In November 1969, the American art critic Lucy R. Lippard organized a small exhibition with serial photo-text works in the gallery of the School of Visual Arts in New York, titled “Groups.” About twenty-five artists followed a specific set of instructions she provided for the show (reproduced below). Among the participants were Robert Barry, Jonathan Borofsky, Douglas Huebler, Alex Katz, Sylvia Mangold, N.E. Thing Co., Adrian Piper and Lawrence Weiner. A few months later, in March 1970, Lippard selected half of the works for an eponymous “magazine exhibition” in the British journal Studio International. It was the first project of its kind in a mainstream art magazine. Yet because of layout issues, Lippard’s printed exhibition—unlike its imminent successor, Seth Siegelaub’s “July, August 1970”—was soon forgotten.
To celebrate “Groups” and to take it as a point of departure for reflection on how the conditions of production and display have changed over the last sixty years, I asked a group of contemporary artists to follow Lippard’s instructions again in 2019. Their new responses form the exhibition “Re: Groups” and were first on view in the Forum section of Camera Austria International magazine (no. 147, pp. 53–63). A second version of the same exhibition, featuring the artists’ prints, will be presented at the University of Applied Arts (seminar room 25, ground floor), during the Vienna Art Book Fair.
All images are pigment prints fixed on cardboard.
Oct. 14–16, 2019
dieAngewandte – Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien, im Rahmen der Vienna Art Book Fair
A. Photograph a group of five or more people in the same place, and approximately the samepositions in relation to each other, once a day for one week. (No posing or gimmicks, no diversion from the conventional group photo taken for school yearbooks, Knights of Columbus annual picnics,etc.)
The people need not wear the same clothes or pose exactly the same way each day, but the immediate impression should be of seven almost identical photographs incorporating chance variations.
B. Develop or print out the photographs (having made note each day what people are wearing or something, so that when the you receive the prints, their chronological order can be established.) Prints should be ordinary snapshot size.
C. Describe each photograph in writing, in detail. Simply say what is observed, but look closely. Type up the descriptions separately. Date each text and each photograph.
D. The photographs will be hung in a single horizontal line in one of the following orders (your choice):
1: Pictures with their texts below them in chronological order.
2: Pictures in chronological order, but texts scrambled, either randomly or systematically (your own system).
3: Texts in chronological order, but pictures scrambled.
4: Scramble the whole thing by system or at random (still noting dates of each text and photo) so that the time sequence is entirely broken, ‘illustration’ and description diverge at times, coincide at times.