In Monica Kulicka's piece, Reconstructions , over 90 gallons of grass and clover chlorophyll were ground by hand and refrigerated in a large container. Plastic tubes transfered the chlorophyll throughout the rooms of 1414 Monterey Street--the Mattress Factory's satellite building. Kulicka also rubbed the chlorophyll into the wooden structures of the floor over the course of a ten-day performance that followed the exhibition's opening.
Plants were gathered from throughout the neighborhood and liquefied into green "juice" with a hand-cranked meat grinder. After grinding pounds and pounds of plants, the liquid was poured into a clear, rectangular box. After pouring the liquefied green matter into the large container, she used refrigeration and added alcohol to keep the watery vegetation from going bad.
"Without the additive of alcohol and without refrigeration it would spoil and rot very quickly, just as any fresh fruit juice left on the kitchen counter for a couple of days," Monika explained during an interview. The liquid ran through the building to the exposed wood surfaces of doorframes, flooring, and window frames. Plastic tubes traveled from the main tank to the rest of the room's installation. The main room was kept darker to avoid killing the chlorophyll with harsh light.
After the opening evening, artists stayed to continue rubbing the chlorophyll into the floors. Rubbing old wooden floors all day without any protection gave the artist their fair share of splinters and cuts from rusty nails. Additionally, the chlorophyll stung the nicks and scratches, but luckily it actually helped to heal them. The type of clover used, melilot, has been used in medical practices to heal bad wounds, like the artist's beaten hands. "It was an experience that touched me, and taught me, very much" recalls Kulicka
"In Reconstructions I build my own machine to give an old, wooden building a (green) blood transfusion; I gently rub fresh chlorophyll into old planks of the floor. It's a mockery of technology, it's a mockery of good intentions. My aim is to stir our hidden appreciation of absurd, to startle minds set by the logic of cause and effect."
I think Monica Kulicka's statement gives an incredible description of intent behind the project. The last paragraph just really makes me fall in love with the installation. It is not highfalutin but simply put and still very interesting. I think it is accessible to a wide range of viewers and not just an art world regular.
"...My work is all about our relationship with animals and nature...There is humour in the work, but a serious side explores how we use our relationship with animals to define our humanness."
Coates often assumes the identity of an animal, such as a fox, goshawk or stoat, by simulating its appearance, enacting its habits and appropriating its language. In the film, 'Stoat' (1999), for example, Coates totters around on ramshackle platforms, learning to recreate the animal's bounding movements; in 'Goshawk' (1999), a telephoto lens captures the artist as a rare bird perched precariously at the top of a tree; while in 'Finfolk' (2003), the artist emerges from the North Sea spluttering a new dialect, as spoken by seals.
Coates has also trained as a shaman and the exhibition includes films of his rituals, where he achieves a trance-like state and communes with the animal kingdom to address social issues. Wearing an array of costumes such as a badger's hide, a stuffed horse's head, a blonde wig and a necklace of money (all of which will be on display), Coates has addressed issues including prostitution, regeneration and swine flu for communities worldwide and most recently in Israel, Japan and Switzerland.
"...I feel that my imagination can be put to good use socially, even politically."
I think the strongest aspect of this statement is how he words it in a way that allows the viewer to access his content in a clear and concise manner. This last quote about the use of his imagination gives a clear glimpse into his intentions behind his rather absurd performances. He does not, though, describe well enough his performative antics that would highlight to the reader the humor that is very evident in his process.
1. I CAN'T STAND ART ACTUALLY. I'VE NEVER, EVER LIKED ART, EVER. I NEVER TOOK IT IN SCHOOL.
2. WHEN I WAS IN CALIFORNIA, ARTISTS WOULD WORK FOR YEARS AND NEVER HAVE A SHOW. SO SHOWING HAS NEVER BEEN THAT IMPORTANT TO ME. WE USED TO CUSS PEOPLE OUT: PEOPLE WHO BOUGHT OUR WORK, DEALERS, ETC., BECAUSE THAT PART OF BEING AN ARTIST WAS ALWAYS A JOKE TO US.
WHEN I CAME TO NEW YORK, I DIDN'T SEE ANY OF THAT. EVERYBODY WAS JUST GROVELING AND TOMMING, ANYTHING TO BE IN THE ROOM WITH SOMEBODY WITH SOME MONEY. THERE WERE NO BAD GUYS HERE; SO I SAID, "LET ME BE A BAD GUY," OR ATTEMPT TO BE A BAD GUY, OR PLAY WITH THE BAD AREAS AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.
3. I WAS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHY BLACK PEOPLE WERE CALLED SPADES, AS OPPOSED TO CLUBS. BECAUSE I REMEMBER BEING CALLED A SPADE ONCE, AND I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT IT MEANT; NIGGER I KNEW BUT SPADE I STILL DON'T. SO I TOOK THE SHAPE, AND STARTED PAINTING IT.
4. I JUST LOVE THE HOUSES IN THE SOUTH, THE WAY THEY BUILT THEM. THAT NEGRITUDE ARCHITECTURE. I REALLY LOVE TO WATCH THE WAY BLACK PEOPLE MAKE THINGS, HOUSES OR MAGAZINE STANDS IN HARLEM, FOR INSTANCE. JUST THE WAY WE USE CARPENTRY. NOTHING FITS, BUT EVERYTHING WORKS. THE DOOR CLOSES, IT KEEPS THINGS FROM COMING THROUGH. BUT IT DOESN'T HAVE THAT NEATNESS ABOUT IT, THE WAY WHITE PEOPLE PUT THINGS TOGETHER; EVERYTHING IS A THIRTY-SECOND OF AN INCH OFF.
5. THAT'S WHY I LIKE DOING STUFF BETTER ON THE STREET, BECAUSE THE ART BECOMES JUST ONE OF THE OBJECTS THAT'S IN THE PATH OF YOUR EVERYDAY EXISTENCE. IT'S WHAT YOU MOVE THROUGH, AND IT DOESN'T HAVE ANY SENIORITY OVER ANYTHING ELSE.
THOSE PIECES WERE ALL ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT THE BLACK VIEWER HAD A REFLECTION OF HIMSELF IN THE WORK. WHITE VIEWERS HAVE TO LOOK AT SOMEONE ELSE'S CULTURE IN THOSE PIECES AND SEE VERY LITTLE OF THEMSELVES IN IT.
6. ANYONE WHO DECIDES TO BE AN ARTIST SHOULD REALIZE THAT IT'S A POVERTY TRIP. TO GO INTO THIS PROFESSION IS LIKE GOING INTO THE MONASTERY OR SOMETHING; IT'S A VOW OF POVERTY I ALWAYS THOUGHT. TO BE AN ARTIST AND NOT EVEN TO DEAL WITH THAT POVERTY THING, THAT'S A WASTE OF TIME; OR TO BE AROUND PEOPLE COMPLAINING ABOUT THAT.
MY KEY IS TO TAKE AS MUCH MONEY HOME AS POSSIBLE. ABANDON ANY ART FORM THAT COSTS TOO MUCH. INSIST THAT IT'S AS CHEAP AS POSSIBLE IS NUMBER ONE AND ALSO THAT IT'S AESTHETICALLY CORRECT. AFTER THAT ANYTHING GOES. AND THAT KEEPS EVERYTHING INTERESTING FOR ME.
7. I DON'T KNOW WHAT MY WORK IS. I HAVE TO WAIT TO HEAR THAT FROM SOMEONE.
I WOULD LIKE TO BURN THE PIECE. I THINK THAT WOULD BE NICE VISUALLY. VIDEOTAPE THE BURNING OF IT. AND SHOOT SOME SLIDES. THE SLIDES WOULD THEN BE A PIECE IN ITSELF. I'M GETTING INTO THAT NOW: THE SLIDES ARE THE ART PIECES AND THE ART PIECES DON'T EXIST.
8. IF YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE THEN IT'S EASY TO MAKE ART. MOST PEOPLE ARE REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR IMAGE. ARTISTS HAVE ALLOWED THEMSELVES TO BE BOXED IN BY SAYING "YES" ALL THE TIME BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE SEEN, AND THEY SHOULD BE SAYING "NO." I DO MY STREET ART MAINLY TO KEEP ROOTED IN THAT "WHO I AM." BECAUSE THE ONLY THING THAT'S REALLY GOING ON IS IN THE STREET; THAT'S WHERE SOMETHING IS REALLY HAPPENING. IT ISN'T HAPPENING IN THESE GALLERIES.
9. DOING THINGS IN THE STREET IS MORE POWERFUL THAN ART I THINK. BECAUSE ART HAS GOTTEN SO....I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK ART IS ABOUT NOW. IT DOESN'T DO ANYTHING. LIKE MALCOLM X SAID, IT'S LIKE NOVOCAINE. IT USED TO WAKE YOU UP BUT NOW IT PUTS YOU TO SLEEP. I THINK THAT ART NOW IS PUTTING PEOPLE TO SLEEP. THERE'S SO MUCH OF IT AROUND IN THIS TOWN THAT IT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING. THAT'S WHY THE ARTIST HAS TO BE VERY CAREFUL WHAT HE SHOWS AND WHEN HE SHOWS NOW. BECAUSE THE PEOPLE AREN'T REALLY LOOKING AT ART, THEY'RE LOOKING AT EACH OTHER AND EACH OTHER'S CLOTHES AND EACH OTHER'S HAIRCUTS.
10. THE ART AUDIENCE IS THE WORST AUDIENCE IN THE WORLD. IT'S OVERLY EDUCATED, IT'S CONSERVATIVE, IT'S OUT TO CRITICIZE NOT TO UNDERSTAND, AND IT NEVER HAS ANY FUN. WHY SHOULD I SPEND MY TIME PLAYING TO THAT AUDIENCE?
I could not find any actual "artist statement" for David Hammons. This was a grouping of quotes I found in one location that seemed to work well as an "artist statement". This is very consistent with the content of his work, which to quote him, "doing things in the street is more powerful than art...". It could be seen as hypocritical for him to have an "artist statement", written in his private residence, paid for by his art sales, made in new york galleries.