My new set of work is an attempt to get out of the studio and into the world.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
I must again remind myself that THIS is the time to experiment and do things and let people know that I’m doing it while in school. School is a buffer and a frame, and I need to make sure to highlight the frame in what I do.
This new set of work is an attempt to create in the tradition of those artists who worked outside of the studio and in a public setting. People who I look to as examples are David Wojnarowicz, who organized exhibitions in the abandoned piers off of the West side of Manhattan, Jenny Holzer, whose early work consisted of wheat-pasted “Truisms” that quoted various sources, along with her own ideas. Also, Chris Burden, who placed television ads during odd times in the Los Angeles area. Jean Michel Basquiat spread his SAMO graffitti all over Soho in the early eighties, and, of course, Keith Haring, whose “Subway Drawings” are a major inspiration for me.
The main point that is similar for all of these people, and proves far different for me, is that they had a lot of use of “abandoned” or “disused” or “unkempt” spaces: Places that I don’t really have. The public space has been taken up by commercial interests, and walls are highly policed, at this point. And, as I’ve said many, many times before, a White man who does unauthorized work on walls is a “street artist” or “outlaw,” where as a Black man doing it is simply a “criminal” and will be treated as such. So, I’m working on solutions to this problem, and I’m almost there. I have to integrate the Internet in all of this, as well, so I have work to do. But I have to do it, NOW!
I want to make a count of how many days I have in this semester, just so I can set goals and get things done, with efficiency. I talked to a classmate of mine who noted that his school time was mostly devoted,to studio work. He described himself as a “hermit.” I appreciate that. I want to make sure that I, too, leave this school with a cohesive body of work.
I performed my presentation in the Queer Theory and New Materialism class, today. It was quite successful. In my very careful way, I actually packed up a monitor and all of the necessary accoutrement for showing the slides that I had created in class. It was a rainy day, so I carefully made use of a set of shopping bags I had saved from the move-in and lugged the screen and wires and connectors to school. I was relieved to find that there was a working screen and computer at the school, but I’m glad that I was prepared, nonetheless.
On a funny note, the Professor keeps talking about this notion of “De-Colonization,” which is a very vague term, at the least. As applied to the class, she insisted that there was no set structure or “way of doing things.” I took that sentiment to heart, when “leading” the class, as she called it. I prepared all of my slides and examined the assigned readings and viewings through a personal lens. At some point — and maybe only nineteen minutes into my presentation — the professor interrupted me and asked if I would allow space for questions. She was a bit imperious in her suggestion, so I thought it was quite funny that she was repeating this “colonial” stance, so she could wrest control of the class, again, and spend the rest of the time talking. Whatever. I’m certainly no “Right-Winger,” but I chafe at these so-called “Liberal” people in academia and otherwise who claim to be so self-righteously progressive but don’t really stand up to their own proclaimed values. It’s fine, just curious and quite tragically funny.