by Laura Hutson
Here, you'll find her answers to the 10 questions I've been asking all our CL artists. If you need a recap of her work, check out past posts about Shannon here, here and here. And stay tuned as we unveil July's artist of the month on Monday.
1. What's the last show that you saw?
The Bill Traylor exhibit that's up at the Frist. I love that he began drawing at the age of 82 and was extremely prolific — most of his compositions were created on discarded shirt cardboard and the backs of boxes. And when Charles Shannon offered him clean white paper, he refused it — he preferred the irregular shapes and said he found those more inspiring.
I love looking through children's crafts books; the ones from the '70s, when I was little, are the best. Also, I work around children and have always been excited by their pictures and poetry. I laugh out loud when I read Daisy Ashford's The Young Visitors, which is considered to be the greatest novel ever written by a nine year old.
6. What's the weirdest thing you ever saw happen in a museum or gallery?
The weirdest, craziest, best thing I've experienced in a gallery was Tim Hawkinson's art — two shows at Ace Gallery in New York in particular. He makes these pieces that are reminiscent of dysfunctional amateur inventions, like the spy camera laundry piles he's done. The robotic machine that signs his own name in his own handwriting, over and over again. My favorite though is his "Sound of Wallpaper." He has this large metal cylinder that's been carved with a Morse-code-like pattern of dots, and uses the cylinder to create a design that he prints onto wallpaper. He hangs the dotted wallpaper in a small room, then connects the the metal cylinder to another machine that, when it turns, makes the clanky sound of a finger piano. I love it!
8. Do you have a gallery/museum-going routine?
No routine at all. When I lived in New York City I would try to go to MoMA twice a year to see the revolving collection.
9. What's the last great book you read?
When I moved back South recently, I re-read Flannery O'Connor's short stories "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" and "Everything That Rises Must Converge." She manages to be hopeful, cynical, depressing, zany — it all depends on how you're feeling in the moment you read her stories.
I've also been exploring children's books at the public library lately. Books for children with inherently complicated themes, sometimes dark, attract me the most. Most recently I checked out Upside-Downers by Mitsumasa Anno, wherein the kings on the face of a playing card have to decide which of them is right-side up. Also Roger Hargreaves' I Am a Book. But on the flip-side (or not?), I am also reading How To Become a Schizophrenic, by John Modrow.
A painting I haven't grown tired of is Luc Tuymans' painting "The Heritage." I was probably like 18 years old when I saw his show, and it changed my life. Laura, you and I were talking not to long ago about feeling more southern outside of the South. Well, Tuymans is Belgian, and so his American paintings somehow seem more American to me in some way. I'd like to look at that everyday.
And I think I could live with Mary Ellen Mark's photo "Woman With Scarred Leg." Or maybe a Norbert Schwontkowski painting.