Black hounds and interstellar sounds
Tracey Emin, “My Bed,” 1998
*Trigger warning: depression/suicide*
This work of art shows the artist at her most vulnerable and is extremely effective at showing just how dark this time in her life was.
Emin had just gone through a troubled patch in a relationship and had sunk into a suicidal depression. She did not leave her bed for several days. When she finally overcame this bout with depression, she decided to display the bed itself, in its pitiful state, covered in filthy clothes, condoms, empty bottles of liquor, and cigarettes. She placed it in a gallery and explained its context in her life.
It became immediately controversial, with some claiming she was simply playing the part of a “bad girl” and others decrying it as less than art. Many objected in particular to the bodily fluids included. Emin’s genius has always necessarily been along the thin line between art and confession. She constantly tells the viewer much more about herself than others ever share, particularly about the struggles in her life.
This piece is successful because it shares an experience with the viewer in an incredibly succinct way. Emin’s bed shows us just how low a person can get. The fact that she survived the experience and has had a successful career since has transformed the piece over time. It is no longer a piece which only shows us the face of depression; it gives us hope that one can get out of that bed and lead a fulfilling life.
12th Dynasty, Middle Kingdom
Gessoed boards were used for writing notes or school exercises. Like the slate writing tablets of yesteryear, they could be used repeatedly, with old texts being whitewashed to provide a “clean slate” for another. This board still bears traces of earlier writing (at left). The main text is a wordy model letter that the student copied—and surely also was expected to memorize. His many spelling mistakes have been corrected in red ink by the teacher.
(Source: The Met Museum)
A little behind posting this one, but I did a piece for Nautilus, a great science publication. This current issue is all about big bangs. The article I worked with is about the big bang theory being a form of creation myth among many other creation myths found in human history. As early as 2600 BC Sumerians describe the earth and sky being separated allowing for the creation of humans. Even earlier, around 2300 BC there are references to Atum (the sun god) in Egyptian pyramid texts, spitting out air and moisture. Naming seems to be a big part of these ancient myths, a reoccurring theme. Many thanks to AD Len Small!
doodling on the PS6
Very excited to have grabbed this at the show!
Here’s a preview of the new zine I’ll be selling at SPX!
Common Curses & Blessings is a 2-in-1 mini-zine about the most mundane and insignificant things the universe throws at you. They probably shouldn’t even have an impact on your day, but they totally do.
Read it facing one way, and you’ll read about the curses. Flip it over and read about the blessings. You’ll just have to come to SPX and see how it works!
2-color risograph printed, 4.25” x 5.5”. 16 pages, 8 curses, 8 blessings. Come to table A12 and check it out!
g-g-g-g-get it! our table is gonna be all purple this year, awesome (*w* )