David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

13 April 2016

One Way To Treat A Work Of Art

Before publishing their online catalog for the auction of the Estate of Joy Warren, the auction house Mossgreen wrote to the artist's representative, Anna Schwartz Gallery, seeking image reproduction rights for a 1975 artwork by Peter Tyndall. They attached with their request this muddy image...

...and indicated the description they proposed to publish :

PETER TYNDALL (BORN 1951) One Way to Treat a Critic  1975 Ink Signed and dated lower right: Peter Tyndall 75 Stamped lower right: FOSTERVILLE INSTITUTE OF APPLIED & PROGRESSIVE CULTURAL EXPERIENCE Signed, dated and titled verso: ONE WAY TO TREAT A CRITIC 1975 PETER TYNDALL 21 x 16CM

ASG consulted with the artist and then informed Mossgreen they could reproduce the image but, rather than publish the proposed Mossgreen description, the following alternative was to be given :
However, when Mossgreen published the catalog, the Peter Tyndall entry was as shown below : click image to enlarge

Yes : it did feature an image that appeared as if painted by Bill Coleman - presumably an early postmodern appropriation by Tyndall.

   A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
   someone looks at something...

No : it did not give the Label/description that the Permission To Publish required

Wrong : the Mossgreen reading of the Tyndall drawing was published as ink. It was in fact pencil.

Tyndall, sometimes regarded as an absurdist, apparently thought this was all very funny. Only on the day before the auction did he alert ASG to the situation. A few hours later, the page in question showed a change of images :
  1. The Coleman image was gone and the Tyndall pencil drawing was now the featured image
  2. Because Mossgreen claimed their automated system ("Computer says No!") wouldn't allow for the Tyndall format Label description, the compromise was that the Label be presented not as the usual catalog Description but as a second image. *click image below to enlarge

Lot 380 : the hammer falls and the auctioneer pauses before summing up the result of this -1975-2016- space-time event :
"A hundred dollars is a hundred dollars."

A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/ 
someone looks at something...