Tonight’s art lecture: we can’t have nice things, but we can make them out of paper

Tonight I got to hear a lecture by Libby Black, an artist who makes copies of high-end status objects, like Louis Vuitton luggage, out of paper. She doesn't seem to have her own web page–she used an old-school Kodak carousel instead of powerpoint slides to illustrate her lecture so maybe that's not a surprise–but there's an interview with her here. She said that she got her MFA just before the war started, and she went into her masters program right from college, so I'm guessing she's thirty-ish. Here's a picture of her with her art I swiped from this blog

She didn't put on a lot of airs about the craft part of her art–in answer to a question she said the works are what they are and she doesn't expect them to get better unless she gets an assistant with better paper skills (she also said if something she made fell apart she wasn't going to remake it, so collector beware). She said she doesn't make these things out of paper to satirize them, but to deal with her desire for them and discomfort with them–she thinks these things are beautiful, but she's not comfortable being a Louis Vuitton customer. Her mother is apparently an upscale power shopper, a regular at the local Nieman Marcus; one of her first works was recreating the shoeboxes in her mother's closet, to see how all 51 of them felt in relationship to herself. She said in the lecture than whenever she got up from a chair at home her mother would immediately fluff the pillows, which made her feel like she wasn't supposed to be there.

The other artists I've seen this year (this school year, I mean) have been working for a while, so they could say I worked on this–and then I worked on this! but since she's so new in her career Libby Black has only been working on the paper thing. That was interesting in itself, because she was able to take us through her evolution step by step, from her BFA show to the present. The students in the audience asked good questions afterwards; there might not have been a lot of depth to her career but it was certainly one they could hope for after graduation.

Did I mention the head of the art school opened the program wearing a very professional black suit and cheetah-print tights? She did.

 

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3 Responses to Tonight’s art lecture: we can’t have nice things, but we can make them out of paper

  1. snoringKatZ says:

    How interesting and heartbreaking all at the same time. There's something really wonderful about her work and especially her refusal to repair anything that comes apart. I like that.

  2. She's using her art to make her own place in the world (not just as a career)–I'm wondering what she'll do next.
    She made her first LV bag out of paper because she really wanted to own one, and she said once she made it she didn't need to own one any more…maybe if I make a Palm Treo out of paper I'll get over it?

  3. snoringKatZ says:

    maybe if I make a Palm Treo out of paper I'll get over it? Possibly but I've found it's a lot harder for me to get over something I consider useful. 🙂

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