Live Models, Sept. 21 at The Gun Show reception, ArtPrize venue: City Water Building, by the Richard App Gallery
The first week of ArtPrize is nearly over. I sit here, writing a much-needed update to my blog, readying for the first Sunday of ArtPrize. So far, it's been a great experience - my first at ArtPrize. Yes, it's been going on for 9 years now....better late than never, I guess.
I'm pleased to bring The Gun Show to another venue. Last fall was its debut at WSG gallery in Ann Arbor. The reception featured live models....my daughter and 4 of her friends wore the gowns and stood on pedestals for the duration of the reception. 500 people streamed through the gallery, engaged in intense, yet respectful conversation about all kinds of things, including mass shootings and all things gun-related.....yes, you read that right. My intent with this piece is to get viewers to engage in difficult, yet important conversation regarding the issues surrounding mass shootings in the U.S. (Some experts define a mass shooting as 3 or more victims, others define it as 4 or more.)
So one of the great things about ArtPrize is that many of the artists stay with their pieces and get to tell the public about their work, ideas, process and answer questions. The thing is....most of us artists work long, solitary hours in our studios and don't have to talk to the public about our work on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, we sweat it when it comes down to writing an artist's statement, saying that if we wanted to be writers, we would have studied something else, like English or composition. And I get that. But that IS a cop-out.
Yes, it is difficult to put visual ideas into verbal form, but other people don't live in our heads....so it is necessary to put those ideas into words. I decided to spend as much time as possible with my piece at ArtPrize so I could get over myself a bit and put myself in that quite uncomfortable position of interacting with the public FOR HOURS A DAY. I have to say it's getting easier and I'm getting better at honing down my spiel. Not quite at the 35 seconds my friend Janet Kelman is doing, but probably a minute!