Thursday, February 3, 2011
The Thankless Job of Self-Mythologization
Another long day at the gallery. I'm beat up. This is getting less fun all the time. Just finished chapter 13, which culminates by revealing the number of the beast, which we all know by now is 666. I hit the floor when I got to that part. Literally–the line of type reached the floor, which means that I was sprawled out like a spastic yogini to reach the awkward passage where the baseboard meets the floor. Think about your last gynecological exam, and you'll get an idea of the position I've been in for the last two hours, minus the stirrups. The next stretch will be across the floor with chapter 14, and then I'll be off the ground again and onto my fourth lap around the gallery.
This installation has me going 24/7. I'm not sure which is more exhausting: self-flagellating by day, or self-mythologizing by night. I'm becoming pretty good at both. I yearn for the day when I'm perched in my new studio, sipping a cup of tea with pointed pinky while blithely working away on my newest text drawing. I don't know why I took on this installation. If I'd thought about it, I might have realized what a toll it would take on my body and mind. But all I cared about was seeing what my work looked like as an installation. So here I am, whining round the clock, presenting myself as the long-suffering succotash who makes endless sacrifices for her art. The simple truth is that I didn't know what I was getting myself into. But I can't back out now, so what's a naive artist to do?
Self-mythologize, of course. My analyst could explain the whole thing if you're really interested, but it might put you to sleep. It even bores me a little. Here's the long and short of it: I'm messed up. Functional, but a few hinges need oiling, if you know what I mean. I know you do, that's why I'm not terribly embarrassed by any of this. My theory is that we're all messed up, but some people just don't realize it. Those are the solid nutters; the wretchedly obtuse. Blessed are those who know their defects, and cursed are those who don't think they have any.
But back to me. I think I must be giving my internal demons a good workout by taking on this crazy project. And I'm aware that by going public with my angst, I'm attempting to elevate my installation and myself into the realm of the martyred saints. More or less. I mean, why suffer in silence when I can just as easily turn on the live cam and get a little sympathy? Hey, now there's an angle I hadn't thought of: a live cam in the gallery, so I can wink at the camera during my prolonged flagellations. A reality show to seal my fate and ensure my fortune! Slam dunk and ka-ching! After all, reality shows are nothing more than a platform for ingratiating the bloated ego. Why not mine?
If you're an artist and you feel like you're not getting the attention you deserve, I highly recommend self-mythologizing. Not because it works (unfortunately it's very transparent), but because you might be able to convince yourself and a handful of others that your efforts are worthy and your suffering noble. If you don't know where to begin, just start a blog and write about yourself and your tribulations. Post pictures of yourself often. Wear lipstick. Show cleavage, if you got it. And don't be afraid to align yourself with future world events, like, say, Armageddon. If it never happens, no one will hold you responsible, but if it does, you're golden.
The important thing to remember about self-mythologization is that it's a thankless task. It won't get your name etched into the wall of a museum, unless your daddy owns the museum. And it's a whole lot easier to mythologize if you've got money–the more the better. Gobs of money are a guarantee that your myth-making efforts will stick. Just ask The Donald, trumped-up mentor of mythic morons.
Okay, well, that's enough blog banter for tonight. I need to do my Sudoku puzzle and rest my weary bones. We martyrs may be immortal, but we still need our beauty sleep.
Above: This shows my process. I pick each letter off the board and place it on the wall, on which I've brushed a line of glue. The letters were pre-cut; I started cutting them back in August.