David Reed - Final "Bedroom Paintings" /"Vertigo" Kolnischer Kunstverein

I. Alfred Hitchcock returned to Paramount and color to make Vertigo in 1957. It was his fourth film in Vista Vision which unlike other wide-screen formats had a signiticantly larger negative with sharper grain meaning Hitchcock could pack the frame with detail. He cast the rumor-has-it he-she, Kim Novak, in the double role of graceful Madeleine and gullible Judy. 24-year-old Miss Novak was Columbia's top-rated female star at the time, second overall only to Marilyn. Her co-star, James Stewart, Hollywood's number three male heartthrob endeared lor his gosh-darn drawl and easy-go-Iucky shuffle, played Scotty, a washed-up detective suffering from vertigo-acrophobia, the fear of falling mixed with the desire to fall (from a rooftop, or madly in love). "Hitch's" gostly cameo in every film tells the audience who is in control of the mindbender Bickering before their eyes. But he didn't stop at psychodrama with his players. Bluntly put, "Hitch" was a sadist, remember the Grace Kelly affair, or Tippy Hedrun in The Birds, when live birds couped up on a hot dim set became rats-with-wings pecking, gnawing and scratching a terrified Tippy while Hitchcock watched and still shot tak after until she was a bloodied quivering mess-finished. "Hitch" destroyed Stewart as well with Ver-tigo. Suddenly looking older, obsessed with a blond half his age, a man-dog in his second mid-life crisis. Stewart's leading man image went down the tubes when his charakter SCally ends up a shattered man destroyed by his own delusion, unable to distinguish good from evil, a big taboo in Tinsel Town" After firing two writers, "Hitch" got what he wanted from a third and chucked a dramaturgical wrench into the Dream Factory

an audience flashback, only we and not the hero see the murder, sending our loyalty for him spinning. Is our desire to tall into his illusion greater than our fear that it is murderous? We share our fate with Holofrenes when Judy shows up. Basically what happens is Scotty is hired to spy on the mysterious Madeleine. Disenchanted with his pragmatic belle Midge, Scotty falls head over heels for Madeleine only to be broken-hearted when he watches her plunge to the pavement. Suicide? For Scotty, yes, but not for the audience. Scotty tumbles into a big depression until he spots Madeleine's look-alike (the murderous) Judy in a flower shop window. He trails and browbeats Judy until she consents to look and walk like his lost love. But the cruel fantasy-come-true lasts only for half a kiss when during a tell-tale 360 degree panning shot of their embrace Scotty's light bulh goes on. It glows hot when he sees Judy in a minor and recognizes her necklace as Madeleine's. He chides Judy: "You shouldn't keep a souvenir from a killing." We witness Scotty's reaction to the moral dilemma Forced first upon us. Cold truth 01" hot fiction? His reaction is devastating and honest. He drags Judy back to the scene of the crime, a church tower he could not have climbed before for [right, from where his dream-girl-who-never-was had beenjettisorted, disguising the corpse of the wife of the man who retained him in the first place while Judy, obviously the third side of a deadly love triangle, looked on and screamed. This time though in a struggle she falls to her death. The whole story had already been cleverly foreshadowed in the prologue, an animated title sequence by Saul Bass who telegraphs it all with a multi-colored whirlpool spiraling out a woman's eye seen in close up. II. The epilogue is presently running Cologne Kunstverein: an abbreviated at the retro-


8 David Reed, Judys Bedroom mit #328 und Alfred Hitchcocks "Vertigo" lIlit #328, Kiilnischer Kunstuerein, 1995.



spective of 'bedroom paintings' and a bedroom installation by American painter David Reed who tantalizes nineties German audience with the Vertigo soundtrack drifting through the gallery from a TV at the foot of a copy of Judy's Empire Hotel bed of ambiguous green tone. "It was the color of death" for Hitchcock, according to the film's costume designer, Edith Head. Reed signs a pact with the devil in this video by digitally scanning two paintings Numbers 332 and 328 onto the walls over Scotty's and then Judy's bed. Reed's audience hears sweet music and anxious voices over their footsteps as they pace along the Kunstverein's 50 odd meter long waJl lined just inches apart with his "Stroke" paintings. They resist being looked at, they look at you. On one end wall is a rare titled panorama, Hermaphrodite, a Pontormo hot and cool pinky number, very long, a tribute to Novak perhaps, in which to quote Derek Jarman "the violet becomes a little bolder and FUCKSthe pink into purple". I saw David in Cologne on his 49th birthday (Stewart's age when he made Vertigo). He was pale and holding a rose. We had dinner alone a few days later and having just read Derek Jarman's new book of color Chroma. I realized they were of the same generational ilk as artists. Reed's color sense is described for the first time by Jarman in the book he wrote as he went blind from AJDS,a pagan sometimes violent account of colors like Reed's which "come out and act up". "Who's afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?" "Red protects itself." writes Jarman. "No colour is as

territorial. It stakes a claim, is on the alert against the spectrum." In the 'Perils of Yellow' he makes a childhood confession: "I had a horror of dandelions. If I touched a pis en lit I would scream myself to sleep." Or about the title of his 1993 monochrome movie: "Other colours, like the lapis blue, with which the Venetians painted distance, scream at you from the horizon ... It was this that led Caravaggio to say, 'Blue is poison'." It all adds up to white: "In the first white light of dawn I turn white as a sheet, as I swallow the white pills to keep me alive ... attacking the virus which is destroying my white blood cells." Jarman's homoerotic film portrait Camvaggio (1985) is miles from Reed visually but in tone? "Michel (Caravaggio) YO: My shadow passes. The flies spiral back. Pasqualone yawns. Time stops for no man, he says caressing himself. I watched the ripples in his trousers." David Reed is credited with having eyeballed the Met's Age oj Carauaggio blockbuster long enough to send the vernissage into a tizzy when he pointed out to a museum guard 'Michel's' self-portrait dabbed into the carafe sloshing next to Bacchus, as watery and suggestive as a Tiepolo putti, and like Hitchcock, Caravaggio's self-extrication from any illusion. Is David Reed another Bad Boy of Baroque? Is he mimicking Greenberg. painting folds not of but on cloth? Is Reed a Mannerist encoding emotions in his lexicon of highly articulated, suggestive gestures? The tropes are there but Reed has looked at too

much Judd to stop at that. As Carl Ostendarp, another New York abstractionist in Rolf Ricke's stable, quipped at Chins Bar after a party of David, "Say he's a Mannerist but don't forget Judd's early pink plastic and copper box." David Reed's answer is that he was "trying to put the gesture of Post-minimalism into painting". He had moved to New York from San Diego in 1971 when "advanced art was saying that for the first time there could be no painting contingent to what was going on". He looked at Barry LeVa, Linda Bengils, Robert Smithson and Donald Judd. Reed described a Judd painting he saw then "a red circIe like a headlight centered on a wood panel". It could easily have been the piece Reed bounced off of when color crept into his previously black and white repertoire in 1980 at The Clocktower, an 8 inch by 26 foot long canvas with a dashing row of 'strokes' running off the elongated picture plane both left and right. "The marks went around the whole world", Reed explained grinningly, "except for one red stroke where you're standing." First red, the first word for color in all languages, then its hot and cool shades and those of ochre and turquoise entered Reed's pictures, always androgynous hues with ambiguities of temperature and intense chroma unified by light spread out in all their photographic detail in Vista Vision, or vertically as colors cascading down the wall. "With Impressionism hue changes but value stays the same. Greenberg hated value contrasts. My contribution to color theory somebody told me is I keep the intensity the same and vary everything else ... I think our perception has changed. We expect things to move and if they don't, well, we can't wait for them to move." We don't have to wait with a Reed, retracing his steady hand shuttling oil and alkyd medium over a flat surface, touching our eyes or rather whipping them around

hairpin cures and cat tails. The alkyd mediurn he claims is largely responsible for their wet, elastic, unforgiving trompe l'oeil effect. David Reed's paintings are asking us, maybe even coaxing us, to let go! If you let yourself be sucked into their cinema, they'll fuck your mind, turn you into your fantasy for a bat of the eye. But then isn't that what Caravaggio, Hitchcock,Jarman and Reed all have in common? Only Reed does it in bedroom. PHILIP POCOCK


John Miller "In the Middle of the Day"
Metro Pictures, New York, 23. 2 - L 3 1995
John Miller ist vor allem fur seine mit brauner Farbe bedeckten Arbeiten aus Spielzeug und anderen Gegenstanden bekannt, Ihre Bildlichkeit suggeriert Entropie - die Folgen eines rnerkwurdigen Gewitters von Scheibe, Seine Arbeiten sind zugleich aueh sehr kontroUierte, kritische Uberlegungen zu Produktion und Mull. "In the Middle of the Day" ste11t eine Richtungsanderung fur den Kiinstler dar. Obwohl die Ausstellung auch einige von Millers braun angemalten Skulpturen umfaBt, wird sie von einer durchgehenden Folge von Fotografien (in Farbe und Schwarz/Wei13) an den vier Wanden der Ausstellung dominiert. "In the Middle of the Day" enthalt einen Stuhl, einen Tisch und andere Cegenstande aus dem Atelier des Kunstlers und eine Tonbandaufnahme mit seiner Stimme, die auf einem verborgenen Kassettenrecorder abgespieJt wird. Durch ihren eklektischen Umgang mit Materialien und Methoden wirft "In the Middle of the Day" Fragen zum Wert von alltaglichen Erfahrungen, von Arbeii und Freizeit auf, Fragen zu der Art und Weise, wie die Personlichkeit von Kunstlern konstruiert wird, und


Texte zur Kunst

5. Jahrgang Nr. 18

Autorlnnen und Gesprachspartnerlnnen
Stefan Abt ist Kunstler, lebt und arbeitet Franz Ackermann, arbeitet in Berlin, Karin Barth ist Leiterin des Kunsthandels Achenbach, Dusseldorf; Diedrich schrift und lebt in Koln. ist Mitherausgeber Veroffentlichungen: zur Kunst der ZeitSexbeat (1990), Freiin Berlin. lebt unci James und York, John Jurgen Dresdncr Philip Miller is! Kunstler R. Neuhaus und Schriftsteller, lebt und del' arbcitet in New York. ist Leiter der Niederlassung Bank in K61n. am Main, ist Kunstler und lebt in Koln. Er ist und ist AssistenRoad, London Meyer lehrt zeitgenossische University organisiert Kunst und Kunstin Atlanta, Georgia, to the


geb, 1963, ist Kimstler,

kritik an der Emory institutional critique?"

die Show "What happened bei American

Fine Arts, New

Martin Beck ist Kunstler, lebt in Wicn und New York, Diederichsen

Spe». Wichtige

(1985). Elektra,


(1986), Herr



(1987), 1500 Schall platten

Martin Pesch lebt LInd arbeitct in Frankfurt Pocock einer der Crunder Tanja Pol studiert

heit macht arm (1993), Michael Dreyer lebt und arbeitet in Koln und Stungal-t.

des Journal or Contemporary Art. Kunstgeschichte Cross Magers in K61n,

Matthias Wien.



1967, lebt und



tin del' Galerie Philomene Poster Studio, WC2HOLB, Susanne

148 Charing

Yilmaz Dziewior ist Kunsthistoriker, in Bonn. Sabine genz, Folie i t Kunsthisrorikerin

lebt und arbeitet LlI1d lebt in Bre-

TeL und Fax: 0044-171-9168030. und freie Autound Bayreuth. Publishing Departgibt Bu-

Prinz ist Kunsthistorikerin

rin, lebt in Mimchen David Reisman von Thuteen/umet ment in New York.


von FEMAlL, Fraueninforrnations(Voralberg). lebt und arbeitet in in

ist Kunstler; Autor lind Herausgeber im Educational

zentrum in Feldkirchen Peter Geimer Georg Koln, Isabelle K61n,

lebt und arbeitet in Paris,

Graw ist Filmcrnacher, Graw ist Kunstkritikerin,



ist Kunsrhistoriker,

cher zur zeitgenossischert Kunst heraus und ist Mitlebt lind arbeitet inhaber del' Galerie neugerriem.schneiderin Gregor Berlin. ubcr Antonia Ulrich studiert Credits: lebt lind arlebt Jan Hohe, Koln; Lothar Schnepf, seum of American und Journalist, gart; Vera Munro Pat Hearn in der Kunst- und Deutschland, AR/GE Calerie in Koln. lebt in Koln LInd New of Fine Arts Marta-Clark. Wien; Poster am Department University uber Gordon ist Kunsthistoriker Koether ist Kunstlerin, Gallery; Calerie, Metro Koln; Whitney MuStuttNiederBregenz; David Brandt; Walter Art, New York; Staatsgaleric Hamburg; Pictures; Philosophic in Hamburg. und lebt Holler arbeitet an einer Dissertation fur Kognitionsmodelle ist Kunstkritikerin, Stemmrich ist Kunsthistoriker Berlin. und lebt in

Jorg Heiser ist freier Autor und lebt in Koln. Christian Bedeutungslheorien Johanna Hofteitner

in Wien und New York, benet in Wien. Tom Holert ist Kunsthistorikcr LInd arbeitet Susanne Bonn, Hiroko Konig lebt und arbeitet Jutta York, Pamela Lee prumoviert an del' Harvard Tom McDonough in Koln,

Kiron Khosla ist Kunstler, lebt und arbeitet in Koln. Kleine ist Projektleiterin Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik

ma)'T; Magazin 4 - Voralberger KUNST, Galerie Philomene Donald Studio, Frankfurt;



Bozen; Rolf Lenz, Ulysses, Hubert Paris; Nagel, Art,

Boris Becker, Koln; Franz Fischer, Bonn; Magers, K61n; Calerie Albuquerque; Pompidou, Christian Galerie Woodman, London;

Kiecol, Koln; Editions Koln; American New York;Jock New York; Lincoln

du Centre

Fine Arts, New York; Larry Clark, Sturges; The Museum of Modern Kirstein; Twelvetrees Stuttgart Press, Santa

und Kunstkriti-

kcr, lebt in New York.

Fe; Fey Verlags GmbH,

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