Next week I begin a residency at Griffin Art Projects. Below is my statement:
“I always say that you cannot tell what a picture really is or what an object really is until you dust it every day...” ― Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
Two years ago, while in the midst of a Baudelairian crisis that had me looking to get anywhere out of the world, I saw an advertisement for a reasonably priced 1973 Airstream trailer. The owner said the trailer was in good working condition; all it needed was a good clean. Fortunately for me this turned out to be the case.
After moving the trailer to a friend’s ranch, I began to clean it, and in cleaning it I came to appreciate the genius of the Airstream design, a design that owes as much to consultations with homemakers as it does with engineers. But as much as I learned about this trailer from cleaning it, I also learned that I am not a very good cleaner. “You're neat, but not clean,” I was told by a friend who helped out with some renovations. This, too, had a profound effect on me.
When Griffin Art Projects invited me to propose a residency, I asked if I could use the gallery as a training ground and work under a professional cleaner. While I am under no illusions that I will learn more about the gallery by cleaning it, I am hoping to learn what it is to clean a space and clean it well -- beyond what appears before me.