vital 5 productions, seattle, washington
Iris Stevenson had one of those ideas that only happen late at night; relaxed, exploratory, half serious and chaulk full of punk rock asthetic. Sometimes the most interesting, innovative experiments in art are immediate, simple and at once profound. Equipped with a black sharpie and a stack of old magazines, Iris tore the pages out of Vogue, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Guns and Ammo and Art in America- along with a few less respectable monthlies and used them as the raw canvases of her new found project.
The idea was simple- assign a single story, voice, or common catcall and prescribe it to a diversity of characters and landscapes. It began with the phrase "What are you bitches looking at?" She wrote it ontop of a group of models attempting a serious gaze, a little boy holding a frog, a group of mix-match of dogs posing on a bench. Take any one voice, transfer them onto nine completely different scenarious and immediately it becomes a social study, a comedy, a snapshot of curious fiction. Try it. Grab a sharpie and just try it.
Iris exhibited five sets of nine images, all glossy pages torn out of magazines and presented collectively. "I have nothing intelligent, engaging, interesting or profound to say", placed on a cowboy, a professor, a model, a tortoise, a housewife, a senator. It becomes the quintessential "I could have done that" exhibit, but what made it so engaging is that the audience studied the advertisements for Gucci, for Smith and Wesson, for Marlborough in a completely new light and uncovered something much more interesting, and insightful then the expensive, stylized advertisements ever attempted to be.
Is writing on a page from Elle Decor art? Is creating an exhibit in one single evening an act of laziness? Can anyone empower a pornographic image with a black marker? Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous was a testament that being clever didn't require a large studio, that mounting a worthy exhibit didn't require months of hard work and that simple ideas can be a loaded gun. Honesty, humor and insight don't neccesarily require an art grant, a trained hand or a studio with 15 foot ceilings. Sometimes all you need is a black pen and something to write on.