“The Writer is Present,” from The Memoir Office, in Painted Bride Quarterly.

I’ve always admired public art with live human beings, and wondered if I could work up the courage to do something like that myself. Once, on a subway platform, I took up on an offer of “free bouncy rides” from a guy, Nate Hill, who dressed up as blue duck. Christine Hill constructs artworks that integrate into her everyday life. Her Volksboutique projects, first in Brooklyn and now in Berlin, range from a flea market to a tour guide business to a library project with writer Shelley Jackson. When you walk into one of her spaces, you become part of the artwork, always in progress. Last year, Yugoslavian performance artist Marina Abramović set up The Artist is Present at the Museum of Modern Art. Visitors lined up and sat silently across from the Artist, and by doing so became part of the Artwork. An online gallery online features participants, some of them famous, like Lou Reed, Bjork, and Antony Hegarty.

I like how these projects seem to either inspire people or piss them off. I got to wondering whether I could do something like this and maybe it would lead to new writing about myself, with others on for the ride. A writer-slash-performance art project, with me sitting at a desk, would probably fail, and part of that attracted me. Why not fail in public, make failure part of the show? What would it mean to formalize public writing? My friend Mark and I designed letterhead and logos. I sent off proposals to a couple local galleries. One of them, The Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, NY, accepted a proposal to be part of a group show called “Text as Art.”

Me sitting at a desk would be the “Art” part. Whether I could come up with “Text”would be another story.

Read more here.

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