Friday, March 6, 2009

pity, pity.

Here's the label I made for my jar at the Pity P(art)y, which opens on Monday and will be up through the rest of this March.

My name is Mara Baldwin and while the idea for this show was mine, little else has been deeply considered by me because of my complete disinterest in following through with this project and my recent ambivalence towards art in general. I apologize in advance for it’s shotty outcome despite the fact that I take no responsibility for however pathetically it may have turned out. When I was getting ready for grad school, I envisioned big things for myself, not crapshoot displays of “creativity” like this one. It seemed that all my ideas would be great just because I was spending the 30,000 dollars of tuition and 80 hours a week in my studio. I realized, sometime in December, that I’ve accomplished surprisingly little in my time here. I resolved that if I started getting involved with things outside of my studio production that I would make more friends and maybe even meet “that special someone.” A couple of months ago I told Justin (one of the organizers of PLAySPACE) about an idea for a show I had. I thought it might be interesting to do a show called Instant Relatives, a show bringing together artists whose work focuses on the anonymous family snapshot with the idea that a photograph of stranger can feel like someone very familiar. Time passed, and then a couple of weeks ago Justin asked if I still wanted to do it. I said there wasn’t enough time to pull it together. He said he thought there was. Somehow it was assumed that I really wanted to put something together. I didn’t. Then it was 2 weeks before the show and Justin, curiously, was still holding a place for me in the upcoming PLAySPACE show and seemed to imply that he was depending upon me. It felt good to be depended upon, but I still didn’t want to taint the Instant Relatives idea by rushing it together, and so I came up with this idea, Pity P(art)y, inspired by the rising tide of my own self-pity in regards to this situation. I told Justin the idea, and wrote up a press blurb to advertise for it. But then no one seemed interested in making pity jars (myself included) or persuaded me that they didn’t have time to make one and I became insecure about having my name associated with something that seemed like it was going to be a big fat failure. I’m not good at convincing people to do something they don’t want to do. I’m also not good at being bad at things. I also am sympathetic for people who are stressed out by the clusterfuck of deadlines approaching, as I am too. In the last two weeks I’ve actually tried to back out of doing this show a few different times. At first my strategy was to tell Justin in passing that I didn’t think anyone wanted to do it and that it would be horrible, hoping that he would realize the gravity of the situation and would reassign the gallery space to a different and more deserving project. But he didn’t really seem to hear the panic in my voice or understand that I was totally and completely serious. Justin seems to feed off of serendipity and relying on things just coming together whereas I am a basket of nerves. I probably should have expressed these concerns to Brandon (the other PLAySPACE organizer), who seems to have a more nervous personality like me, but Brandon just doesn’t really talk to me much and I’m afraid to interrupt his silent intensity because it seems like he might explode or something. I think that also, perhaps, no one else was interested in using the space because they’re too busy working on actual projects that won’t suck like this one. So I’m still in charge of this show that I don’t even want to be associated with anymore. I probably won’t come to the opening because I have class from 12-7pm on Monday and a then a lecture that I am required to go to. At this point, it seems like the only way the Pity P(art)y can be salvaged and my pride restored is if you make a pity jar like this one for yourself or some other cause and tell me when you next see me that you think this was a good idea or that you find me blameless for how awful it turned out. I’m sorry. Every time I tell this story or one similar I’m struck by how pitiful I sound and how there seems to be so much more needy need than my own, which makes me wonder if there is some sort of celestial algorhythm to determine which needs are more important than other ones. I’m under the impression that “need” implies that you’re missing something that you once had before, and that whining is just a way of getting attention for your loss. For me, hearing about what other people need makes me feel less needy because when people talk to me, the hole of my loss starts to fill up with something else. So make a jar, and please put money in this one. My free CCA therapy sessions with Peter Silen run out the second week of April and I want to keep going, but they start being 10 bucks a pop. Thank you!

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