"Casual Cruelties" at the First Year Show

More First Year Show Re-Cap

I’m looking back a bit on the month of March, as I was quite busy with the First Year Show.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I was pleased with everything I achieved with the show. At first, I considered doing a new project for the First Year Show, as it was a new semester and I wanted to keep moving forward with my work. On second thought, however, I noted that there wasn’t THAT much time to complete a new project, especially given that the curator (a woman who works at MoMA) would be coming to my studio to visit in mid-January.

Things kicked off in mid-January when the curator was scheduled to come into the studio to talk about my prospective project in the show. Not very long before she visited, I decided to make the video presentation more of an installation than simply a video display. I took two of the pillars I had created for the video and stacked the three video monitors on top of each other in a vertical configuration. I got that idea from a visiting lecturer, who I’d love to keep in touch with, though it’s obvious that he’s quite mercurial. I’ve had to deal with a number of mercurial people, recently….  More on that later.

To make the piece more of an installation, I figured that I might as well include some of the pieces that I used to film the video, including the wooden stockades I built and the black horse stool on which many of the pieces were recorded. Since the video “tower” would sit in a corner, I thought that I should build out a somewhat symmetrical set of “wings” to the sides, so I placed the stockades on one side and a triangular piece of wood that I used in the video on the other. A visiting faculty member insightfully pointed out that the triangular piece was seemingly peripheral to the piece, and she was correct. I simply used it to balance out the composition of the entire installation in the show, with the excuse that one could see the piece in the video.

I must note the degree to which chance and serendipity contributed to the piece, as I found the black horse outside of my studio in the move-in days, and the piece of wood was also a readymade find, in the back room where I filmed the “Pie Stockade” segment. Another visiting curator suggested that I actually include the buckets of candy I used in the “Sugar Board” segment of the video, and I complied with that.

Speaking of the candy, it was again a result of serendipity that I used individually wrapped hard candies, which people watching the video could not separate from their connections with Felix Gonzalez-Torres. I don’t mind the association, although I chose separated hard candies because I figured that they would not come out in a large clump like marshmallows might if I used them. They were cheaper, too than marshmallows at Jack’s 99 cent store.

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