Orphans Offered Up

“But, art as a practical precedent is forever young and physically here with us. Works of art, as theoretical constructs, hold their place in a field of knowledge. As historical artifacts, they speak of ancestry and parental origins. As practical precedents, works of art are orphans, ready to be adopted, nurtured and groomed to the needs to any astonishing new circumstances.”—Dave Hickey, “Orphans,” Art in America, January 2009

Orphans, 2009, oil on canvas, 4”x 4”

This project is a variation of another conceptual project that I started in 2004—Open Adoption for Art.  I took out an announcement and had an installation at the Pool Art Fair.  I made people a gift a painting, with a contract, for up to a year. This project is now complete.

Holly Crawford, NYC 2010


Click to see Offerings

Economic Crisis Observatory

Economic Crisis Observatory: Atlantic City: Case Study of Service Economy


Economic Crisis Observatory Installation PhotosEconomic Crisis Observatory Installation PhotosEconomic Crisis Observatory Installation Photos

A small all book is also available. See books.


Alicia Munnell, Director, Center for Retirement Research, Boston College., Boston MA
David Certner, AARP
Ron Gebhardts, Senor Pension Fellow, American Academy of Actuaries
Karen Friedman, Pension Rights Center, Washington, DC

Interviews by George Crawford.
Videography: George Crawford and Holly Crawford

Economic Crisis Observatory by Holly Crawford. The ECO gathers, processes and makes proclamations based on observed economic data, theories and human behavior using text, video, and various tools. 

Project was installed at Beacon Art Center in Los Angeles

Entropy Slices


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God said,

we understand

let the earth produce every kind of living creature;

cattle, reptiles, and every kind of wild beast

The Marshall, baseball, Chicago Tonight, School’s Out,

Rockford Files,

The 700 Club

don’t worry about it

bring along a few dollars or francs for a cool drink

and so it was

Punctuation Performance

Found Punctuation (Concrete Poetry)

Play along! Participate! Instructions for making those mysterious and interesting little black marks jump off the page are on the back. Found Punctuation comes alive.Instructions: Emily Dashing: You will need the black party blower and three party poppers. Practice blowing the black blower a couple of times. Now take out one of the poppers and practice popping it. Make sure to point it straight up.

You as the user agree that Emily Dickinson, Coleridge, Duchamp and Holly Crawford are not responsible for anything you might do.

Some examples of my concrete poetry.

__  __
  __ !
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__ __ __
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   __ __ !
Found Punctuation, Emily Dashing, 2002
Instructions for the other Found Punctuation that is on the new video.

Duchamp’s SurcenSure: You will have to practice rolling the tip of your tongue very quickly to represent all those dots as they speed by across the screen. For the explanation mark, just open your mouth and scream.  A note of caution: As the line in Duchamp’s poems says, “But take care!” Otherwise, enjoy!

Coleridge’s Youth and Age: You are now skilled enough for this performance. You will need the bottle of bubbles, the black blower, and your vocal chords. (Note: Party poppers may be substituted for your vocal chords. You will need 5 additional poppers.)  You might want to have a glass of wine or a sip of water before proceeding.

Hollow Dog: All you need is the bottle of bubbles. You have already familiarized yourself with this piece of equipment, so go ahead and dip the plastic wand into the bottle and gently blow bubbles in a smooth motion as the words and punctuation move across the bottom of the screen.

where,   where


This is from the bone. the bone is a long process poem consisting of found punctuation. It is an exporation in form, structure and connections. The process removed allbut the ultimate and underlying formal structure. the bone is the second part of a series that is based on the words, punctuation, and space of Clement Greenberg’s article Avant-Garde and Kitsch. The first part was dog days. The bone was written and first published in 1997. A review by Eliot Weinberger in Sulfur 37 stated that the editor of one anthology had “‘normalized'” Emily Dickinson’s punctuation. Poems are more than words. Everyone’s structures are different, but sometimes they’re thrown to the dogs.

. . , .
, , .

, .

– ?


– -, .

,, .


My first foray into the world of punctuation started more than ten years ago when I reduced Clement Greenburg to his punctuation. That minimalist act was followed by research into the history of punctuation and just how it might be ‘read.’  A participation performance was first done at Beyond Baroque. A participation video is in about to be released.   It is not a reenactment. The concrete  poems and visuals were selected and  designed specifically for this participation video.

Historically, for a Roman orator’s use of punctuation was a very  personal thing. He used his personal marks to tell him when to take a breath, what to emphasize, and when to stop talking.  There was no upper or lower case, no space between words or punctuation in written texts. Then around 900 A.D., the Irish monks inserted those little marks into their illuminated manuscripts.  Punctuation was complete formulized and peaked in it usage in the 1800s.  By the early 1900s less and less punctuation was being used.

The four concrete poems on my  DVD are: Hollow Dog; Emily Dashing;  Youth and Age  and the puncturation from Duchamp’s SurcenSure. 

Hollow Dog  is a poem that I assembled, in 1995, from the punctuation and the words that started with the letter h and d, from an essay written by artist Rosamond W. Purcell. In that article Purcell was discussing Allan Cullum work, where he made a cast of the missing dogs from the molds left by the dogs that died in Pompeii and the remains of Dutch dogs  from World War II.  She discusses his art and comments that she “missed the authentic object: the empty shell of the actual dog.”

Enact : Art in Mind

In 1970, 65 artists participated in a project called Art in the Mind, curated by Athena Tacha and published at Oberlin College, An early document of conceptual gestures, the catalog was the exhibition.

The intention of enact was to select a group of artists and writers whose interests are aligned with some aspect of the Art in the Mind exhibition in terms of a commitment to a conceptual framework for art, an active allegiance to performance , or an understanding that dialogue and exchange can be primary motivations for art-making.

Visit My Project:  Pinky and BlueBoy, (the Numbers) Game

Visit enact and view other artists.

New Books by Holly Crawford

New Books and Catalogs

Written By Holly Crawford

Attached to the Mouse

Edited by Holly Crawford

 Outsourced Critics and Critical Conversations in a Limo

Featured Academic Essay

              Art Engaging Gangs

Written Documentation of Text and Poetry Projects

           Consumed [Paperback]  13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird   Economic Crisis Observatory: Atlantic City: Case Study of Service Economy


Poetry / Project Published in



Essence Of The Rock


Open for public viewing  October 28, 2013

Essence Of The Rock 2      Essence Of The Rock1     Essence Of The Rock

Geological find of the century has been uncovered.   Rare stalactites and stalagmites discovered in the lower levels of Rockefeller Center.  Over many years of drip, drip, drip, very tiny fragments of many things have filtered down through the cracks and spaces.  Small stalactites and stalagmites are not unusual in urban underground spaces.  You can see small ones in the subway near Rockefeller Center.  It is reported in Wikipedia, that stalactites and stalagmites can also form on concrete ceilings and floors and they form very rapidly.

Analysis has identified: aspirins, heartburn medicine, antidepressants, cocaine, money, alcohol, coffee grounds, condoms, hairpins, wires, carpet tacks, stamps, electronics, plastic, pencils, pens,  Christmas ornaments and lights, tickets, buttons, wax, corks, cigarettes, unspecified metal and concrete fragments and  many fragments of documents.  Of course, they are the tiniest fragments, but the most amazing geological formations. What comes through all the layers… the history, the pure essence of the Rock is in those forms.

The stalagmites and stalactites will only be on display for two weeks. Even though they are amazing finds and only recently revealed to the press, but economics mandates its removal now. Ground floor spaces at Rockefeller Center are some of the most expensive in NYC.  Offers have been made of the space.  At this time rumor has it that it is new location for flexible shared office space, fast food restaurant, a souvenir shop, or sock boutique.   Management did not want to discuss their negotiations. Discussions are under way with the Natural History Museum and the City of NYC for display of the stalactites and stalagmites.  They maybe too delicate to remove without destroying it, it seems very site specific.  There is nothing more to report at this time. –Holly Crawford

Engineer’s Office  http://www.engineersofficegallery.com/

Essence Of The Rock Essence Of The Rock Essence Of The Rock

Critical Converstions in a Limo

Critical Conversations in a Limo, San Francisco, Special Project Subversive Complicity, The LAB, San Francisco, May 1, 2008. Segments from NY and Melbourne will be screened at the LAB and Sesnon Gallery, UCSC May 1-28. This project is part of Intervene! Interrupt!

Special Projects, Amory Art Fair (Piers), New York City: Critical Conversations in a Limo 2006, Sound Art Limo 2007, Flatland Limo 2008
Sound Art Limo and Critical Conversations in a Limo, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Melbourne 2007





13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

This is the main page of this site specific installation / performance / participation / sculpture project.

Click on the links below to view the different site-specific installation photographs and reviews.
This project will only be installed 13 times.


#9, The Pico House Gallery, City of Los Angeles, CA, 2013

Sacred Memories will explore the world’s rituals that venerate the departed including Dia de los Muertos, first observed by the indigenous people of Latin America, China’s Qingming, Korea’s Chuseok, and other rituals practiced in United States, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.


#8, ART BOX, New York City, 2013

Creation and destruction, time and change, impermanence, indeterminacy, the ordinary. Latex is natural renewable material. It is the sap from a rubber tree. The balloons are made in the United States and Canada. A latex balloon will break down quickly with light and water, about the same as a banana.


#7, Galería y Centro Cultural Bosque Nativo, Chile, 2012

The invitation is to participate in the inflation from Monday 12 November to Thursday 15 November at the opening at 20 pm.

“‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” is a way to approach the creation and destruction, time and change, and is also a way to approach the international art in the basin of Lake Llanquihue.


#6- The LAB, New York City, 2007

#6-2007, The LAB, New York City, May 16-25, 2007 This was a fish bowl with low ceilings and scaffolding. Space with lots of viewers, but they were not allowed into the space. I let many in because that is part of the project. Many looked and commented from the windows that are on 2 sides of the space. I had not intended for people to only look from the outside. I was not ready to have them popped, but there are schedules.


#5- Riverside Art Museum, CA, 2006

#5- 2006, Riverside Art Museum, CA. November 17-Dec 31. Reception Dec 7, 2006 Soaring ceilings. Great restaurant. School children. Popped twice, once in the middle and once when I was not there at the end.


# 4- London, SeOne, 2006

# 4- 2006, London, SeOne, Oct 13-14, 2006 Black walls and ceiling. All other spaces have been a white box. Used helium and floated masses up to the soaring ceiling. Low lighting and thousand plus people. Looked great. Left at 3 am. Exhausted. Told people they could pop them when they floated down.


# 3- Colorelefante Gallery, Valencia, Spain,2005

I was there for almost a week before the official opening. The space was open and people would stop and look into the space. Some would come in and for awhile. The floor had three kinds of Spanish tile, so at the very last minute my brother Bill and I inflated 100 5 inch round and I dropped them on the floor. It was very good idea. I did this again, but more at RAM. There were close to 100 people at the opening. I decided only one form would be popped at the time. Carlos had a private popping. He told me too many people want to pop them.


# 2 Berlin, 2004

Large space with very high ceilings. I had 3 weeks. At the opening I had the electric inflator and balloons. The idea was that anyone could help inflate and drop into the pile. I would them mass. Some were inflated. I inflated many over the 3 week period. I would assemble and when I would return some had fallen apart. It seems she decided to air the space out and open the windows every morning. I did many different forms.


#1, U.S. Consulate Gallery, Florence, 2002

U.S. Consulate Gallery. I had help inflating all the black balloons. They were all inflated and then I decided what to do. I also inflated 100 646 airships and tied black string to them and handed one to everyone who came. The left overs I let go in the room and the floated up to the ceiling. Around midnight I looked in and took some pictures.

The Consulate was surrounded by the Italian police. Someone around the first of September 2001 had placed a bomb on the gas pipe on the outside wall of the Consulate.

If I wanted my installation up for more than a week I had to pay for security to sit in the gallery. I was going to do this, but then I decided it was long enough and I would just invite people in to pop them. We all took turns falling into the 2×60 twisters that formed a large haystack of black balloons before I passed out pins.

13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Click image or here to visit Amazon and learn more about this catalog 

Photographs and text description of conceptual art project with reference to Wallace Steven’s poem by the same title. Illusion of simple forms and material as they are connected into different masses on different places worldwide. The project was participation and performative.