“The Stairs”

curated by Sebastian Black & Mathew Cerletty

January 26 - March 10, 2013

Megha Barnabas, Morton Bartlett, Ronnie Bass, Sascha Braunig, Francesco Clemente, René Daniëls, Jana Euler, John Finneran, Julian Göthe, Christian Hidaka, Allison Katz, Steve Keister, William King, Shaun Krupa, Chris Martin, Ad Reinhardt, Matthew Ronay, Gerda Scheepers, Peter Schuyff, Torsten Slama, Alan Vega, Peter Young


Dear Abe:

Why are you hammering them nails in my hands and toes so hard for? They hurt! Keep up the good candlework! Why should that prize notice hit you in the paper with all the force? Don’t stop the wax-burning! Why fight it? Isn’t that life? Isn’t the air we breathe in corrupt? Why can’t I be like all the other fellows? Don’t let the lights go out! What do I have to do with that prize? I didn’t award it to myself! Can I help it if I’m loved, prized, worshipped? God, I didn’t belch! (Who said I belch in their faces and they applaud my fine tenor voice!?) Hold on! Don’t give up the ship! Don’t take that baldy picture down! Don’t be sorry for the way you feel! Don’t lose faith! Think it over! Truth will rise again! You can’t keep a good man down! It’ll be all right in the end! Don’t jump! Take it easy! Pull yourself together! That’s not a real Damocles sword hanging over your head or any prick of consciousness! Who’s Virginia? Why should I be Santy Claus? Did I ask to be born? Did I make this world? What we got to lose except our gains? Don’t alas and alack! Isn’t virtue its own reward? A normal person has to eat! Think I’m some kind of a ground-down-hog? Every dog has his day! Chin up, old man, people love you, people love me! Things will turn out! Don’t let the lights go out! Keep the flame! Keep the studio fires burning! Keep up! Keep!

-Ad Reinhardt to Abe Ajay, February 5, 1963


Once I was sledding with devils. Then we had to say goodbye. The devils vanished. I woke up! The stairs turned back into stairs.  

-Tim, age 6