Gareth Long - He knew many things, but he knew them all badly.

He knew many things, but he knew them all badly.

September 16 - October 22, 2016
Kate Werble Gallery

…my I.Q. is one of the highest - and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault
- Donald Trump, tweet on May 8, 2013

Stupidity does not sit on one side and Intelligence on the other, they’re like Vice and Virtue–it takes an awfully shrewd mind to tell them apart.
- Gustave Flaubert, letter to Louis Bouilhet, 1855

In the age of the smartphone, what does it mean to be stupid? This is one of the questions that Gareth Long addresses in his new exhibition, He knew many things, but he knew them all badly. Despite increased access to information and widespread knowledge, stupidity is here celebrated as a virtue, a generative means of production, and an alternative model of thought.

A central work in this exhibition is He knew many things, but he knew them all badly (counting waves). A monument to stupidity and remedial learning, this 24-foot wave-like curtain draws on a lost comedic epic written by Homer about a man called Margites, An exceedingly simple man, Margites went down to the sea to count the waves, an impossible task for anybody, but even more so for Margites, who couldn’t count past five. In this work, the edges of Margites’ numerical universe are paired with geometric shapes resembling children’s educational toys.

The motif of learning tools is continued in other pieces in the exhibition. Long has created new sculptural objects that repurpose designer butterfly chairs into semi-functional children’s bead mazes, a wood-block wall sculpture that imitates the shape of one of the fragments of Homer’s epic, text drawings, and an animation that attempts endlessly to fit a square peg into a round hole.

For Long, such futile acts are recouped into a moment of tranquillity, in which the ephemeral and the inoperative exceeds the functional and the prosaic.

The gods taught him neither to dig nor to plough, nor any other skill; he failed in every craft
- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 6.7

Gareth Long - He knew many things, but he knew them all badly.

He knew many things, but he knew them all badly (counting waves), detail, 2016

UVA inkjet on fabric, custom curtain rod
288 x 114 inches

Gareth Long - He knew many things, but he knew them all badly.

Installation view

Gareth Long - He knew many things, but he knew them all badly.

Installation view

Gareth Long - He knew many things, but he knew them all badly.

Installation view

Gareth Long - He knew many things, but he knew them all badly.

Installation view

Gareth Long - Stupid Learning Tool 1.

Stupid Learning Tool 1, 2016

Steel, wood, paint
31 1/2 x 29 1/2 x 34 3/5 inches

Gareth Long - Stupid Learning Tool 1.

Stupid Learning Tool 1, 2016

Steel, wood, paint
31 1/2 x 29 1/2 x 34 3/5 inches

Gareth Long - Stupid Learning Tool 2.

Stupid Learning Tool 2, 2016

Steel, wood, paint
31 1/2 x 29 1/2 x 34 3/5 inches

Gareth Long - Stupid Learning Tool 2.

Stupid Learning Tool 2, 2016

Steel, wood, paint
31 1/2 x 29 1/2 x 34 3/5 inches

Gareth Long - The Gods taught him neither to dig nor to plough, nor any other skill, he failed at every craft

The Gods taught him neither to dig nor to plough, nor any other skill, he failed at every craft, 2016

Wood, paint
64 x 78 inches

Gareth Long - The Gods taught him neither to dig nor to plough, nor any other skill, he failed at every craft

The Gods taught him neither to dig nor to plough, nor any other skill, he failed at every craft, 2016

Wood, paint
64 x 78 inches

Gareth Long - He knew many things, but he knew them all badly (And misfortunes often occur, so that it would be best to live [if at all] like Homer’s Margites, doing nothing and knowing nothing.)

He knew many things, but he knew them all badly (And misfortunes often occur, so that it would be best to live [if at all] like Homer’s Margites, doing nothing and knowing nothing.), 2016

Graphite on paper
19 3/8 x 26 x 1 1/2 inches (framed)

Gareth Long - . . . at once ran up . . . afraid . . . the fellow domestic’s . . . she avoiding . . . “. . . and examine my . . .” . . . house . . . her (un)veiled . . . sword . . .,

. . . at once ran up . . . afraid . . . the fellow domestic’s . . . she avoiding . . . “. . . and examine my . . .” . . . house . . . her (un)veiled . . . sword . . ., 2016

Graphite on paper
19 3/8 x 26 x 1 1/2 inches (framed)

Gareth Long - . . . [like Paris] when he saw Helen and . . . in the groves . . . of Aphrodite . . . [mai]dens of like age . . . cleanly . . . his new marr[iage in a sho]rt [time he consummated manfully,] as when Heracles first made love [to lovely-haired, rose-armed Hebe] . . .
with feet . . . to the accompaniment of a harp . . . g[la]d . . . fr[om his troub]les . . .

. . . [like Paris] when he saw Helen and . . . in the groves . . . of Aphrodite . . . [mai]dens of like age . . . cleanly . . . his new marr[iage in a sho]rt [time he consummated manfully,] as when Heracles first made love [to lovely-haired, rose-armed Hebe] . . . with feet . . . to the accompaniment of a harp . . . g[la]d . . . fr[om his troub]les . . ., 2016

Graphite on paper
19 3/8 x 26 x 1 1/2 inches (framed)

Gareth Long - . . . bl]adder, and with hand outstretched [he set his dick to] the pot, and thrust [it in. Then in two] pinches he was caught . . . while in the chamber pot . . . and it was impossible to get it out . . . and he very soon pissed into it . . . He thought of a new stratagem . . . [He jumped up,] leaving the [warm] bed . . . [opened] the doors and ran out . . . through the dark night . . . and . . . his hand . . . through the dark night . . . and no torch [he had] . . . unlucky he[ad] . . . thought it was a stone . . . and with his stout hand . . . [sma]shed the pot [on it . . .

. . . bl]adder, and with hand outstretched [he set his dick to] the pot, and thrust [it in. Then in two] pinches he was caught . . . while in the chamber pot . . . and it was impossible to get it out . . . and he very soon pissed into it . . . He thought of a new stratagem . . . [He jumped up,] leaving the [warm] bed . . . [opened] the doors and ran out . . . through the dark night . . . and . . . his hand . . . through the dark night . . . and no torch [he had] . . . unlucky he[ad] . . . thought it was a stone . . . and with his stout hand . . . [sma]shed the pot [on it . . ., 2016

Graphite on paper
19 3/8 x 26 x 1 1/2 inches (framed)

Gareth Long - Stupid Learning Tool 1.

Stupid Learning Tool 1, 2016

Steel, wood, paint
31 1/2 x 29 1/2 x 34 3/5 inches

Gareth Long - Stupid Learning Tool 2.

Stupid Learning Tool 2, 2016

Steel, wood, paint
31 1/2 x 29 1/2 x 34 3/5 inches