LOVE TO LOVE YOU
â€œFandom is less like being in love than like being in love with What can we learn about our own culture by looking not at celebrities, sports teams, or television shows, but at their fans? The exhibition Love to Love You brings together seven artists who use fan culture as the inspiration for making art. The term â€œfandomâ€? refers to a subculture of individuals, united by a common interest, who share camaraderie and feelings of devotion to their object of interest. For many, being a fan means entering a world of fantasy. Fandom transcends material consumption and becomes a fictional space in which people play out their hopes and dreams. In this sense, looking at fans tells us more about the emotional and cultural attachments we form to objects than about popular culture itself. Using a variety of approaches, the artists in this exhibition explore fandom
* Michael Joseph Gross, Starstruck: When a Fan Gets Close to Fame
as a unique opportunity for shared social experience and extreme personal obsession. These artists present fans as active participants in culture rather than passive spectators. Whether making memorabilia, writing fan fiction, or singing karaoke, fans become creators as much as consumers. By examining the social culture of fandom, this exhibition poses questions about authorship, collectivity, and our place in the hierarchy of cultural production. Ultimately, these works ask us to consider whether fandom can be a radical site for participation in culture, and they hint at deeper issues such as attachment, nostalgia, influence, and community. Martha Joseph Curator
Jason Lazarus, Michael Jackson Memorial Procession, June 25, 2010 (Gary, IN to Chicago, IL), 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago.
Born 1975, Kansas City, MO Lives and works in Chicago, IL
On June 25, 2010, one year after Michael Jackson’s death, Jason Lazarus organized The Michael Jackson Memorial Procession, a performance in which a caravan proceeded from Jackson’s childhood home in Gary, Indiana, to the city of Chicago. In celebration of Jackson’s place in American consciousness, a mobile radio station synchronously played a selection of his music. Participants’ cars were marked with screen-printed “MJ” funerary flags and collaboratively decorated with posters, streamers, and messages.1 As they drove through diverse neighborhoods, the cars created a nomadic, sonic, and spatial memorial. In the spirit of the artistic “happenings” of the 1960s, spectators on the street became participants in the performance, as they danced, sang, and interacted with the people in the cars. This pilgrimage created a collective experience of remembering and reliving the legacy of Jackson through his fans. Lazarus’ installation conceived specifically for MASS MoCA complements this ephemeral performance. The images on view were taken by the participants in the procession, whom Lazarus provided with disposable 1. On May 26, 2013, a decorated car from The Michael Jackson Memorial Procession was displayed at MASS MoCA.
cameras. The banner presents two images of spectators that stand in for common responses to the procession—celebratory, hesitant, and reverential. The diverse gendered, racial, and socioeconomic landscapes seen in the documentation generate questions about a pop icon’s ability to traverse social boundaries through cultural influence. Eric Doeringer
Born 1974, Cambridge, MA Lives and works in New York, NY
Eric Doeringer takes the art world’s enthusiasm for celebrity artists to the point of absurdity in CremasterFanatic.com. This conceptual art project appears to be a legitimate fan site devoted to Matthew Barney, an American artist who achieved “art-star” status in the late 1990s with his five-part experimental film, The Cremaster Cycle. Initially, Doeringer himself created much of the fan art on the site, but over time he began to receive submissions from real Barney fans around the world, resulting in a hybrid fan site that is part celebration, part critique. Records (after Ed Ruscha) (2011) and Some Los Angeles Apartments (after Ed Ruscha) (2009) are re-creations of two of Los Angeles-based artist Ed Ruscha’s
Eric Doeringer, Records (after Ed Ruscha), 2011, detail; perfect bound book, 7× 5.5 inches; 72 pages; edition of 1000. Courtesy of the artist.
books from the 1970s. Ruscha’s Records from 1971 features photographs of his vinyl record collection. With fan-like devotion, Doeringer collected copies of all of Ruscha’s records, photographed them, and presented them in the same fashion as the original book. Doeringer’s book, though identical to Ruscha’s in content, contains small indications of the passage of time—patterns of wear on the record jackets and price tags from second-hand stores. Doeringer re-created Some Los Angeles Apartments in a similar manner, making pilgrimages to the original sites and photographing them more than forty years later. These works ask us whether the fan’s impulse to re-create can be an adequate lens through which to view artistic influence. Patrick McDonough
Born 1982, Madison, WI Lives and works in Washington, DC
Patrick McDonough incorporates elements of fan behavior into his art practice to raise questions about accessibility, audience, and leisure. For his piece at MASS MoCA, McDonough drew inspiration from a song by the Brooklyn-based indie-rock band The Hold Steady about a teenage girl with a tattoo on her back that reads, “Damn right I’ll rise again.” Tattooing those precise
Patrick McDonough, 110804-tattoo stencil, 2011; used in creation of 111203-tattoo (The Hold Steady lyrics tattooed on artist’s skin); ink on paper; approximately 4 × 8 inches. Collection of James Alefantis.
words in the same place on his own body, McDonough participates in the band’s lived mythology. Refusing to display photographs of the tattoo in the gallery, McDonough also explores questions of performance and documentation. He insists that the tattoo itself is the artwork. Accompanying the stencil of the text is a copy of the artist’s last will and testament, which states that whoever purchases the work is to receive the tattooed skin removed from the artist’s body after his death. This presentation forefronts considerations of audience, reception, and consumption of the artwork. The acquisition parameters laid out in the will draw our attention to the complex transactions that occur between artist and collector. McDonough removes the tattoo from an exclusively fan context and transforms it into a fine art object, thus questioning the hierarchy between fan and musician. The fan becomes the artist who is, in turn, a cultural producer. MARK BENNETT
Born 1956, Chattanooga, TN Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Using the impersonal visual language of architectural plans, Mark Bennett explores America’s deep-seated infatuation with Hollywood. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bennett produced numerous blueprints, first mapping the domestic spaces of baby boomer-era sitcoms and then moving on to popular cinema and cult classics. In his drawings Home of Elmer and Francine Fishpaw (Polyester) (2007) and Home of Raymond and Connie Marble (Pink Flamingos) (2007) Bennett diagrams the narrative space of two films by director John Waters, whose controversial and
Mark Bennett, Home of Raymond and Connie Marble (Pink Flamingos), 2007, detail; ink and graphite on vellum; 30 × 42 inches. Copyright Mark Bennett; courtesy of CONNERSMITH.
campy depiction of violent and lewd subject matter helped solidify his cult status. Plot details punctuate the dry architectural lines of these mundane suburban edifices, prompting viewers to re-experience the drama of these films. In Home of Raymond and Connie Marble (Pink Flamingos) Bennett shows us precisely where the infamous final shot of the film occurs by indicating “dog poop feast.” He also labels the eponymous pink flamingo lawn ornaments, which leave as much of a lasting impression on the movie viewer as the characters. Ultimately, Bennett’s work underscores how viewers do not merely watch but psychologically inhabit cinema as a simultaneously individual and collective experience. These drawings give form to a fictional world and map the space of shared cultural phenomena.
Goldstone documents a single inning of a Mets game, mapping the specifics of each play—the number of balls, strikes, and bases run—onto the geometric visual language of a quilt pattern. By transforming the ephemeral moments of the game into a lasting object, Goldstone uses her art practice to participate in baseball fan culture. Goldstone’s fanzine Playboy, produced in collaboration with Eva LeWitt, similarly addresses the importance of handmade objects in fan culture. Popular before the internet became a primary method for disseminating information, zines are handmade mass-produced publications created by and for fans. In Playboy, Goldstone and LeWitt constructed hypothetical plays using fabric collage and then produced color reproductions of the zine for distribution among fellow baseball fans. The combination of the outmoded medium of the zine, the use of embroidery, and the subject matter of baseball conjures associations with pre-digital and preindustrial American culture. Additionally, this work brings together masculine and feminine nostalgic pastimes in a single object, with poignant personal associations that transcend the individual and engage cultural narratives.
Born 1985, Brooklyn, NY Lives and works in New York, NY
Born 1985, Spoleto, Italy Lives and works in New York, NY
Elissa Goldstone’s embroideries give aesthetic form to the collective memory of America’s favorite pastime: baseball. In 9 Times at the Plate (white leather) (2012)
Elissa Goldstone and Eva LeWitt, Playboy zine, 2011, detail; collage and watercolor on paper, 11 × 16 inches. Courtesy of the artists.
Jeremy Shaw, Best Minds Part One, 2007; two-channel video installation with original score. Courtesy of the artist.
Born 1977, North Vancouver Lives and works in Berlin and Vancouver
Jeremy Shaw’s two-channel video installation Best Minds Part One (2007) presents slowed-down footage of fans dancing at a straight-edge hardcore punk concert in Vancouver, Canada. Audience members thrash their limbs wildly in ecstatic testosterone-filled movements, but the slowed pace of the video recasts aggressive gesture as euphoric motion, giving us the impression that these fans are experiencing transcendental elation. In his artistic practice, Shaw explores altered states, but the dancing fans in Best Minds Part One achieve their euphoria
through the experience of the concert alone. The subculture of straight-edge hardcore espouses a “clean” lifestyle, without drinking or drug use. The relationship between subculture and altered consciousness is further emphasized in the work’s title, a reference to Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl (1955). In Shaw’s installation, this specific cultural phenomenon becomes transcendent, aesthetic, and universal. Drawing on his background as a musician, Shaw composed an ambient drone score that references composer William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops (2002–03), an album that documents the decomposition of analog tape reels as they play on repeat. This ethereal soundtrack lays bare the meditative physical and psychological rapture at work in the mosh pit and complements the low resolution of the analog video footage. In the installation at MASS MoCA, the viewer stands between the two video projections, as if immersed in the mosh pit itself, and becomes physically implicated in this cathartic moment.
Love to Love You
May 26, 2013 – January 5, 2014 This exhibition was made possible by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in support of MASS MoCA and the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art. MASS MoCA would like to thank the Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago; CONNERSMITH, Washington, DC; and James Alefantis.
1040 MASS MoCA Way North Adams, MA 01247 413.MoCA.111 massmoca.org