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ZERO, 2011

9" x 12", graphite on paper - $5,000


KALTENBACH ANNOTATIONS:  This work speaks to the most radical minimalist actions that I have come to in my work. I had been doing street works for years including the sidewalk plaques, the graffiti stencils, stamps, and stickers. I had done personal appearance manipulations on the subway and on the streets with my classes. We also performed Museum Intrusions into the Met.


When the museums began to sponsor street works I thought that ironically the character of the work had come full circle. What had begun as a personal means to show outside the establishment had become institutionalized. And with that came the loss of the precious anonymity which had given the work such mystery and even worse, that loss had removed the psychological barrier that had hidden the Fine Art nature of what was being seen. This knowledge made certain that it was art that they were viewing, and therefore no longer confronting.


For the institutional Street Works I decided to craft careful lies describing what I might have done had street works remained free of definition. Though I participated in Street Works one, two, three, and four, I never took any action other than telling my stories. I will be in a Street Works show in New York later this year which will have some of the non-existent works in it. Forty-five years later they are still being shown.


These art ‘inactions’ led to the secret pieces and the works that resulted in no change. In the group show in Burnaby I asked Simon Frazer University to put an ad in the paper advertising a local ditch digging company for the month of the show. When that was to happen I asked my brother who owned the business to withdraw his identical ad. I let the university know what was happening and they became quite upset, suspecting me of simply trying to save my brother a few bucks. So I explained Avant-Garde Contemporary Art to them; which comforted them not at all.





Letters to Rolf Wedewer (curator of Konzeption Conception) during the planning and following the opening of the exhibition at the Sadtisches Museum, Leverkusen, 1969


KALTENBACH ANNOTATIONS:  When invited to show in the Konzeption - Conception exhibition in fall of 1969, I agreed to participate. What I kept to myself was that my involvement would consist of my repeated refusal to make any information available. Every time I received a letter requesting my piece I answered back that there was no information available at this time. This communication continued back and forth until the show opened. The result was that although I was listed as an exhibiter there was no sign of my work. That remains true; there is still no evidence of my work for that show and that reality will continue in perpetuity.


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