• This is killing me

    Curated by Diana Nawi. MASSMOCA Text by Diana Nawi: Often combining found and fabricated objects, Joe Zane’s work revolves around failure and success, both imagined and real. ZANE (2006), a sculpture of the artist’s own last name, is made to look like a neon sign. Because it is constructed from vinyl tubing, plastic, and wire, the sign will never light up, and its apparent ambition, to put Zane’s name in lights, is rendered unattainable. FEATHER IN MY CAP (2009) evokes a similar combination of confidence and pathos. Piled in a window and comprising two second-places medals accompanied by honorable-mention ribbons (one simply says “participant”), the work is an attempt on behalf of the artist to award himself tangiable yet unheroic accolades. Counter to these displays of failure is I WISHED I WAS A GIANT (2006-2009), a series of book and magazines that the artist made based on well-known publications. These include his do-it-yourself, unathorized, and unpublished Phaidon monograph, a special issue of Parkett dedicated to him, an Artforum with him on the cover, and an issue of Avalanche (defunct by 1976) focused on him. Also included are guerrilla insertions of Zanes’s work into seminal art historical texts. Together with his medals, these fictionalized publications lampoon Zane’s unfulfilled wishes for critical attention, but they also suggest the hopeful and potentially self-fulfilling possibility that his work will find its place in (art) history.