Specific Object was founded in 2004 as a labor of lust and out of a desire to program exhibitions that were not necessarily financially viable within a commercial gallery, or perhaps within a "alternative" non-profit space either. Displaying artists' books, editions, ephemera and other artists' publications was a subversive way to reexamine the history of art post 1959 largely without the apparatus, or layered veneer, of applied and reapplied critical theory. Often shows at Specific Object, or shows I curated for other venues, added unique artworks - such as drawings, paintings or sculptures – to give context to the ephemeral materials and with the understanding that artists rarely ghettoize one medium against another. Most artists I've worked with would emphatically state that sometimes an edition or artist's publication is the best mode of address for an idea, whereas at other times a unique work functions better.
Over the last nine years I've been fortunate to have had both positive critical responses to our programming and enough financial success to not only sustain Specific Object but to thrive. I can honestly say it's been deeply satisfying, a labor of lust, finding "stuff," reconsidering it, and ultimately exposing that "stuff" afresh.
I'm proud to let you know that starting on May 15, 2013 I will be taking the position of Curator in the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books at The Museum of Modern Art, which means Specific Object has now closed in advance of my move to the Museum.
For access to files or individual items from the Jean-Noël Herlin Archive Project please contact Jean-Noël Herlin directly, Tuesday-Saturday after 12 PM [NYC] at 212-427-0401.
It's been a pleasure serving you from the platform of Specific Object and I very much look forward to the horizonless possibilities that lie ahead.
A copy of The Museum of Modern Art's press release can be found at: