Mike Bidlo | Not Manzoni | Performance | IFPDA Print Fair 2015

Not Manzoni (Carta d’autenticità, 1961-62)
04 November 2015
Donald Taglialatella is pleased to host a performance by the American appropriation artist Mike Bidlo that will take place at the stand of his World House Editions imprint during the opening night gala of the IFPDA Print Fair, on Wednesday evening, 04 November 2015.   The Print Fair is sponsored by the International Fine Print Dealers Association and is unique among the world’s major art fairs for its focus on fine prints and editions from all periods and exhibiting dealers at the Print Fair are all members of the IFPDA.  The fair will take place at the Park Avenue Armory between 66th and 67th Streets on Park Avenue in New York City.  It will open on Wednesday, 04 November from 6:30 to 9pm and will run through Sunday, 08 November.  Hours can be found at www.ifpda.org/content/print-fair.  The World House Editions stand is number 117.
Mike Bidlo will reenact Piero Manzoni’s 1961-62 performance, Carta d’autenticità, where Bidlo will sign various random individuals and declare them “Sculture viventi” or  “Living Sculptures” and will issue those individuals signed certificates of authenticity, appropriated from the original Manzoni certificates and receipt booklet. 
Additionally, and further keeping with Manzoni’s original performance, the respective degree to which the human body is pervaded by art will be indicated by the color of a printed gum-based stamp applied to the certificate issued by Bidlo.  A red stamp means that the person signed is an artwork in his or her entirety until death; yellow means that a particular body part, that is signed by Bidlo, is an original work of art; a green stamp says the particular signed body part is only to be considered a work of art in a certain state, that is, an arm held up in the air, or a leg crossed over the other; burgundy stamps signify that the entire body is an artwork, but, unlike the other stamps, may be acquired by purchase.
There is no charge/fee for receiving this original, unique work of art by Mike Bidlo.
This will be Mike Bidlo’s first performance in New York City in over 30 years, dating back to his historic performance/action/installation, Not Andy Warhol’s Factory, which took place at the P.S.1 Institute for Art and Urban Resources (now P.S.1 MoMA) in April, 1984.  The artist’s last performance took place on 13 February 2008 and also referenced Manzoni.  Entitled, Not Manzoni (Consumption of Art, 1960), it was performed in a lecture room at SUNY New Paltz (New York) where Bidlo hard-boiled 70 chicken eggs and marked each of them in black ink with his thumbprint, offering them to the audience to consume.
The Not Manzoni (Carta d’autenticità, 1961-62) performance coincides with the release of three signed and numbered Not Manzoni prints, published and offered for sale by World House Editions at The Print Fair.  This project represents not only the artist’s first significant graphic project ever, but also the first time in Bidlo’s career he has collaborated with a publisher. 
Between January, 1961 and June, 1962, the Italian conceptual artist, Piero Manzoni (1933-1963) signed 73 random individuals at various gallery openings and events between Milan, Copenhagen, Berlin, Brussels and other cities, declaring them “Living Sculptures” and issuing those he signed a “carta d’autenticità” or “certificate of authenticity” even signing himself on 08 April 1961.  The certificates and corresponding receipt stubs, which had been specially designed by Manzoni, were consecutively crash-numbered and had a text printed in French on the front and in English on the reverse that read “This is to certify that _______ has been signed by my hand and therefore is to be considered as an authentic work of art for all intents and purposes as of the date below.”  The artistic appropriation of a real live human being is furthered by the addition of the city, date and Manzoni’s signature as well as the recording of the name of the person on the receipt stub.  To truly finalize the act, one of five printed color gum-based stamps, also designed by Manzoni, was adhered to the certificate and its corresponding stub of the receipt booklet, and the respective degree to which the human body was pervaded by art was indicated by the stamp’s color. The Duchampian gesture displayed in the “Carta d’autenticità” performance took the concept of the ready-made to another level.  Whereas Manzoni did not limit himself to raising the simple found object to the level of art but rather by signing a random person Manzoni made a human being the ultimate ready-made and as such the material of his own art.
Mike Bidlo (b.1953) is well known for his appropriation and replication of paintings and sculptures by 20th century masters such as Pablo Picasso, Fernand Leger, Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse, Giorgio de Chirico, Man Ray, Constantin Brancusi, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Georgia O’Keeffe and others. He has also restaged the renowned performances of Yves Klein’s Anthropometries, Andy Warhol’s Factory and Bidlo’s earliest performance, Jack the Dripper at Peg’s Place (1982) during which he painted replicas of Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings and re-enacted Pollock’s infamous act of urinating into Peggy Guggenheim’s fireplace.  Bidlo’s “homages” challenge the art market’s authenticating role and question the modernist canon by validating Appropriation as a unique form of art making.  Bidlo is a staunch aficionado of twentieth-century modern art and his incredibly accurate recreations of masterpieces in various mediums as an exploration into the concepts of originality and creativity are done with a strong sense of research, appreciation and devotion. He is a key member of the generation of artists, including Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, John Armleder, Barbara Kruger and others who emerged in the 1980s and practiced appropriating subjects and images from popular culture and art history into their own art.  Bidlo has said of his artistic practice: “My work is perhaps an extreme example of this strain of art which references other art because it directly mirrors the image, scale, and materials of the original. Whatever differences appear in my work are a consequence of my working method and not an attempt at projecting a personal style.”  
Mike Bidlo was born in Chicago and studied at the University of Illinois, Chicago (BA, 1973), Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (MFA, 1975) and Teachers College, Columbia University, New York (MA, 1978). Bidlo lives and works in New York City and among the institutions that have exhibited his work are: the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; New Museum, New York; P.S.1/MoMA, Queens, New York; Sezon Museum, Tokyo; Saatchi Collection, London; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo; the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe; the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris and the Fondation Cartier, Paris. The artist is represented by the Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich and has also shown his work with the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York; the Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York; Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris; the Larry Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles; Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, New York; the Hal Bromm Gallery, New York; the Paolo Curti/Annamaria Gambuzzi & Co. Gallery, Milan and others.
For further information please contact Donald Taglialatella at donald@worldhouseeditions.com.
Special thanks are extended to Rosalia Pasqualino di Marineo of the Fondazione Piero Manzoni; Elena and Giuseppe Manzoni di Chiosca also of the Fondazione Piero Manzoni; the Print Fair Committee of the International Fine Print Dealers Association; and of course, to Mike Bidlo.