My son Shanan, in Madison, WI sent us a provocative question this morning: "I need a list of links to some of your favorite practicing artists who are doing work that makes you uncomfortable and challenged."
photo caption: Lillian Mulero, barrio La Perla, Viejo San Juan, PR - graffiti images by ISMO.
Here are our responses:
1) Paul McCarthy - Salt Lake City UT, 1945
I asked Lillian about this and she said, sure, but Mike Kelly too. Sadly, Mike Kelly died a few months ago. Last year we had a chance to buy one of McCarthy's Santa Claus Butt Plugs, small size, cast chocolate: http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/29546/santas-little-helper (Chocolate Santa (2007), McCarthy's warped take on entrepreneurship in the form of a fully functioning "Chocolate Santa with Butt Plug" factory, churning out $100 gift boxes at a rate of 1,000 a day in New York's Maccarone Gallery. "They calculated that I was going to sell 30,000." He ended up selling around 1,600. "I have about 12,000 in storage, packed in shredded Artforums.") but we didn't mostly because I wasn't sure how to keep it (in the freezer?) I'm sure you can grok the challenging/uncomfortable aspects of his very important work.http://www.hauserwirth.com/2) Allora & Calzadilla - Havana, 1971; Philadelphia, 1974
When we first thought about moving to Santa Olaya in 2009, we knew about this artist couple and knew they lived in Old San Juan and hoped to pay them a visit. After we arrived in 2010 they were out of town most of the time. Then we encountered their work at a few local exhibitions, and then the Venice Biennale happened. We were most attracted to them because of their Vieques works. For the most part we still like what they do, but at the moment, we're not quite sure what they're up to...http://www.nytimes.com/2011/3) Richard Prince - Canal Zone, 1949
from Richard Prince's DIARY: 3/28/2012
"Just came back from Upstate. Went up there with Mark Grojohn, (sorry about the spelling Mark)... it was nice to hang out with another artist. I'm not sure when the last time I've done that. Just him and me. Talking about stuff. I have one of his paintings hanging up in the back of my "body shop"... We both agreed how much we like Chris Burden."
4) Sean Dack - Albany, 1976
Our first, and only encounter with his work was at the UNCERTAIN STATES OF AMERICA exhibition at Bard College in 2005. We were most intrigued by his having been born in Albany and lived there while we were living on Grand St. He went to Albany High, Purchase (BfA, Art) and then Columbia U.
From google-search: BIG BREAK MTV CONTEST PUTS ALBANY NATIVE IN THE DIRECTOR'S CHAIR FOR A KORN VIDEO SHOOT.(LIFE & LEISURE) Albany Times Union November 1, 2002, MARK MCGUIRE Staff writer -- At 25, Sean Dack is already a capital-A artist. Artiste, even: The guy's already had a multimedia installation piece -- depicting grunge icon Kurt Cobain -- displayed in a Paris gallery. The Albany native is also a musician, a photographer and a DJ. Now we can add contest winner. And music-video director. In September, Dack won MTV's 'Direct a Video' contest. Two days after learning of his win, he flew to Los Angeles to direct 'Alone I Break,' the latest video by nu-metal gods Korn. To be honest, the 1995 Albany High School graduate didn't even own a Korn album. "A lot of what I listen to never makes it to MTV," said Dack, who prefers electronic music, Sigur Ros, The Rapture, Black Dice and "weirder stuff." He doesn't even watch MTV: "I don't have cable." Dack, lives in Brooklyn.
5) Paul Sietsema - LA,CA 1968
I, of course had hoped that Paul was Robert's cousin when we first discovered his work. Had a chance to see a 16mm film installation at Bard College as part of UNCERTAIN STATES OF AMERICA. Sietsema quoted in the catalog: "I suppose what I am getting at is that it is not so much the original meaning of the information and images I use that interest me, but rather the vestiges of what remains of them over time..."
http://arttattler.comINSTALLATION VIEW: Paul Sietsema "EMPIRE" 2002
http://images.artnet.com/6) Josh Smith - Okinawa, 1976
First learned of his work in 2005 at UNCERTAIN STATES OF AMERICA (this was an important exhibition for us and we're still refering to the catalog at the moment) We saw his work most recently here at the Espacio 1414 Project space in an exhibition called PAINTING EXPANDED, probably the most important exhibition we've seen on the island since we've been here.
http://www.luhringaugustine.com7) Continuous Project - New York and Paris [Bettina Funcke, Wade Guyton, Joseph Logan, and Seth Price] Seth Price's work has always been disturbing for me, and intriguing at the same time. It's deep, dense, certainly challenging, and requires considerable work to understand and experience in full. The reproduction of Avalance magazines was a particularly interesting Continuous Project.http://www.distributedhistory.com8) Jose Lerma - Seville, Spain, 1973
Jose has ties to Puerto Rico. We learned about his work and met him when he showed at Roberto Paradise gallery. Fascinated and impressed with his successes. Some of the time, he lives and works in Elaine DeKooning's former studio in the Hamptons. We found him easy-going, personable and very approachable. Our jury is still deliberating on the meaning in his paintings.
We saw Jason Moran play piano soundtrack for Joan Jonas's live video performance at Dia:Beacon. Also saw him perform with Don Byron at the Egg in Albany. Have never heard his wife sing. His music is a challenge, while it discomforting to find them as part of the Whitney Biennial this year.http://whitney.org
The shape, the scent, the feel of things10) Steve McQueen - London, 1969
Turner Prize (UK) winner, 1999, filmmaker, One of his best known works, Deadpan (1997), is a restaging of a Buster Keaton stunt in which a house collapses around McQueen who is left unscathed because he is standing where there is a missing window. His work is intriguing but not sure we fully understand it.http://www.re-title.com
11) BONUS -- Jessica Stockholder - Seattle, WA, 1959
When I asked Lillian the question, her immediate reply was "Jessica Stockholder" in particular the installation you see on the link below. Stockholder says, "These things I find, buy, or accept as gifts, are made in myriad countries using a vast array of different skills, crafts and systems. They reference very different time periods, carry with them and reference many different histories. The collection of objects that I have easy access to is stunning in its diversity. I make my work in relationship to this backdrop and I have care and feeling for what it portends." I think you can see why Lillian feels connected to her work, but remains unsettled.
Jan Galligan y Lillian Mulero
Santa Olaya, PR