We are extremely excited to share artist Alex Gingrow's written piece about the role of comedy in her visual art below. Alex will be talking about her work on February 3rd at DELVE: Comedy + Art at Made in NY Media Center by IFP in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Get tickets here!** You won't want to miss this.
First, check out her Artist Statement:
From 2007-2013, I worked a full time job as a mat cutter at a frame shop in midtown Manhattan. In my time there, I learned that, in the art world, the frame shop essentially functions like the neighborhood barbershop, or better yet, the red-headed step-child of an already dysfunctional family. Clients felt free to discuss their inner dealings and gallery gossip in our showroom as if none of us would or could have any regard for their lack of discretion. Over those six years, I collected nuggets of those conversations, imagined my own conversations with several of those art world powerhouses, and sought out tidbits from others who also held lowly but otherwise vital positions within galleries and institutions. At the same time, I collected numerous provenance stickers from the backs of frames and portfolios and eventually came to appropriate them with my own name, titles, and details. This became the body of work that I call The Sticker Series.
The impetus for this body of work came from one particular conversation with a client who reminded us to remove the provenance stickers from the old frames and to adhere them to the new frames because “all the money IS in the label.” My work explores both the idiocy and the irony of such a sentiment and is essentially a sharp critique of the world in which I choose to maneuver. Like the goal of all good literature, I strive to make nuanced work that is at its core an examination of the oddities and intricacies of the human condition.
Like any halfway normal person with a decent childhood and loving family, one of my biggest fears is losing a family member. I don’t like to think about it, much less talk about it. My Mama, however, is of the mindset that we have to face these things head on, discuss the details, prepare ourselves for the inevitable. In light of this, she is constantly revising and updating her will. She was an English teacher for over 30 years and I imagine her curled up under a blanket, late at night, her dim bedside lamp glowing warmly, with the 50 some odd pages of her final document spread around her like a hurricane through paper factory and her red pen slashing through clauses and addenda with the fervor of an emergency room surgeon operating on the President himself.
She mails me a revised copy every few months with strict instructions handwritten on a post-it note to discard the old version and to put this copy in the fireproof lockbox that I don’t have. Sometimes I scan the new version to see if I can pick out what has changed. Often I can’t because it’s something as minor as an address change or the correction of a misspelled word. It pains me to read this document as it is the testament to my Mama’s eventual physical demise and absence from my life. She’s my Mama. I need her. I don’t want to think of her as ever being anything less than a phone call away.
But there is always one shining moment of dependable light at the end of her final will and testament, one article that has never and most likely will never change. My Mama doesn’t care what sort of memorial is held for her—she is leaving that decision up to me. But there are two wishes she has asked me to fill: 1. that her memorial be a party, not a service and 2. that I play Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” I have promised her that I will humbly and gladly oblige.
There is a scene in Joan Rivers’ documentary “A Piece of Work” where, after being heckled by an audience member about what he felt was an insensitive joke, Joan shoots back, “9/11!? If we didn’t laugh, where the hell would we all be? Think about that.” This is the role I feel comedy plays in my life and in my work. I want to make art and show that art and I want to do so in New York. And there are many aspects of the New York art world that froth my creative juices and inspire me to think deeper and push myself further. But there are also many components to it that I hate, despise, regret, and wish I didn’t have to be a part of. But I do. That’s how it works. So why not grab those things by the horns, face them, flip them, slap them, smack them, and eventually just learn to laugh at them? There’s not much I can do to change them, so if “that’s all there is, then let’s keep dancing. Let’s break out the booze and have a ball.”
Born in 1979 in Knoxville, TN, Alex Gingrow has lived and studied in cities as various as Boston, MA, Savannah, GA and the small village of Dorf Tirol, in northern Italy. In addition to her own artistic practice, she has participated in numerous panel discussions, fundraisers, speaking engagements, and as a guest artist at various performances and happenings. Her first solo show in New York City was held at Mike Weiss Gallery in September 2012 and was followed by residency appointments at the Hambidge Center in Rabun Gap, GA and at Fountainhead Residency in Miami, FL. Gingrow has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally and has received critical reviews from publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Modern Painters, and Frieze Magazine. Gingrow currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
February 3rd, join us for DELVE: Comedy + Art at Made in NY Media Center by IFP in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Get tickets here!**