subscription models for contemporary art, or, THE THING quarterly.
My adventures in contemporary art collecting continue! In September, I became the proud (temporary) owner of a print by Cohen, Frank, and Ippolito, thanks to the List Visual Arts Center; now, I have a Tauba Auerbach gracing my walls.
And how did I manage this on a grad school budget? At the New York Art Book Fair this September, I happened to stop by the booth of THE THING Quarterly, a San Francisco-based publication that caught my fancy. Instead of producing a glossy magazine four times a year, The Thing invites a contemporary artist, writer, musician, or filmmaker to create a useful object that incorporates text in some ways. I subscribed (well, shared a subscription) for the Issue 20 through 23 cycle, with projects by Auerbach, Ben Marcus, John Baldessari (!), and David Korty. When we placed our order, we only knew what the first object—the 24-hour analog wall clock by Tauba Auerbach—would be. I’m excited to see what comes in the mail every four months, and plan to document these experiences on this blog.
Auerbach’s statement, from The Thing’s website:
I’ve always had a very fraught relationship with time. I was born two weeks late, and I’ve been late to pretty much everything since. I relate to time in a totally illogical, fantasy-based way, and when I really start to think about it, I’m not sure I believe it “actually” exists. Why is it asymmetrical, running only in one direction? Or does it? Could it be an artifact of another spatial dimension? Could it be a circle or a surface rather than a line?
For the last few years I’ve been trying to become friends with time. Trying to be punctual, trying to see time as an ally rather than a foe. In a conversation with my friend Xylor a few years ago, I learned that she always finds extra time in her day, which is quite different from my experience. Upon parting ways I asked her to help me become friends with time. She then sent me a post card with some tips. One of them was to buy clocks that I like and display them prominently. I took this advice, and have since acquired a collection of interesting time pieces. One of my favorite purchases is a clock that has a 24-hour movement. I’ve found this one particularly helpful because it forces me to stop and think for an extra second or two when I’m reading the time. The hand positions are not what I’m used to, and I can’t just glance at it and know what time it is. I have think, to interact with time anew and at a little bit of a distance when I look at this clock, not as a familiar, problematic relative that I engage with lazily. I wanted to spread this experience out and make it more my own by designing my own 24 hour clock.
The numbers on the clock’s face take on Two Wire, Auerbach’s signature typeface.