I am beyond thrilled to have been given the opportunity to feature such extraordinary artists in this week’s exhibition. I have always admired Lily van der Stokker’s fearless voice, and her desire to challenge conventional beliefs within the art world. Her current installation at the Hammer coincidentally comes at a time that I have been grappling with an entrenched bias inside the art world.
In conversation with many art enthusiasts over the past month, I have been intrigued how their interest would immediately retract whenever I used the word “fun” in relation to the blog. It was fascinating to see how the word triggered a snap judgment that the work must lack emotional depth, value or intellect. Curiously, this bias seemed almost pathological, a fear so acute it was comical—why has fun in art been internalized as such a monster? Why hidden behind so much glib jargon? Is fun simply less saleable? Or is it something deeper that discourages the depiction of this universal experience? Do we believe fun unworthy of our consideration? Furthermore, how do we code subject matter as fun? How is pink taboo, and curlicues controversial?
I could not have felt more relieved to experience an artist who took this prejudice as a challenge, and whose work effectively conceptualizes topics that she states are, “apparently ‘forbidden’ in contemporary conceptual art, like family life, optimism and sweetness.” Paired with badass photographer, Kate Owen, and video director, Sam Shannon, we discussed the importance of infusing this shoot with an unapologetic playfulness as a tool to interpreting Lily’s extraordinary work. The fashion element of this piece was just as important in continuing the conversation, and I felt Alex Ulichny’s work brought a sharp wit to the presentation. Created entirely from pointed cable ties, wearing Alex’s piece amongst Lily’s installation felt like a metaphorical shield. It allowed me to freely interact amongst this “highly feminine” world and own the space through a form that exhibited the tension of femininity and strength.
Photography by kate owen. Gifs created by Kate owen and sam shannon of Sam kills sam.
View kate's website here. you can follow Kate on instagram here, and on tumblr as @thekateowen here.
Special thanks to New York Based Designer, Alex Ulichny for the phenomenal jacket from his "Breed" Collection. You can view his work and the collection in its entirety here. You can follow him on Instagram here and Facebook here.
A warm thank you to The Hammer Museum for allowing us to again shoot in their remarkable space. The Hammer Projects: Lily van der Stokker installation is titled "The Tidy Kitchen" and is on view from Feb 7-May 20, 2015. For further information, view their website here. You can follow The Hammer on Instagram here.