read, write, post, paint



Above, painting by Tolga Taluy (and detail), featured in the "Read/Write" exhibition currently on view at 319 Scholes in Brooklyn, NY. (The painting is a white monochrome with text in black, caption in gray, username in blue, and "like" icon in green.)

The subject matter of Taluy's painting is a YouTube comment by "sleepyflip," removed from the surrounding chatter and floating on a white stretched canvas, approximately 18-20 inches wide. The comment asks if we can go back to the '90s (flannel shirts, Bill Clinton, dial-up modems) while the painting asks if we can go back to the '60s (Baldessari, Pop Art, Ryman). Careful but obvious hand-lettering doesn't exactly reverse time but certainly slows it.

"Read/Write" consists mostly of media-based work but does include a few paintings of internet content. Nowadays you have to ask who is actually doing the time-slowing. Is it the artist himself or herself, being contrary to the spirit of instant communication as a shamanistic gesture? Or are our shamans a group of artisan subcontractors from mainland China, meticulously rendering in oil on canvas whatever text or photo the artist sends them? The artisans will not die, suffer, or go crazy for our sins; they serve only to be used by the West for an ironic jape and/or cheap painting.

I am told that Taluy actually painted the above. If true, it's noteworthy not because of some cult of the hand or authenticity but simply to understand that the artist wanted "sleepyflip's" comment to be isolated, studied, and translated into a more durable material than LCD, and that Taluy cared enough to do the work.
No reason an artisan in China couldn't do it, but that would inject a "critique of outsourcing" element to the piece and we've been going down that road with Chinese contractors for years now--it's old.

Taluy's painting isn't groundbreaking but rather a simple heartfelt plea to stop the clock.