Monday, March 9, 2009

Reasons to Love Swoon

Detail from a Swoon paste-up in Brooklyn. Photo courtesy of Trois Tetes, via Flickr.

The artist Swoon is having a benefit party for her next project on March 14, and you should go. Why? Because Swoon is awesome. Why is she awesome? Well...

Because of the fragility and toughness of her paste-ups that linger around the city, getting better as they disappear, decaying exquisitely and suggesting layers of stories with each crack and peel. I love that her art is both unabashedly feminine and unapologetically raw.

Because of this honest, straightforward interview she did with SWINDLE a few years ago. When I first read it, I was just learning about street artists and had developed a particular fascination with women making their mark on the city. Since then I have come back to it again and again, not only for background on Swoon but because it makes me think about context, living with art, and overcoming failure.

Because she's really, really nice. I happened to be in the middle of interviewing Swoon just when the Great T-Mobile Blackout of 2008 struck, and she was very laid back and went waaay out of her way to make sure we cobbled together answers to my questions through email, texting, and what spotty cell service we could latch onto. All this while she was floating down the Hudson on a raft (See #5)!

Because Swoon manages to straddle the line between street artist and gallery artist without selling out or compromising her work. Her gallery exhibitions are as contextual and meaningful as her paste-ups. See? And I already showed you this.

Because of her boat projects. Swoon first gathered a group of artists and creative-type friends in 2006, made some rafts, and floated 800 miles on the Mississippi River-- giving art workshops along the way. Then in 2008, she took the idea a step further with a fleet of floating sculptures that carried 40 artists down the Hudson River. They stopped to perform music and a play about the imagined origins of the boats, written by the multidisciplinary artist Lisa D’Amour. I love the comparison Swoon made between the boats and her more stationary artworks when I interviewed her last year: "They are hugely different kinds of artwork, but they function in the same way, showing up where you might not expect them and speaking to the landscape they are in as well as to the people who see them. I try to create artwork that lives in a daily setting and has relevance outside of art institutions and doesn’t depend on them for context."

Next, Swoon and crew will navigate the Adriatic Sea from Slovenia to Venice, Italy on three intricately crafted vessels.They plan to crash the Venice Biennale in June, and that's where you come in. They need your help raising money to make it happen, so go to this auction, dance a little, listen to some music, and bid on some art if you can.

  • What: Benefit Silent Auction
  • When: Saturday, March 14th--- 7:30pm - 10pm, Dance Party 9pm - 3am
  • Where: Secret Project Robot--- 210 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (at Metropolitan)

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