Incidents on a Page: Dallas-Venice Dreamscapes: 1976-2020 is a new publication in the form of images, abstractions, and excerpts of texts by the artist and colleagues. The publication links two themes that define my standpoint as an artist and writer in dialogue with the institutions of art: the impact on artists of the global art network and the future of self-managed, sustainable support structures by and for artists and their public.
These themes are made vivid in this new publication through a selection of archival photographs, abstract depictions of page layouts, correspondence, collaborative projects, and art criticism. All these items are directly related to the impact of recurring international exhibitions — such as the Venice Biennale — and the conditions facing artists living and working in rapidly changing urban areas.
The text excerpts, abstract motifs, and photographic images are all presented in the form of digital proofs for printing or typographic sample sheets. Collectively, these formats refer directly to my long-standing use of typography, graphic design, and commercial printing processes as expressive tools worthy of artistic reinvention.
An interventionist intent coupled with a strident polemical tone reverberates throughout these works. The result is a kaleidoscopic landscape where the values of vibrant cultural institutions jostle against a city’s high gloss vision as a global cultural destination. Where, in this landscape, is the home for the artist?
I accept the conventional form of the typographic sample sheet as much as artists accept the anatomy of the body.
Using the design of the typographic sample sheet took care of a great deal for me because I didn’t have to design it.
For graphic designers, the typographic sample sheet is a thing the mind already knows. This gives me room to work on other levels.
That’s what I like about typographic sample sheets, that they come that way.
This way of realizing my subject permits me to submit to an impersonal discipline of ruled lines and all the other technical conventions of typography, while still responding to every artistic impulse.
The typographic sample sheet brings together two disparate ways of approaching the making of art — systematic (the form) and improvisational (the content) — and brings them into proximity with a third that is normally antithetical to both; namely, the most literal realism.