Time Out, reviewing an earlier Price exhibit, quoted Marcel Broodthaers that art occurs “in the field of distribution,” implying that’s what Price is doing. Yet if “Dispersion,” the essay, has a point it’s that the distribution must occur within the art system because artists’ attempts to market directly to the public, or to the wrong public (i.e., music consumers) fail for lack of context, as in Duchamp’s effort to sell his rotoreliefs at a toy inventors’ fair. Thus, Price’s “dispersion” is through limited edition books at Printed Matter, pdf files on ubuweb, and sales to elite collectors at Petzel. The contradiction between the populist “dispersion” rhetoric and making broadly available commodities (“jpegs”) limited for the gallery trade isn’t a fatal flaw so much as tapping guilt-as-usual about participating in the system. Current curatorial practice demands that artists prove they’re not making work for selfish reasons and are helping The People, man.
Moody’s thoughts are worth some reflection, because he not only identifies the artist’s belief in working within familiar art channels for distribution to occur, but points out that this “tapping guilt” in participating in that system is common. The post as a whole is an excellent summation of Price’s influences, and content, while also evaluating the success and failures of the exhibition.
I have only one minor point of disagreement; In an earlier paragraph Moody describes Disappearing In America, the text Price wrote to accompany the show, as having nothing to do with the exhibition. Given that the majority of the show focuses on the invisibility of the artist’s hand, and the removal of the body while performing an action of any kind, I can’t believe that the text detailing how to remove yourself from society has nothing to do with the show. The exhibition to my mind, is a literal depiction of that idea.
Those who wish to read the manuscript discussed can purchase Disappearing In America from Friedrich Petzel shortly (which I recommend — the book is beautiful, but still at the printers). They can also simply contact the gallery for “bootleg” copy/ PDF file at firstname.lastname@example.org.