An Iranian acquaintance of the family shows Shahryar Nashat a photograph of Cy Twombly and Robert Rauschenberg in Rome in 1961. He thinks to himself, “Boy, these two are having a good time.”
September 5, 1992
SN turns 17.
At a student show, SN shows his first artwork. Fruit–a Super 8mm film depicting Eric eating a strawberry–is an excuse for the artist to get closer to his friend, on whom he has a crush.
SN moves to Rome for a few months. He eventually meets Luigi Ontani. But Twombly evades him.
On a visit to the Frick Collection in New York, SN lingers over a line in the audioguide describing a Velazquez painting as having been “hung high for dramatic impact.”
SN relocates to Berlin.
On a visit to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, SN sees for the first time Paul Thek’s Hippopotamus from the ”Technological Reliquaries.” He grasps the importance of ambivalence.
An unexpected visitor shows up at SN’s studio in Los Angeles and inadvertently leans against an unfinished wall work.
Raffi, the artist’s fabrication assistant, finalizes the artwork by impressing his sweaty shoulder onto the bare surface of the unwaxed plaster.
“Yea high,” says SN to 356 Mission Road’s #sweetpreparator, using the installer’s shoulder as reference point for the height of the work.
SN and his dealer settle on the dates and ideas for a new exhibition at the gallery.
An impasse: Having embarked upon the idea of making a work in relation to Agnes Martin, SN finds himself dissuaded after reading the following words by Jo Baer on the late artist: “The lyrical is not my meat.”
December 12, 2016
A trigger: In a Twombly catalogue from the year 1987, on loan from an art school library, SN stumbles upon the words “FRUIT FLY,” scrawled in blue ink, along the margins by a previous reader.
January 15, 2017
SN casts Leo, a young Afghan-American teenager, as a stand-in for himself at the age of 17.
January 19, 2017
SN shoots the footage for Psych Twombly, in which a pillow becomes a prop.
January 23, 2017
Rather than mark the opening of the exhibition, SN and the dealer decide to host a closing event on March 24th 2017.
February 20, 2017
“Are you using your biography as a display mechanism?” asks Adam, SN’s boyfriend, over the phone.
February 25, 2017
Mean Dream & Shoulder Regime opens in London.
Cy Twombly and Rauschenberg, Rome, 1961
Photo: Mario Schifano, © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome