RED76; BLACK MARKET EDITIONS ·
Chandra Bocci, UNTITLED (pop-up book),
Harrell Fletcher, who with Miranda July, operates Learningtoloveyoumore.com,
sits across from Sam Gould at his apartment in Chicago. Gould is talking
with myself and a radio producer from the local NPR affiliate about Black
Market Editions. A secretive project to install art in the woodwork throughout
the city, BM Editions has been contributed by Portland-based artist Eileen
Finn and Mike Wolf. Fletcher's thinking of drawings, but he's not sure
yet. Gould doesn't want to give specifics, he wants people to find his
collaborative installations through word of mouth or even just by accident.
For him, finding a piece of art unexpectedly, dropped in the bottom of
a newspaper dispenser or taped to the wall behind a mirror in a restaurant
bathroom-as Wolf's painting of a piece of paper is-would be heaven.
Installation view of Bocci's pop-up book
placed by Red76
Red76 started off in Portland, where Gould lived before relocating to
Chicago. He chose the city for its number of colleagues working in this
pedestrian mode. Walking around his neighborhood and talking art gives
him a chance to meet people. Besides Gould, Red76 members include Khris
Soden, Matthew Yake, Katy Asher, and Jen Rhoads, all of whom live outside
the city. Gould's definitely been the most active member to install work
for the Black Market Editions project, however. And his efforts to install
new contributions is the reason that all of the work except one has so
far been installed in the Wicker Park neighborhood where he currently
makes his home. The last one was installed in New York under a post office
dropbox across from the bull statue in front of the Stock Exchange at
26 Broadway. It's a piece by Gabriel Mindel-Saloman (this reviewer has
not seen it) known for his work with Collective Jyrk and sound band Der
Fletcher strolls along behind as Gould leads me and my producer down Division
Street in his 'hood, scouting a place to drop a goodwill offering on behalf
of the group: an opaque white container filled with Red76 paraphernalia:
books, CDs, assorted goodies. He's hunting for a free box, a search frustrated
and prolonged in the early summer heat by several blocks of dailies charging
as much as half a buck to pull the lid. Eventually, he finds a free box
for one of the alternative weeklies and moves to deposit his collection.
Two cops are staring as he moves, with one fluid motion, to drape an opened
paper over the opaque white box, which he then slips under the wire shelving
at the box's bottom. He exhibits an impressive level of discretion considering
the two guys loaded down by radio equipment standing right beside him.
But then, he's a professional clandestine art operator. Seconds later
it's all done, another edition installed. Fletcher nods in approval. We
wonder aloud if it'll never be found. But Gould has planned to avoid this
very possibility, listing all new projects and their locations, usually
with a photo to document the occasion, on the Red76 website at www.red76.com.
In Portland, one of the projects undertaken by Red76 was Art Stall,
an effort to install art in bathrooms throughout the town. Bathrooms were
construed as a single occupancy gallery, viewable by one patron
at a time and disconnected from much of the knuckle-knocking social constraints
associated with opening night at any up-market venue. Pubs, lounges, cafes,
and theaters were only a few of the places selected for inclusion in the
project. No surprise then, that there's a second work in the Black Market
Exhibitions line: Eileen Finn's Postcards From the End of the Line,
taken on her tour of the destination stops along the TriNet bus lines.
It's this same sense of curiosity that inspires travel and investigation
of our specific surroundings that Gould and Red76 hope to inspire.
New York, New York