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Gareth Long: Remarks Addressed to an Illeterate Book-Fancier

Kate Werble Gallery
83 Vandam Street, 212-352-9700
May 1 - June 9, 2012
Reception: Saturday, April 28, 6 - 8 PM
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Kate Werble Gallery is pleased to present its second solo exhibition with Gareth Long, Remarks Addressed to an Illiterate Book-Fancier and to announce a series of exhibitions in a new gallery space next door on Vandam Street. Spanning the two spaces, the gallery at 83 Vandam and at 89 Vandam, Long’s exhibition continues his ongoing interest in amateurism, printing, replication, books, learning and the artist as subject. Drawing from various popular and historical literary sources, Long brings together an associative layering of references that reflects with insight and humor on contemporary artistic production.

The exhibition title is borrowed from a literary work by Lucian of Samosata, a second-century Greek rhetorician and satirist. A diatribe against misguided book collecting as a way to gain status through feigned literary erudition, Long uses the text to draw attention to the perception of artists as charlatans – including himself. Lucian’s text serves as the starting point for two works in the exhibition, a drawing on aluminum and a publication made by the artist together with designer Sebastian Campos, including two new English translations of the original text by Athena Kirk and Zach Seely.

Amateurism, posturing and the impossibility of learning by books is also the subject of Bouvard and Pécuchet’s Invented Desk For Copying, a series of desk-sculptures ongoing since 2007. There will be 15 miniature copies in stainless steel of each sculpture produced for this series alongside a selection of their full-sized realizations shown in the gallery next door. Taken from a fictive ‘original’ desk-for-two described in Gustave Flaubert’s unfinished novel Bouvard and Pécuchet, Long returns continuously to this motif, producing a succession of multiplying versions in sculptural form, as well as a growing body of research on the desk as a signifier of cultural production.

The exhibition also includes three new works printed on aluminum: a construction diagram for an unrealized desk-sculpture, a prologue to a theatrical piece forming the next step in Long’s ongoing Literary Asses, and a drawing referencing the Loeb Classical Library, a series publishing the most important Ancient Greek and Latin literary texts. With its straightforward English translations and color-coding, green for Greek and red for Latin, the series aimed to make the world of classical literature accessible to the amateur enthusiast. 

Finally, Long’s Work in Progress points humorously to the sometimes grim realities behind idea production. Depicting Daffy Duck seemingly locked in the throes of ‘writer’s block’, Long’s reworking of the 1950 Merrie Melodies animation The Golden Yeggs points to the less-glamorous side of being a thinker, particularly when subject to the exigencies of the market and the pressure to produce.

Poised between sequential processes and finished sculptural form, Long’s exhibition considers the changing role of the artist – as researcher, reader, editor, well-meaning enthusiast, impostor or charlatan – in the production and reproduction of knowledge.
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