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Joseph Grigely

Blueberry Surprise

Not on view



Inkjet print

Sheet (Sight): 71 3/8 × 49 3/8in. (181.3 × 125.4 cm)

Accession number


Printed by Laumont Editions; published by Joseph Grigely; published by Cohan and Leslie

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Print Committee

Rights and reproductions
© Joseph Grigely 2003

Joseph Grigely describes Blueberry Surprise, one long block of text comprising hundreds of individual exchanges, as “an effort to transcribe and edit ten years of confrontations and conversations, for constructive narration.” Grigely has been deaf since the age of ten, and written communication—on which he is heavily reliant—has been the principal theme of his work for the past two decades. The 45,000 words of Blueberry Surprise come from transcribed dialogues and notes written by the artist’s interlocutors. The messages are typeset, standardized into the modernist form of the grid, and lacking the inflections and particularities of speech or handwriting. Yet the work possesses conversational idiosyncrasies and the flavor of human interaction in its minimal punctuation and retention of misspellings, and in the alternation between different “voices,” signaled by a change of color. A poly-vocal collage, Blueberry Surprise is at once an engaging exercise in eavesdropping, a meditation on how verbal and visual modes of expression work in tandem, and a testament to communicative transparency and clarity as well as interruption and breakdown.



A 30-second online art project:
Ryan Kuo, Hateful Little Thing

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