Stephen Prina

The Way He Always Wanted It

March 28 - May 2, 2009

537 W 22nd Street

Friedrich Petzel Gallery is pleased to present "The Way He Always Wanted It", an exhibition of new work by Stephen Prina.

THE WAY HE ALWAYS WANTED IT first appeared in Stephen Prina's work as the title of an unrealized sound installation, scored in 1979 for a re-spatialization of Arnold Schönberg's "Sechs kleine Klavierstücke" ("SixLittle Piano Pieces"), 1911, for one thousand eighty-one loudspeakers.
Its next appearance was as a component of Haberdashery, 2002. THE WAY HE ALWAYS WANTED IT II, 2008, is a 35mm film, shot at Ford House, a Bruce Goff-designed home in Aurora, Illinois, with a musical score derived from fragments of music written by Goff before he abandoned music composition at the age of thirty, with the defense that there were fewer great modern architects than composers so that he would have a better chance at leaving his mark as an architect. A place is held for this film in the context of the exhibition by a poster announcing two screenings of it: one at Anthology Film Archives, Monday, March 30, 2009, and one at Harvard Film Archive, May 3, 2009.

THE WAY HE ALWAYS WANTED IT III, 2009--the first video installation Prina will have made since 1976--uses an outtake from the aforementioned film to give body to this work.

THE WAY HE ALWAYS WANTED IT IV, 2009, is an edition of twenty photographs, culled from yet another outtake of the film project, frame enlargements of which have been selected and assembled to encourage close readings of small details.

THE WAY HE ALWAYS WANTED IT V, 2005-09, is a series of watercolors with graphite, made en plein air in Los Angeles, using a retrospective of slogans and linguistic motives from Prina's work--including "It's in our own best interests.", "It was the best he could do at the moment.", "WE REPRESENT OURSELVES TO THE WORLD.", AND "SJP"--as a scaffold of language, functioning
as a pre-existing scheme to which the artist must respond. Blind Painting, No. 3, Fifteen-foot Ceiling or Lower (THE WAY HE ALWAYS WANTED IT/Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York), 2009, completes the chiasmus, with surplus, upon which this exhibition is built.

Stephen Prina divides his time between Los Angeles, California and Cambridge, Massachusetts where he is a professor at Harvard University. Surveys of his work include "It was the best he could do at the moment," 1992, Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen Rotterdam and "To the People of
Frankfurt am Main: At Least Three Types of Inaccessibility," 2000, Frankfurter Kunstverein; The Second Sentence of Everything I Read Is You, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden andCentro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaeno, Sevilla, 2008. One-person exhibitions have been mounted at Kunsthall Bergen, Art Pace, San Antonio; DAAD Galerie, Berlin; Los Angeles Municipal Gallery;
Museé d'art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva; P.S.1 Museum, New York; The Power Plant, Toronto; The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago; University Art Museum, University of California Santa Barbara, as well as in
Cologne, Düsseldorf, London, Paris, Seoul, and Vienna. He has participated in Documenta IX, The Venice Biennale XLIV, 51st Carnegie International, and in exhibitions at Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Concerts of his music have been staged in Athens, Beacon, Berlin, Boston, Dijon, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Los Angeles, New
York, Osaka, Seoul, Tokyo, and Vienna. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Kunstlerhaus Bethanien Philip Morris Kunstförderung, an Engelhard Foundation Fellowship, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. Recordings of his music are available on Drag City, Chicago, and organ of corti, Los Angeles.

This will be Stephen Prina's sixth exhibition with Friedrich Petzel Gallery. The exhibition will open on Saturday, March 28 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM and will remain on view through May 2. Friedrich Petzel Gallery is located at 537 West 22nd Street, New York, New York 10011. For further information, please contact the gallery at info@petzel.com, or call (212) 680-9467.


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  • 1 / 8
    The Way He Always Wanted It
    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2009
  • 2 / 8
    The Way He Always Wanted It
    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2009
  • 3 / 8
    The Way He Always Wanted It VI (Cold Press/English)
    2005-2009
    Watercolor, graphite, aluminum, suite of twenty watercolors
    Each 19.25 x 25.25 inches
  • 4 / 8
    The Way He Always Wanted It
    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2009
  • 5 / 8
    The Way He Always Wanted It IV
    2009
    Inkjet on rag paper, walnut
    Suite of twenty photographs each: 16.5 x 19.5 inches
  • 6 / 8
    The Way He Always Wanted It
    Installation view
    Friedrich Petzel Gallery
    2009
  • 7 / 8
    The Way He Always Wanted It III
    2009
    3 Panasonic PT-LB800 projectors, 2 M-Audio Bx5a speakers, 1 Kramer Audio splitter, 1 Pioneer Pro DVD V7400 player, Monster audio cable, Baltic birch plywood, carpet
  • 8 / 8
    The Way He Always Wanted It III
    2009
    3 Panasonic PT-LB800 projectors, 2 M-Audio Bx5a speakers, 1 Kramer Audio splitter, 1 Pioneer Pro DVD V7400 player, Monster audio cable, Baltic birch plywood, carpet
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The publication contains the following texts:
"From Frame to Page: On Galerie Max Hetzler" by Janelle Porter
"The Mobile Site" by James Meyer
"A Collectors as Photographer" by Wilhelm Schürmann

Published by UCLA Hammer Museum in collaboration with the Department of Art, Critical and Curatorial Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

© 2004 The Regents of the University of California

ISBN: 0-943739-26-8