Paris-Scope: Sandra Aubry & Sébastien Bourg
I Like America and America Likes Me. A Revival.
Conservation Report: 101SSPC
This installation gathers the vestige of the Joseph Beuys performance “I like America and America likes me,” held at the René Block Gallery in New York City from May 23 - 25, 1974. For the exhibition, Beuys flew to New York and, wrapped in felt, was transported by ambulance directly to a small room in the back of the gallery. There, he spent three days in the presence of an apparently wild coyote, wrapping himself in felt, leaning on a shepherd’s cane, lying on some straw, mumbling to the animal, and moving around a stack of newspapers. The coyote, meanwhile, shredded papers and blankets, toyed with the artist, and stared eagerly through the gallery window, eventually allowing himself to be hugged by the self-proclaimed shaman just before Beuys’ departure in the same way he arrived. Thus the only contact Beuys had with “America” during his visit was in the form of this wild (but quite friendly) dog. Following this performance, a conservation protocol was established, preserving all the elements originally involved. This protocol has been organized in tight collaboration with the ad-hoc scientific team.
Conservation treatment performed:
An exhibition room similar to the original one was restored in every detail to transpose the original installation, arranged as the artist Joseph Beuys had left it. The installation has been sealed, and public access forbidden. Obviously the issue of feeding the remaining live aesthetic object was very quickly raised. It was decided, based on sound conservation principles, to prohibit any foreign elements to enter the work, including food for the aforementioned live element. Consequently, the animal attempted to ingest what was within its reach, including, at times, itself. However, the animal was not always capable of digestion, and through regurgitation released rejected balls of newspaper, hay, claws, and matted hair. The evolutionary logic of the work demanded a hermetic environment, and the team has prevented any intervention. A veterinary team has certified as to the permanent, suspended animation of the animal (see Doc CR101SSPC-B). The body was left in space to allow the decomposition process to take place unhindered. The piece has subsequently been kept rigorously intact in the state originally available to the public. 40 years later, Parisian artists Sandra Aubry and Sébastien Bourg have obtained permission to make the preserved space visible through the peephole technology provided by Projective City’s Paris-Scope. This will in no way compromise the integrity of the conservation.
Sandra Aubry and Sébastien Bourg are a Paris-based creative partnership, and have been working together since 2004. Their work has been exhibited throughout Europe, and very widely throughout France, where they are represented by Galerie de Roussan in Paris. This exhibition with Projective City and Mixed Greens coincides with another major solo show in Paris, entitled “A Bitter Sweet Legacy” at the Galerie de Roussan.
This is Mixed Greens’ twelfth installment of Paris-Scope — a series of peculiar, collaborative exhibitions that give visitors to Mixed Greens a glimpse into French-based Projective City’s gallery space. The unique series provides a new possibility for the practice of exhibiting aesthetic experience, and allows artists unprecedented control over the gallery space. Through this alchemical experiment into the possibilities of “action at a distance,” the viewer is able to peer into (but obviously not enter) the space both thousands of miles away and inches from his or her nose — to mystically be both HERE and THERE simultaneously.
For more information, please visit aubrybourg.net
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