Barry Chapter 4

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S.R. I remember that one aspect of Conceptual art was called the art-critical aspect. For example J. Kosuth was writing art criticism, doing interviews with his colleagues... for example you ...

R.B. Kosuth didn't do any interviews. He wrote a lot of theory, most of which I don't like very much. It's very hard for me to read, because every time I read a sentence I say that's completely wrong and I have an argument about it. I really don't read much of what he said. I tend to not to like art with too many footnotes anyway, I like it to be a kind of direct and not have to read what somebody else tells me how to think about it. And the interviews that he did, if you are talking about the interviews like here in the interview piece or something like that, Kosuth didn't do those interviews. All the interviews that I did or either with somebody like you or.... if it was a piece it was an interview, I wrote myself. But Kosuth never interviewed me.

S.R. But he published some interviews under a pseudonym I think...

R.B. ... Arthur Rose? Those are not his interviews. Arthur Rose was a take-off from Duchamp, he doesn't exist, and Sieglaub and the rest of us used this as a kind of publicity or as a way of making art.

S.R. So it was written? It was not an interview...

R.B. Yes, it was written. I composed the whole thing; the questions, the answers, everything. It was not an interview.

S.R. This sounds very consequential to me. If you for example look at this book, which Alexander Alberro published half a year ago.... maybe the whole enterprise of Seth Siegelaub was something like an invention of a public relations' idea. And so the ideas of Conceptual art and the idea of his promoting art fused into one thing.

R.B.Yes. You would have to discuss Siegelaub's function in Conceptual art, which is a very interesting function; it's part dealer, part artists' helper, part publicist. I think he had a role like no other person, who ever existed. He was not an artist, he would be the first to say it, but he designed artists' books and he helped artists design the way their work looked, the way it'll be presented, because so much of it was documentation. Seth was always very interested in publishing books. I think he was more interested in publishing than in being a dealer or in running a gallery. He likes publishing books; that's what he does now, that's what he did when he finished being a dealer. The idea of a book and presenting it and distributing it around the world was something that intrigued Seth very much. The idea putting information out in some kind of published form was an idea that Seth was always trying to do, and he applied it to art. So he worked with the artists in a very intimate way to present their work, and the idea of presentation became very interesting in that what the art ultimately was, was also how it was presented. The presentation had to do with the look and the eventual way that the work would be put out into the public. So, it's very important that way. If you are not just making paintings and you are doing something else, when you are not sure what it's gonna look like, how your ideas are going to be presented ... if you're going to use photographs or text or print a book or something like this, – how do you do it? Seth was very important in the beginning in figuring out the »look« of this art. So what is that role? I don't know. He is not an artist but he is a kind of assistant to the artist, a helper.


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