Cole Willsea, You Can’t Hang Art Upside Down On An iPad 1936-2013
1936: A New Jersey gallery hangs Phantasy by Spencer Nichols upside down. The gallery remarks that it is an abstract work. Nichols replied that it depicts a seascape, and it only appears to be abstract when it is hung upside down.
1961: The Museum of Modern Art hangs Le Bateau by Henri Matisse upside down. A stock broker noticed the error and pointed it out, but the museum officials were adamant that it was hung properly.
1965: The National Gallery in London hangs Grass and Butterflies by Vincent van Gogh upside down. They had reproduced the work, oriented correctly, in the exhibition catalog.
1979-1989: The Wadsworth Anthneum in Connecticut hangs The Lawrence Tree by Georgia O’Keefe upside down. O’Keefe protested this error for years, and it was only after the work was part of a travelling exhibition that a researcher discovered this persistent mistake and the Wadsworth corrected it.
Elegy to the Oakland Commune No. 1, Cole Willsea, 2013
To be read as a “lamentation or funeral song” in the vein of Robert Motherwell. His elegies to the Spanish Republic used recurring ovals to evoke the exhibition of the defeated bull’s testicles in bullfighting rings.
Here the roughly painted rectangular forms used to cover up graffiti evoke the public squares and plazas of the ongoing Occupations movement.
(ongoing project, 2013