Making Conceptual Art in Asheville, NC with Joseph Kosuth During a Pandemic (2 of 2).

In part two of this story, I’ll focus a bit more on the work and less on the personal aspect, but suffice to say, this project was very meaningful to me. For those that have not read Part 1 yet, here’s the short version: Due to COVID taking over NYC, my uncle lived with us in North Carolina for 3 months. My uncle is the conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth. Among many accomplishments in the art world, his work from 1965 “One and Three Chairs” is part of the permanent collection at MoMA in New York City. There are a lot of articles online about him, but Yahoo News had a interesting write up in 2016. A pretty hilarious Q&A here as well over on Frieze.

Only getting to see each other maybe once a year (many times longer in between), to then be living with my uncle for just over three months after getting him out of New York City due to COVID-19 was quite a switch. Typically he splits his time between London and NYC. But it led to both of us getting to know the other better than we ever had before this unique situation.

Portrait of my uncle, Joseph Kosuth, David Vintiner, London.

We were now living together in the house my wife and I finished building a year and a half ago in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, NC. Only for this visit “The Paris of the South” didn’t get to show herself off like normal. My uncle saw plenty of the inside of our house though…and boy, outside the bears put on one heck of a show for the New Yorker.

For the second art project I got to help him create, Joseph started with books by Samuel Beckett that he’d either had with him already from the city or ones we got from local fave Malaprops Book Store (support local, more than ever!). These were the basis for the concept. In fact, Beckett’s drawings played an important part.

As the gallery Vistamare Studio in Milan explains:

“Joseph Kosuth consistently explores the production and role of language and meaning within art. In his new work on show the source reference is from Samuel Beckett’s notes on stage directions for the production of ‘Waiting for Godot’.”

‘The Practice of Drawing’: group exhibition at @vistamarestudio Milano, Italy. The exhibition takes its title from Pino Pascali’s work “Omaggio a Ceroli”, 1966, that acts as a fil rouge for an exhibition dedicated to drawing, intended as a project and as the origin of an artwork. The participating artists explore the subject by providing numerous unconventional grounds for experimentation, demonstrating the medium’s versatility through its many forms: sculpture, wall text, drawing tools, chemical processed film, chalk, projections and prints. The works presented, either new or unpublished, are illustrative of each artist’s creative process and practices, outlining the unlimited possibilities of expanding it.”

The title for this piece is “Beckett Inspection (Waiting for Godot)”, 2020, printed in letterpress. Framed as one/no glass. For this large scale letterpress print we turned to the experienced hands of Eleanor Annand who’s doing her residency as Era Press at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina. Ele was excellent in her expertise for this larger scale letterpress piece – quite a challenge given the size of each poster (24″ x 18″, total of 4). The blind emboss grid was a big question mark, but she absolutely nailed it. Again, Asheville artists come to the rescue – this project was really perfect to produce here given Asheville’s love of all things letterpress and hand done crafts. Thank you again Ele!

And with that, we’ll close this one out. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed checking out the story and some of the creative process of a most meaningful collaboration for me with my uncle, Joseph Kosuth.