Aaron Wrinkle, part two: “I went to a garden party”

Glee exhibition opening at Blum and Poe, image from Tryharder, which is linked

Glee exhibition opening at Blum and Poe, image from Tryharder, which is linked


Can you tell me (us) about your practical plans (desires) for this proposed exhibition? Some time ago, and outside the context of this current dialogue, we talked about public spaces as possible sites. I recall your interest that these spaces have already  their own place on the public experience, that they be somehow charged or places of power. With or without that last statement, What are you thinking?
How would people perceive and interact with the exhibition/performance? What will it look like?

Also I want to say that the paintings are great – they totally function as paintings and as works of art. I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise but given the context my eyes were expecting to see quotation
marks around them.

No way! Your watercolors are beautiful! “woman with fan….” does an interesting switch with the horizon – the lady seems perched atop the edge as though presenting herself; the greenery then retreats, as
landscape does in such a picture, to background, offering another horizon some distance behind. The lowering purple sky doubles back – almost in an attempt to envelop or contain the lady, but she and her wall remain inviolate, almost on the surface now.

I like your line work in the performance sketches, too – rather than awkward, the painted lines feel expressive and that you limit yourself to three or four distinct tones of greyish feels like a nod to
Minimalism in painting. The lines feel like representatives for more of that tone elsewhere out of sight.

Pierre-August Renoir, Bal du moulin de la Galette, 1876 oil on canvas, image from and link to Musée d'Orsay

Pierre-August Renoir, Bal du moulin de la Galette, 1876 oil on canvas, image from and link to Musée d'Orsay


Whether it takes place inside or outside I would like it connected to a gallery or museum.  But early on we discussed public areas like libraries or parks.  With the amount of actual artworks being made though, there needs to be an apparatus of some kind to hang the paintings on.  I was thinking a lot about doing earlier sketches /performances, which could occur anywhere.  Even if it meant hiring a couple to have  a picnic and document it.

The choice for the context of the exhibition or presentation originally came from this thought of a garden party or an event that was a celebration of sorts because I think all art openings or events are celebrations.

The ideal context will be reminding to a physical example or activity relevant to say a Renoir or Seurat painting. Basically, a presentation of leisure and romance.  I’m interested in trivializing the idea of a garden party or exhibition theatrically by choreographing performance and props into these kinds of scenarios, but I think this happens somewhat naturally anyway.  I look at the website Tryharder a lot and YouTube videos of museum galas and fashion shows for inspiration.  Obviously it won’t be the same as these things, but they are reference points.

The atmosphere of these events is somewhat predictable, but also somewhat offbeat, perverse and clumsy at times.  I mean someone always gets drunk, gets laid (usually later) or says something stupid or regrettable. Someone always drops their pants even if only suggested, but I want this to happen more. But sometimes people fall in love too, kids play and very valuable conversations take place. For me I generally go hopeful and come back disappointed.  Not because of the art, but because of the environment of anxiety placed around it.  But lately I’ve been happier w/ what I see occurring because it seems like art and humanity are folding in on themselves.  But, usually it’s a scenario of not being able to hold a complete conversation, over-drinking, a series of hand shakes and awkward eye contact.  I generally look at the art or women and have honestly went looking for a companion.  Art makes me feel better about life.  I’ve always been fond of Dan Graham’s analogy of museums being good places for dates or hooking up… There’s a lot of truth to this.  But I think a lot of people have lost hope or their grip on romantics.  I’m not a hopeless romantic, but a hopeful romantic.

I guess I wanna expose the failure and success of these events and contexts quite literally, but ultimately it’s about a celebration of art and life.  I believe the two should be seamless.  It doesn’t always work out this way though.  I think this is why I identify w/  a lot of Dan’s views of bonding, participation and performance in the context of art.  It’s an optimistic outlook.  Mainly in regards to both trivializing and taking note of specifics in what’s taking place in the given or particular context of art.  I’m also becoming more and more aware of the hobbyist notion he refers to.  Meaning if I could convince someone this all is just a hobby maybe I’d be treated less like an artist and more like the viewer looking at my art.  I want to stripped of my importance.  I’m just navigating the context of art and mediating it through a very liberal means of production.

Aaron Wrinkle, Grower Not a Show-er/ Pink, Black, White, Purple w/ Subtle depiction of Penis and Female Groin/Breasts, Watercolor and Latex on Paper, 20x29.5 inches, 2011

Aaron Wrinkle, Grower Not a Show-er/ Pink, Black, White, Purple w/ Subtle depiction of Penis and Female Groin/Breasts, Watercolor and Latex on Paper, 20x29.5 inches, 2011

My interest is to make people aware of the event or party’s performance and the elements surrounding and built w/in contexts such as these.  I guess in terms of power I’m more interested in a place of suggestive educational power such as museum and library atriums or gardens. I’m also interested in something sociologically and economically charged like a bank or hotel’s exterior environment.  The places where the money is lost.

I think the earlier ideas were aimed more at fabricating or co-opting materials and objects for performances that were accustomed to all of these types of contexts.  For example trays w/ drinks, food platters, tables, table clothes and people-lots and  lots of people for the performances. Some staged some not. This of course has all turned into me wanting to put the project in a gallery as this is my comfort zone, but I think mostly because I’m interested in mixing supposedly different contexts of information.  I mean the idea of a garden party in a gallery excites me.

It’s interesting that you bring this old idea or conversation about public spaces up, which are outdoor or at least that’s what I was referring to when we talked.  It reminded me that the project had a lot to do w/ non artistic environments.  I’ve just been too busy in the studio to remember this – aside from hints of romance for which I’m always thankful, as they inspire me.

So lately since our initial conversation I’ve had this image in my head of walls outside for art to hang on…. It’s turning out to be a very multi-layered project.  I might have no time for a normal life after all, but I think every aspect of my life will always be connected to art…  As I mentioned before I’ve considered a romantic relationship as an artwork.  As you mentioned the other party would have to agree.  At the end of the day I just want art and life to coexist and I think they do.


Does it feel risky or wrong to exhibit such human interests?  About art I mean. Vulnerability may not be valued ‘out there’ in the art world…


Well from my experience it’s usually the risk that comes first and then the outcome makes me navigate whether or not it was wrong. I’m very manic. I will act intensively passive and open about things, but when I feel threatened I react similar on the other level and get obsessed or depressed.  Luckily it’s not literal violence. It’s been a problem for me, but I’m figuring it out. I believe in things so much that I’d do anything in my legal reach to make an artwork or situation work.  Sometimes my optimism is outweighed by reality. This outlook scares me sometimes because if I thought that not eating for a week would prove an idea to someone I’d say sure I can do that if you let me do the piece or love you.  Then my body and the hospital would tell me I was wrong.  But in less extreme cases, generally other people view it as wrong and I’m stuck wondering why.  If people are real sweethearts they’ll forgive me, but I think I’ve come close to ruining a lot of relationships professional and personal for these reasons. The noise band Wolf Eyes’ motto is “Always Wrong”.

If I was to cite anyone for recent examinations of these kinds of vulnerabilities I’d cite Andrea Fraser’s recent therapy based work.  I’ve been having to pay more attention to her practice lately as I’m having to step up to my self-placement in the lineage of the “institutional critique-ers” even though I don’t believe in its definition.  Her personal approach to the institution is very valuable.  Although I’ve expressed concerns in her and Buchloh’s definitions of Institutional Critique and the artists stuck in that context I’m very thankful for the position she has created.  Anyways… Big discussion.

As far as the artworld and vulnerability goes I think it has become extremely moralized.  What I mean is people are scared to do things and censorship is very obvious. I mean I’d like to see Jack Ass in the artworld and there is some in L.A., but even Burden has softened up.  I should stop there.  I love Burden’s new work.  All of his work for that matter.  People change and some challenge.  Neither is better I suppose.

Geoff Tuck again, dropping out of exchange mode. Thanks for visiting, I hope that you’re enjoying these posts with Aaron. I can’t promise anything but I bet there’ll be more from our voluble and prolific friend!

Apropos nothing but a chance connection to something Aaron said, I offer you Rick Nelson’s “Garden Party.”


Aaron Wrinkle, preamble – Friday Night Party and Performance, or “It is all about Aaron Wrinkle”

Aaron Wrinkle, part one: Making Myth with Aaron Wrinkle, or “The Studio Visit”

Aaron Wrinkle, part two: I went to a garden party

Aaron Wrinkle, part three: News from “Right back at you Aaron”

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