Walk through is the transcript of a piece that Paul Sietsema did in early 2011 for an exhibition in Los Angeles. Invited by a museum to give an informational walk-through for a group show his work was included in, Sietsema responded by staging a kind of performance in an attempt to create an activated space for participants in place of what is commonly a secondary didactic activity; the artist playing docent.
“I think it’s better for an uninitiated audience to build up its own conception of what it’s looking at and perhaps why it’s looking at all from a direct experience with the work itself, to develop a primary relationship with what is being experienced.”
Working from this conviction, the artist adapted certain pre-existent “anti-art” writings, many from the first high point of American art around the middle of the last century, into script form, mapped out a path through the rooms of the exhibit, and asked an artist three generations his junior to assume his role. The artist took on a loose depiction of his appearance, and recited the text in a forceful yet somewhat mechanical tone, to create a sort of complex of ambiguous authorship and anachronicity. The content was sometimes intentionally linked to the works on display in those rooms, with varying degrees of directness, and at other times had nothing to do with them, creating pockets of resonance and dissonance.
Sietsema has taken the invitation to contribute to Peep-Hole Sheet as an opportunity to publish this text, which is also accompanied by a graphic transcription of the path through the show and generalized descriptions of the individual artists work lifted from the show’s catalogue. Walk through is therefore an extension of the artist’s overall project, but beyond that, can in some ways be considered an objectified quasi-manifesto, indicative of his positions in regard to various aspects of making and showing art and of being an artist at the present moment.