The mural in the exhibition reprises a pattern from one of Auerbach’s previous projects. In 2018, the artist was commissioned to paint New York City’s John J. Harvey fireboat in a reinterpretation of what is known as “dazzle camouflage,” a World War I boat-painting strategy developed by the artist Norman Wilkinson. Rather than rendering a boat invisible, dazzle used repeating geometric patterns and high contrast to make its distance and speed difficult to gauge with range-finding equipment of the era. For Flow Separation, the title of the painted boat, Auerbach marbled over a hundred sheets of white paper with black ink to create a pattern that visualizes water’s surface tension and flow. Auerbach and collaborators from San Francisco’s New Bohemia Signs repainted the pattern, at the same scale, for the mural in S v Z.
Tauba Auerbach in collaboration with Cameron Mesirow, A.K.A. Glasser, Auerglass Organ, 2009; collection of the artist;
© Tauba Auerbach; photo: Max Farago
The Auerglass Organ (2009), conceived by Auerbach and the musician Glasser (Cameron Mesirow), depends on trust and coordination. The instrument cannot be played by a single person, as each player relies on the other to pump air into their pipes. The two sides of the instrument are just shy of symmetrical—a single keyboard is divided between them in alternating notes. It is a more personal expression of the concepts of complementarity, parity violation, connectedness, and co-emergence present throughout Auerbach’s work. Listen to the recordings above to hear a performance from Auerbach and Glasser that took place on February 29, 2019 in Hudson, New York.
Auerbach has had a lifelong preoccupation with handwriting and typography, designing typefaces and books that often relate to their work in painting, sculpture, and other media. The artist creates several original typefaces each year, for use in commissioned album art, an annual calendar, publications, announcements, and on their website. On view in the gallery are a selection of record covers, sleeves, and labels designed by Auerbach. Stream songs from select albums above or follow the playlist on Spotify for on-the-go listening.