Claude Rutault pays homage to Glenn O’Brien with his 2019 site-specific installation Bookshelves (A Portrait From Afar). For what easily could have been the only artwork in the show and still have captured the essence of the writer, Rutault sent instructions to make and mount 18 turquoise canvases of varying sizes over sections of a photographic mural of O’Brien’s library to cover paintings and photos that were not of O’Brien, with a sample canvas displayed on the wall above. Completing the conceptual portrait from Paris, Rutault created a related installation with 19 painted books in his studio there.
Collaboratively realized by Natacha Polaert, who had to fabricate the New York elements, the engaging piece poetically links these three corresponding spirits—artist, curator, and writer—across time and space. Simultaneously, the work affords viewers a look at the books that helped shape the man and gives insight into the level of creative thought that always kept him at center stage.
“Glenn O’Brien: Center Stage” featuring works by Alvin Baltrop, Sarah Charlesworth, Dan Colen, Sara Cwynar, Les Levine, Eileen Myles, Dennis Oppenheim, Richard Prince, Rene Ricard, Walter Robinson, Claude Rutault, André Saraiva, Tom Sachs, Dash Snow, Andy Warhol, Ouattara Watts, and Martin Wong