From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

Archive for the ‘international’ Category

Installing at MOT (Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo)

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The unsung heroes of the art world include museum installation staff. They are often accomplished artists in their own right, and with large projects like these, they are indispensable.  MOT‘s team was fantastic.  We had a few hiccups (one of which was that humidity in Japan caused my print to wrinkle), but they are saving the day and making my work look its best.

I cannot tell you how great it is to have such careful, dedicated, clever folks to entrust my work to.

Throughout everything the exhibition curator Kasumi and another curator,  Uta (who is assisting me with translation and helping me personally) have been amazing in helping me create my vision in their space.  The museum space itself is amazing.  I only wish I’d had more lead time to do even more (especially with all that vertical space!!!)  I can’t wait to see everything after participation!

On a more personal note, one of the many new medications for CFS/ME that I am using is helping tremendously with my energy levels and recovery rates.  This meant I was able to do this install so much more easily and made this trip so much better.




Identity Tapestry to show in Switzerland

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vkz_ueber20unsFrom the first iterations of Identity Tapestry I’ve been wanting to create it both in a museum space and in another language.  I’m pleased to announce that this May I’ll be doing both!  Identity Tapestry will be up as part of the upcoming show “Identity” for four months starting this May at the Vögele Cultural Center in Pfäffikon (just outside Zurich).

I will be flying out for the install and I’m incredibly excited.  Any iteration demands a look at which statements to include or leave or if new ones ought to be added, especially in a new area or situation. In this case the language use should be especially interesting because there are essentially two languages at work there: High German and Swiss German.  One is the official language which is used for nearly all text, the other is the language of intimate conversations and the inside of one’s own head.  Apparently it is only recently that the Swiss-German language has appeared in text, and then mostly in text messages, and only to very intimate friends.  How I approach these languages and navigate translations will add new levels of complexity to the piece.  Thankfully the curatorial staff is wonderful and I have a local Zurich-raised person who is willing to consult with me on language as well.

listening to the materials

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Continuing updates on this project which involves hand-embroidering responses to personal questions I (mostly) receive in the mail.

This is about the actual size.  It’s funny, but it takes such a short time to start to feel acquainted with a person’s writing when you are paying this close attention to it.  You’re on your third “e” and you think, yes, that’s how their “e” goes.  It’s such an intimate exercise, but with people I may never have seen.  In this case I was told the story by my nurse friend who left an envelope for responses at the hospital, because the writer told her.  What came before this response was a series of losses and tragedy and this was the first healing moment following them.

As painstaking and time-consuming as this project is and will be, I’m already loving it.  It’s funny, it will be viewed as “obsessive” work, but in the balance for me it isn’t.  It’s meditation.  More, such work has a practical place for me.  I travel.  When I am traveling, this fits into a tiny bag.  I can work and not waste the time.  I also have a fairly serious back injury that puts me out of commission periodically.  When I can’t stand (I’m never supposed to sit), I can do work like this.  Mind you, when the back isn’t bad I can dance (including performance seasons) and climb, etc., just not sit.  Still, it’s important to plan work that I can do lying down so that I’m never wasting time I could be doing work.  My other projects tend towards a larger scale.

As I’m embroidering these responses I’m letting other parts of the piece unfold in my mind.  I wanted the computer-text versus hand text, but I needed to know why my subconscious needed it to be embroidery too.  Today the reason the contrast text must be machine embroidery in a commercial font became clearer.   It’s that illusion of intimacy, careful attention, personal touch, etc. that the machine embroidery is offering, and failing at.  Next to the real thing I suspect it will be so obviously a completely different thing as to be alien. If it were just printed text on paper or text on a screen it would lack that offered illusion.

I’m getting glimmers of arrangement ideas but I’m going to wait until I have a lot more of them and have them alongside the machine ones.  I’m done with this idea that conceptual artists (or ANY contemporary artist) must have fully conceived and practically written a paper on the artwork before they even touch the material.  Bullshit.  Visual artists work with visuals and materials.  In the process of working with a medium it talks back to you.  It’s a conversation… or it should be.  I’m listening as well as talking. 

Written by Mary Corey March

August 2, 2013 at 8:52 am

Speak a few languages?

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Thank you so much to the people who contributed to this piece.  It will be part of a collaborative International show called “Telephone, recalled” taking place in France and the US:

É c o l e S u p é r i e u r e d e s B e a u x – A
r t s T A L M
Angers – 15/11 > 15/12/12
C e n t r e N a t i o n a l É d i t i o n A r t I
m a g e
Chatou – 29/09 > 24/02/13
C A P C M u s é e d ‘ A r t C o n t e m p o r
a i n
Bordeaux – 15/11 > 16/12/12
T h e E m i l y H a r v e y F o u n d a t i o n
New York – 15/11 > 24/11/12
S a n F r a n c i s c o A r t I n s t i t u t e
San Francisco – 20/11 > 06/12/12


Other artists are enacting our pieces as described over the telephone and we are enacting theirs.  All of us are also enacting pieces from the original 1969 show.  This is where I need your help! 

I will be enacting a Mel Bochner piece.  It involves an international game of telephone of sorts.I call someone in another country, say France.  I read a text to them.  They write it down in English, then call the next person in a different country (say Italy) and read the text over the phone in French.  The Italian repeats the process, calling someone in a different country.  It repeats about 4 times, ending i an English-speaking country until the last person calls me again and I write the last version down in English.  The texts will be displayed in the gallery.

So if you are in another country… how many languages can you understand and write down?  Would you be willing to take a call from a stranger, write what they say in their language down, call another stranger and say it in your own language?

If so please contact me as soon as possible!

Written by Mary Corey March

November 12, 2012 at 11:56 am