Gallery Voice Montage

© Generali Foundation Collection—Permanent Loan to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Photo: Werner Kaligofsky

Allan Sekula

Gallery Voice Montage, 1970

Audio-installation 2 canvases on stretchers, unprimed, 120 x 120 cm each Sound, 9 min 17 sec (loop) Total dimensions of the installation variable Reconstruction of the canvases: Allan Sekula and Generali Foundation 2003


Artwork text

African-American elementary school children and teacher: Teacher Do you see you’re not supposed to touch? Students [inaudible] Oh, my goodness. Will you look at this one? She got her little green bikini. [laughter] Where? This is a giant cuff link. Where? Giant cuff link. Where? Right here. This thing right here. Can’t you see this on the picture? It says Picasso Cuff Link. It looks like cuff link. Here it is: “Giant Cuff Link Using Picasso’s Head.” Picasso’s Head. Right here. [laughter] A piece of a car that has been torn up. They just put it together and shaped it all kinds of ways. And this right here looks part of like the engine. And… well… right here looks part of like the fender. It looks like all part of different part of a car. [laughter] This looks like… Quit moving that ball. … a triangle of big different color balls. Big different colored balls. They don’t have numbers but they do, actually, are formed into a pool thing, a pool set. [laughter] Shut up! Middle-class, middle-aged woman Why do you always have to get a meaning to everything for? We all were just laughing about it. We all just thought we had to get something out of it. Young man Yeah. Sometimes you come in here and you’d rather look at the ocean than you would at the pictures. Docent #1 You can take any one of these works, put it anywhere. It would be different in meaning. It would be changed. That one was designed for the dimensions of the room. It would be changed immediately. Woman visitor Yes it would. Young woman He just removed portions of the canvas? Young man Nah, I don’t know how he did it. It looks like it was almost silk screened on. He probably had some far out technique you don’t know about. Secret technique. They’re stuck with it forever. Young woman It wasn’t painted on. It’s all dripping. He did it while it was up. Upright. Young man One far out thing is he’s just removed the whole canvas. It’s really two-dimensional. Right on the old damn wall. And yet it looks like it’s hanging. It really looks like it’s plastic. Sheets of black polystyrene, or polyethylene. Shiny black polyethylene. In fact that’s what I thought it was at first. Young woman Wow it does, or like oil. Young man Yeah, black, it’s black. It could have been very wet, you know, very wet. Male visitor That sold for one million dollars. Another male visitor You know, I don’t mind people doing their own thing. To mess with my… Young girl It looks like a hat. Woman They shellac it. Young girl I think this is pretty. Second young girl I like that. Young girl Yeah, I may make one. Second young girl Oh yeah, sure! Beautiful. Woman You think you could do this? You don’t think your colors would overlap? Young boy This is a painting? Goodness! Second young boy They overlap a little, look. Young boy No they don’t. Second young boy Uh huh, look. Purple and you can see the olive under. Young boy Don’t touch it, Andy. Don’t touch. Docent #2 Where the shirt comes up becomes a matter of great concern. Do you find yourself looking at that little part? Well now that I’m mentioning it, start looking at it. It’s very very interesting to keep looking to see if you are going to see something else you didn’t see. What are we looking for? What are we looking for when we see things? What are we looking for here? What happened to her? Do we care? Do we know? What about feet in that gesture? What about shadows? What about him? What about posture? All of that is possible in this, it’s all there…. Now enjoy it. And also, the image, doesn’t even stay nice and neat, you know, we had it fairly ordered, but then it gets slightly hysterical, as if, it feels slightly hysterical… the control, even of the units of repetition… it’s sort of diminishing. Woman visitor You can’t scan it like you were your own projector, because, you know, there’s interruption there, you go back to back… it’s hard. Docent #2 That’s right. Second woman visitor A motion picture. Woman visitor That’s what I was saying, it’s interrupting me because of these blocks. Docent #2 And the policeman’s head, you know, the little things. Like this image, this head, sort of coming right into bits. Arbitrary, but not invisible. Not “not there.” All doing its little rotten thing. Second young man It doesn’t sort of bother me, because I think, you know, it hits you with the fact that, wow, you know that would be so easy to do, and I think the whole point of that is to say, wow, you know, I think it’s putting something over on people. Second young woman It’s simple, and it looks like something we did in art class. We were learning to draw [laughs]. It’s basic. I mean that’s what… Second young man The predominant shape is phallic. I think his whole thing is just a big masculinity thing, where he’s putting phallic symbols on paper and putting them in the art museums and having people look at them and say, you know, wow, this is a simple line drawing, and it’s very basic, and you know, it’s very simple to do, and he’s sitting here hitting you in the face with these phallic symbols. And nobody realizes it. Or very few people realize it. Second middle-class, middle-aged woman I don’t know that he’s banging on anything. If people like it that’s a matter of personal opinion. Though I don’t feel that… he’s really expressing anything that he has within himself. That may be his way of doing it. I don’t know. It wouldn’t be mine. That’s what makes the world go round. Elderly woman It could be used, you know, for wallpaper design or any kinds of things you might want to use them for. Though I’d love to have one of those, you know, that whole thing…. So colorful, isn’t it? Man with patrician accent I think this is a hype. I don’t, I don’t enjoy being laughed at by artists. Middle-aged man I think he’s a very creative, very involved man. This is a man of large talent. He exploits the media that he’s involved with enormously. Woman That’s art? Man Let’s go look at the landscapes. Another man I think they are just letting these artists come here and play their games on the wall. It’s like little kids, you know. Another woman What they’re turning out, it’s not as good. Another man Yeah, like little spoiled babies. I could do that. Man with Texas accent It costs a hundred dollars though. That’s a lot of money, you know. A hundred dollars. “Serigraph.” It’s only four dollars you can rent it. But it’s a hundred dollars. I could do one of them. Look, all you do is… Woman with Texas accent That’s mighty weird. It’s a photograph, isn’t it? Man with Texas accent Yeah, anybody can copy a photograph. Woman with Texas accent Bunch of colors… Man with Texas accent This here thing has holes in it. Yeah, is this art? I don’t know. A third young man What does this guy think he’s doing, putting two blank canvases in an art gallery? Gallery Voice Montage, 1970 Audiotape edited from recordings made at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, and the first Andy Warhol retrospective at the Pasadena Art Museum, spring 1970.

Lending history
2011 Budapest, HU, Ludwig Museum 2004 Leipzig, DE, Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst