The Gregory Battcock Archive
Joseph Grigely

Prompted by the fortunate find of art critic Gregory Battcock’s archive, American artist Joseph Grigely now presents the results of his academic and artistic research into this found life and work in constantly changing displays vacillating between objective reappraisal and subjective narration.

Exhibition The Gregory Battcock Archive
Artists Joseph Grigely
Venue Kunstverein in Hamburg
Photography Fred Dott

Gregory Battcock was a critic and key figure of the New York art scene of the 1960s and 70s. He wrote on Minimal Art, Concept Art, video and performance art, and championed artists who newly defined the borders of contemporary art. By chance, the American artist Joseph Grigely (b. 1956, Massachusetts) discovered the collected estate of Battcock abandoned in a warehouse in 1992. He gave a large portion of his find to the National Archives of American Art, but has been working with the estate in exhibitions since 2010.

He constructs variously designed wooden showcases for his presentations that are arranged in different ways depending on the venue and their interconnected narratives. This modular principle is also applied to the content of the showcases. The primary and secondary sources, as well as the collected image material and other memorabilia of Battcock, are not subjected to a static order. By selecting and arranging in the form of tableaus, Grigely expands the narrative levels of the historical material. He is not only interested in drawing a portrait of a person and his times, but also in raising the awareness for interconnections and context-related readings, operating between subjectivity and objectivity in a systematic way.

In a time in which digital archiving is predominantly used, The Gregory Battcock Archive offers an important contribution to examining artistic processes and dealing with archives. The digital capture makes it increasingly difficult to recognize the actual author and the process of selection — but that is precisely what characterizes this work and becomes the focus of Grigely’s project.

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