Quick Draw Artist Interviews are a series of interviews conducted by Otino Corsano using lost podcasts never originally created. Spontaneous conversations with international artists are not recorded and then transcribed from memory specifically for publication on this blog.
Quick: Split. You held them up. We both watched. You asked me to address this directly and I’m wondering when this should all stop. So I too raised them alone as you instructed. Void of mimic; this was entirely new. Divided yet among; perfectly balanced and viewed again from a distance. Absence greatly appreciated. Draw: art about art.
Eric Doeringer (b. Cambridge, MA) currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received a BA in Visual Art from Brown University and an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Doeringer has had solo exhibitions at Apex Art (New York), Katharine Mulherin (Toronto), The Fuel Collection (Philadelphia), and Another Year in LA (Los Angeles). Doeringer was commissioned by The Whitney Museum to create a multiple for their Initial Public Offerings program and has been included in exhibitions at the Museo De Arte Contemporaneo De Castilla Y Leon (MUSAC), The Bruce Museum, The Itami [Japan] Museum of Arts And Crafts, and Takashi Murakami’s GEISAI Miami artist fair.
Doeringer’s work is currently featured in “Survey” at NO FOUNDATION in Toronto featuring his artwork from the past five years: recreating works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Sol LeWitt, On Kawara, Edward Ruscha, John Baldessari, Richard Prince and Damien Hirst. The gallery will be re-hung every two weeks, with each mini-exhibition containing Doeringer's versions of works by a different group of artists.
A short preamble: I invited Eric to a standard “Quick Draw” Facebook interview however we decided to go with a podcast. I arrived at the gallery with my audio recorder yet I failed to hit the record button twice (a regrettable feature of this device which has caused numerous technological tragedies in the past) and our live interview was never recorded. I feel I owe Eric for his time and so I’m making up for my error by transcribing our ~15 minute conversation from memory. In all fairness to Eric, I did not give him the opportunity to proofread this final text version.
Hi Eric. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today.
Thanks for the invitation Otino.
I'm wondering if we can begin by talking generally about your practice since I think most are already familiar with the individual works.
Sure. I’m obviously interested in the complex relationship between the original and the copy; nevertheless I think I have paradoxically built a highly individual body of new work for this exhibition.
Is it fair to say you are less copying any one of the single artists whose works you recreate and more replicating the practice of Elaine Sturtevant?
I do know of her work and yes her and other appropriation artists are obviously an influence yet I have actually found it quite difficult to find writings about her practice.
Well there’s the March 2003 issue of Artforum. I’m feeling a lot like Bruce Hainley right now.
I think there are many artists I have followed who work within this realm of the copy.
Sherrie Levine’s photographs of Walker Evans originals and the entire “Pictures” movement including Richard Prince’s work which you have in turn remade I imagine are primary precedents.
Well yeah. The early bootleg works I peddled on Chelsea are directly a reference to this type of production. People usually approach me on the street and I have to explain to them the works are original components to my practice rather than forgeries or even pure reproductions in the traditional sense.
Yes, I remember that was the exact conversation we had when I first met you on the street selling your wares in Chelsea.
It is quite fascinating to me the fact I had met you in person while selling your work in Cheslea, while at the same time following of your Matthew Barney fan page from inception (http://cremasterfanatic.com) before I rediscovered your work here in Toronto being sold at Katharine Mulherin’s NO FOUNDATION. I was surprized and amazed you were the same person.
For some reason the gallery context I recognized from the “The Rematerialization of the Art Object” 2012 exhibition at Mulherin + Pollard in New York seemed to bring a new legitimization to your practice beyond Murakami’s tactic of having African street vendors selling Louis Vuitton bags during the 50th Venice Biennale.
Does your practice relate to being an art fan and the drive artists have to replicate the work of their favorite artists? Essentially we want to be like them and copying is an essential and even traditional process of developing as an artist.
I was just included in “Love to Love You”, an exhibition about fandom and art, at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA running from May 26, 2013 - January 31, 2014.
There is an aspect of the work residing in this realm however I do believe it progresses into new zones of meaning beyond admiration of an artist or practice.
These Sol LeWitt drawings I recreated for this show are interesting since LeWitt never created these works individually to begin with.
I was surprised to discover how much original content was contained in your production. For example I had presumed your Ruscha books to be photographs of the original pages and then merely rebound and printed anew yet these are all unique images offered of “Some Los Angeles Apartments” all photographed in 2009. I noticed you have placed your own copyright in the book.
My main reason for placing the copyright in the publication was to replicate Ruscha’s original books as faithfully as possible and they included a copyright within the text’s composition.
I’m not sure if I should mention this; however, I heard you want to be sued. Is this really a strategic tactic to catapult your practice to a new level of attention and art world recognition in the same way copyright litigation drew attention to Jeff Koon’s production?
I have received cease and desist letters in the past and I have complied with these formal requests. No, I am not seeking nor wishing to provoke legal action against my work at all and am definitely not employing this avenue of unconventional marketing for negative PR.
I think at some point other artists recognize this work as art and there is a respect for the new discourses I am independently progressing.
There seems to be an infinite loop effect created by your work akin to two mirrors facing each other in the way you are recreating works which are already operating in the realm of appropriation art. You are having others take photographs of Marlboro ads and all of this has already been done yet now your work exists in a new historical context and specific point in time allowing for richer significance.
I know. It becomes confusing as to whether my work is copying the content of Phillip Morris or Richard Prince.
You used the term “bootlegs” earlier in this conversation and it was the title of your first exhibition at Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects back in 2006.
When I think of “bootlegs” I immediately go to my teenage memories of searching through bins of dubious concert recordings pressed on vinyl. There were bootlegs of The Who and Rolling Stones concerts specific to cities and venues and these items were highly sought after. I couldn’t even afford them.
Yeah, and they were crappy quality and created by amateurs and they were over-priced…
Yeah, I definitely could never afford them so I was happy with just buying the original yet the most expensive ones weren’t amateur at all since how many people had access to vinyl record presses? Didn’t professional sound technicians from within the industry create most of these bootleg albums? They offered collectors more rarified and alternative products within a highly monopolized market at their own questionable rates.
So here is where I cannot help yet perceive, less a subversive maneuver and more of an institutional critique slant in your practice: It appears the commercial art world is failing to reward the practices of new artists. The art stars of the early 80’s are celebrating longer and more established careers without any change of the guard happening any time soon - arguably with a conservative stalemate not seen since the reign of Leo Castelli’s stable from the sixties.
Even when I first met you on W 21st Street your prices were just beyond my reach. Unfortunately they are even more so today.
I definitely offer the aesthetics of 6-figure art works in the range of 4-figures so that is a factor and I do agree it is more difficult today to establish a lucrative art career.
Are the artists you copy cool with your work? Have you ever met them in person in Cheslea or in the galleries?
Some of the younger artists I replicate are really supportive and stoked I’m adding them to my repertoire yet I have found more established artists to be more reserved if not somewhat concerned.
Do you have any Will Cotton’s?
No I don’t think so.
You actually look a little like him.
Thanks so much for your time Eric.