ART396 Trying Out Positions was a course Broodthaers Society director Joe Scanlan taught at Princeton University in the Spring of 2016. The class devoted one month each to the writings of four contemporary visual artists, after which students stepped into the artists' sjhows and "made" current versions of their work, based on the students' interpretations. Here is the course description as it appeared in Princeton's online course offerings:
Artists have long deployed language as a kind of satellite hovering in the vicinity of their artworks, influencing the artworks' reception. The style and method of this language varies greatly and does not always match the accompanying work. This studio seminar will engage students in contemporary art theory and practice by taking up this critical aspect of art-making, that is, the artist producing language that stakes out a position in relation to their visual work. Focus will be on four artists: Marcel Broodthaers, Andrea Fraser, Adrian Piper, and Peter Fischli & David Weiss, two of whom will have a major presence in the vicinity this Spring.
One discovery from the class in relation to Broodthaers is the poem titled L'oiseau de feu
, illustrated above, which was published in a modest brochure on the work of Belgian painter R. J. Raine and which appears to be a "B-side" left out of La Bête Noire
, Broodthaers' third poetry collection self-published in 1961. The brochure was published the following year by Galerie Saint-Laurent, Brussels. Broodthaers is credited with the portrait of Jean Raine as well.
A second discovery was an interview that Broodthaers conducted with Ludo Bekkers, a Flemish public radio journalist, for the museumjournal
of The Netherlands in 1971. The interview is somewhat unusual in its candor, as it lacks both a reverent interviewer and an evasive interviewee.
Neither L'oiseau de Feu
nor the Bekkers interview are included in Gloria Moure's Marcel Broodthaers, Collected Writings