Art beyond the object? Art beyond grad school?
The goal of this fundraiser is to enable the production of my last semester’s work and thesis exhibition, and also to aid in the post-graduation transition to a sustainable social art practice.
While in graduate school I’ve been working on projects that reach beyond any single, traditional art object. Rather than limit my work to the confines of a singular painting, photograph, or sculpture, I try to take both the context and experience of an artwork into account. With my photographs I create multiples that are given away for free or at low cost. Instead of exhibiting expensive, precious, limited-edition photographic prints, I prefer to make postcards and posters the viewer can take home and look at on their own terms. These multiples are often awarded as prizes, sent through the mail, distributed in public giveaways, or sold at a low cost.
I acknowledge that I have no control over how these works are handled or regarded, but I’m more excited about what unknown life and significance the art might go on to have—especially as it might differ from the somewhat rote and narrow experience of market-driven gallery-bound work. Presenting my work outside of a typical exhibition space allows me to distribute it on my own terms (to who I want, at the price I deem fair, with affection, and without giving a gallery 50%)—in fact, the distribution itself is, again, conceived of as part of the art. The art exists beyond the object! I’ve found that devising games and situations for exchange are great ways to engage various audiences, using the art of the experience and the art of the object to communicate. With these non-traditional modes of access and distribution for artwork, I hope to encourage conversations about art and community, while also creating a sustainable art practice that does not rely on the current gallery structure.
- Finishing funds for Don’t Honk if You’re Horny: Global Horny 2016 Campaign - $375 for printing and postage
- Finishing funds for Cuba Questions brochure - $350 for printing and postage
- New work - $1000 for printing, packaging materials, various supplies
- Exhibition - $200 for assistants for the opening, lights, display furniture, transportation
- Overhead - $400 (Kickstarter fee, based on $5,000 goal)
- Transition to artist life - moving costs, new studio rent and deposit, supplies, printing costs, starting something, trying some things out, etc. - $2675
Who is Desiree Des?
Desiree is an artist living in NYC. She also goes by Des. She is in the final semester of her MFA in Studio Art at Hunter College.
Desiree was born in Taipei, Taiwan and raised in Chambersburg, PA. She received a BFA in Studio Art from Alfred University and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Rutgers University. She has been the recipient of the Institute for Electronic Art Print Residency (Alfred, NY), and her work has been seen in BOMB Magazine, at SARDINE Gallery (Brooklyn), at Come Out and Play Festival (Brooklyn), and on a billboard at Broadway and 174th Street (NYC) with the generous support of 14x48.org.
You can see more work at desireedes.com.
This is an abridged version of my thesis paper. Read my entire thesis here.
What’s in it for you?
No Zonks! Great rewards! Eternal gratitude and good vibes. All Kickstarter backers will receive a free gift at my MFA exhibition opening (Dec 8, 2016 6-8pm), and be acknowledged on my website as a supporter (optional).
$5 - A thank you postcard sent through the mail to YOU!
$10 - Winner Eraser - A fully functional laser-etched Pink Pearl eraser for all the winner’s mistakes.
$10 - The Roller Coaster Poster!
The Roller Coaster Poster is made up of two curiously enjambed photographs—one of the Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN, and the other in my neighborhood of Fort Greene in Brooklyn, NY. It’s also been the starting point for many explorations within my practice, including the Roller Coaster Poster Sculpture, the Roller Coaster Poster Sculpture Poster, and the Exquisite Roller Coaster—a community drawing project where participants received a Roller Coaster Poster for contributing to a long, double-sided drawing on a spool of receipt paper.
$10 - The Photo Shop Poster!
The Photo Shop Poster in particular seems to announce its objectness, and that of the photographic objects it depicts, while also putting them into question. At first glance, the image appears to have been composited using Adobe’s Photoshop computer software, but, in fact, it is a straightforward snapshot of the interior of a photo lab in Venice, Italy. It’s something like a readymade compilation of photo objects, and as such, a profile not just of the person seen in the reflection or the architectural space, but of photography in a broader sense.
$20 - The Poster Pair!
You will receive both the Photo Shop Poster and the Roller Coaster Poster!
$27 - Button of the Month Club 2017
You will receive one button in the mail every month for one year, beginning January 2017. Featuring a wide variety of imagery culled from magazines, catalogs, and my own photographs, these buttons are a long-running part of my practice. Their size and round shape recalls that of a coin, and indeed I often use them as an alternate form of currency. They’re fantastic worn on clothing, and juxtapose mass-produced commercial images with your very own outfit. A unique accessory! Makes a great gift!
$54 - Button of the Month Club 2017 for TWO
Each of you will receive one button in the mail every month for one year, beginning January 2017.
$50 - Dinner Plate (various) and Roller Coaster Poster
Printed with my own photographs of edible and non-edible subjects, these 9” melamine dinner plates are meant for dining, though they also look great on a wall. Your actual meal is heaped on top of the image, and as you eat, the composition is altered in surprising ways. You will also receive the Roller Coaster Poster!
$100 - Dinner Plates for TWO and Poster Pair
$250 - I will host a Bingo Game for 50 people for up to 2 hours, in NYC only
Parties, company retreats, open studios, orientations—all can create anxiety. Conversation can be awkward or non-existent. My bingo game will break the ice by giving participants different qualities to seek out in others and their surroundings. It provides a framework for asking questions and spurring on interactions beyond the mundane. How do we consider one another? How do we consider the space we’re in?
One Birthdate Bingo party-goer says, "Large birthday parties tend to force 2 or 3 groups of people together over a common friend. The groups stick to their familiar friends out of comfort. Birthdate Bingo was an interesting antidote to this social problem. I found myself getting caught up in funny, strange, and lovely conversations about unexpected and unusually specific topics with new people. It fostered connection and laughter in a context that might have otherwise included awkward moments and silence."
$500 - Stoop Sale Artist. I’ll be your extra hands in helping clear out closets and having a stoop sale, in NYC only (2 days max).
I will come to your home or business to help you clear out unwanted items and set up a stoop sale (safety permitting). Two days maximum. Where is the art in a stoop sale?
$1000 - I will try to quiet the intersection of your choice by handing out Don’t Honk if You’re Horny bumper stickers for 1 hour, in continental US.
Countdown to art beyond grad school:
- Dec 8th - Opening of MFA Thesis Exhibition
- Jan 7th - MFA Thesis Exhibition closing and performance night
- Jan 9th - Must vacate studio
- Jan 20th - Hunter temporary storage ends
My long-term goal is to create a sustainable life for myself as a full-time artist. Because my work often takes the form of printed matter, I’m considering starting a press to distribute multiples wholesale. I would also love to teach using games.
NYC artist expenses:
- Studio rent in NYC ($3/sq ft!), 1 year - $7,000
- Materials and supplies - $5,000
- Transportation - $300
Also hoping for:
- Annual artist salary >$35,000, doing what?
- Health care
- Pay off all student loans > $100,000 (A year of Architecture school, BFA Studio Art, Master in Library Information Science, MFA Studio Art)
- Retirement fund for the future
From Wikipedia: Social practice is an art medium that focuses on social engagement, inviting collaboration with individuals, communities, and institutions in the creation of participatory art. It is also referred to by a range of different names: public practice, socially engaged art, community art, new-genre public art, participatory art, interventionist art, collaborative art, relational art and dialogical aesthetics. Social practice art came about in response to increasing pressure within art education to work collaboratively through social and participatory formats.
Artists working in social practice co-create their work with a specific audience or propose critical interventions within existing social systems that inspire debate or catalyze social exchange. Social practice artwork focuses on the interaction between the audience, social systems, and the artist through topics such as aesthetics, ethics, collaboration, persona, media strategies, and social activism. The social interaction component inspires, drives, or, in some instances, completes the project. Although projects may incorporate traditional studio media, they are realized in a variety of visual or social forms (depending on variable contexts and participant demographics) such as performance,social activism, or mobilizing communities towards a common goal.
Selected References & Suggested Readings
- Are Art Galleries Still Relevant in the Internet Age?
- How Young Artists are Setting Prices for Their Work
- How to Price Individual Works of Art: Making Distinctions Between One Piece of Art and the Next
- For Millennials, Being an Artist Isn’t Practical
Risks and challenges
It’s possible some people won’t think it’s art.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)