“Home Show” 1988 again
Thanks to the valiant searches of my friends at the Contemporary Arts Forum I am able to share images of the 1988 installations. If you require a refresher, see the bottom of this post for links to past Home Show posts including writing on the two historical shows, 1988 and 1993.
I’ve a copy of the catalog in my hand and the power of internet searches, using these resources I’ll give you as much of a complete understanding (of the 1988 exhibition) as I am able.
Exhibition curator Betty Klausner states in her forward, “I recognized the brilliance of the concept (artist’s installations made public in private homes) and the appropriateness of it for Santa Barbara.” Her reference is to a 1986 New York Times article about a similar exhibition in Ghent. Klausner does not go on to elucidate her certainty of the city’s aptness for the project, but having now experienced Miki Garcia’s “Home Show, Revisited” (closing on July 21), and having also visited Santa Barbara several times, and studied up on the exhibitions and on the city, I recognize that part of the allure for the show is the city’s insular and somewhat xenophobic psychology. Who doesn’t want to poke around in the homes of others? And especially others who hold themselves apart.
As it happens the alphabet gives me my favorite image first, Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler’s “Picture Out of Doors.”
This is so simple an idea, to remove all the doors in the house and line them up in the living room. And it opens out in my head so, so sweetly and in several directions, at once and also progressively as I look more. As homeowners (and art professionals) David and Pat Farmer note in the catalog “(We) consented to temporarily giving up almost all of our ability to keep certain parts of our daily life private.” Later in the text they note, “The removal of a cupboard door in a little-used back hall was a heavy assault to our ego. The accumulation of unrelated, unneeded, unwanted items revealed on those dusty shelves was staggering. Furthermore, this massive evidence of procrastination hidden from the world, from ourselves, felt disgraceful.” [Ed. Ever think about that word, disgraceful? Separated from grace. Nice.] A bit later, “Like the classic dream of appearing nude before an audience of completely clothed viewers, life in spaces wide open to the gaze of non-intimates is fraught with frightening vulnerability.”
And then comes a moment I am beginning to recognize from my other Home Show related readings: the thrill of doing a thing against the norm, “We were more stimulated than embarrassed, more delighted than inconvenienced… we rearranged everything, including the laundry supplies, paying special attention to how the now visible objects affected our feeling about the space.”
Catalog essayist Dore Ashton characterized Ericson and Ziegler’s installation as sociological and didactic, noting that “One can have an intellectual response, by debating the functions of the hidden in human lives, or one can have a moral response by debating the nature of this clear invitation (although invited) of the traditional areas of privacy.”
Of their installation, Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler wrote, “With backgrounds in curating and directorship, the Farmers control forms of collecting and display for public appreciation withing the institutional boundaries of art. There are acceptable and prescribed codes that determine curatorial choices. These codes… are not unlike similar types of socially acceptable codes we use to determine the character of our living space… Choices which might seem unique and personal are predetermined for us.”
“By exposing and making public the most private parts of a home, one places the invited guest in an uncomfortable voyeuristic position.”
In a 2005 exhibition America Starts Here: Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler, the Tang Teaching Museum (along with MIT, see below) presented work from the artists’ decade-long collaboration and published a catalog. Kate Ericson died in 1995. In 2006 the MIT List Visual Arts Center hosted the exhibition, and their website has much more information.
1 am, more when I get up on Wednesday.
Hi again nice people, the angels are watching over me: wacky and inspired internet searches have brought me an September 10, 1988 LA Times review of this exhibition by Zan Dubin. Yay! Check it out here.
Artist Lisa Hein was hosted by architect Cy Madrone. Initially Madrone rubbed her the wrong way, but she was charmed by his self-built house, with its crazy unfinished corners and architectural disarray. It seems they discovered a mutual self-regard: Hein characterized Madrone and herself both as “contrary people” who received “ambivalent treatment from their respective families.” The art installation became a close collaboration between the two and a sort of portrait (as well as a self-portrait) of the homeowner.
David Ireland is too much fun. (Sorry that the picture isn’t in color.)
Quoting entirely Ireland’s contribution to the catalog: “When Bodhidharma arrived in China around the year 500 and proceeded to the court of Emperor Wu of Liang, he was greeeted with great enthusiasm for the Emporer was an avid patron of Buddhism. He then asked Bodhidharma to explain the new religion and was told, “… it isn’t anything.” (Generalized from The Way of Zen, by Alan W. Watts.)
Master of the enigmatic, Ireland was. Those who visited The Art of David Ireland: The Way Things Are at Oakland or at the Santa Barbara Museum can attest thusly.
Dore Ashton on Jim Isermann’s installation, pictured above: “If Kosuth is scholarly in one way, Jim Isermann is scholarly in another, and somewhat humorous way. He has invited the spectator into a living room of another era: the pop era of the 1960’s with its deliberate vulgarity and its high-keyed shrillness; its studied love of the vulgar and its oppressive optimism. I could hear an invisible hostess in this visible reconstruction saying ‘well HI, come on in and smoke a joint,’ thrilling with her own daring rejection of her own middle class values.”
I quote once again from the helpful Dore Ashton on Kosuth’s complex installation”
Still another kind of didacticism enters the work of Joseph Kosuth whose theory of art must be assimilated in order to comprehend his piece. Long a practicioner of art-as-language, Kosuth’s written message in a psychiatrist’s bedroom, which he has altered by painting it totally black and arranging a kind of rigid symmetry in its accoutrements, as a spur to intellectual puzzling. His own modus operandi is to challenge the spectator with the riddle posed by his title (and framed, for he has said he would ‘frame’ the psychiatrist, and I presume there is no double entendre there) room in which the words dominate and set the objective tone.
Kosuth himself is somewhat dense and quotes himself from ‘No Exit,’ Artforum, March, 1988. (The full text of this article is available here from personalstructures.org. Also see La Biennale di Venezia, Italy, 2011, current exhibition.)
Sneaking off into break-land. Enjoy.
Geoff 1:45 pm Wednesday
More of CAF “Home Show, Revisited:
CAF Part 9: “Home Show²” again