Monthly Archives: January 2015

Throwback Thursday – Residency Artist Michel Delacroix

Then: Throw back to October 2013, do you remember French artist-in-residence Michel Delacroix?

Julian_and_Michael Delacroix_Michel_Artist-Lecture-02_RS_11-13

Delacroix’s main project while he visited Kansas City was his miniature, digital gallery Chez-Robert.  “Chez-Robert is an experimental gallery space with very specific dimensions, for which the artist develops specific proposals. The exhibitions are photographed from several angles” and then shared on the gallery’s website.

During his visit, Delacroix worked closely with Julián Zugazagoitia, Director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and developed Chez-Robert further.

Now: Zugazagoitia writes about Delacoix and Chez-Robert‘s most recent exhibition.

marcel chez-robert
“valise in a box” by marcel duchamp

d-02-1_marcel-chez-robert d-01-1_marcel-chez-robert

In this last exhibition, a black monolith obstructs the space. With a closer look, one can see the granular aspect of the covering black skin. Some imperfections and scratches can be seen, but they do not reveal anything.

Our look bumps into this black mass, it frustates our look while urging our imagination to solve the mystery. The exhibition closes the project undertaken by Michel Delacroix seven years ago. It is paradoxical and ironic, symbolizing the original idea that made Chez-Robert a unique space to explore.

This is a project by an artist at the service of other artists. The final step comes with Delacroix performing as an artist at Chez-Robert. He took his concept to the Nelson-Atkins museum (Kansas City) where he re-built his exhibition space in order to set one of the best pieces of the

modern collection, the famous Marcel Duchamp’s « Boite en valise ». This work of art in multiple copies, as wished by the artist as a way to diffuse his works, becomes a « ready made » of its own device.

The miniature retrospective museum that Duchamp turned his works into remains hidden from sight. It escapes

any given specificity and, instead, through its hermetism, hints at all the exhibitions that Chez-Robert generated. The act of ending this project by canning it, is a way to close the potential that this space had brought about, in order to move to a new step.

Through this event, Michel Delacroix closes an important chapter of his work of art that has lead him to act as a curator. He underlines the « Russian doll » aspect of this project by showing it. He celebrates this concept showing it as a inspiring place and pays a tribute to all the artists who took part in this project.

Julián Zugazagoitia
Directeur du Musée Nelson-Atkins”



Throwback Thursday – KCAC forum Oct 1976

KCAC Forum Volume 2 Number 10, October 1976

KCAC Logo_Angry Artist

Margo Kren

More than one article has appeared informing ARTFORUM magazine readers of the earth works of Robert Smithson.  Smithson’s own statements regarding these works make it most evident that no museum or gallery can profit from them.  I became acquainted with this art form and the purpose behind it, when I assigned some of my design students at Kansas State University to build earthworks.  This summer when I had a few spare days I decided to take a trip to the Amarillo Ramp in Texas.

Earthworks must be approached, viewed, and experienced in an entirely different way than art works housed in a museum.  In advance, I wrote to the chamber of commerce in Amarillo requesting information on the location and what arrangements must be made in order to view the ramp.  Within a week a letter arrived from them saying that the most they could tell me was that it was on the Stanley Marsh ranch and I could contact him through the American National Bank Building in Amarillo.  In response to my letter to Mr. Marsh, I received a reply from Mr. John Rhinehart for Mr. Marsh III saying that the only arrangements I needed to make concerning viewing the Smithson was to tell him I would be in Amarillo.  It all seemed so simple and at the same time intriguing, mysterious, and game-like.

My husband, a photographer, and I left Manhattan, Kansas, one day last summer, traveled for two days and arrived in Amarillo on the second in mid-afternoon.  We stopped on Highway 40 just inside of town, at the first Howard Johnson to make a call to Rhinehart.  In a very friendly non-Texan accent he said that there were two families expected at the ranch that evening, but that there should be plenty of time for someone to show us the ramp.  He got my number and I waited as he called the house.  Within seconds the pay phone rang.  he gave me directions to the Marsh house, and said to be there at 3:00.  It was 2:35.

the house was located on the northwestern part of town.  It was a low ranch style house, set back from the road in trees, with only an American flag flying high above.  We turned off the road passed through an electric gate, passed a sign that said “Toad House” (from the book, WIND AND THE WILLOW), and up a winding paved road.  We parked in front of the house.  As we walked to the house, a peacock strutted away from his spot near the sidewalk.  The house was not aggressively wealthy, but a simple and solidly built structure that revealed nothing of what one might expect inside. Once inside we were shown to the servants’ quarters by two women who seemed to be in charge of caring for the Marsh children.  Passing down a long hallway over a large sleeping dog, past a large glassed-in aviary containing birds donning the colors of the Texas plains, then through a large door covered with illustrations from children’s stories, we were introduced to a young man in jeans and plaid workshirt and a button that said “Impeach Ford” who was to drive us to the ramp.  Following him, we got into an air-conditioned jeep standing outside, and headed to the Marsh ranch.

It was a 17 mile trip over a rugged, muddy, single lane road.  Many times we had to leave the road and cut across the grass to avoid the potholes of mud.  The recent rains had been more than usual for this part of Texas, an area that expects 320 days of dry weather a year.  The rocky terrain shook the jeep and the Mesquite trees hit against the sides and windows.  The land of prickly pear, yuccas, Jimson weeds, and staring cows, stretched unending for miles.

The ride allowed time to talk with the driver, who obviously enjoyed his work, about Smithson and Marsh.  Both men had been friends for a long time before Smithson approached Marsh regarding the ramp.  Marsh has in his collection a soft sculpture by Claes Oldenberg and a sculpture by Chamberlain.  However at the moment he is not in the process of purchasing any particular art work.  The three Marsh brothers own a vast territory of oil and helium, as well as three TV stations.  Smithson was described as a quiet man, who stayed to himself.

With the photographic image drawn clearly in my mind it was interesting to try to identify the work in advance.  All of a sudden as we moved up a gentle incline, there it was – no question about it – the ramp’s perfect circular shape outlined by a man-made lake.  Another visit in the dry season might have proven interesting to measure the separateness of ramp from its lake bottom.  It lay quiet and unobtrusive among its surroundings, gladly beneath the Texas blue sky.  Straight across the lake from which we stood was the spot where Smithson’s plane went down, and where he was killed.  it had been one of the many aerial trips he had taken to check the location.

The ramp was a perfect circle with a slow, steady incline composed of the dark red soil of the area.  It was shaped by a man of thirty years experience operating a dump truck.  The ridge is the exact width of a dump truck.  There are no signs of labeling or fences walling it off as an art piece.  The whole area of gentle hot winds, occasional small planes, staccato sounds of insects and birds, invade the sense requiring a close investigation to look and look again, not just at the ramp, but experience the ambience of the place.

There are a few changes that have occurred since I first saw a photograph of the ramp, in the 1974 April issue of ARTFORUM.  A few weeds have grown around the edge of the ramp and small eroded undercuts have resulted when it has rained, but no great decomposition has occurred as has taken place to the Smithson Utah Jetty.  since there are few visitors to the ramp, practically no one in Amarillo has seen it and much less know about it. It is primarily artists who have heard about it and are out traveling around and stop.  On average, four to five people a month may come.  The day before we got there an artist from Chicago had come to do a video tape near the ramp.  Since the place is very secluded and a guide is needed to find it, no vandalism takes place.

In comparison to a museum which is concerned in protecting the original state of its holdings, and where nothing is done to prevent natural changes from taking place, our driver did not impress us not to touch anything.  Within what seemed a short time we were ready to leave.  We loaded up the camera equipment and made a quiet trip back to the house where the driver left us at our car.  The experience was so important that we wished we could have done more than send a card of appreciation to Marsh.

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Aug 1976

KCAC Forum Newsletter Volume 2 Number 8 August 1976


The artistic work force has grown enormously in the last five year, but at the same time unemployment among artists, writers, and entertainers is considerably higher than among other professionals.  These are perhaps the two most striking conclusions from a recent report on “Employment and Unemployment of Artists: 1970-1975,” prepared by the Arts Endowment’s Research Division using data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the US Census Bureau.

In the 1970 Census, the total number of workers in the employment category, “Writers, Artists, and Entertainers,” was 797,574.  In 1975, the figure was 1,055,000 – an annual growth rate over the five-year period of 5.7%.  At this rate the artistic work force would double every 12.5 years.

On the other hand, in 1975 unemployment in the arts averaged 7.4% in comparison to a 3.2% unemployment rate in the total group known as “Professional, Technical, and Kindred Workers.”  And in 1970 only 4.6% of writers, artists, and entertainers were unemployed.  In the last five years artistic unemployment has roughly followed unemployment trend among all professional workers, but at a rate of two to two-and-a-half times as high.

One other point to remember: there are great differences in unemplyment among the artistic occupations themselves.  In 1975, for instance, 35% of actors and acresses (he group hardest hit) were unemployed while only 4.3% of writers were unemployed.

Comparing Unemployment Rates in 1974 and 1975

  • All professional, technical & kindred workers             2.3%                  3.2%
  • Architects                                                                            2.7%                  5.4%
  • Actors                                                                                  47.4%                35.0%
  • Authors                                                                                2.1%                  4.3%
  • Designers                                                                            2.3%                  7.4%
  • Musicians & Composers                                                  4.1%                   7.9%
  • Painters & Sculptors                                                         3.2%                  5.8%
  • Photographers                                                                   3.8%                  6.2%

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Sept 1976

KCAC Forum Newsletter Volume 2 Number 9 September 1976


The Enemies of Paper

Use only all-rag mats and acid-free paper to insure long life of your works.

HANDLING — Most damage to paper caused by man could be avoided with just a little extra care and common sense.  The standard rules of handling are as follows:

1. Use clean hands to handle books and pictures.

2. When lifting matted or unmatted pictures, use two hands to keep from bending, creasing, or tearing them.

3. Unmatted pictures should never be stacked directly on top of each other but should be separated by a smooth, nonacid cover tissue.

4. For optimum protection valuable pictures should be matted rather than left loose.  Less Valuable pictures or documents can be kept in acid-free folders or envelopes.

5. Be careful not to touch or drag anything (the corner of another mat for example) across the surface of a picture.  Mezzotints, pastel drawings, and silkscreen prints are particularly vulnerable to surface damage.

6. Never use pressure-sensitive tapes (Scotch tape, masking tape, et.) gummed brown wrapping tape, rubber cement, synthetic glues, or heat-sealing mounting tissue on any picture that is to be preserved.

7. Pictures glued down on old boards should be handled with as much care as any unmounted, brittle picture.  The backing gives a false sense of strength which may put one off guard.

8. Matted pictures should be protected with cover tissue when not in use.  For temporary display or protection, the entire mat can be wrapped in a cellulose acetate sheet and secured with tape on the back, but this material should not be sued for permanent storage because of its dust-attracting static electricity.

9. Open a mat by he outer edge, not by inserting a finger through the window and lifting the inner edge.

10. Pictures in mats or folders can be stored in drawers or solander boxes.  Wooden drawers and cabinets are preferable to metal ones, since the latter can condense moisture inside and will quickly transmit heat in  the event of fire.

11. To carry, mail, or ship loose pictures, pack them flat between stout boards, not in a roll.