Shane, Jack Goldstein
Certificate of Authenticity by Sol LeWitt
In Deed: Certificates of Authenticity in Art
Certiﬁcates of authenticity are a critical aspect of art works today. They often even embody the artwork itself, while referring to it, serving as its deed, legal statement, and ﬁscal invoice. Certiﬁcates by artists validate the authorship and originality of the work and they allow the work of art to be positioned in the marketplace as a branded product-no matter how immaterial or transient that product may be. Whereas the inherent importance of any given work of art should be self-evident to the connoisseur’s eye, certiﬁcates point the focus elsewhere, and prove that material or aesthetic qualities in an object sometimes do not sufﬁce in constituting the work of art. In our globalized, capitalist present, the certiﬁcate and its implications about artistic thinking have become an instrument of business nterprise, as well as a philosophical statement about the nature of an artwork. Certiﬁcates have legal and ontological implications that make them fascinating documents of changing attitudes toward art and the role of artists.
Providing examples of artists’ certiﬁcates from the past ﬁfty years, this exhibition reveals how roles have shifted and developed, as well as how the materials and content of art have changed too. Concise didactic texts assist the viewer in contextualizing each inclusion in the presentation. Ranging from the most ofﬁcial looking printed documents, with their imprimatur of institutionalization, to dashed-off notations that perform the same deﬁnitive function in constituting and deﬁning the parameters of a given art work, this exhibition interests a broad swath of audiences, ranging from art aﬁcionados to lawyers, students to aesthetes.
Susan Hapgood and Cornelia Lauf, curators
Traveling exhibition (2011-1013)
Catalogue by Roma Publications, Amsterdam, design Louis Lüthi
Essays by Hapgood and Lauf, Lorenzo Benedetti, Martha Buskirk, Daniel McClean, Seth Siegelaub.