GRAM IT

To accompany the exhibition Ken Friedman: 92 Events, Adam Art Gallery has invited practitioners to respond to select event scores written by Friedman in a series called GRAM IT. Here are their responses:


Steve Carr responds to Ken Friedman’s Mandatory Happening, 1966


Laura Preston responds to Ken Friedman’s Woolen Goods, 1973

Rosemarie Trockel’s paintings from the late 1980s are made with an unexpected wool and by machine. The work’s fabrication is both associated with “women’s work” and negates the bounds of this term. They have been described as deconstructive, feminist interruptions to the traditions of painting and its canon. It could also be said that they are very much in conversation with modern art history and mimic abstraction. In this particular work, the axiom of Descartes, handwritten and set in relation to the black square, becomes uncertain, showing up the very doubt of the modern understanding of the self (i.e., individualism, inequality). It is a kind of painting as memorial and of new material beginnings. Consider, too, that it was made just one year before the reunification of Germany. Trockel in her work questions painterly expectations, less in the sense of metaphor and allegory (i.e., speaking in figures) and rather with metonymy to acknowledge complexity and to say what cannot be said.

Rosemarie Trockel (b. 1952) is known for performing defamiliarizing artistic tactics. She works with various mediums and methods, while more often foregrounding the materiality of the work’s production. She studied painting in Cologne in the former Federal Republic of Germany in the late 1970s. She also established her own clothing range at this time, which she marketed and sold, and became part of the artistic scene of that city in the 1980s, early 1990s, a vital time of collaboration, experimentation, and transatlantic exchange. Her first solo exhibition was with Monika Sprüth Galerie in Cologne in 1983; she also participated in the gallery’s series of exhibitions and eponymous journal Eau de Cologne from 1985–89, dedicated to women artists.
Cogito ergo sum, 1988, Wool, stretched on linen, 210 x 160 cm, Collection of Centre Pompidou, purchased 2000


Eddie Clemens responds to Ken Friedman’s Open and Shut Case, 1965