Size: 16.5 x 23.5 inches
Every example of art ephemera tells a story, and sometimes, when two items connect, the story can get very interesting. That’s certainly the case with two items currently in Gallery 98’s inventory: a poster featuring a photo of Richard Serra’s public sculpture TWU (initials for Transit Workers Union), and a copy of Franklin Furnaces’ magazine Flue with an artist’s page by David Hammons titled Pissed Off.
Richard Serra’s career has mostly consisted of triumphs, with one exception being his early venture in the field of public sculpture. That’s the story we’re resurrecting here with a German poster showing TWU as it was originally sited in 1980–81 in a prominent traffic triangle in NYC’s Tribeca area. TWU largely escaped criticism but it shared much with Serra’s Tilted Arc, a contemporaneous work just a few blocks away in a heavily populated plaza outside a federal office building. Tilted Arc aroused such a prolonged storm of protest that it was eventually removed in 1989.
David Hammons’ Pissed Off shows the artist relieving himself on TWU, and then being ticketed by a cop. The photos by Dawoud Bey clearly show some of the reasons why Serra’s public works were unsuccessful: TWU and Tilted Arc were both magnets for graffiti, they accumulated windswept debris, and provided convenient cover for outdoor pissing. Although Bey’s photos of his friend Hammons were most likely spontaneous shots from a night on the town, they became something different when Hammons used them as an artist’s page in Flue. What was he “pissed off” about? The ticket? Serra’s sculpture? His own struggles in the art world? There is no shortage of possible explanations…
31 pages. Size: 8.5 x 11 inches