Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Do the World a Favor, Give a Curator a Cigarette

On a Merrily inebriated evening in Geneva last December, a turn of phrase infused with the drunken spirit that anything can be a good idea blossomed into a project which in turn grew into a clinging vine that required a year's worth of attention.
Sitting outside Livresse on a chilly chilly evening, accompanying Hadrien Dussoix and Yoko Malbos as they enjoyed a smoke, we spoke of the changing tide of cigarette smoking's level of acceptance in European culture.  Following American's lead, smoker's throughout Euroland have been turned out from restaurants and bars onto the street.  That conversation merged with talk of curators and some of Hadrien's tribulations with curators...and the perennial phenomenon I've witnessed of classes of curatorial students who, as a demographic seem to be bucking the sense that cigarette smoking is a diminishing habit.  I've come to view smoking in this instance as a career aid, as connections and comradeship are formed while huddled outdoors in all weather, 5-10 minutes at a time.  I uttered the phrase "Do the world a favor, give a curator a cigarette" and we all just cracked up.  Let me reiterate that we were well toasted.  Talk turned to making this phrase a ritualistic base on which a year's work could be founded.
I'm not sure how far Hadrien got with his effort, but I managed to lay the phrase down on paper every day...or nearly so, catching up on the days I couldn't be bothered with at the time.

The parameters of this project were thus:  For every day of 2013, we would draw/paint the aforementioned sentence on A4 paper.  That's it.

Now that 2013 is over, and I actually have 365 of these things to show, I'll spend 2014 posting one of these pieces here on the blog every day.  All of these posts will be gathered under the tag, Do the World a Favor Give a Curator a Cigarette.

I've enjoyed digging into the various ways the sentence be read, lovingly and maliciously.  I think it's also a swipe at the mal-adoption (misappropriation) of the mantle of curator by cultural hoarders these days.

Seeing how "drawing" the same phrase over and over can get a bit tedious, and that A4 paper isn't a commonly used paper size here, I thought I'd make the process more interesting for me by making A4 paper out of whatever I had around the studio.  I ended up cutting down or collaging material with various imagery which would interact with the text....so that's what you'll see.

By the way, if you've given a listen to the Dia:Beacon episode of the Dead Hare Radio Hour, you've heard Hadrien and Yoko's charming duet among the contributions on that project.

1 comment:

Yoko Malbos said...

Thanks for sharing the story Chris, it's nice memories and also now I feel famous! :-)