Theme The Everyday
The following is an excerpt from an essay in Teaching Contemporary Art with Young People by Connie Stewart.
The theme of The Everyday is about those aspects of our lives that are everywhere and seldom noticed. Art can provide glimpses into extraordinary lives and ideal experiences, but it is also able to show us how to appreciate the ordinary and less than perfect.
Alberto Aguilar 4/13/2020. 4/15/2020 Quarantine
Alberto Aguilar makes art about his present place. Furniture, houseplants, mirrors, books, are arranged in humorous, skillful and surprising compositions in his own home, hotel rooms, offices and in the spaces of invited shows and residencies.
His time during the national quarantine in 2020 consists of indoor installations with his wife’s shirts stretched across a doorway, memory drawings of his children and theirs’ of him, drawings of his dog and apparently his dog drawing him, and videos of mowing the yard bizarrely reflected in a mirror. He works with self-imposed rules which become part of the art form Who he is and the work he does are about wherever he is.
Moons from Next Door
Lenka Clayton searches for those things that are rejected or ignored; counts them, rearranges them, catalogues them, presents them in new contexts, documents them, and makes a viewer look again. She found abandoned balls that had been dog toys and photographed them as planets to be viewed through an old Viewmaster (Moons from Next Door, 2013). Thirty six rocks ( Rock Fade, Moon Rocks, 2019) arranged in order of size in a gallery can easily be an artform replicated by young student who like to categorize.
Numbers become special when it is human life that is counted as when she asked individuals from ages 1-100 to beat on a drum and say their age (People in Order-Age, 2006) or asked couples how long they had been together and documented the response in descending order (People in Order-Love, 2006).She says, “My material is the world around me and my experiences within it, and so I'm always working or thinking or paying attention, and then that shows up in my work.”
Let's Crash Together
Joey Fauerso is another artist who shows how everyday play can become a meaningful artwork when it is intentionally made special.
During the spring of 2020, she asked forty families from around the worlds to build a structure with their children and knock it down. Instructions included an art video showing black shapes falling and causing a collective crash. Building materials ranged from simple to complex; blocks, boxes, cards, paper, dominos, pillows, plastic food storage containers, stuffed animals, pool furniture, up to room size installations of various construction materials. Simultaneously, the families knocked down their constructions and shared the experience via Zoom conference video. Sculptures were torn, pushed over, jumped upon, pushed into a swimming pool or deconstructed in a complex “Rube Goldberg” sequence.
All of the family games were recorded and presented side by side in a video entitled “Let’s Crash Together.” The end result is a chaotic and loving documentation of everyday play and parenting. “Let’s Crash Together" shows how everyday play becomes a memorable art form by repetition and elaboration, working collectively, and documenting the results.