Up 8:45; Ten minute walk to El Barco Marisco on Daniel's block at Cortez and Ashland. On the way home last night, Daniel checked opening hours with the staff. But at 9:15 the two of us are standing outside in the cold. Eventually the owner drives up, apologizes for oversleeping, pleads that the weekend crowd kept her working past 3 a.m.
Although it's not on the menu (this is mostly a lunch and dinner place), the waitress brings us two orders of huevos rancheros.
Between 1968 and 1970, Allison Knowles ordered the same lunch at the same diner in New York City: "A tunafish sandwich on whole wheat toast, butter no mayo, and a cup of buttermilk or soup of the day" (from the pamphlet, Identical Lunch).
Daniel and Jennifer have settled on a font: Meta. Not so fancy as Monaco, not so nostalgic as Courier, which Daniel and I once used for the logo in Critical Ecologies. Courier, everyone knows, is the classic typewriter font; Monaco is one of the first fonts designed purely for the screen. Meta, a font devised in the 90's, is entirely for printing.
Entering copy into Microsoft Word, the closest I can get to the probable look of the printed text is Arial.
Where, I ask, does the work go? In the years that I've known him, Daniel has not missed a day, but there's never an accumulation of tape art in his apartment. What's your idea of its life outside the studio?
In every instance, in the first place, whether it's mail art or a tape sculpture, Daniel imagines the work going into the mailbox. He avoids the post office counter, where he has to explain that it's art. Some postal workers are trained in its handling, some not. He doesn't mind if his objects get scarred. He rarely uses a return address. When the piece makes it through to an address bearing official stamps and chance marks, that counts as approval, in his estimation. He does not check to see whether the piece has arrived, or in what condition. "Approval" comes from outside, impersonally, from the material world and its powerful systems of communication and transportation. Why seek the approval of a community of artists or specialists? Their judgement has already been internalized, in his working thoughts, in friendships, and in visits to galleries and museums.
Every day On Kawara stamped a postcard with the hour and minute when he awoke. He would send telegraphs daily, each one with the same message: "I am still alive."
A letter today from Bill Wilson in New York, an art critic by profession. He met Daniel by my introduction, after a roadtrip through the Alleghenies and on to the city, in July of '96. Wilson asks how the "book" is coming?– taking Daniel down a peg for presuming to reject the standard catalogue format. Wilson's response to last year's invitation was non-committal. In the spirit of Daniel's project, it was written on 3/4" labeling tape. The text emerges from the used-up dispenser:
FOUND FOUND FOUND FOUND FOUND
message length: 58"
In today's letter, Wilson wonders if Daniel's art can serve as a model for qualities to look for in experience. That Daniel uses tape, and risks sending taped objects through the postal system where they can be scratched, may be taken as a model for how one is to adventure through systems indifferent to our individual surfaces.
We pick up nine shark steaks at the new Home of Seafood, next to Aronda's on Ashland and Division. $22.50. Daniel will broil eight of them for guests this evening, after a day's work with Jennifer. I'll have mine over the weekend, after I put the final touches on an article due Monday.