Sep 2, 2009
commented on Yoko Ono's People Give Seattle Artist the Smackdown
(my response sent via e-mail)
Dear Mr Hendricks,
Thank you for your thoughtful words on my recent performance. For the record, I am not a hammer wielding lunatic looking for a Duchamp "Fountain" to destroy, nor a cheeky art student pulling a stunt. My motivations were difficult to describe so the term "austere" appears as a reference point to the aesthetic of simplicity prevalent in fluxus works.
Artists at best are philosophically productive, and I look for meaning in their works through a contextual network consisting of: other works within their oeuvre, art from their peers/predecessors, and the socio-political framework they were created within. One of my favorite Ono pieces is titled "Mending Piece" which I first viewed a few years ago in the Mori Art Museum of Tokyo. This work is a small installation consisting of a china hutch, table, and a large pile of broken shattered plates. On the day I visited, three performers were seated at the table carefully placing ever smaller shards on top of other pieces with ikebana-like precision, bundling them up then returning them to the china hutch. Deeply moved by the domestic and yet universal implications of this piece, I have taken a particular interest in works which point towards a philosophical practice of constant care in a world of tides. Interestingly, within Maciunas' Fluxus Manifesto is the imperative to "promote a revolutionary flood and tide in art," thus embracing both creative and destructive forces occurring simultaneously. With this in mind, my performance was analogous to a small undertow, pulling the water back (temporarily) to reveal what lies beneath.
While Darling interprets Ono's "Piece to Hammer a Nail" in a purely additive sense, I have added, in the abstract. It is my opinion that I did not "rob those many people who had interacted with the work" as all contents I had removed were placed in the same storage location with the errant pieces that fall from the wall.
You are indeed correct that participatory works are conduits for surprising outcomes, put another way, the artist may conceive of the outcome but has relinquished control of it. Regrettably, neither you nor Darling saw my addition within your perceived (delimited) potentiality for the piece - an oversight or an underestimate?
Aug 24, 2009
commented on Dear Yoko: This Is an Intervention
Not to join into the "circle jerk" but my brief artist statement about this performance is available on my website: ninethermidor.com under the "projects" page.