John Gossage: Distractions & Failures | Harper's Apartment
A few years ago John Gossage and I went to Tokyo. John was taking pictures for an exhibition and book that would become The Code.
We arrived at the hotel and immediately wandered out to reconnoiter. John was drawn to nondescript alleys and streets of little interest. It was unclear what he was shooting.
The next day John wanted to go to the decrepit area around Haneda Airport. He continued to photograph uninspiring things that no one ever notices. Small details your eye doesn’t capture. It was curious to say the least.
John Gossage is from a different world. He left school early and had little but his camera. Signed at a young age by Leo Castelli, one of his first shows was alongside Jasper Johns. After leaving Castelli, he devoted himself to making books. In 2015, he was the recipient of a major retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago.
I know John well, but until recently I thought of him exclusively as a photographer, in the milieu of some of his contemporaries like Diane Arbus, William Eggleston, and his friend Lewis Baltz.
In 2014 John showed work from the 1990s at Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco. The pictures were new to me; I didn't know what to make of them. Combining ostensibly banal photographs with pasted scraps of colored paper or gibberish, Gossage had created a visual language straight from his imagination. You could call them “assemblages”. He calls them Distractions. Regardless of classification, these unique artworks were ahead of their time. Or maybe just timeless.
It makes sense to exhibit a selection of Distractions in concert with John’s new series of Failures. For an artist with an uncanny ability to see what's not there, these concepts are unapologetically ambiguous. I am ill-equipped to explain why certain photographs are "failures," nor is it necessary. Clearly something is off. Overexposed? Too obvious? He thought there was a cat in the alley? The squirrel is fake? Ain't no tellin'.
Sometimes there is nothing in the picture; but sometimes nothing is everything.
Several of Gossage's artworks will be on display concurrently at AIPAD, booth 314. Harper's Apartment is a residential gallery open by appointment. Please contact email@example.com to schedule a visit, or to request a price list of available work.
For further information, please contact the gallery at 631-324-1131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hours: Monday – Friday, 10:00 – 6:00; Saturday, 10:00 – 8:00; Sunday, 11:00 - 5:00, or by appointment.
Harper’s Books is located at 87 Newtown Lane in East Hampton, New York.
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Nicasio Fernandez: Working Through It
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Marcus Brutus: The Uhmericans
- August 17, 2018 - October 10, 2018
- July 21, 2018 - August 15, 2018
Simphiwe Ndzube: Dancing into Form
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Cassi Namoda: We Killed Mangy Dog
- June 23, 2018 - July 18, 2018
- May 26, 2018 - June 20, 2018
Maryam Eisler: The Sublime Feminine
- May 1, 2018 - June 16, 2018
Susumu Kamijo: I'll Walk You Tomorrow | Harper's Apartment
- March 22, 2018 - April 28, 2018
Nick Weber: Night Turns | Harper's Apartment
- January 17, 2018 - March 14, 2018
Joel Mesler: Most of it is my money, F-J | Harper's Apartment
- September 14, 2017 - October 26, 2017
Margo Wolowiec: Rose Garden | Harper's Apartment
- see all exhibitions