Monday, April 11, 2011

Harmony Hammond

Harmony Hammond’s lecture, speech, reading, amazingness, whatever you wish to call it, was incredible and I am so fortunate to have been able to attend. I could tell she really loves to lecture and tell people what she loves to do and she even turns her writing skills into a way to show this; the way she explained her work through a previously written work was very beautiful, and even her voice was entrancing and beautiful to listen to. I think her journey from New York to New Mexico was an important part of learning who she was as an artist and a writer, and I was glad to get that specific background. I was so glad to see and listen to her reasonings behind her work because it really pertained to Art 108 in the sense that she uses many found objects and transforms them and takes ideas of original context and new context.
 When she showed us the wrappings that she did that had an internal skeleton of wood and many outer layers, I was really intrigued. It was one of my favorite parts of the lecture. This was following a theme of working from the inside-out. She really focused on the idea that things and even people, and the body, are made from the inside out. Some she did for this traveling show that showcased women’s rights (which is also a theme in almost all of her work). Many of her wrappings began to look somewhat like ladders which she really felt had a lot of symbolism, mostly to a body.
Hammond rarely does political work, but when she does venture from the subtly of her normal work, it usually makes a very big statement. There was one specific piece called Inappropriate Longings that consisted of a triptych, a tin water tub, and the words “God Damn Dyke” carved into the first panel. And when she was talking about this piece she told us it was really really difficult to carve into the latex rubber that she used; she told us the funniest story about one of the curators, I think, who came up to her and told her that someone had vandalized her piece! But then I realized it wasn’t so funny…she believed that it was more probable for someone to get a chair, have a razor blade, and carve into something that would take a very long time, without anyone seeing, than to have the artist put it there herself.
I also felt very lucky to have attended on this week because we had recently been given a project to do book alterations. One project she did was in response to a vandal at the San Francisco Public Library where staff began finding books, carved with a sharp instrument hidden under shelving units. Over 600 books relating to issues of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals as well as AIDS and women's health issues were vandalized. Eventually the vandal was caught and charged with a hate crime. The damaged books were given to artists to create works of art, thereby transforming the destructive acts. She was able to do a couple of these books and transform them; she really took to heart what the vandal did and played upon that for her transformations. I was glad to see this because it gave me possible thought and direction to our new assignment.
She is an amazing artist who focuses on gender roles, lesbianism, political aspects, and much much more. I really enjoyed her lecture, and I hope she is able to come back again. I now look at her website often!

No comments:

Post a Comment