 (a suite of four colored prints), while at the same time imperfect, handmade and quixotic, turning Palermo’s two-dimensional form into three dimensions by extruding the exact shape.   

Art historian Christine Mehring writes in Artforum:

McElheny (has created) vaselike objects whose plans are based on a shape in Palermo’s 1970 Prototypes, silkscreens of found geometric shapes that the older artist had used as the basis of some of his objects.  In a double sense, then, McElheny returns to the world Palermo’s passions for the world.  And yet such maneuvers are far from heavy-handed versions of appropriation.  This art remains both an honest tribute and entirely McElheny’s own, a daring and rare feat not unrelated to Palermo’s relationship to the American art of his time.”

For Palermo, prototypes were examples or models that might be otherwise applied.  Here McElheny attempts to place abstraction into the world of the everyday. In this sense the objects can be played with, placed in various positions and have no ideal presentation per se.