When one has something to do in their mind, in art, you have to do it. If you're not an artist, you just don't have to do all of this. And if you can't sleep under your truck, you never amount to a damn anyway.
This quote, of De Wain Valentine, lifted from a an conversation with the artist on the national gallery of art podcast from is a lovely analysis of the imperative that rests at the base of the artistic impulse.
It was this quote, and the better part of an episode of Bad at Sports (no. 416 artist as arbiter panel), that I was listening to on my morning commute which inspired me to follow through on a long harbored idea, and .
The art as arbiter panel discussion from the 2013 CAA conference largely dealt with alternative and unusual exhibition and curatorial projects. I'm a sucker for this type of discussion,as might be surmised from some of my past curatorial and participatory projects. I'm susceptible to a type of infectious spirit gleaned from hearing about how individuals have plied the infrastructure of their own lives and situations to design a platform of creation, exhibition and conversation for other artists. This is a type of cultivation I groove on. Its a compulsion and can feel like a weakness.
The idea lodged free by these audio selections is Crotch, a project space nestled in the crotch of a maple (I think) tree in our back yard. Crotch was born as a one liner as I was bringing kork to a close in 2011. kork was a project space situated (for three years) in the office of Bailey Browne CPA & Associates in Poughkeepsie. A relatively low impact manner of posing challenges to artists, kork provided me with a the privilege of witnessing first hand the generative processes of artists' responses. Crotch promised to be an even easier-to-manage endeavor, but it fell victim to my constant exasperation of my own impulse to cook up these schemes at the expense of my own studio endeavor.
|The Crotch venue|
The tree in question, which has become Crotch, has been the setting of several works and actions for us here at Kamp MAYKR over the past several years and I thought it the perfect
Crotch as the point of splitting, of branching out. Crotch as the embodiment of the crude, impolite, make-dirty business that is not discussed in proper company, or in towns that are working to regenerate and rebrand themselves as progressive, creative, tasteful communities attractive to the creative class. Crotch as the point of departure for creative and procreative and impulses. Crotch as an acknowledgement of the erotic drive in all forms of making; art, place, baby, etc.
Crotch is informal, private -with an option for publicness- natural, and slow. Crotch moves on the pace of the changing seasons, and like our neighboring institution, Dia:Beacon, Crotch relies on rhythms of the day and natural light to illuminate its offerings.
The webcam stream makes me consider the surveillance society we are in, in which so many of us offer up ourselves to surveiling. Also, another recurring theme for me is that of the nature of experience (primary, secondary, first hand, mediated, etc.), and the naturalness of what we frequently see and experience comes to us through a screen and is taken as a true experience and an accurate view. The webcam's gaze is south facing, and much of the day, the tree of crotch is largely backlit by the sun. At certain times of the late afternoon the feed is bright and washed out by a cloud of glare. Any particular artists work may be obscured by the limitations of this remote portal. What can be gleaned is the context of that artwork's current setting. The webcam's is a long look upon the slowly changing scene modified by the presence of one artist's contribution.
|Angelika Rinnhofer, My Period Piece|
Crotch launched quietly in October with a work created, and surreptitiously placed in the tree, by Angelika. My Period Piece is a braid of colorful fabric emerging from the crotch and falling down the trunk to the ground.
Crotch is currently occupied by a work by Matt Kinney; it's another example of the perk of instigating these kinds of projects. We came home from lunch last Sunday, startled to find this milled piece of timber rising from the ground, strapped to and at odds with the tree of Crotch. Its a kind of Christmas to see these artists responses manipulate my surroundings and I feel myself the grand beneficiary of these efforts.
Matt's work is heavy effort and rigid tension but with a delicacy marked by the incandescent ribbon of yellow rope and strapping tethering the two poles. The yellow rope glimmered in the Sunday Sun, linked to the slightly more earthy yellow leaves which have since been cleared from the ground by the lawn care guys.
|Matt's initial gesture in notCrotch|
This placement presented a dilemma for me. I wasn't sure what to do. It happened. It exists as a manifestation of our communications and it was interesting because of that and it has value there. It was in the crotch of a tree but it wasn't in Crotch. Matt was relieved when i told him because he wasn't happy with the work anyway and was pleased by the opportunity to push another idea forward. I think of that first attempt as a testament to the promiscous drive for an artist to make and do - that any crotch is a viable depository for those creative manifestations. I hope he doesn't mind me showing this image of it, but I like that it is part of the process that brought this second piece into being.
Matt Kinney's piece will remain on view through December. January's artist will be Matt Stolle.
If you're interested in visiting Crotch, send me an emaill at info at crotchprojects. com