Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tomorrow Never Came

No.  Really it did.  It was my blog post that didn't happen.  All I can say is, today is another day.
Harmony Hammond-installation view, Alexander Gray
Associates (2013)

Harmony Hammond - Bag XI
Brooklyn Museum
Going back to talking about the extraordinary artists featured in !Woman Art Revolution film - today I want to talk about Harmony Hammond- a member of the New York feminist art movement and, more specifically, the lesbian feminist art movement.  In her early adulthood she and artist Stephen Clover married.  He struggled with gender identity issues once they were married.  They divorced sometime after arriving in New York when Hammond came out herself after a time.  In New York, Hammond was a good bridge between the hetero and lesbian feminist art movements during the 70's.  There is all sorts of information about that on the internet and you won't have any trouble learning more about that on your own, if you wish to.  What I wanted to highlight today was more about how she speaks about her art.
Harmony Hammond-Speaking Braids (detail)
see explanation of this sculpture 

In her interview with Lynn Hershman in 2008 she had a wonderful way of describing what she creates and why - here is part of that I have transcribed from that video interview.
Once you identify a tradition of women's work as art. . . as an artist you pull that into the work.  . . . . (Bags as a symbol and iconography)  Conceptually interesting to me was to go beyond symbols and iconography to the very materials and how you use them - so I'm interested in stitching - not just because it referred to women's traditional arts but because stitching is a connective process.  So the notion of anything - knotting; tying; stitching - I'm interested in connecting and notions of layering and taking fragments and making them wholes.  If you think about the bags and the presences you mention, those are made up out of rags; discarded fabric given to me by women friends...old sheets or whatever.  And I would rip them up and recycle them into work, not only literally putting the women into my life-into my work but metaphorically taking the discarded pieces that weren't considered important as art.  Or they didn't even have a function anymore, and making a whole(s)...making something out of nothing.  But I also felt metaphorically, the notion of women - you know - our lives are so fragmented.  And so it was a metaphor for taking the bits and pieces of our lives and constructing something whole and new and - later work, which were wrapped sculptures...they were very much built from the inside out. . . and so building out of itself.
When women artists think about why they create, thinking about building out from ourselves is a very interesting way of considering that is what we are doing.  What is it that is important for us to build?  Why do we reach out and what is it we want to say?  For example, Hammond's work, Speaking Braids (pictured above) "addresses the burden of representing those who have been repressed or culturally marginalized and the importance of voice as resistance to historical erasure."

The Importance of Voice as Resistance to Historical Erasure.
Just so you know, at Redline Gallery in Denver, starting Friday October 17th (through December 27) is presenting a major Judy Chicago exhibition titled: Surveying Judy Chicago: 1970–2014  Curated by Simon Zalkind. I know Mark and I will have to go.  Hope you can too.  Redline Gallery also had an exhibition of Harmony Hammond's work not very long ago, and if I had known we would have gone to see that too.

That's all I have for today.  Hope you have been enjoying yours!

'Til tomorrow!