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Hamptons Life

Jun 1, 2010 12:34 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Visitors help installation evolve at Glenn Horowitz Booksellers in East Hampton

Jun 1, 2010 12:34 PM

The black bookcase moves. It swivels on a base shaped like a lightning bolt and gently twirls the 102 books tucked within its rectangular compartments. At first, the books on the shelves were the ones Sarah Palin allegedly wanted removed from the local library when she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.

On Saturday, everything changed. Books were swapped for others in red covers during the opening of “The Book Exchange” at Glenn Horowitz Bookseller in East Hampton. The centerpiece of the solo show by Warren Neidich is a massive bookcase that also functions as a moving sculpture.

The artwork is designed to channel non-commercial exchange, or barter, as a means of overriding the capitalist system of exchange, Mr. Neidich said. Installed in a store that is also a gallery, “The Book Exchange” exhibition presents two economic systems at once, he said.

Members of the public were asked to exchange a red-covered book for one on the shelves. Each book removed was stamped to identify it as part of the exhibition and signed by the artist. Each exchange was recorded on paper (name, book supplied, and book taken) and the information written along a red line drawn on the walls surrounding the installation.

The color red was selected for its dual identification with the People’s Republic of China, the Soviet Union and communism in general as well as Russian Constructivism, which contended that society could be transformed through art, Mr. Neidich explained. When the piece is “completed,” the color red will fill the shelves, turning the piece into art that conjures a color field painting, Mr. Neidich said.

“The Book Exchange” also examines the line between public and private, explores the transparency of ideas, engages the community, and changes with the interaction. Historically, Mr. Neidich’s artwork and many of his projects have dealt with the quality of flaws and the power of art to reflect on society’s norms. “The Book Exchange” is no exception.

The book titles included were allegedly targeted by Ms. Palin for removal from her local library. At this point, no one can say conclusively if she really tried to ban these books or even compiled the widely-circulated list. Where truth or falsehood lies is not important to the piece, Mr. Neidich said. The list represents data reflecting the way in which much of accepted information is flawed in some way.

The photographs in the upstairs gallery made by Mr. Neidich explore the same notion. Each of the six images has a prominent red or green circle interrupting a peaceful ocean view. In most, an oval yellow imperfection appears.

The yellow ovals are the product of optical equipment used to check eye alignment and movement, Mr. Neidich explained. To create the photos, the artist affixed a red and green lens to a Nikon camera to simulate the way a Lancaster anaglyph glass apparatus works in diagnosing optical imperfection. As the images reflect, the optical equipment is flawed. The photographs are part of Mr. Neidich’s “Double Vision” series.

The exhibition includes a case containing the adapted camera used to make the images. Some of Marcel Duchamp’s concentric circles, created during his precision optical experiments, are also on display, along with some of Mr. Duchamp’s handmade stereopticon slides.

“The Book Exchange” was constructed in Germany and shipped to the East Hampton book shop by Mr. Neidich, who lives in Berlin and New York City and has ties to East Hampton. The artwork was good fit for the space, as Glenn Horowitz Bookseller specializes in art books and holds art shows each season.

Another component of the exhibition is a round piece installed on the first floor near “The Book Exchange.” The words “Their Minds Resist Our Minds Resistance” are cut into a silver surface backed by a mirror. The piece is installed so viewers can gaze into the work and see their reflection as part of the art.

“Their Minds Resist” and the “Double Vision” photographs are “footnotes” to the creation of “The Book Exchange,” Mr. Neidich said. Both explore ideas and themes that crystallized in the process-oriented work. “The Book Exchange” is part of the post-postmodern tradition, he said, representing an evolution of the postmodern art movement.

Mr. Neidich exhibits around the world and his work is held in collections throughout Europe and North America. He won the 2010 Vilem Flusser Theory Award for his research paper, “Neuropower,” arguing that culture has a bigger impact than nature on “sculpting the brain” and has become the primary force of epigenesis.

Mr. Neidich’s work can be viewed at www.warrenneidich.com. “The Book Exchange” will remain on view through June 29 at Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, 87 Newtown Lane, East Hampton. For information, visit www.ghbookseller.com.

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Art in the service of the state. Truth is not important. Much information is flawed.
Barter in a bookstore/gallery doesn't pay the rent. Ideas to explore.

I wonder if Mr.Neidich gives away his art or if he sells it for money.

Great article. My compliments to the writer.

By Montaukette (46), Waterland on Jun 4, 10 2:47 PM