The Subject of Ordinance
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“I have known Auden Klose ever since he got expelled from SVA a few years back. I will not go into detail on why we was kicked out, let’s just say his artwork had too much Are We Cool Yet? flair. I was the one who first introduced him to the movement, had him meet with artists, showed him galleries. Auden was excited, determined to match the level of edge and risk of some of the pieces. I found it endearing. He often talked to me about his thoughts, always asking for my opinion for every bit of sketch, every word, every idea that occasionally pops out of that odd head of his.

“Was I wrong to deny commentary that one time? Was I wrong to ask him ‘but what do you think?’ the last time we spoke?

Outdoor Object of Ordinance is, for lack of a better word, absurd. For the first time in two decades as an art critic, I cannot find the words to describe how I feel about Auden’s submission in 2014. Regardless of my personal feelings towards Outdoor Object of Ordinance and Auden, I believe it to be a reflective thinkpiece. It woke me up, got me thinking of what has become of the essence of Are We Cool Yet? since it was formed in 1874? I worry that it’s plummeted into a contest of who can make the most outrageous thing, empty without an idea behind the creative process. To me, Auden has successfully created a raw concept of irony, be it through a sincere submission or a practical joke.”

-Boris Mauclair, Auden Klose: A Biography (2018)

“What is Outdoor Object of Ordinance? Nothing. It is nothing. It is certainly miles away from what Auden Klose’s ‘associates’ describe it to be. Whatever Klose have said or written about it absolutely cannot convince me that this man did not simply buy a park bench, stare at it for a few minutes, and decide to bullshit his way up to success. That bench is not groundbreaking. It’s a bench, for God’s sake! Even speaking about it infuriates me. I swear I’m going to shoot something if you force me to say anything more about this.”

-Lucy Baxandall, Are We Cool Yet? Critics’ Meet-up Interview (2015)

“I can tell you Auden definitely did not expect the reception he received for Outdoor Object of Ordinance. Based on that reaction, I’m almost certain he submitted the bench as a joke. But I honestly wasn’t sure what he’d been thinking at the time, or if he even realised what kind of people make up the Are We Cool Yet? movement.

“Anyway, the critics liked that bench enough for it to draw a lot of attention from the rest of us. While some gazed at him with a wee twinkle in their eye, most were not impressed, and it really was funny for a while. I mean, Auden divided people with a park bench. That had me laughing for days. The word to describe Auden Klose is ‘naive’, but I cannot fault him for not seeing the ultimate consequence of his submission. Even I didn't see it coming.”

-Griselda Kimmelman, Anartist Discussion Panel (2015)

“Outdoor Object of Ordinance was a stroke of unconventional genius. What Auden Klose made was an anomaly within context. To create a piece like such would involve the mind of a revolutionist. One would need a good amount of bravery to even think of something like it, especially for Are We Cool Yet? where statement matters most.

“As such a young addition to the movement, this fresh new approach enraged traditionalists. On the other hand, several would see this as the beginning of a postmodernist-esque era in Are We Cool Yet?. Klose’s death became a closing statement for his first and only contribution to the movement, a sort of signature for his thought-provoking ideology.”

-Eric Fuller, Underlined Muse: The Modern Cool (2017)

“I don’t know the kid, but yeah, I recognised him ‘cause he hung out in the park a lot, talked to me a couple a' times. I reckon he was some sorta hipster art student, the way he dressed and all. Anyway, I found him hanging around his usual spot but it was weird, y’know, no- not ‘cause it was about four in the morning. Sometimes he'd turn up around that time, that ain’t the weird part.

“So I saw him. He… He was just sitting there, cup of coffee in his hand. Thought he was just staring into space or he fell asleep or something, I dunno. Thought I’d check on him to see if he’s alright. But, um, no. He was dead, officer.

“… I dunno how he died. I found a piece of paper stuck on the bench. It said something fancy like… I can’t remember. Something like ‘ordinary’. I dunno, it was weird ass shit…”

-Anonymous, NYPD Interview (2014)

“Auden Gerard Klose was found at Central Park, Manhattan in the state of suspended animation out of anomalous causes. The individual or individuals responsible of this is unknown as of now, however evidence suggests it was done by associates of the underground terrorist group, Are We Cool Yet?, as Klose is known to be affiliated with the group. Klose has been deemed deceased in official documents and a team has been dispatched for cover-up protocol. Containment specialists are currently in the process of safely transporting Klose to Site-28.

“Note: Investigation shows Klose’s only contribution to Are We Cool Yet? is an installation titled ‘Outdoor Object of Ordinance’. The object has been terminated under the order of Researchers Kelly and Reynolds shortly after dispatch to Site-28 due to lack of evidence of anomalous properties.”

-Special Agent Deandra Moore, Field Report 132-414 (2014)

“Nothing about Auden Klose is 'normal' by any standard. He is the type of person who cannot fit in any group, too outrageous for ‘regular’ artists, too simple for Are We Cool Yet?, et cetera. I admire that about him, how delightfully opposite he is from his recent submission, Outdoor Object of Ordinance. I have been in the movement longer than he has, and I am beyond impressed of how little it took for him to get it.

"I am not afraid to admit that I am obsessed with Auden Klose and his bench. He has inspired me to create an installation piece as an homage for his. I already know what I'm going to call it; ‘Subject of Ordinance’.”

-Hormazd Mullen, Subject of Ordinance Process Journal (2014)

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