2017 started off with a bang! Probably the most exciting thing has been my very first installation/performance piece. Let me preface this by saying I usually find performance art to be very uncomfortable as a viewer...I just end up feeling kind of embarrassed somehow, but this was a bit different.
One of my main teaching gigs is at Cerritos College, here in Southern Ca, and have we been fortunate enough to get a brand new building for the art department. We started teaching in it in January.
Our gallery director, James MacDevitt, sits on the board of the FAR Foundation, a group that helps artists who work outside of the traditional gallery scene. He had the brilliant idea to use the old Cerritos art building to host a FAR Bazaar to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the original (an alternative art show/installation) before it was torn down. There is a great article about it here. He organized more than 50 artists, art collectives and MFA programs from the region and each group was assigned a room of the old building where they could curate an installation of their choosing....the show was only up for two days, as the building was scheduled for demolition. It was an amazing event. The blog/website Art and Cake posted a great photo essay of the event.
As an adjunct faculty member I was offered one of the smaller spaces, which turned out to be the former faculty kitchen so I created my installation "the Adjunct Kitchen".
Here's my statement: The kitchen is a metaphor for a place of creation and it is the utilitarian production center of a home. It is where we prepare our meals and often serves as a meeting place for discussion or celebration.
Working in the kitchen is symbolic of my roll as adjunct faculty at Cerritos College and elsewhere. Although the term adjunct literally means “supplementary rather than an essential” I believe we are often the work horses of college education doing the foundational rearing of future (art) students.
I will use this kitchen as a space to make food and artwork that reference the suburban home and garden, using the space to bring into focus the connection between my roll as adjunct faculty and how that may mirror the roll of the domestic caretaker/mom/nanny.
Kitchens are often a magnet for social gathering and in keeping with the F.A.R. Foundation’s stated mission I hope this nurturing environment will foster dialogue and interaction between myself, as an artist working outside the traditional gallery circuit, and the public, while challenging the perceived disparities between domestic nurturing, teaching and art making.
To challenge the notion of art as commodity and to highlight to the relationship between creating (creator) and consuming (consumer), I will be giving away the food and artwork made in the space during the exhibition.
I spruced up the kitchen with a coat of paint, created a gallery space on one side, made wallpaper out of large format xeroxes of one of my paintings and rolled out real grass sod on the floor, it looked fantastic! Literally hundreds of people passed through my "kitchen" and just like at home people wanted to hang out there as a sanctuary from the "real" gathering. I had so many lovely discussions about my work and how often the weeds are more beautiful than the garden, the soup made from leftovers is better than the original meal....how so often the little bits we find between the big moments are the ones we remember. I also used my pasta machine as a printing press and gave away over a hundred intaglio prints that I printed right there on-site.
It was just last weekend so I am still processing the whole thing but I wanted to post some pictures.