Image courtesy of 303 Gallery, New York

The Pipe Cleaner Artist, Amalfi, ’61

Date: 2013

Materials: Painted aluminum light box with transmounted chromogenic transparency

Dimensions: 90 5⁄8 x 71 5⁄8 x 7 in. (230.3 x 181.9 x 17.8 cm) each panel

Dimensions: 90 5⁄8 x 146 1⁄4 x 7 in. (230.3 x 371.5 x 17.8 cm) overall

Credit: Courtesy of 303 Gallery, New York

In The Pipe Cleaner Artist, Amalfi, ’61, two large aluminum-encased color photo transparencies depict a light-drenched studio inhabited by a relaxed, contemplative artist gently at work on a pipe-cleaner sculpture. Graham references two iconic images of strikingly different 20th-century artists: a shadowy black-and-white photograph by Man Ray of Jean Cocteau ominously handling a headlike pipe-cleaner sculpture and a studio shot of Danish CoBrA artist and Situationist Asger Jorn posed in a wicker chair in a rustic studio bathed in Mediterranean light. This scene is a meditation on the role and act of the artist, and the potential of making and creativity (in the face of labor); it also inhabits a certain kind of mid-century European avant-gardism, evoked by the organic materiality and modular geometry of the surrounding paintings and sculptures as much as by the leather sandals, easy linens, and rough wood furniture. It is the conflation of robust artistic production (note the surplus artworks) and meticulous leisure.

A film installation by Graham is on view in nearby Gallery 14.


Artist Rodney Graham on utilizing himself as an actor in his work


Co-curator Dan Byers on The Pipe Cleaner Artist, Amalfi, ’61

Rodney Graham on his artistic inspirations

Gallery 13