Reading Week 9: Ingrid Schaffner's Wall Text



"the lion is a big cat that walks on it's toes and eats flesh", a lesson for us all.

I have for a long time felt that labels, and the titles they include, are problematic. I didn't want to include titles for my work for a long time, but then I felt that "untitled" became an unintended title, which means nothing yet is just as annoying. With many contemporary practices the viewer needs a clue, but just how to do it without overdoing it can be a hard call.

I enjoy the idea of the label as a "tombstone". The Richard Tuttle show that exploited this idea and the label interests me. I had a similar personal battle with the print. Traditional prints are titled, numbered, and signed directly on the print, and then often, there is also a label next to a framed print. This is an amusing redundancy based in stagnant, thoughtless traditions (in my opinion).

Upon request would a museum display a work of art without a label or a label without art? I caught myself wondering at the Walker Wednesday, when I saw Murakami's wallpaper label still present near the stairs but his work was absent. The wall paper was stripped or painted over, yet the label remained... I am one who does not(often) like to attribute titles. I wonder do donors even request to have their name/acquisition withheld? Do they guess at dates when unknown? What is the practice in a museum like the Walker to attribute "untitled"? Was it declared by the artist or just that it simply lacked a title?

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