When I first arrived in Boston, I came across some oddly worded stickers that were present on some of the doors of the MBTA’s Red Line, “These doors do not recycle.” I did some research and responded to what I saw as vague and potentially dangerous.
Six paper towel dispensers were obtained from Boeing Surplus, all of which still had paper in them.
Six trees were located in Bellingham, Washington that had nails in them.
An approximation was made of how much usable wood was in each tree and the converted to how many wood products each tree could make. 150,000 toothpicks, 3000 baseball bats, 90,000 newspapers, etc.
The remaining paper in each dispenser was unrolled, the units for each specific tree were written on it, then rolled back up.
The dispensers were then placed on their respective trees early in the morning.
Various materials were placed in a gallery space. No behavioral instructions were given.
Seven days later it looked like this.
A dozen bulletin boards lined the hallways of the basement of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. All but one of the boards was one of the primary colors of pigment, red, blue, and yellow. The lone standout was purple. There was a space at the end of the hallway for one more billboard, a space that was conspicuously empty as the rest of wall space was in use.
I constructed a new board, using the exact materials and methods as the other boards, and installed it. Within days it came to be used like all the other billboards. Eventually it was painted red.
I constructed a portable “white box” gallery and placed it in a highly trafficked area of Bellingham, Washington. On the walls of the inside of the space were a grid of numbers, on the outside of the space was a large bin, filled with polypropylene spheres. Each sphere had a number on one side and a word on the other. As people approached the space, they were silently offered a single sphere and a marker. People quickly deduced that they were to enter the space, find the number, and write the word. Despite the fact that it was never suggested, most people decided to write their words in more creative ways than their normal handwriting.
Over the course of six hours, every sphere was used, and the text of an art manifesto was complete. The next day the portable gallery was reconfigured so each surface faced outward, allowing greater access to the text. The statement was then discussed with anyone who wanted to interact.
In early 2004, Gavin Newsom, then mayor of San Francisco, “issued a directive to the city-county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.” At the time I was creating art in Cincinnati, Ohio and was shocked to hear deeply homophobic and heterosexist statements coming from the community of artists I was involved with. Beautiful Confrontation was an unannounced installation composed of multi-colored Christmas lights embedded in frosted polypropylene spheres and placed in a darkened room near the entrance of our studios. Inviting people with it’s beautiful diffused glow and as their eyes adjusted, confronting them with a statement intended to put their beliefs in perspective.