Aptly titled, Used Books (2014) was an exhibition of my works produced with second hand books. The show was at Good Work Gallery in Brooklyn and was curated by Joshua Caleb Weibley. Works included were Doubles, Doublespace, Interaction of Interaction of Color, It’s the Ghost, Let’s Be Frank and Typo. There was an interview around the show via Electric Literature.
Taking nods from Conceptualism, and with a fondness for free culture and secondary markets, Ben Sisto’s work cuts —sometimes literally— through years of canonical figures from art history up to the present. The punningly descriptive title Used Books explains both the collected works’ methodology and sources: all materials on display have been purchased second-hand via online retailers (Albris, Abe Books, etc) and local shops (The Strand, Book Thug Nation, Spoonbill & Sugartown, etc).
While he is pleased to consider monetary offers for the works on display in this exhibition, Sisto insists they be viewed primarily as versions of affordable art anyone can collect and create.
Among the works in this exhibition, two address a Cagean non-static conception of repetition:
In the ongoing work Interaction of Interaction of Color Sisto seeks out all 28 print-runs of the 1979 revised edition of Joseph Albers’ seminal Interaction of Color (Yale). Presenting the copies collected thus far calls attention to minor discrepancies in the back-cover’s layout (a collage designed by Eva Hesse) which, along with the different copies’ yellowing and wear, constitute the piece’s titular “interaction.”
With Pair, Sisto playfully applies the same treatment to two copies of a Roni Horn exhibition catalog. When offset slightly (vertically), Horn’s original apparently near-identical sculptures intended for exhibition in separate rooms now appear in the same expanded space.
The public is invited to view these works and others at a reception for the artist March 7th from 7-10pm.
Joshua Caleb Weibley
Brooklyn, NY 2014