Iran do Espírito Santo's Die From InSite 97?
This has been quite a serendipitous week. I'll be posting more, but first I thought I'd put up some pictures of a large concrete die that appeared in front of a friend's apartment in Los Angeles. In 1997 I went with Diane to the scavenger hunt for art that is InSite Sandy Eggo/TJ.
That was the year that Marcos Ramirez made the big Trojan Horse at the border crossing, and Allan Sekula showed his photographs of the Fox Studio Rosarito backlot. >Betsabeé Romero exhibited his Ayate Car, and Louis Hock make his double-sded drinking fountain at Playas Tijuana.
It was also the year that Francis Alys and Miguel Calderon each found their own conceptual ways across the border:
Francis Alys's piece was a five-week performance in which the artist flew due south from Tijuana all the way around the world to San Diego, circuitously evading the border. The work was represented in the exhibition via postcards, correspondence, video and E-mail. Rather indifferent to local realities, Alys's trip was a privileged version of the difficult voyage made by so many illegal immigrants.
Miguel Calderon took a different type of trip; he hailed one of the omnipresent Volkswagen Beetle taxis in Mexico City and rode all the way up to San Diego, some 1,500 miles. The artist took photos of his driver and of other taxis encountered on the way, and presented them in a photo album alongside the taxi meter, which he purchased from the driver. The genius of these two works, which were the exhibition's most offbeat achievements, resides in the fact that the artists got to travel all expenses paid. Their contributions were the concepts rather than the insignificant and ultimately unimportant objects from their travels that they grudgingly agreed to display to the public.
Among the advantages that "inSITE" has over other large-scale exhibitions are that the artists can choose where they place their pieces, and that they have two large cities in which to work The selection of a site, therefore, is of particular importance, as integral to the specific work as it is to the exhibition as a whole. Since its inception, "inSITE" has emphasized the creation of public work In this year's event, however, there was almost no outdoor work in San Diego, except for that of Iran do Espiritu Santo from Brazil whose series of 16-inch-square concrete dice mysteriously disappeared from the streets, purportedly taken by admirers (a series of dice was also installed in Tijuana). (my emphasis)
Iran do Espírito Santo: Scratches on the #4 side make it appear that the #3 side was the top when it was installed.
I remember seeing these blocks in various locations some ten years ago, so when I saw the block on the sidewalk, it make me think it was one of the artworks from the show. I went outside and measured it, and it's 40 centimeters on each side, close to the 16" described in Art in America.
I wonder how many people who come across the cement die would think it's a work of art, let alone place it specifically to a particular day and place?
I contacted the LAPD's art theft division, InSite's old web page, and Iran's gallery in Brazil. If anything comes of it, I'll update this post.
Update 9-24-2008:I've received messages from the LAPD's Art Theft Division, the artist Iran do Espirito Santo, and Michael Krichman, Executive Director, InSite San Diego/Tijauna. Here are some excerpts:
Dear Michael:Osvaldo Sanchez forwarded your e-mail to me. It's amazing that the piece has survived all of these years! I'm in touch with Iran and suspect he will love the story---even if at the time he had hoped the pieces might not vanish as quickly as they did. We are in the middle of working on the archive of inSite, and with your permission would like to include your blog page and correspondence in the file on Iran. Beyond that, seems to me to be a crime of passion that might best go unpunished.Let me know if we can re-print your material.Many thanks,
My concern at this point is that it doesn't get picked up my the city and discarded. It would be nice if it could be placed in a location where its history and wanderings would be appreciated.