I inevitably deal with the thought of a bunch of my work going up somewhere (in this case, at the fair in Miami) by brainstorming for future exhibits. The idea I have right now is very raw and just something I started chewing on, so I have no idea how much sense it makes.
Basically, I’ve been thinking about a few things: the way which I never deal with the period of time when I was a teenager (either in my own head or in my work – it’s always either me as a child or me as an adult); the influence of industrial music on me growing up and, in particular, the relationship to me and my gender and industrial music (this is an awkward way of explaining that there were simply NO women industrial musicians that we all listened to as teenagers, and that I was quite aware of this at the time); the weird place and time that I grew up in, which in retrospect seems idyllic, even if I hated it at the time.
One of the things that was great about NJ in the late 80s/early 90s is that it was reasonably cheap to open a retail store. So you had tons of these weird retail shops that seemed to have the strangest business models imaginable. I remember going to one place that was like a Yayoi Kusama installation (I was 15 or so, so I certainly didn’t know who she was) – a big, open storefront with mirrors on the walls, white ceilings and floors, and in the middle of the room, a single pedestal with a black cat sleeping at its base, on which a bong sat. Seriously, what the hell was that? I look back on that sort of thing and wonder if I dreamed it. What about the health food store where all the communists would hang out and eat frozen tofutti and talk about overthrowing the government? Or the main hangout of me and my friends, a cafe that specialized in espresso and industrial music?
These places were an absolute haven for me. They were retail with no real retail… the shop owners, not under incredible pressure to pay the bills, weren’t in any rush to push to the door the teens who hung out at them. A couple of kids sitting around nursing $2 espressos for hours? No problem. I think about these places all the time, and how there’s nothing like them anymore.
Anyway. Using that as a launching off point, I came up with this proposal that in a weird way, pays tribute to those places. In particular, to a record store my friends and I went to all the time, and a cafe in Edgewater, NJ (the cafe has moved and then reopened as a restaurant – I haven’t been there since I was 17, but I was pleasantly surprised by the photos online to see that it looks largely the same). I used the floorplan of BravinLee as a basis for the proposal, but I haven’t talked to them about it or anything – I just needed something to work with:
The idea is that in the main space there would be drawings all over the walls, and in the middle stacks of these “fake records” I’ve been making (more on that in a future post) so that at first glance it looks like someone selling off their record collection during a drawing show. But then as you look around and flip through the records, you see that there are these connections between the work on the walls (my drawings) and what’s in the record bins. The drawings are “precious objects” and sell for whatever my work sells for; the albums are around $10 each (maybe $20 if they’re full length or something). There will be about 500 records and maybe 50 drawings.
On one of those walls are three ink drawings of the three places that inspired this installation: Cafe Enigma, Cafe Soundz, and Two Tone. Soundz is still there but is now just a record store; Two Tone long ago switched hands, but was your standard punk rock t-shirt/jewelry/clothing store. Coming out of the project space in the back would be this sort of tunnel that would lead you into the next room. The next room would be like a cave (which is to say that it would refer to the bizarre style of what was once Cafe Enigma), with brown paper covering the walls, ceiling and floor. You would have to enter into this tunnel in the main space and then walk through to the project space, where you would come upon two benches, made from the same material as was covering the walls, ceiling and floors. In the middle of the “cave” would be a chandelier hanging over a table on which there is a small, utopian village made out of cut paper, watercolor, and text. There would be headphones around that would play my naive attempts to recreate industrial music with a feminist angle (this will likely be horrible, but I like the premise and the idea enough that it doesn’t matter to me what the end result is).
I’m thinking a lot about juxtaposing my very “feminine” drawings with what was a very “masculine” space. I put quotes around those words because in my mind, my work isn’t necessarily that feminine, and the space of a record store/hangout isn’t exactly masculine… but those are the words that I think can come closest to describing what I mean.
Does any of this make any sense at all? I’m not sure, but I like where it’s going.
(Update, several days later: I’m starting to think what I want to have is one or two very large drawings in the main space, with smaller drawings in the smaller space. Not a huge change, but things are starting to solidify in my head a bit.)