Artist & Writer, San Francisco Bay Area

Process: Artifact Notes

Artifact from an Anthropological Experience
vellum, acrylic, watercolor, aluminum, inkjet on panel
16″ x 20″
(Click on above ☝ image once, and then click one more time for closer look)
I find this piece of mine relevant to my participation in the response to “What’s the greatest work of art that’s been made since World War II?” posted on Tyler Green’s Modern Art Notes blog, which sadly had only 3 women & 2 not-white artists. (Big thank you to artist Jen Dalton, who called attention to the list by speaking up on Twitter.) Sixty-four artworks were chosen by Green & five others; each chose 32 works and the resulting 64 came from a reductive point system. I made up my own list of 32 artworks, as did many others, and sent it to artist Sharon L. Butler who assembled the many responses at her blog Two Coats of Paint (specific links here and here.) Be sure to read Brian Dupont‘s response which is posted there as well.
So anyway, this piece was my physical experience & private performance of exploring the notion of curating & the impact it has on the story that is presented (and I’m not against curating- decisions do have to be made.) At this point, I am left reflecting on how–although I’ve been very influenced as an artist by artworks made by women & minorities–not one Latino artist made it onto my list of top 32 artworks made since World War II. If my list had been 64, there would have been representation of my own people, but what the heck happened!?!? in the list of 32?!? I’ve certainly been having a long conversation with myself about this since the lists were posted yesterday (March 23) and I will continue to do so. The possibility of losing face by publicly pointing out how I failed myself in my own list is made up for by what I gain in having this conversation (even if it’s only with myself.) I’m more afraid of living without questioning my value system, than I am of losing my own status quo. The answers may not be ones I (or we) like, and it may be so complex that there’s no 1 right answer, but this is a valuable, not tired conversation. However, I find that if one party refuses to question themselves, then yes- the conversation dies. Sadly.

Well, I already knew that I needed to make a body of work that addressed my relationship to race (my mom came to the US on a raft & she was caught & sent back to Mexico by INS as a kid, does it count for nothing!? to me?!?!), and now maybe it will happen sooner rather than later. The fact that I actually can just barely speak Spanish (I can order food! Sort of! I can kinda understand things if you speak slowly! But I can’t conjugate in Spanish to save my life! ) will certainly play a prominent role in that dialogue that I make. Back to that list I posted at it helps that art journalist Carolina Miranda posted a list after mine; she highlighted several important works made by Latinos. If I failed, I’m happy to see someone else do the job.
Click below if you need to see the original description of what I experienced as I made the above piece. Please be clear, although I used status updates from Twitter in Artifact from an Anthropological Experience, it was less about Twitter, and more about: curating, the resulting story that is told, and how humans interact with & affect one another. (Another factoid, if I followed you in Sept ’10 on Twitter, then yes, you have at least 2-3 tweets in this piece. They may be visible, or they may be buried since there are many layers. I can pretty much remember where each person’s tweets are located in this piece, and I have a record of everything I included, whether visible or not, the record of the buried.)


%d bloggers like this: