Scott Hug / Bern Porter: Trash Composition in Black and White
Out of the 31 artists in Queens International 2012: Three Points Make a Triangle, we asked 3 to do live events or workshops around a favorite idea. When we invited Scott Hug, the cut-and-paste wizard behind K48 and longtime resident of Astoria, to the museum to discuss, he told us he’d been thinking a lot about an under-recognized American artist named Bern Porter (1911 – 2004), an extraordinary-sounding figure who’d worked as a physicist, published Henry Miller, and made amazing artists’ books out of the detritus of American advertising culture—the latter very much like what Scott has been doing throughout his career. It seemed like Porter’s work would be a perfect excuse to talk about all kinds of things – collage, consumer culture, artists’ books, words and pictures, and where all this is going in the age of the Internet.
Two spreads from Scott’s new book, HELL TO PAY, which is also part of a show he’s opening at Rawson Projects on March 31st are shown here with two spreads from Bern Porter’s 1972 book Wastemaker, which we took screen shots of from Ubuweb, the invaluable repository of so much amazing artwork assembled by Kenneth Goldsmith. From the introduction to Wastemaker by Richard Kostelanetz: “As haste makes waste, so patient composition, by contrast, makes art of waste; and this book realizes ‘junk literature’ before anyone else could conceive of art, even insight, in garbage.” Or course, just two spreads from each gives only the tiniest taste of the idiosyncratic rhythm and ambiguity of both books. Read more about Scott and Bern in our interview with Scott for the QI 2102 book here and come out to the book launch April 1st at 3 pm!