relationships as art
Today, links to a few more projects and artists working in the realm of New Genre Public Art.
First, Stephanie Diamond, a New York-based artist who has worked within museum, community, school, non-profit, and gallery settings for the past fifteen years, incorporating careful research and the building of lasting relationships into all projects. According to her artist’s statement, “She not only believes that this is crucial for her work, she believes it is crucial for all community based practices. She believes an emphasis on the individual intentions and motivations of the artist are equally important as the community’s motivations and intentions. The experience of self-care, personal practice, and the desire for individual awareness are crucial to working with communities. In turn, her projects are poised to exist as living forms that serve their communities and the artist to their greatest potential.”
For more on Stephanie, click here.
This is radical stuff! Not only does New Genre Public Art turn the paradigm of art production and audience on its head by making community concerns central, it can elevate the making and sustaining of human relationships to the level of art. When the work of relationships is taken out from behind the closed doors of private homes, workplace offices, and therapist couches, we remember that our communities are at their heart built on relationships.
What if relationships were the pivotal tenet of all community or neighborhood planning? What if artists led such projects?
We all may know of individuals in our town that would likely scoff at this idea, maybe even individuals in positions of influence within the town and county who may not give artists or an arts-based economy the appropriate respect. To change their minds I’d suggest they take a look at Houston, where Project Row Houses, a project by artist Rick Lowe transformed a struggling neighborhood, provided needed affordable housing, and preserved/resurrected vital historic and cultural community values and relationships. With art as the vehicle for all this positive impact, the community members literally contribute their voices and visions along the way. Thus a sense of investment and pride resonates.
This art critic has some beefs with Lowe’s approach. I provide the link for those with more nimble art history knowledge and broader familiarity with academia than myself. Suffice to say the field of New Genre Public Art has been around long enough – a few decades – to evolve and critique itself from within.
I leave you with this image of yet another community based public art project, this one by Suzanne Lacy. Originally staged in Minnesota in 1987, The Crystal Quilt was a performance that featured 430 women over 60 years of age talking about their lives as their gathering created an eighty-two foot square tableau in the shape of a quilt.
If you happen to be in London this fall, The Crystal Quilt is on display at the Tate Modern.
I highly recommend the Tate’s video of Lacy talking about The Crystal Quilt. Beautiful!