When I walked by this piece of conceptual text art the other night, at the corner of Leroy and Greenwich streets in the West Village, I knew I'd seen it before somewhere. Not this particular iteration of it, but the words, the equation, the latter-day aphorism, if you will.
Turns out, it's based on, or it is, a work by British artist Martin Creed that first appeared on the front of the Tate Britain in London back in 2000. Now since it's a conceptual work and not a painted canvas, say, I'm left wondering whether this is actually the work of Creed, or whether it's someone using Creed's construction for their own display. (If anyone knows for sure, please tell me.)
Creed was the famous/infamous artist who won the £20,000 Turner Prize in 2001, which was announced by Madonna, who famously/infamously uttered "a four-letter outburst during the live broadcast, for which Channel 4 had to apologise because it was before the 9pm watershed," as the BBC reported it. Among his more notorious works that year was Work No. 227: The lights going on and off, which took the form of an empty gallery at the Tate Britain in which the existing overhead lights were programmed to go on for five seconds and off for five seconds, on for five, off for five, etc. at once, a genius vision of simplicity and an emperor-has-no-clothes moment.
¶ Turner Prize History: Martin Creed [Tate]
UPDATE: Turns out it is an official Creed piece: Work No. 300: the whole world + the work = the whole world (2003) Paint on wall. 18" high x 77'5 1/2" long. Link is from the art gallery Gavin Brown's Enterprise.