Turkey season is over. The LGM Mortgage Burning Church has passed. WSSP and WSSP II are in habitable shape and I'm on hold as an artist. Where to next? To this day, when I tell someone I'm an artist, inevitably someone will ask what kind of art I do? It doesn't matter if this person is completely naive as to what an artist may do in the 21st Century or hip to everyone from Duchamp to Damien Hirst. (I admit to my own cocoon of ignorance as to the flavor of the month recently). Usually I just say "conceptual" and leave it at that. But even that term is old fashioned and falls short. I hate "performance artist". "Contextual" never really took. Post- Modern deconstructivist carpenter? Fuck if I know. Then I thought, it's not really the kind of artist that I am that is important. Rather, it is my choice of art supplies that dictates my work. Every new piece requires I choose new materials. I guess you'd call me a "Materialist".
A few cases in point: My mature work starts way back in 1977 outside the San Francisco Art Institute School Store. The place was filled with paint, canvas, paper, brushes, etc.- everything one would need to make art. I had $600 of credit. Instead of buying stuff, I stood in front of the store day after day, convincing painters to put their purchases on my account, taking their cash in return, until all $600 was retrieved. Over my career I've used money, death, religion, guns, blood, rock and roll and real estate as art supplies. It's a short blog, so lets just pick real estate.
In 1995 I purchased an old house and church in Glen Wild, NY. I lived in the house and worked on both the church and house with the goal of establishing a functioning house of worship. I'd already (conceptually) formed the Church of the Little Green Man on the LES, but this would ground it in a sense of place. That's why it's called "real" estate. It exists in one specific space. Then I bought a little piece of woods in the midst of existing cemeteries, in order to establish the LGM cemetery. I adopted two stretches of road and purchased a one room school house. In the school house I formed the Old School for Social Sculpture and eventually sold it at a nice profit. Did it sell as art? No.
With the money I made on the Old School I bought a wreck of a house in White Sulphur Springs. This became WSSP (White Sulphur Springs Project). After working on it for over a year I included this piece in a show I did @ Marianna's Apartment. I sold WSSP as art. WSSP II was purchased by friends and the renovation process became the art. Once again I am confronted with the difficulty in contextualizing this "as art" and not just real estate. It is a constant problem.
So now, with a track record that spans 15 years of working with real estate as art supply, I went to the county auction yesterday with the purpose of buying another plot of land in order to do a new work. This piece measures 28'X62' and sits right on the Neversink River. I was the high bid at $300. Like my old friend and mentor the late David Ireland I use signage to anchor these pieces in space. Today I'm going out to my sign maker Craig Stewart in Callicoon to order a sign for my new piece of property on Holiday Mountain Rd. in Bridgeville, NY. It will say: CHURCH OF THE LITTLE GREEN MAN PUBLIC BAPTISM ACCESS- enter at your own risk. Come and take a dip in a little piece of art.