ESMoA: Living Art Installation
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An “Art Laboratory” that holds four experiences each year of different mediums. The experiences are centered around a theme or question that allows visitors to make their own interpretations.
Chelsea Hogan, Education specialist
Demographic: general public
Trina did an experience for us. We call our exhibitions experiences. She did an installation for one day and it was called “Objectified.” Basically, the experience we had on view was called “Truth” and every artwork in the show was a nude whether on canvas, photograph or sculpture and we brought her in to use the body as a canvas. She was already working on this idea of humans as objects or furniture. We had four spaces where models were placed to look like furniture in these very distinct spaces. One was a Martha Stewart cottage, It was very idealistic, almost the 50’s dream house wife sort of scenario. Trina had someone be a table, blend in with the couch, a lamp and a vase. We had sort of like an “Ikea man den” in which the floor was a bright red at the time so she incorporated the figures to be red, blue and white with a table, lamp, etc. We had a Tiki area, they offered drinks and it was the feeling that you were always on vacation So what if we could bring the sense of being on vacation back home. There was a bar, a Tiki man, a couch of three different models. Outside we had a trailer. The idea was building up a trailer and moving out west. She had a model blended into the furniture. That was very colorful and the couch of this trailer had these little colorful umbrellas on it. Also a woman being a 50’s style lawn chair. The woman was just sitting right on the sidewalk on main St in El Segundo and she was blended into a green 50’s lawn chair.
It was really amazing, we had Trina and her assistants paint live in front of the public in an adjacent space that used to be a post office and it was not being used for anything at the time, so we had a prep guy build kind of a huge boxing ring and we had carpet swatches and they just spent 6 hours painting these models, I think there were 12-14 all together, live in front of the community to come and see.
We had about 800 people come out that day, which at that point, aside from when we first opened we had 1,000 people, but since then we hadn’t had that many people come for a program, so that was pretty special. It was very well attended, and from my position, it was extraordinary to work with Trina. She was just a wonderful, interesting artist to wok with. For me it was really important. We are a new institution and back then we were bran new (June 2013) and we had only been ope for 3 or 4 months. We were a new institution on Main St in a town that has a very conservative history, so it was a great chance to really make our mark and really make a statement and say this is going to be a different kind of place. It was my most favorite thing we’d ever done and we’ve done some crazy stuff, but this was really, really, really special.
We made a poster as well. It is something we will still occasionally give out, so it lives. we also made a video of the day and a video called “Objectified” and another called “Subjectified” which was really focusing on extreme close ups of just the skin. Very artsy, not very good for a promotional video, but those are both on the YouTube channel.
Fears: I was mainly just excited. I was new to the institution and the institution was new, so I wasn’t really sure what it would cost. Throughout the planing stages, we kept going back and forth about the money aspect, so that was the only thing that was hard for me personally. I don’t know if Trina could have done that any differently. I think she has her prices and we were a new non profit, so we were trying to see, to be perfectly candid, how to get the most for our money. So Trina is very talented and I don’t mean to suggest anything other, but I feel like we might have pushed her in an interesting way because she had originally wanted to bring a lot of actual objects and we were saying why don’t you try to make those objects out of people instead. So we caused her to think about it in a different way, maybe So in that place I had little dear moments where I was thinking Trina would bring all of this stuff and we wouldn’t have the space for it because she was coming from San Jose and we were really talking from El Segundo. So there were a lot of things we could only really talk about and have happen when she came. But I think what was really successful was that we talked a lot. We just went back and forth over and over and over again. So any fears about money or logistics, she was very open and communicative and that was everything. I just tried to make everything clear on exactly what was happening.
She and her team stayed here too. We have a little apartment upstairs so there was that logistical aspect too. Just making sure we were communicating back and forth helped alleviate any fears. And in terms of risque nature, I was just excited about that. I was so excited to do such a unique program and it’s still something that our community really remembers. It did exactly what I wanted it to do. It made a statement. It really shows that we’re a different kind of institution.
Favorite: My favorite part was really seeing visitor’s reactions and also seeing that people, though they may have come originally for a voyeuristic reason, like they were going to see naked bodies, but then they stay because it was art. We set up chairs and people would just watch for hours. they might have gone to get food but then would come back to see the performance. My favorite part was being able to show the live and watching visitor’s reactions and noticing how excited they were.
Recommend: Trina is extremely professional. She is very warm and lovely to work with. She is interested in working with you to push boundaries and she is going to deliver an amazing artistic encounter that you’ll remember forever.
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