Laura Owens

Solo en Inglès

abstract artwork of aluminum and wallpaper

Laura Owens, Untitled, 2016. Wallpaper on aluminum, 108 x 84 in. (274.3 x 213.4 cm). Collection of the artist. © Laura Owens

Narrator: These three paintings were originally part of a continuous expanse of wallpaper. Owens first installed them at the Wattis Institute of the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. They’re hung in their original spatial configuration. But the experience of the works is quite different here. David Berezin, an artist who assisted Owens during this time, explains.

David Berezin: On the wallpaper, there were eight phone numbers or other things that said, “text a question to.” You could text any question, and it would get routed through custom computer hardware and software that we made that had a SIM card associated with that number. The computer would choose from around a thousand responses that we had pre-programmed into the computer, that would be played from a speaker that was embedded in the wall behind the wallpaper where the phone number was written. I think Laura wanted to be able to have someone talk to a painting.

The show was called Ten Paintings, but you walked in and it was a wallpaper installation. There were no paintings in the gallery. Before we hung the wallpaper, 9’ x 7’ pieces of the drywall were removed, and in its place we inlayed these panels. When the show came down, the wallpaper got torn off the wall in a very brutish way. But for these ten panels that were inlayed in the wall, they would get cut out, so they would continue to live and have an exhibition life of their own.

Narrator: Asha Schechter conducted oral histories that are transcribed for the catalogue that accompanies this exhibition. This recording is drawn from his interviews.

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