Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Art of Collaboration

Dearest K, 

You said it best, my dear. . . We ARE suckers for heart. Character, hard work, the element of surprise, an interactive component - these are all ways that you and I can get INSIDE a work of art. A perfectly museum-quality, Brancusi-esque work is so slick that it lacks any tooth to grasp onto, to get into, to move around. This motion, this playful dance adds heart. . . an element that you and I can relate to. S is always commenting on how much more I respect people who have worked hard for their success (and worked hard with an element of shyness and quiet contentment) than the showy, flashy, "let me show you my work within 5 seconds of meeting you" kinds of artists. I admit, Mark Messersmith, whom you and I always love, immediately comes to mind. 

The last few days I have been thinking alot about the art of collaboration and why we are drawn to it. I think that it has something to do with being in our post-grad school phase - we crave like-minded folks because we are not necessarily surrounded by them all the time anymore. Those questions that haunt the inside of our minds, (To Whom??) need to be answered! And I am so thankful that we have each other to bounce off of. Speaking of bounce houses, I'm beginning our initial research for our collaboration class and wanted to highlight a few dynamic duos. 

I just received a chapbook of lovely and multi-talented friend Esther Lee's poems.. they gave me goosebumps and made me remember that she did a collaboration through Born Magazine that I loved. See it here and be SURE to watch the whole thing. It fantastic! And I love the way that the poems exist on an entirely different level than in my personal chapbook. - See interactive content.. and therefore, heart.

At the book conference a few weeks ago, I heard about an interesting project called "The Tract House" from Lisa Anne Auerbach. Familiar with her work, this brings about another element to the concept of collaboration. Collaboration can not only be within artists, but between an artist and an institution, an artist and a curator, and artist and a town. (think publicly funded sculpture). "The Tract House" is a project with the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore as well as Printed Matter which distributes tracts (religious, political, socio-economical, pure comical based) to the public. Each selected tract was printed 1000 times and is now available online

This blurring of the "rules" seems important to us. We don't just want to be artists (although the defensive person in me says that there is nothing wrong with this!), we want to be curators, educators, critics, instigators, etc. 

The slash (/) on my resume keeps getting longer and longer... and I couldn't be happier.
Love you and sending warm/cozy thoughts, 

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