You are reading this statement because you are looking for an explanation; likewise, I wrote this statement because I am expected to provide you with an explanation. Common practices dictate that this statement should provide you with any information you may need to understand the work in question; however, popular knowledge dictates that effective work need not be explained, since its meaning will be self evident if executed effectively. This installation is about how we demand, provide, and withhold meaning.
I have placed this statement outside of the gallery so that it may exist independently of the work. This means, however, that you are reading this statement either before or after entering the gallery. If it is the former, I run the risk of influencing your perception of the work. If it is the latter, I run the risk of undermining any meanings and/or conclusions you have reached about the work on your own. Either way, there is almost certainly a considerable difference between your relationship to this work and my own — a relationship which is directly tied to the work’s message. This installation is about the distance between what is said and what is intended on both sides of any conversation.
We are in the Art & Art History building of a public university which is home to a large student body enrolled in any number of different degree programs across a wide spectrum of applications and focuses. Such an environment means that the audience is likely to be comprised of a diverse population with equally varied relationships to art practices, art theory, and the academic world of art as a whole. This installation is about the ways in which the institutions we are a part of influence our expectations for the explanations we are provided — and how those explanations in turn influence the ones we come to on our own.
I've Never Been So Sure Of Anything is a site-specific, mixed-media installation piece first shown in San José State University's Gallery 5. The piece was inspired by my experiences in academic art critiques and explores the themes of authority, language, and gatekeeping in the world of academic art, and serves as the first step in the development of my graduate thesis.
Influenced in part by the work of Andrea Fraser and Hans Haacke, I've Never Been So Sure Of Anything features a grid of ninety-one photographs printed on archival matte paper and printed over using vintage wood type set on a mid-century Vandercook letterpress.
The SJSU installation of this piece included a machine-written piece of artistic theory created using the Botnik VoiceBox loaded with a custom language, as well as a performance art piece presented in the place of the expected presentation to university faculty defending the work. This particular version was designed as a protest against the practices of SJSU's Studio Art MFA program and the treatment of graduate students by the university's faculty and administration; themselves symptoms of more than a decade of deeply flawed and sometimes corrupt actions and policies enacted by top administrators in the California State University system.