a viewer at the exhibition

JG Memorial Retrospective (1982)

The JG Memorial Retrospective (1982) was a project of a group of artists, writers, performers, and curators in DeKalb, Illinois, under the name of The DeKalb Institute. The goal was to create a parody of a memorial retrospective exhibition, in which certain set forms (including the layout of the exhibition, the inclusion of personal items belonging to the artist, the creation of an audio guide, the creation of a catalog/brochure for the exhibit, and particularly, an opening night presentation with speeches, video, sound, poetry readings, etc.) far outshadowed the need for an actual human being to make the work in question. The DeKalb Institute therefore seized upon the work of artist John Goss, at that time in his early 20s, and used it as the source for its fictional "retrospective." In many ways, the secondary documents and correspondence related to the exhibition are as interesting as the exhibition itself. I fell heir to the collected papers of The Institute, and hope to soon assemble them into a book. In the meantime, here are some images that indicate the kind of things that went on in April, 1982. (And of course, given the longer arch of my own work, the creation of a retrospective for an artist who was really the "ghost in the machine" is something I would return to later...

Exhibition view with the "Ubu" stage.

the map of postcards

posters and sculpture

items from the gift shop

Kevin McMahon of The DeKalb Institute discusses the dialectics of food, sex, language & xerox in JG's work.

Amanda Doenitz videotaping the presentations.

The audience at the opening  presentations, front and center is anthropologist Susan Montague.

some of the artist's personal effects