For art curator Sharon Coplan Hurowitz, Jasper Johns’ 1971 “Target” presented an existential dilemma. Hurowitz lived with a print of Johns DIY art invitation – an outline of a target, with three watercolors and a brush affixed underneath – for many years, but resisted the urge to remove the paintbrush, color the print and sign his name on the blank line next to Johns signature.
“I’ve been struggling with this in my house forever, wanting to use it, and I would never allow myself to,” Hurowitz said of the play.
The paradox of an art project too precious to complete inspired Hurowitz to imagine a book of accessible DIY art projects. She hopes readers will take an unbridled approach to “Open Studio: Do-It-Yourself Art Projects by Contemporary Artists,” which she co-wrote with Amanda Benchley. “I hope the book is really torn and beaten and used, and people don’t treat it in a valuable way,” Hurowitz says.
The curator is dressed in Chanel on a recent fall afternoon, zooming in from her home office in Manhattan. Earlier today, she logged in to watch the brand’s latest collection streaming from Paris; Hurowitz has had the honor of attending many of the house’s exhibitions over the years, but there are two that she regrets missing: the supermarket exhibit and the one that took place against a gallery. of art created by Chanel in 2013. After this gallery exhibition, which questioned definitions of art, the brand asked Hurowitz for advice on what to do with its scenography. “Chanel didn’t know what to do with it next, because they thought it was art,” she says.
Readers who complete projects in “Open Studio” are likely to feel the same. The spirit of collaboration is an underlying theme throughout the book; the reader becomes a late collaborator of each artist.
“At the end of the day, we know we can’t be those artists – but what we can do is bring our own touch, our own creativity and our own experience, and each of these projects really makes it possible,” explains Hurowitz. .
Hurowitz is a print specialist, and this approach to accessibility within art underpins the philosophy reflected in “Open Studio”. “I wanted artists who not only resonated, but also had a very strong auction market, to be market leaders, because I felt like they were the ones who were the least accessible to people and the most known, ”says Hurowitz. “Who can afford a Kaws? But you can have a real Kaws here, ”she adds, flipping through the book.
What she means is that a Kaws piece is accessible to those who are willing to invest in it. Each artist provided a recipe for an artistic project in accordance with their individual artistic practice. For Kaws, it was about providing a detachable Mylar that readers can project and trace; Lawrence Weiner provided a consistent stencil for his sentence-based textual works. The book is full of ephemeral art projects from artists like Rachel Feinstein and William Wegman, but others include directions for more ephemeral projects, such as Marina Abramović’s meditative project, which involves sorting a bowl of raw lentils and rice. It is a metaphor for life.
Hurowitz, who completed most of the book’s projects herself over the summer, found Rashid Johnson’s particularly satisfying – due to an element of surprise and chance – and she also appreciated the minimalism of Sarah Sze, rooted in an exploration of balance and balance.
Hurowitz notes that many of the artists included in the book – the majority of whom she had existing relationships with – were excited about the prospect of conversing with a large audience outside of gallery enthusiasts or the rarefied crowd of collectors. ‘art. It is art for the masses. “[All the artists in the book] are market leaders and they knew they were going to open doors for people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to their jobs, ”she says.
Many of the artists included have ties to fashion as well – Mickalene Thomas and Kaws have each linked up with Dior, Thomas Demand designed the windows for Prada’s cherry blossom shops earlier this spring, Alex Israel collaborated with Louis Vuitton and Rachel Feinstein created a stage set for Marc Jacobs – in fact, her project in the book is a pop-out miniature construction of that same Marc Jacobs ensemble.
Each chapter opens with photographs of the artist’s studio as well as an essay on their creative process and their inspirations. “This book teaches you how to do things, why they make things and what that process looks like,” says Hurowitz.
Much of it comes down to the question of when something is over. “And in fact, there is work that really addresses this issue in this book, which is the George Condo Project,” she adds. “He deliberately left part of it unfinished. “
As for Hurowitz, the issue of completing a project is often tied to deadlines. “There’s a point where you’re on a high and it’s right and you stop,” she said. “I know something’s done when it’s that moment where if you put one more thing on it, it’s too much… I felt that with this book.”
Although “Open Space” is over, Hurowitz has not ruled out the possibility of another edition; in the meantime, she has a few other projects in the works, including a book on Bruce Nauman and a portfolio of prints to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Met Museum. Hurowitz describes the resulting collection of 11 prints, selected in conversation with curators from each of the museum’s departments, as a “museum in a box.”
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