Like most of the people I know, I have been in a state of alternating disbelief, anger, helplessness and depression since November 9th. I honestly felt in my bones that Hillary Clinton was going to win (and I think one could make a strong case that she did actually win!) so the shock of witnessing this person who is so ill-suited and dangerous claim the position has been difficult. I admit to practicing some deep denial, which manifested in signing every damn petition and sending emails in the hopes that the Electoral College would do the right thing. Of course they did not. Part of me holds out hope that, until that man-baby has his tiny little hand on the Bible, there is a chance that this nightmare might end happily.
I will not be the first person to say that, even by some stroke of luck or actual justice, he doesn't place his teeny-weeny paw on the Bible, the nightmare will not be over. A light has been shone on a deep and shameful ugliness in the USA - the legacy or karma of how the country was created - and it can not be unseen. Nor should it. A friend asked for ideas of what could actually be done - not just talked about or clicked or emailed - in the face of things. My answer is to use what I have, which is art.
Some people are born with the skills to organize and lead people, to show up and fight, to inspire and give words to the powerful emotions that are swirling around in each of us. But that ain't me! I was born to make things and that is what I can offer. Towards that end, I have joined forces with some other artists (who all happen to be women) for a project titled The Bedroom. It is a collaborative installation - a monochromatic bedroom. You can read about here. We call ourselves The Women Artists Team (T.W.A.T). While it isn't directly aimed at the state of affairs we find ourselves in, I think it is no surprise that it is coming together at this very moment.
So that's a start.
I wouldn't be surprised if Kay McCarthy made a re-appearance. Who is Kay McCarthy? Well, the inspiration was this woman, who made a strong impression on me in my youth. (Noting here that we were born in the same hospital in Winchester, MA!) During the early Bush years, which now seem like a time of intellectual renaissance and profound humanity, I created a character whom I named Kay McCarthy. She hosted a DIY television show called The Well-Made Weapon in which she made decorative weapons from commonly found household materials. I made a few videos and her work appeared in a couple of exhibitions. The project lost some steam after a friend told me that she felt there was an edge of meanness to it - that I was making fun of people who, I suppose in retrospect, were a lot like current day Trump supporters. Well, it was a parody, so I guess I was making fun of them in an indirect way. But I thought I was doing it with love. In any case, I dropped it after that because I am not really interested in being mean. But Kay has haunted me. I still think she has a lot to offer and a lot to say.
Digging around to see if any of the videos are available online (my copies are all tucked away on external drives or DVDs - update: here is a little promo that I made in a very low-tech way in 2005), I found this exchange from another collaboration that I participated in titled Fridgefest (Diva/Divan), organized by Nick Fracaro and Gabriele Schafer . Here Kay discussed the project with her assigned partner for the project. Enjoy!
In the freezer compartment, I will have a running loop of video (or DVD) of close-up of hands engaged in daily domestic tasks that take place in the kitchen, i.e. washing dishes, kneading bread, churning butter. Perhaps this will be framed in a set of curtains so one only sees the image and not the equipment. In the fridge part, I will make it a kind of doll house with furniture made from various containers and packages found in a fridge. Maybe people could play in (with) the doll house?
My name is Kay MacCarthy and I am the host of a half-hour DIY program called "The Well-Made Weapon." Right now I don't have a regular time slot but I am in onversations with QPTV and others so I am really hoping to share my work with lots and lots of viewers, who (like me) love to make decorative, non-functional weaponry from materials easily found around the home.
My show blends a little bit of history with a pinch of resourcefulness and a whole lot of excitement about weapons and how they can be used as beautiful and creative additions to any home. Robyn told me about her idea to put a doll house in a fridge and, well, I love the woman, but I wasn't terribly impressed with her idea.
So we got to talking and I mentioned some of my more edible creations (the pineapple pineapple grenade springs to mind), and she agreed that perhaps she might feature some of my work in the fridge. I am really psyched to be a part of your group. It is so inspirational to be around so many creative minds, all working together. If you want to see some more of my work, you can check it out on Robyn's website.*****************
Robyn Love gave (sold) me your name.So I guess I'm now the MONSTER of your dreams.
I think your Well-Made Weapon show will fit nicely into our fall lineup of The Homely Household. Of course we'll need to make some cosmetic changes to your overall presentation. First and foremost we need to identify you and your decorative weapons as uniquely American. I've mocked up a web site intro that may be helpful for suggesting to you the direction I think we need to go with your makeover.
The name change from Mac to Mc may seem insignificant but these are the subtle details that fall into my domain as your producer. I need to think ahead to matters such as product placement. So first think Abstraction, Cubism, Expressionism, Impressionism, Magic Realism, and Minimalism. Now think of one day soon having a pure all American art-ism. That's right, McCarthyism. Dream big, Kay. Dream big.
For the Well-Made Weapon we will introduce a new "recipe" for a decorative weapon in each half-hour television segment. The following is a rough outline of the pilot show.The segment will feature the decorative IED. Most viewers switching over from Martha Stewart of course will not know what an IED is. So part of this pilot show and every show will be educating the public as to the exact nature of the weapon used as model for the art object. But first we will have a little fun with audience's naiveté on weapons.
Many viewers will confuse your pronunciation of IED with the acronym IUD. You will exploit this confusion through most of the segment but later go on to educate the audience as to the true nature of Improvised Explosive Devise and the high percentage of fatalities and amputees in Iraq from these weapons. Blah blah blah.
I am also talking to the writers about inserting ICE into the segment somehow. ICE is a nice little acronym for IED Countermeasure Equipment. At one part of the segment we'll have you run to the freezer to put some ICE on your forehead as remedy to your exploding IUD. A little clumsy in concept but the writers might be able to make it work.
The Homely Household
why so fast, Ben? a girl likes a little romance...
You have to be fast to play in the big leagues. I know what
housewives want and I'm determined to give it to them. By the way I got the title of my show The Homely Household from a verse in Lord Byron's Don Juan.
'Tis melancholy, and a fearful sign
Of human frailty, folly, also crime,
That love and marriage rarely can combine,
Although they both are born in the same clime;
Marriage from love, like vinegar from wine--
A sad, sour, sober beverage---by time
Is sharpened from its high celestial flavor
Down to a very homely household savor.
I am so excited!!! Yesterday I found a butter mold that allows you to
remove the carved portion (it is hinged at the sides and the bottom
piece--the carved piece-- releases from a set of clips). It means that
I (along with my viewers) can carve a new bottom piece so that one's
butter will have the impression of whatever you want--a landmine, a
machine gun, the H-bomb, whatever! The possibilities are endless!
From "Weapons: A Pictorial History" by Edwin Tunis:
"The first automatic pistol made in America was the Colt .38 introduced
in 1900...The caliber was increased to .45 in 1905 and in 1911 the gun
was adopted as the official US Army side arm. The Colt is the most
dependable of all automatics, an important characteristic since it is
intended for personal protection at close range and close range is no
time for a gun to jam or miss fire. It's quite a gun. It will stop a
running man in his tracks and will flip a light man clear over. It
delivers a mighty wallop and it jumps in the shooting hand like
fresh-caught salmon. This makes it a dangerous weapon for bystanders."