Legend (Annotating the Elephant)
A 40 YEAR SECRET PROJECT BY STEPHEN KALTENBACH REVEALED AT ANOTHER YEAR IN LA!
For friends of our gallery, the name Stephen Kaltenbach is a well known one. We have shown four solo exhibitions of his work since 2005 – the first a 40 year survey (ironic now), Room Constructions, Time Capsules and S-Fear.
Now we are about to show, LEGEND (ANNOTATING THE ELEPHANT) an exhibition that will put into context what Kaltenbach refers to as the Black Period or Elephant Project, a secret 40 year undertaking which will explain how and why he suddenly disappeared from New York at the height of his career at the time.
The Black Period / Elephant Project is also the subject of an article in the upcoming September issue of Artforum magazine. Although both the magazine article and this exhibition have similar subjects, LEGEND (ANNOTATING THE ELEPHANT) is not automatically a companion piece to the article.
Many in the art world have struggled with why Kaltenbach choose to seemingly disappear in the late 1960s from New York when his work was being included in major exhibitions world-wide (When Attitudes Become Form curated by Harald Szeemann or Information in 1970 at the Museum of Modem Art or Lucy Lippard’s 557,087 & 955,000 exhibitions in Vancouver and Seattle among others), these recent discoveries shed a most amazing light on the fact that he really didn’t dropout at all but, through a series of increasingly minimal art efforts, reduced his life to a forty year conceptual art work. This journey included inventing multiple personalities to reduce his personal exposure as an artist. Whereas most artists are pushing their careers upward, Kaltenbach issued a series of anonymous advertisements in Artforum in 1968 – 1969 which are, in retrospect, not just a series of oddly humorous phrases but were an announcement of his strategy. So, in the summer of 1969, when Kaltenbach uses a full page ad in Artforum to plainly state Become A Legend, we can now speculate that this directive/suggestion was perhaps his farewell to the artworld on his new minimalistic journey into artistic anonymity – until now.
LEGEND (ANNOTATING THE ELEPHANT explores the chronology of this dismantling of a public persona through various works and the development of these DIFFERENT artists that Kaltenbach became including Es Que, Clyde Dillon and the local/regional artist.
This show opens on Wednesday, September 15 with a reception for the artist from 5pm – 8pm.