Sometimes you just want to have a reception, or, what happened to a project I did a while ago– Part 2
Then the actors spoke. I had only given them the most bare bones of instructions, and I was worried when they talked to people but curious at the same time. They were acting out the way they thought artists would act. And sometimes that just meant being self-involved or pretentious.
That spring and summer, I talked to a bunch of people about the project. People asked if I wanted to hurt people or take advantage of the actors’ naivete, the audience’s credulity, etc. I was sure that I felt uncomfortable exploiting anyone. The discussion became really disconnected from my initial interest in the project.
At Norfolk a TA told me that I did the whole show to show my own paintings, and that it seemed that I was obsessed with the art world. (In all fairness, I was also silk screen printing the collection of artists contact information–but still–that wasn’t about the “art world” to me either). It made people a little uncomfortable, in a way that reminds me of how people respond to Donelle Woolford, where we can’t really tell how racist that project is.
A few months later, Joel Vetsch (who played Simon Kalnin in my show) made this video. I couldn’t watch it all the way through until today. I cringed at the way I talked. That this video was on the internet, just floating around. And it wasn’t something I had made. The only thing I talked to Joel about was whether or not his video would “reveal” that I had orchestrated the show. I didn’t want him to tell people, I wanted people to be able to believe it even for a few minutes.
The more people I involved in the project the less control I felt I had in how it was all received. And my efforts to deflect attention from the maker only magnified that attention.
Sometimes the least obvious part of a project is what is most important to me… I saw the gallery and the receptions as forms. I liked systems. I can admit now that sometimes you just want to have a reception. You want to make things and think about them, buy your friends beer and cheese.