Your donations do our work, Andrea Bowers and Suzanne Lacy, UC Reverside Gallery, 2009

The configuration of present is accomplished in relationship with past through the tension and rediscovery. In this sense, contemporary art as an artistic present reflects the inherent question of transmission as a way of communication in cosmopolitan societies. According to this explication, we should consider about how to make a discourse between art and community beyond nations or geographical boundaries. However, this question is not meant to ask for position of universal cognition for historical context or social circumstance, instead it puts emphasis on the time and space mechanism which contains the dynamic connectedness of chronology and zone. To response the question we can keep our eyes on the participation based art project as an active voice in contemporary art. From the art historical point of view, it can be understand as an interactive art follows the system of performance art traditions such as the classical avant-garde, happenings, and closed-circuit installations in the 20th century. It was an attempt to reduce the physical space between art and audience, but there is lack of simultaneity as a factor of the present tense of dialog. Therefore, we should focus on the participation based art project. It belongs to the domain of public art because it grounded on the notion of public-oriented art as well as the “new genre public art” coined by Suzanne Lacy. In 1989, Suzanne Lacy was a participant in Culture in action which is a narrative on the Sculpture Chicago’s project and it is evidence of a major shift that has taken place in the dialog surrounding public art. In her point of view about new genre public art, it is linked to 1970s-style media intervention and activism, to feminist art and to the type of current work that focuses on the identity politics and other social issues. In 1995 she argued that the factor in the new visibility of this ephemeral and community-based art work is the transition from a model of public art through her publication “Mapping the terrain : New genre public art”. Suzanne Lacy continues to make her works in this context, she tells to us through a new collaborative installation performance work with Andrea Bowers. In the current exhibition Your donations do our work at UC Riverside gallery in California, Suzanne Lacy and Andrea Bowers utilize clothing, quilt, public ritual and community organizing to piece together an examination of issues involving class, immigration, gender and race. Their works focus on interconnection, socializing and reclamation of public sphere. Therefore, the gallery is transformed into a dialogical space for audience, community members and UC Riverside students, operating as a collection point for contributions of cast off clothing and small appliances. These stuffs are washed, dried, pressed and reformed at various figures by the artist, finally they became the part of art works.

Storytelling and Listening, So-yeon Park, Chameleon center in Kansas, 2007Storytelling and Listening, So-yeon Park, Chameleon center in Kansas, 2007

From this context, Storytelling and Listening as an example of participation based art in recent years, this project follows the context of new genre public art. Storytelling and Listening worked out a way of dialog by So-yeon Park, Associate Art Professor with the University of Kansas. The first  Storytelling and Listening was preformed at the YWCA in Kansas City Kansas in May of 2007, Over 30 Homeless youth participated in the project and performance. For this project, she worked with homeless youth from the Office of Homeless Liaison, she directed the children in making drawings concerning their lives. After then, the drawings were scanned into a computer that produced embroidered quilt squares that made up a circular quilt over 12 feet wide. Presentation of the quilts involves the youth telling their life stories while sitting with their legs snuggled up under the fabric while their images are being projected on to a screen. The process of this project makes interaction between art and community through sharing each participant’s memory and sensibility. These quilts and video works as a result of the performance will form an installation to be exhibited in Seoul Korea’s Contemporary Art Museum in 2009.


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