Off Limits

Coffee to Go

Q: Specifically, why dildos?

A: I was exploring issues related to sex and sexuality, especially issues such as AIDS, and I wanted to flesh that out a little. My work isn't just about AIDS, but private aspects and taboo aspects associated with sex. Sex toys seemed like a very obvious place to extend that dialogue.

Q: Do you think the CCA understood your work when it awarded you the fellowship?

A: Since this thing has come out, I looked up what I had in my application. As part of the process, they asked for a slide list, including a description of each of the slides, so I can read to you what I wrote about that piece: "This series of large implements from last year could be viewed as related to erotic pleasures, but they hang on the wall rather than hide in the drawer. Aesthetically, their glossy white glaze and chrome-plated handles demand to be hung in the bathroom and to be viewed in a manner similar to a toilet or a sink. Thus, they bring out questions about the traditional divisions of our bodies into public and private activities." In the text, as I was describing the piece in question, it was very clear that there was sexual content to the work.

Q: When CCA executive director Elaine Mariner was hired in 2004, she decided that new grant recipients "must show evidence of community involvement and benefit." What do you think that means?

A: I think it mirrors a much larger move nationwide away from individual artists' grants to funding larger, community-based work, stuff like that. As an artist, getting a grant that allows you to work more freely is a wonderful benefit, so there's a certain sadness in watching those grants go. At the same time, there is a recognition that the United States is not a place that is very conducive to public financing of the arts, and that's kind of sad.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I'm working on a series of large pieces, installations that will be exhibited this fall. All my work continues to explore domestic space. Earlier, I would have said my work explores the public and private aspects of the home, thinking in terms of the bedroom and dining room. I'm now exploring the overlap or lack of overlap in labor and pleasure.

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