As the first ever artist in history to sell the shadow of a sculpture, Bret Barrett is often described as one of the underground gems of the American Low Brow/Alternate/Pop-Surreal movement.
How does one sell the shadow of a sculpture? Well it wasn't done on purpose, as an article in the San Diego Union Tribune noted:
A man approached him at a Zepf Alt show, wanting to buy the shadow of one of Barrett’s motorized sculptures. Not the artwork, just the shadow. Barrett is still amused by the memory.
“When the guy approached me, I was like...right. I’ve dealt with so many nutballs over the last thirty years selling art. I was like, ‘Oh, thank you very much.’ I walked away and kept talking to others. He approached me a second time and said, ‘No, I’m serious. I want the shadow.’”
At this point Barrett’s neighbor, Dan Allen, sticks his head in the door. Allen researched conceptual pieces from Sol LeWitt, Franz Kline, and Carrie Mae Weems, eventually determining that Barrett was the first artist to ever sell a shadow. “It’s a remembrance of an object,” Allen explains. “The buyer sees the sculpture, and he sees the shadow, and he takes the thing that relies on the other, and holds proprietary over that. That’s never been done before.”
-Susan Myrland, 2012
Barrett ended up selling the shadow of his kinetic piece What The Nug? (pictured here) by recording a video of it for the buyer.
Appetite For Visions
AI's Self Discovery
What The Nug?
What The Nug? Shadow
Triste Pequeno Payaso
Early Worm Gets The Bird 2