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Fifteen People Select Their Favorite Book

These pages stem from a project I developed with the Mahler & LeWitt Studios in Spoleto, Italy on the subject of artists’ books.


Forgotten Moments, Future Exhibitions

Tune in on November 16th at 7pm for a livestream of our panel discussion, moderated by Jo Melvin

Ian Davenport and Jo Melvin on Sol LeWitt

I was attracted to the physical way that Pollock dealt with materials and his balletic, fluid gestures. I liked the performative aspect of his painting, but I did struggle with some of the discourse around his work. I was also looking for something that wasn’t as mystical as Pollock’s approach. I was interested in LeWitt and bought a book on his work. I like the way he described the contents of the work, the way it was made, and what it was made on. I found that straight forward and accessible. The demystification of what art could be about, seemed incredibly liberating.


I sincerely confess that I cannot remember whether I had already seen the word “molinology” when I first used it.

33⅓ RPM—Performance for record turntable, loop effect pedal and vinyl records

The turntable and other equipment sit on a table at floor level and the records are stacked in a pile to one side of the turntable.

Badenheim 1939 and My Painting

The vaudeville-like impresario Dr. Pappenheim, is a rather weird and ever hopeful person, like a manifestation of the artist who, in order to be able to make work, has to remain positive despite all the signs that might suggest otherwise. I imagine him dressed in an outfit not unlike one of my alter ego characters Tom Bland; a straw boater, tie, flopping handkerchief in his top pocket, patent leather shoes, a cream suit, and his umbrella. In Ahron Appelfeld’s Badenheim 1939 there is a suggestion of a kind of collapsed performance which will never take place.


Isaac’s painting installation of composite beasts were installed on a revolving carousel in Spoleto’s textile museum, with an accompanying sound work by Nyla van Ingen.


Existere is an artist book based on a living sculpture that took place on three dates in July 2011 at Testbed1 in London. In collaboration with 125 volunteers, the performance took the form of a “shelter” made of naked human bodies. The “shelter” was held together in an endured brace, before inevitably coming apart, pausing and reforming.

Parrots, Parrots

I selected Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, for Fifteen People Present Their Favorite Book curated and re-staged by Jo Melvin.

Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings, Torre Bonomo, Spoleto

Writer Rye Dag Holmboe and photographer Joschi Herczeg were the first residents to explore the Torre Bonomo in Spoleto as part of the Mahler & LeWitt Studios program.

Drawing 4: Bruce Chatwin What am I doing Here, 2010

I phoned David Tremlett to ask for his book and without hesitation he said: “Bruce Chatwin’s What am I doing here?” Tremlett has worked extensively with scores; and maybe, in a way, all his wall-work can be read as notations or scores of a kind.

Sol LeWitt—Extraordinary traveller in Spoleto

“As the first painting was. The first painting was a single line, which surrounded the shadow of man cast by the sun upon the walls”: poetic definition taken from the Trattato della pittura by Leonardo da Vinci.

Grace Weir

For every line, a point not on it.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2018

All Issues