Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Back to political activism in/as art. Take Sharon Hayes.

In her current installation at the New Museum titled I march in the parade of liberty, but as long as I love you I’m not free, we listen to the artist reciting love letters from a street corner in the manner of a speech at a rally. Her tone is urgent, a bit shrill, her pauses pregnant. Yet her words are intimate, the stuff of broken hearts. To me, this is a moving, and poignant example of how metaphor and contrast best represent both social and personal struggle.

On another, only somewhat related topic: her website contains very heady descriptions. It’s sometimes difficult to wade through. And this is probably the greatest pitfall of writing about art: killing the piece. But, there’s also the possibility that writing can add another dimension to the understanding of work. In the case of Hayes, though, you’ve got to see it.

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