The Home Show in general: 1988, 1996
In August, 1986 Betty Klausner, then Director of the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, read in the NY Times “…about an exhibition in Ghent, Belgium, titled ‘Chambres d’Amis.'” Klausner continues (in the 1988 catalog “Home Show”) “There, in an unprecedented way, art had been expanded into the home. I recognized the brilliance of the concept and the appropriateness of it for Santa Barbara.”
From this ‘at a distance’ encounter with an idea was born that original exhibition “Home Show,” which offered ten artists “with an opportunity to create and show work in a related-to-life context different from the conventional circuit of gallery/museum/public place. The exhibition also stands as a provocative reaction and response to the increasing commodification of art. […] “Home Show offers us an opportunity to look at and think about art in a new way.” (Funny that in 1988 an increasing commodification of art was a concern. What on earth would Klausner think of the past decade in contemporary art?)
The artists included in the 1988 Home Show:
Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler
Ann Hamilton “…my choice to work at Jill’s [the home of Jill K. Barnitz] was motivated not in response to the specific architecture or site but to the tone that already existed in the home as a place. I found comfort and tranquility and chaos.”
Jim Isermann “By blurring the distinctions btwn handmade and mass produced objects, and populist and elitest theory popular culture is elevated to the level of art, and art is revealed as interior decoration.”
Joseph Kosuth “The pervasive influence of Freud continues to generate an effect on our reading of numerous cultural codes. We know where it locates itself, we can’t say where it doesn’t. ‘Looking for meaning’ in a Freudian context, out of context, provides a certain self-reflexivity in an art context about that process itself…” [excerpt from “No Exit,” Artforum, March, 1988 and the exhibition catalog.]
Kosuth also participated in the Ghent exhibition “Chambres d’Amis.”
Erika Rothenberg “(The Celebrity Simulator is) designed to make ordinary Americans feel as important as people on TV.” “If you want your family and friends to pay attention to what you say, now you can say it on TV, right in your own home.”
Ursula von Rydingsvard “I wanted this space [a World War II bunker perched above the Pacific Ocean] to be a sanctuary or retreat.” And from Dore Ashton’s essay, “…von Rydingsvard has resorted to the recurrent game of artists: they create a constricting framework (such as the sonnet form in poetry or the rectangle of the frame in a painting) in order to create their own absolute freedom within, defying at each moment the self-imposed limitation.”
Essays are by Klausner, Dore Ashton and Howard S. Becker.
Home Show² celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum in 1996. SBCAF Director Nancy Doll worked with Curatorial Committee composed of Isabel Barbuzza, Elizabeth A. Brown, Michael Darling and Anthony Slayter-Ralph and with Coordinator Eve Rappoport. A cool feature of the relatively brief exhibition catalog is a series of postcards – each featuring a photograph of the home with artist installation and the title of the piece. “Postcards From Home” this documentation project is titled.
The Home Show² artists and projects:
Vito Acconci – “Talking House” A house that talks. Talk within the privacy of one’s own home toes, now, away from home. The walls don’t have to have ears; it’s as if the walls burst open, as if the house bursts with talk, as if the house blows up and talk blows out of the house.
Margaret Crane and Jon Winet “Accommodations”
Dan Graham – “Video Projection Outside of Home” A large video projection screen is placed on the front lawn, facing pedestrians on the sidewalk. It shows an image of whatever TV program is being watched by the family on their TV set within the house. When the set is off, the video projector is off; when the channels are being changed, this is seen on the enlarged public screen outside the house. (In her introductory comments Director Nancy Doll notes that the home also has a large picture window which offers the audience a view from the sidewalk into the home and of the family watching TV.)
Haha – “Hotel Shorts” (Haha are Richard House, Wendy Jacob, Laurie Palmer and John Ploof)
Linda Hudson – “Moving In”
Jean Lowe – “Decorating Hints”
Pepon Osorio – “State of Preservation”
Buster Simpson – “The Silver Anniversary of ‘An American Family’”
George Stone – “Sinking Giant / Rising Shelter
Allan Wexler – “Five Yardsaver Homes”
These past Home Shows drew on local and international artists and from emerging and also quite famous practitioners. The artists engaged with the homes and with the home owners to greater and lesser degrees – mostly however, the artists did respond quite directly to the site and to the person. It is interesting to me that “home as a site” does imply – and even demand – consideration of a human individual or individuals.
Personhood as an aspect of site specificity – is this one of the considerations being investigated by Miki Garcia, curator of the upcoming (impending, even!) Home Show, Revisited? We have the opportunity to find out, and to join in conversation with Miki this coming Saturday, May 21 when the show opens in Santa Barbara.
SBCAF Part 3: The Home Show in general – 1988, 1996