A Narrative of An Artist Exploring Capitalism (Solo exhibition at the MDC Museum of Art + Design, Miami).
Michael Taussig writes of the Cult of Maria Lionza, whose members travel to a mountain in Venezuela in order to become possessed by the spirits of past wars namely by Simon Bolivar. Taussig uses his anthropological observations of the cult and its rituals to discern the transmutation of things like Bolivar into a god, an allegory for State and commodity fetishism.
In the exhibition A Narrative of An Artist Exploring Capitalism, I practice entering the objects from my own narrative onto the art world’s stage. Focusing on narratives of failure — a night I was arrested and charged with strong armed robbery, a minimum wage job I attempted to gain before grad school but couldn’t, the outtakes from my headshots taken for an audition I missed — all enter this new context and gain new forms of value. They become redeemed failures, like Duchamp’s Fountain becomes something more than an object to piss in.
Cristina Garcia Rodero’s exhibition Rituales in Haiti, is in the gallery adjacent to mine.
His life was reduced—or should one say elevated—to monuments. This dialectic of reduction and elevation is worth noting because it manifests that salient property of the fetish—to register the representation rather than the being represented, the mode of signification at the expense of the thing being signified. Thus petrified, the statues, and even more emphatically the drawings of the statues, harvest a certain magic of death sustaining a concordance between meta-imagery and spirit-power.
– Michael Taussig, from “The Infinite Melancholy” in The Magic of the State.
A Narrative of An Artist Exploring Capitalism, Part II,
Set of custom printed headshots housed in artist-made frames accompanied by a narrative press release.
Commissioned Plaster Objects,
Random plaster objects sized to the specifications of exhibition works and their accompanying press releases.
Untitled (The A Effect)
Video projected on to plaster.
The Magic Mountain,
Discarded art materials found in artists studios, museum pedestal.
An edition of enlarged mugshots appropriated from bustedmugshots.com accompanied by a narrative press release. Two are marked using a plaster piece from The Magic Mountain.
My mother became a regular visitor to the museum during the span of this exhibition. She would bring her friends, one or two at a time, to walk them through the show. When I was arrested years earlier I know that it had impacted to her. I remember being in an orange jumpsuit, having just met my bunk mate and thinking that I had to make that collect call home, uncertain if it would be a while before I got out. I lived with my mom at the time. I didnt have it in me to call her directly, so I called my sister. My sister and mom eventually bailed me out and picked me up bearing gifts of scented soap, a scrunchy sponge, lotion, and a bottled smoothie. How lucky I am. My mom sought out therapy afterward to deal with the incongruency of who she thought her daughter was, and who I might actually be. I think it was traumatic for her. Took her breath away.
This piece was successful because of my mother’s regular patronage to it. The success was that once entering the mugshots into the museum context, the experience was rectified for her. It was as if she was bringing her friends to show them that this was something that she went through, and that it is ok now.
A Narrative of An Artist Exploring Capitalism, Part III,
Stack of 10,000 blank take-away Subway applications, press release, completed application.