- 1 — Eridanus (2017)
- Digital slide projection, altered city map of Paris, keys
One night in March of 2017 I walked across the city of Paris. The shape of my walk was based on the shape of Eridanus, the river constellation of the Southern Hemisphere. I imagined this river of stars wandering across the city of Paris. I had drawn the constellation on top of a map of the city, and where thirty of the constellation’s stars had fallen on this city map, I opened the electrical access door of a public street light and shut off the light. I then continued to where the next star would be, and again, shut off a light. I had with me a collection of keys, some found and some constructed, that opened up the fuse boxes to the street lights of Paris.
I imagine a kind of negative constellation forming across Paris over the course of the walk. The work is exhibited with a repeating slide show documenting the action, a map of Paris altered with a hole puncher, and the keys that I used. But I imagine the real work is outside, somewhere in the subtle shift of light in the city’s atmosphere, or maybe in one’s imagination.
At the opening at Galerie Allen, all the lights of the gallery were kept off. The visitors explored the exhibition with candles. On the announcement card sent to the gallery’s mailing list was taped a copy of one of the keys. With no explanation.
- 2 — For Kiyoko (From, Amache) (2017)
- Digital photograph exhibited in advertising spaces across New York
I was asked to be in a Public Art Fund exhibition that took over digital advertising displays across New York City. The exhibition opened sometime after Trump’s inauguration, sometime after I heard that the Japanese Internment Camps from World War 2 were being evoked as a possible precedent for a Muslim registry in the United States.
I traveled to the site of the Amache Japanese internment camp in Eastern colorado. Here I made a photograph of the the stars in the night sky. I imagined my grandmother, Kiyoko, as a teenager looking at the stars from this very same spot some 75 years before. Her view, literally contained and bound by barbed wire, imprisoned by her present, by the fear and hysteria and racism of her times. But I also imagined the wonder evoked in looking up into the sky, into the infinity of night, as your vision extends out into the timelessness of space.This view, from this place, I wanted to put into the public.
- 3 — Lullaby for a landscape (Der Mond ist aufgegangen) (2017)
- 42 tempered aluminum alloy chimes tuned to the notes of the folk-lullaby "Der Mond ist aufgegangen”
42 metal chimes hang in the trees outside of a German museum. Each chime corresponds to a note in the German lullaby “The Moon Has Risen.” Walking through the trees it is possible to strike each chime playing the entirety of the song. It is as if the song, something that can only exist and be experienced in time, is materialized into space. The song literally drifts through a landscape. Or maybe you can walk through the trees, hitting chimes at random, playing the lullaby out of order, changing the durations of notes, letting them drift off into the garden. There is the time when you are about to fall asleep. When linear time slowly dissolves away. When things slowly lose their temporal order. When thoughts slowly drift into dreams.
- 4 — Painting the Wind (2016)
- Watercolor workshop for children
During Camille Henrot’s Volcano Extravaganza on the volcanic island of Stromboli, located in the Aeolian Islands in Sicily, I held a watercolor workshop for the island’s children. The Aeolian Islands are the islands of the wind. I asked the children of the island to come and paint the wind. On a large roll of watercolor paper, we sat down and made a large collective painting. Before the event, I walked through the island putting up photocopies announcing the event. In Italian it read, “paint the wind.”
- 5 — Proposals for Clocks (2016)
- Series of five silkscreen posters published by Yvon Lambert, Paris
A clock that is wound by the wind. A clock that follows the shadows of cats. A clock whose seconds are synchronized to your heartbeat. A clock whose minutes are the lengths of your breaths. A clock that falls asleep. Five posters silk screened in slightly different shades of blue published by Yvon Lambert in Paris.
- 6 — Rachel Carson is My Hero (2016)
I was asked to make a billboard for the Last Billboard project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I asked that the words “Rachel Carson Is My Hero” be placed on the billboard. Just down the street is the Rachel Carson Bridge, which is now mostly referred to as the Ninth Street Bridge. I wanted to re-introduce Rachel Carson’s name back into the public.
- 7 — Stolen Spoons (2016)
- Artist book with Helga Christoffersen published by Pork Salad Press (Copenhagen)
I have an Asics box in my bedroom that is completely full of stolen spoons. They were all carefully slid into the pocket of David Horvitz during meals around the world, in one discrete and by now surely skillfully mastered movement. Terminating their service as utensil, Horvitz removed them from their habitat, making them one of an infinite amount of seemingly insignificant small objects that invisibly change hands or disappear around us constantly. In the box the spoons take on another life as the material remnants of time and travel, as a physical lexicon of the idea and function: spoon and as the accumulation of dispersed parts that are brought back together. Some of them are generic in form and function, even identical, pointing to the fact that a meal in New York and Beijing might be served with utensils that come from the same block of steel and once laid side by side on the production line. Others clearly differentiate themselves in material and design. Regardless, Horvitz questions whether the spoons in the box are actually dispersed or recuperated, and just imagine their journey.
I have a curious story from my childhood that now resides in this box of spoons. For work my father often traveled around Europe back when Scandinavian Airlines was the company of choice for business travels and the standard onboard still of the kind that called for solid tableware. For every travel he undertook he returned with two spoons, forks and knives, and they were quietly snug into our kitchen drawer. While I remember disliking the knife and fork because of their miniature feel, this particular spoon was perfect and I preferred it to any other we had. Over the years my childhood spoon collection grew and I remained puzzled about this ritual of my fathers, I never ask him why: it was not done as a joke, I am sure not from a specific consideration of me, not out of need and by someone who so clearly did not care to own many things. Over time, it grew into a lesson of sorts, about the qualities that we find in objects around us, to the point that we consider the most random or ordinary so perfect and its promise so desirable that we do things that does not make sense, like continuing to slide spoons into our pockets.
My father remarried and change landed my childhood spoons a spot in the basement. When I eventually left home and later moved to Berlin, the spoons came with me and today they still live in my top kitchen drawer. Years later Horvitz stayed at my place in Berlin. A few weeks after returning home to New York, he told me that he had forgotten a bunch of spoons that he had started stealing while away, he left them in my top kitchen drawer, how could he get them back? I had to let him know that in fact they had only joined the collection. This became the start of spoons accumulating. These days they arrive from around the world in small envelopes, sometimes falling out, other times clearly protected by the hands they passed through along the way, wrapped in a piece of paper and left at the New Museum security desk, passed by hand over green tea and dark chocolate or found in my mailbox as watercolors of spoons that might be on their way.
- 8 — True Courtship Dance (2016)
- One thousand silver and gold plated pewter sculptures distributed by wandering pickpocket
Before breeding, seahorses may court for several days. Scientists believe the courtship behavior synchronizes the animals' movements and reproductive states so the male can receive the eggs when the female is ready to deposit them. During this time, they may change color, swim side by side holding tails or grip the same strand of sea grass, and wheel around in unison in what is known as a "predawn dance". They eventually engage in a "true courtship dance" lasting about 8 hours, during which the male pumps water through the egg pouch on his trunk which expands and opens to display its emptiness. When the female’s eggs reach maturity, she and her mate let go of any anchors and drift upward snout-to-snout, out of the seagrass, often spiraling as they rise. They interact for about 6 minutes, reminiscent of courtship. The female then swims away until the next morning. Upon returning the female deposits dozens to thousands of eggs into the male’s pouch. Both animals then sink back into the seagrass and she swims away.
During Frieze art fair in New York a professional pickpocket was hired to wander the fair. Instead of stealing from people, the pickpocket surreptitiously placed small objects into peoples pockets and bags. The object depicted two seahorses mating.
- 9 — Watching You Become the Sunset (2016)
- Rubber stamp
After you died, the day your body was cremated, I remember looking up into the atmosphere while the sun was setting. I saw the ashes of your body flickering in the last light of the day. I saw you as the whole sunset, glowing in brilliance as the day turned to night.
- 10 — --> (2015)
- iOS app
October 30, 2015
I hope you are well. I am writing to you from Brooklyn. I just returned last night from a few weeks in Los Angeles, Portland, and the Oregon/Washington coast. I am writing to tell you the instructions for activating the app for your and Thomas’ exhibitions. They are as follows:
When you first open the app an arrow will spin on a blue background.
When two phones are near each other with the app open (and in cell or wifi service), they will automatically connect. Once they are connected the spinning arrow will disappear and it will say “0 km.” To change this to miles just click on the “km.”
Once connected the phones will display the spatial distance that is between them. Once a distance of 0.1 km or 0.1 miles is reached, the arrow will reappear and serve as a kind of compass. But instead of pointing north, the arrow will point in the direction of the other phone. So the phones will not only define the distance that is between them, but they will also orient towards each other no matter what the distance is between them. Whether across a town, a mountain range, a forest, or a sea, one can literally shift one’s neck or move one’s feet to orient the body and gaze towards the other person. But this is a gaze that moves into and across distances. A gaze that follows the curved surface of the Earth, going beyond the visible and into the imagination.
I also like to think that the arrow points off the screen. That it shifts your attention back into the world of being-in-a-place. It is about being someplace. It is not about being a dot on a map. I also like to think of it as an anti-social media. You do not have “friends,” which Facebook has rendered meaningless. It is just for you and someone else. An intimacy at a distance.
Also, if there are more than two phones with the app open near each other (within 50 yards), it won’t work. You need to be alone together.
Will you please print two copies of this letter. One you will display in your exhibition in Nürnberg. The other please mail it to Thomas in Bielefeld so he can display it in the exhibition there. I want one letter to travel away from the other letter.
See you soon, David
- 11 — MoMA Cubicle (2015)
- Artist book with Zanna Gilbert published by Publication Studio (Portland, Oregon)
From 2012 to 2015 I mailed various mail-art works to Zanna Gilbert, a mail art scholar who was then a post doc fellow at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I sent pieces of tree bark, watercolors, found paintings, sand, poems, photographs, etc. As the work accumulated Ms Gilbert decided to open a secret exhibition space inside her cubicle called MoMA Cubicle. Visits were by appointment only. The display continued to change as the works grew in number. At one point Ms Gilbert was notified by her superior that any works she receives at the museum, even if they were sent to her personally, become property of the museum. At the end of her post doc in 2015 all of the works, totaling in over a hundred, were dropped off in a box at MoMA’s library.
- 12 — Some Meditations for Resonating Hourglasses (2015)
- Altered found hourglasses, sound performance, printouts
The elasticity of one hour, of one minute
Time being stilled
The moment your eyes perceive the first light of dawn
The decomposition of your body
A heartbeat, or a breath, as a second
The continual shift of hues in the sky, the impression of day
All of the time that has preceded the moment of your birth and all of the time that will pass after the moment of your death
Right now, here, in this room
At the end of the day, when light fades, and your eyes can no longer perceive distances
The memory of one minute shared with someone many years ago
- 13 — Evidence of a Time Traveler (2014)
- Analog slide projection, alarm set at 6:00 am Los Angeles time on digital alarm clock, email printouts
For the 2014 edition of EVA International — Ireland’s Biennial, curated by Bassam El Baroni, in Limerick City, I produced a new work in a residency at IMMA — the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, Ireland. For the entirety of my stay in Dublin I kept my daily rhythms synchronized to California’s time zone, resisting adjusting to Dublin time. I woke up in California’s morning and ate breakfast. I had lunch at California's lunchtime. I went to sleep during California’s night. I spent most of my time chasing foxes as I walked around Dublin by myself in the early morning light waiting for my bedtime.
- 14 — somewhere in between the jurisdiction of time (2014)
- Thirty-two unique glass vessels carrying seawater collected in the Pacific Ocean at longitude line 127.5° west of Greenwich and placed in a north to south line
For an exhibition in Los Angeles at Blum & Poe I traveled by boat into the Pacific Ocean to the longitude line that divides California’s time zone with Alaska’s, with the intention of bringing back this line. I thought of this location as a place between two temporal jurisdictions, as a place that could maybe be said to exist outside of time. I also thought about the ridiculousness of this line, floating somewhere in the middle of the Pacific. Here I collected 100 gallons of sea water and sailed back with it. It was installed north to south in the gallery. Before the opening of the exhibition I sent a letter to the Department of Transportation, the federal body that oversees time zone management, and informed them that the longitude line had been moved, and therefore the timezone should be shifted. They never replied. This was the letter:
July 10, 2014
Secretary of Transportation
Attention: General Counsel (C-50)
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE.
Washington, DC 20590
Dear Secretary of Transportation:
Per the steps outlined on the United States Department of Transportation’s webpage, Procedure for Moving an Area from One Time Zone to Another, I am writing to request that a portion of a room known as Gallery #3 on the property 2727 South La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, (hereinafter “Gallery”) be federally recognized to be within the time zone of UTC-8:00, effective immediately. This address is the location of the private business, “Blum & Poe.” I am making the request as the highest political authority of Gallery, the area which is the subject of this request.
On May 27, 2014, I moved a piece of the 127.5 degree meridian west of Greenwich, the longitude line that divides the Pacific Time Zone from the Alaska Time Zone (hereinafter “Line”), from the Pacific Ocean to Los Angeles. Line was then relocated to Blum & Poe, and placed north to south in Gallery. Accordingly, the time zone for the area west of Line within Gallery must be changed to UTC-8:00 to accommodate for the relocation of Line.
Attached please find a floor-plan of the building indicating the area subject to the proposed time zone change, and a time zone map of the world. Also attached is a photograph of Line in the Pacific Ocean taken on May 27, 2014, and a photograph of Line as it is currently installed in Gallery, taken on July 9, 2014.
I apologize for the short notice, but I wanted to ensure I had photographic evidence that Line had been moved and installed in Gallery. I request that this change take effect immediately, and remain in effect until August 23, 2014, when Line shall be removed from Gallery.
Please do not hesitate to contact me for any questions or comments. I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank You For Your Time,
- 15 — three standard breaths, or the shapes of hours (2014)
- Three glass vases, rose variety with a name evoking time
For this work I weigh the sand contained in a one hour sand timer. I then have a glass vase blown using the same amount of sand. I imagine this vase is made from one hour’s worth of sand. I then make two more vases, each a unique shape, and each using the same measurement of sand. The work is a reference to Marcel Duchamp’s Three Standard Stoppages, where Duchamp throws a one meter string into the air three times and traces it on the ground. He then thinks of these as new meters. For the three vases, I imagine throwing one hour’s worth of time in the air, and seeing what happens. A rose with a name that evokes time is placed in the vase to complete the work. Maybe it’s the white Patience. Or maybe it’s the red Coffee Break.
- 16 — Untitled (2014 –)
- Unique blown glass vessel made from found seaglass
Since 2014 I have been making an ongoing series of glass vessels made from glass I have found while walking on beaches. These are remnants of bottles, windows, screens, sconces, or fishing floats that had been submerged in the ocean. In the course of months, years, decades or even centuries, waves and sand fragment the glass into small smoothed down pieces, and have washed them ashore. These pieces of glass are melted together and re-blown into a vessel shape. The fragmented glass, once having formed a whole functional object, returns once again to the form of a whole object. But because the different pieces of glass have different molecular structures and varying rates of expansion and contraction, many of the vessels form cracks, bubbles, and shatters as their non-compatible elements try to coalesce together. Some of these become so fragile that they cannot be shipped, and must be carried by hand from exhibition to exhibition. And in some cases, some have completely fallen apart. Only to be re-blown into a new vessel.
- 17 — Untitled (at the same moment a baby girl is born) (2014)
- Exhibition’s opening date synchronized with the day a baby girl is born, calligraphy on announcement card
An exhibition’s opening date at Jan Mot in Brussels and Dawid Radziszewski in Warsaw is synchronized with the same day a baby girl is born in Berlin. Since the date of the birth is unknown in advance, the exact date and time of the opening cannot be publicized. Only an expected date is advertised. Because of this a Facebook event page cannot be made. It seems, to make an event page, you have to know when something will happen. When baby Olga was born, emails and text messages were quickly sent out announcing that the exhibition had just opened. Visitors who were free at that moment came to the opening. Here, the gallery's calendar is replaced by the rhythms of my friend’s body. The temporality of the body, and maybe the moon, replaces the time of professional scheduling.
- 18 — Watercolors Lost in Airports (2014 –)
- Unique watercolor placed in an envelope and lost while going through airport security, printed email
For this work, it becomes a question whether the work will even arrive or not to the exhibition. I make a watercolor and place it into a package. Inside the package I also include contact information of the gallery or museum where the watercolor is to be exhibited. Then, the next time I am flying, which is sometimes to the exhibition's opening, I intentionally lose the package as I go through the security check of the airport. Sometimes the airport contacts the museum or gallery, and sends the work to the exhibition. Sometimes the work doesn't show up.
- 19 — Let Us Keep Our Own Noon (2013)
- Forty-seven bronze bells, turnings, slag, performance at local noon
The work was made by melting a found French tower bell that was dated 1742. This bell would have rung the time of the day for the village it was hung in. It would have been the sole way time was distributed, experienced, and known. Unlike looking at the time on our phones in our pockets, time was an aural experience. I had instructed a bell foundry to make as many hand sized bells as possible with the melted bronze. 47 bells were made. These bells are hung in an installation, and then activated by a performance. 47 performers meet at local noon, the moment the sun is highest in the sky. Together the performers ring the bells in synchronicity to mark local noon. Then each performer walks away from the group continuing to ring. They slowly fall out of sync with each other. Maybe getting lost in a museum, or wandering out of a gallery into the city. Each performer is instructed to continue ringing until they cannot hear another bell. In a sense, the performance has 47 unique endings. I imagine a time that is not dictated, but a time unique for each person, that you can pick up and hold in your hands, and walk away with.
The title, Let Us Keep Our Own Noon, is taken from a 19th century headline in the Boston Evening Transcript. It was a protest call against the introduction of time zones by the railroad companies. Once standardized, noon would no longer be when the sun was highest in the sky, but when the clock said it was 12. To experience the unique time of a place had become an anachronism.
- 20 — Nautical Dusk (2013)
- Printout, exhibition’s closing time altered
When this work is exhibited, the time of the gallery or museum's closing time is changed to the day's time of nautical dusk. Each successive day the closing time shifts by a few minutes, depending on the time of year and the location of the exhibition on the planet. Nautical dusk, following civil dusk, happens after the sun has set. Historically it was a moment used by sailors, marking the moment when navigation using the horizon at sea was no longer possible. It was the moment when the horizon became indistinguishable in the darkness of night.
- 21 — The Distance of a Day (2013)
- Two digital videos displayed on two smartphones, approximately 12 minutes
In early February I asked my mom to go and watch the sunset and make a video. She did this from the Palos Verdes Peninsula, where I used to watch the sunset when I lived in California. She made the video with her iPhone taped to a metal barrier the protects people from falling over the cliffs.
In synchronicity with her, I too was looking at the sun and making a video. From my perspective the sun was rising. I had calculated where the sun would be seen as rising at the exact same moment it was seen as setting in Los Angeles. In early February this was the Maldives, a location which may not exist in the near future due to the rising of the seas.
As my mom watched the sun set into the Pacific Ocean, I was watching in rise over the Laccadive Sea. Synoptic is a useful term here. It comes from the Greek sun, meaning “together,” and optic, meaning “seen.” Though separated by thousands of miles, we were watching the sun together.
The title, The Distance of a Day, is a reference to the idea of the journey. Originally, journey meant the distance one traveled in a day. Here, the spatial distance that separated my mother and myself was not defined by the distance one could travel in a day, but by the day itself. By the delimitations of a day — where the sun rises and where the sun sets.
Phones were chosen to make (and display) the video because they are devices that orient us spatially and temporally. They are like contemporary pocket-watches and compasses that we carry with us. They coordinate and synchronize us. They broadcast moments instantaneously across distances. Or, what seems to be instantaneously. There is always some delay.
The same two phones that were used to shoot the videos, that were once on opposite sides of the world, are now used to display the videos. They are now only inches away.
Right now somewhere the sun is simultaneously setting and rising. Someone or something is probably bearing witness to this.
- 22 — Watercolors (2013)
- With Natalie Häusler, artist book self published in Germany
This book contains a selection of digital images emailed between Natalie Hausler and David Horvitz from September 2011 to October 2012 as a kind of visual correspondence. Most of them were watercolors made by the artists to show each other. Some sunflowers from Brooklyn during Sandy. Apples and spoons from Bennington. A house from across the street in the snow in the Bavarian mountains. Some were found images, like postcards or paintings in a museum. A Courbet from Berlin. Or a Franz Marc fox. The images were photographed with cellphones, tablets, digital cameras and laptops. The book was dedicated to their friend, Ed Steck.
- 23 — A Disappearance from Winschoten (2012)
- Various items left in bedroom, missing artist
In 2012 I was asked to be in an exhibition in Holland themed around the Dutch artist, Bas Jan Ader. I was to come to the small town of Winschoten for a month and make the work for the exhibition. The town was a short bike ride away from the small village where Ader’s father was a minister. After staying in Holland for about a week, I became quite annoyed with the curators. From this annoyance I decided what work I would give to them for their exhibition. I was to disappear from Winschoten. I did not want to romanticize Ader’s own disappearance at sea, but to disappear from a situation I did not want to deal with. Obviously, I would not tell the curators any of this. So one morning I left. I went off as if I was going to a coffee shop to work on my computer. I had my laptop, a small amount of money in my pocket, my camera, and my passport. I was wearing a light jacket, and also had my notebook and a book I was reading. In my room in Winschoten I left my wallet with some money and all my credit cards and library cards and various other IDs. I left a pile of books and the rest of my clothes and my suitcase. I left food, various notebooks, watercolors, my laptop case, various photocopies and receipts, and all my toiletries. I left my phone charger, my laptop charger, and my camera charger. I then got on a train and left Winschoten. There were still two or three more weeks until the exhibition was to open, and it was scheduled to be on view for about a month. From that day until the exhibition’s scheduled closing day, I remained off of all social media. There would be no trace that I was anywhere. No one was to know what happened to me. On the last day of the exhibition I explained my piece to the curators over email.
- 24 — An Impossible Distance (2012)
- Twenty-six photographs by various artists distributed through one-hour photo stores
- 26 — How to shoplift books/Come rubare libri (2012)
- Artist book published by Automatic Books (Venice)
Steal the book while the sun rises over the horizon.
Run out of the store with the book.
Pull the fire alarm and walk out with the book when everyone evacuates.
Use counterfeit money to buy the book.
Balance the book on your head and walk out.
Using rubber bands, attach a book under each shoe and walk out.
Buy a piece of candy while the book is under your arm. Walk out holding the receipt for the candy.
Put the book in a shopping bag from a nearby clothing store. Put a nicely folded shirt on top of the book.
Throw the book in the air over the detector and catch it on the other side.
Do this casually.
Flip through every page of the book looking for a magnetic sensor. If you find one, remove it.
Walk out with the book.
Flip through every page of the book, and while you are doing that, read the entire book in the store. Leave the store with the book in your memory.
Put the book in your friend’s bag when they are not looking.
Put the book in your bag when no one is looking.
Put the book inside a folded newspaper you are holding in your hand.
Put the book on the floor near the store’s entrance. When someone enters the store kick the book out the door.
Photograph every page of the book with a digital camera.
Seal the book into an envelope that is stamped and addressed. It is a federal crime to open someone else’s mail.
Roller skate out of the store with the book in your hand.
Wear a shirt with an image of a naked girl. Hold the book away from your shirt (where everyone is looking) and walk out.
Dress like an employee of the store and walk out with the book in your hands.
Take the book on Halloween dressed as Dracula.
Take the book on Christmas dressed as Santa Claus.
Have your little brother hold the book as you both exit the store.
With a group of people, have everyone hold the book as you all exit. Who stole the book if ten people are all touching it?
Put the book underneath a baby in a baby stroller.
Cut the store’s power supply after the sun has gone down. Exit in the dark with the book.
Bring a fog machine into the store. Exit with the book in the haze.
Put helium balloons in front of all the surveillance cameras in the store and take the book.
Throw the book outside an open window in the store.
Smash a hole in the store’s window. Throw the book through the hole.
Put the book inside a super sized soda cup and walk out pretending to drink the soda.
Drop the book in an upside down slightly opened umbrella.
Kindheartedly open the store’s door for an elderly person who is exiting.
Leave behind them with the book.
Buy the book, photocopy it, return it for a refund.
Buy the book, read it, return it for a refund.
Buy the book and take it home. Leave it at your house. Return to the store and find a copy of the same book. With your receipt, “return” that copy for a refund.
Release a wild dog in the store. Exit with the book during the commotion.
Release a cinghiale in the store. Exit with the book during the commotion.
For the book that you don’t want, that no one should see, throw it into a trash can inside the store. The store will get rid of it for you.
For the book that you want, put it in the trash can inside the store. Collect it from the outside dumpster later that night.
Steal the book from your friend’s bookshelf.
Go out the emergency exit with the book.
Put the book in a bouquet of red roses.
Put the book in a bouquet of white roses.
Make a birthday present box with a trap door on the bottom. Slip the book into the box.
Hide the book inside a fake rock.
Put the book inside a cake.
Walk in the store holding a big mirror. The employees will be distracted looking at their own reflection. Hold the book behind the mirror.
Fill a bag with the books you want. Make it heavier than you can carry.
Ask an employee to help you carry it outside.
Put the book inside an empty cereal box. Glue the box shut inside the store.
Place a newspaper or magazine (that you brought into the store) on top of the book. Pick up the newspaper or magazine holding the book underneath it. Walk out.
Wearing a coat, put the book under your arm inside your coat.
Put the book you want near the door. Come back later in the day. Enter the store, grab it, and immediately walk out.
Set off a bright flash in the store. Exit while everyone’s sight is adjusting.
Set off explosives in the store to make a loud noise. Exit as they go off.
Steal the book with a bloody nose.
Cover the book in thinly sliced mortadella and walk out.
Yell “shoplifter!” and point to someone. When everyone looks, walk out with the book.
Cook up some garlic in olive oil in the store. Exit with the book while everyone is caught in the ecstasy of the aroma.
Give all the employees in the store LSD. When they are peaking, exit with the book.
Put the book inside a bag of Japanese rice that you happen to be carrying with you.
Unplug the store’s detection device by pulling the cord out of the electrical socket. Walk out
with the book.
Step in dog poop and drag your feet through the store. When people begin to notice the foul smell, make your exit with the book.
Ask your friend to streak through the store. Exit with the book while everyone is distracted.
Call your friend with your cell phone and read them the book.
Copy the entire book by hand in the store.
If the alarm goes off when you walk out make a coughing noise louder than
Bring a stapler and a paper bag into the store. Put the book in the bag and staple it shut. No one will question a stapled bag.
Steal the book one page at a time from different stores.
Dress up as a cop and walk out of the store holding the book.
Tie the book to a dog and walk the dog out of the store.
Bring a briefcase with a lock into the store. Put the book in the briefcase and lock it. Leave the briefcase somewhere in the store and leave. Come back later and ask if a briefcase was found. Leave with the briefcase still locked. If they ask you to open it, tell them the key is at your house.
Crumble up the book and mark some pages with a pencil so it looks like you have been reading it for a while.
Steal the book in an obvious and over exaggerated manner. They may be too confused to think that you are actually stealing something.
Organize 50 people to steal books at the same time in the same store.
Organize 50 people to steal books at the same time in different stores.
Walk in the store with one of your own books that you don’t want. Tell the employees that you are holding your own book. Replace it on the shelf with a different book and leave.
Dress up like a stereotypical criminal by wearing a hat, a mask, a striped shirt, and carrying a bag with a “$” on it. Put the book in your “$” bag and walk out.
Steal the book while you are crying.
Steal the book while the sun is setting.
This publication originated as a conversation in The Classroom at the 2011 New York Art Book Fair. The Classroom is a series of informal events organized by David Senior, Museum of Modern Art Library.
- 27 — Mood Disorder (2012)
- Digital photograph uploaded to Wikipedia, selection of articles printed on paper
Depression and Yeast
Americans are Literally being Worked to death.
What if I never get better?
are you drinking because you are depressed or are you deppresed because you are drinking?
to live in silence is to die with regret
Mood Disorder documents the propagation of a photograph of David Horvitz across the internet. The image—a self portrait of the artist with his head in his hands, ocean waves crashing in the background—was initially uploaded to the Wikipedia page for Mood Disorder. From there, since content on Wikipedia is copyright free, the image began to circulate as a kind of free stock image, appearing on hundreds of websites to illustrate articles on a wide range of mental health and wellness issues. An artist book of this work was published by New Documents and shown in Moma's New Photography exhibition in New York in 2016. In the exhibition about 40 of these books were installed in a grid on the wall in one of the museum's galleries. On the last day of the exhibition, a few minutes before the museum closed, Horvitz de-installed the work and handed out the book to the last visitors of the exhibition, keeping the image in continuous movement.
- 28 — Sad, Depressed, People (2012)
- Artist book published by New Documents (Los Angeles & Vancouver)
- Adults Only
- African Ethnicity
- African-American Ethnicity
- Aging Process
- Alcoholic Beverage
- American Anatomy
- Baby Boomer
- Bad News
- Black andWhite Black Background Blanket
- Blond Hair
- Boredom Breakdowns Briefcase
- Brown Hair Brunette
- Built Structure Business
- Business Person Businessman Businessmen Businesspeople Businesswomen Button-down Shirt Café
- Capital CitiesC a r Tr o u b l e
- Casual Clothing Caucasian Ethnicity ChallengeChange
- Children Only Cityscape
- City Life
- Clear Sky
- Close-up View Clothing
- Color Image Colored Background Comforting Company Executive Concentration Concepts&Topics Conceptual Concern ConfidenceConflict
- Confusion Conquering Adversity Consideration Container Contemplation
- Copy Space Corporate Business Covered
- Cuban Ethnicity Cuffs
- Cut Out
- Death Decision-making Defeat
- Deliberating Dependency Depression
- Desk Lamp
- Difficult Disappointment Disconsolate Discontented
- Displeased Distraught
- Domestic Life
- Dress Shirt
- Economic Downturn Economic Issues Economic Recession Effort EmbarrassmentEmotion
- Emotional Stress Employee
- Exit Sign
- Eyes Closed
- Face Down
- Facial Expression
- Feeling Sick
- Film Noir
- Food and Drink
- Front View
- Full Length
- Full Suit
- Gray Background
- Gray Hair
- Hair Color
- Hand on Chin
- Hand on Shoulder
- Hands Covering Eyes Hands on Face
- Hands on Head
- Hands over Eyes
- Head and Shoulders Head Bowed
- Head Down
- Head in Hands
- Health Care
- Health Care and Medicine Healthiness
- High Angle View
- Horizon overWater
- Human Body Part
- Human Face
- Human Finger
- Human Hand
- Human Head
- Human Mouth
- Latin American Ethnicity Layoffs
- Left Out
- Light Effect
- London - England Loneliness
- Looking Away
- Looking Down
- Mature Adult
- Mature Men
- Mature Men Only Mechanical Breakdown Medical Condition Meditating
- Mental Illness
- Mid-adult Women
- Mid-adult Man
- Middle-aged Man Middle-aged Woman Monochrome Photography Mourner
- Natural World
- Nervous Breakdown
- Northern European Descent Number of People Obscured Face
- Office Worker Old-fashionedOne Girl Only
- One Man Only
- One Mature Man Only
- One Mid-adult Man Only One Mid-adult Woman Only One Person
- One Senior Man Only
- One Senior Woman Only OneWomanOnly
- One Young Man Only OneYoungWoman Only Only Men
- Only Mid-adult Women OnlyWomen
- Overwhelmed Overwhelming
- Part of
- Pre-adolescent Child Pressure
- Professional Occupation Profile
- Real People
- Selective Focus
- Senior Adult
- Senior Man
- Senior Men
- S e p i a To n e d
- ShadowShame Sheet Shirt Shirts Short Hair ShySide View
- Social Issues Social Sciences SolitudeSnow
- Studio Shot Suffering
- Thinking Three-quarter Length TieTired
- Two People Uncomfortable Uneasiness Uneasy Unemployed People Unemployment UnshavenUSA
- View from Below VintageWaist up Waiting Walking
- Wall Wedding Ring Well-dressed Wellness WhiteWhite Background White Collar Worker White Hair
- Woodland Working
- Wrinkled Wristwatch
- Yellow Background Young Adult Young Adult Man Young Men
- 29 — Untitled (sand mailed by the artist’s mother from California) (2012)
- Envelope filled with beach sand collected in Los Angeles and mailed from Los Angeles by the artist’s mother.
An envelope containing California beach sand collected by my mother is mailed to the place of exhibition.
- 30 — Police Drawings (2011)
- Organized with Adam Katz. A collection of drawings made by various participants
On various days during the occupation and protests in Zuccotti Park in downtown New York, I held drawing workshops with my friend Adam Katz. We handed out drawing materials and asked participants to use the police officers stationed in the park as life drawing models. As the police watched over the protests, we looked at them. It was like two forms of seeing colliding with each other. Their looking, in the form of surveillance, was a gaze of power. When we looked, we looked for subtleties in shape and light and shadow. A pile of drawings, most unattributed, remains.
- 31 — Public Access (2011)
- Forty-nine digital photographs uploaded to Wikipedia, forty-nine printed photographs, forty-nine Wikipedia article printouts
At the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 I drove up the entire California coast. The trip started at the beach just north of the Mexican American border and ended just south of Oregon. Along the way I made photographs of different beaches. In each photograph I stood on the sand with my back turned to the camera looking out at the ocean, reminiscent of the images of Bas Jan Ader or Caspar David Friedrich. I wanted to look like an anonymous person who just happened to be standing at a place where a photograph was made. Like the people who you do not know who you see in the background of vacation snapshots. These photographs were then uploaded to the Wikipedia page corresponding to the beach the photograph was made at. For example, the photograph made at Borderfield State Park would be uploaded to the Wikipedia page for Borderfield State park. Many of the beaches had no photographs illustrating their articles, so my photographs were the first to give the beaches a visual presence online. Since Wikipedia is copyright free, many of the photographs circulated off of Wikipedia and onto other websites. At one point a discussion emerged among Wikipedia editors who had discovered my project. They discussed the legitimacy of the photographs, their quality, and if I had broken any rules since I was making them as an artwork. One Wikipedia editor, trying appease both sides of the argument, decided to crop me out of my own photographs, and re-upload these images, claiming that the images were in fact useful to some articles. Another user declared I had broken no rules since in each photograph the person’s face was not visible. They said they had download each image they could find and enlarged them in Photoshop. In the end it was agreed in a vote that I had violated the rules of Wikipedia and most of my images were removed. I was also officially banned from contributing to the Wikipedia project.
- 32 — Donations to Libraries (2010 –)
- various bound and unbound materials
Over the years I have sent donations to art libraries around the world. Each donation is usually accompanied by a letter that describes the intended gift. The gifts may or may not end up in the library’s collection. I have donated rocks collected at the beach, sand from the Mexican-American border, bound photographs of my cat Demian, various old watercolors found in my studio, old photographs, old birthday and Christmas cards, old cell phones containing the digital photographs I made on them, and various other items, many of which I have forgotten about.
In 2014 I drove up the entire California coast and placed library bound versions of my Public Access artist book in the local sections of small public libraries.
In 2015 I donated a bottle of gin to the library of MoMA in New York, hidden in an archival box, intended for a tired librarian or bored graduate student on a lonely night. This gin, made by Barr Hill, was named after a town near the Vermont distillery in which it was made. The town, Barr Hill, was founded by the Barr family, which includes Alfred H Barr Jr., MoMA’s first director.
At Bard College in Upstate New York I donated a deteriorating artist book to the CCS librarian, Ann Butler. The book was buried in a box of soil in my studio in New York. Out of the book had sprouted a Honey Locust tree seed that I had collected from the trees in Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan. This book and the baby tree were transplanted to a location outside the library. The tree still grows there today. The book is still buried in the ground.
- 33 — Studio Rent Editions (2010 –)
- Various materials (watercolors, photographs, photocopies, sand, rocks, glass, bronze, letters, etc...)
In 2010, I was living in Brooklyn. I had just received my MFA from Bard College and I was trying to figure out a studio situation. I don’t necessarily need a studio to make my work, but I’ve always felt it is important to have a designated place outside my home to go to. A silent place where I could sit and think. A place to drink green tea and daydream, to develop thoughts and leave those thoughts there for the next day.
Since I didn’t have a full time job, I couldn’t see myself paying rent for a New York studio over a long period of time. And so I came up with an idea. I would make an edition-of-ten artwork each month. Maybe it was a photograph turned into a postcard, or some photocopies, or a text-work, or a LaserJet print, a watercolor of a flower I stole while walking down the street, or an envelope of sand from a California beach. Maybe a rock from Death Valley, some bronze shavings from a sculpture being polished, messed up screen prints, a polaroid of my hand touching Marcel Duchamp’s grave in Rouen, France, two polaroids of the sky taken one minute apart, or a polaroid of the view of the Pacific Ocean from a cliffside in Humboldt County, California at the exact same latitude line as my studio in Gowanus, Brooklyn. I had a rubber stamp made that read Studio Rent Edition. I stamped each edition and then dated, numbered, and signed them. I sold these for 1/10th of my studio rent. If I sold all ten, they would subsidize my studio rent for that month. If I sold only a few, they would still reduce the cost of my rent. I started this in September 2010 and still make them to this day. Most of the older editions are now sold out.
- 34 — A Wikipedia Reader (2009)
- With Mylinh Nguyen. New York: Art Libraries Society of NY, 2009.
- 35 — Rarely Seen Bas Jan Ader Film (2009)
- Digital video, super 8 film clip
- 36 — How to Exit a Photograph (2008)
- Digital photographs openly distributed
This work is a triptych. In the first photograph you see me standing at a ladder. Then I begin the climb up it. In the final photograph I am no longer there. I had used the ladder to escape the photograph. High resolution files of this work are available online to download. The work can be openly downloaded, printed and exhibited.
- 37 — Pinocchio Taken Down by Security (2008)
- With Lukas Geronimas, digital video, glove, photocopies
One Saturday in 2008 I went into the CCS Hessel Museum in Upstate New York with Lukas Geronimas. There was a Paul McCarthy work on display. It was a video piece. To watch the video piece you had to put on a Pinocchio costume. We put on the Pinocchio costume and watched the video. When we were finished, instead of taking off the costume as instructed to do so by the museum attendant, we decided to extend McCarthy’s piece beyond the artist’s intentions. We walked around the museum. When we began to be followed we started to run. We then ran out the front door, experiencing the artwork in the outside world. Seconds later we were captured and brought back into the museum. Once back in the museum we pulled out a photocopied text we had in our pockets. The photocopy was made in a work by Bik Van Der Pol, which was also on display in the same exhibition as McCarthy’s work. The work was a photocopy machine and a shelf of various books. Viewers were encouraged to make photocopies from the books. The book we photocopied described what to do if you are caught stealing.
- 38 — I Will Think About You for One Minute (2007)
- Two emails sent one minute apart
For this work I think about someone for one minute. When I start thinking about them I send them an email telling them I am starting to think about them. When I finish thinking about them, a minute later, I send them a second email informing them that I am done. This work is sold for one dollar. Usually I do not know who it is I am thinking about.