Saturday, August 13, 2011

grandma's outhouse (for diego)

i still get an erection (piloerection that is - goose bumps or chicken flesh), whenever i go out to do an unsanctioned (illegal), installation.  i never know whether i'll get the full on hater vibe or acceptance of the piece.  on the rez, it's generally the latter.  

i'd spotted this outhouse along 89 north on the road to the north rim of the grand canyon about a year ago.  today was the day i went for it.  there are no houses around and the roadside stand nearby hadn't been used for a couple years.  i figured - do it and ask forgiveness later.  i had an opportunity to do just that.

the day was overcast and the wind was stronger than i realized.  it came in gusts.  getting the first strip of paper up was a bitch.  it got blown off the wall 2 times.  by this point the paper had absorbed enough paste and was so wet that i feared it'd tear as i was trying to get it up a 3rd time.  however, success; i got it up.  while working on the second strip i realized that i'd been so engaged in what i was doing that i didn't see or hear a pickup truck pull up.  the driver asked " what's it gonna be?"  (what a great opening line.)

"grandma mary reese," i replied.  i launched into my spiel about living on the rez 24 years, being a doctor at inscription house health center, what the project is about and emphasizing that the pieces are temporary.  then i asked him if he owns the outhouse.  he said he does.  nervously, i apologized for not asking first saying i wasn't sure who to ask since there are no houses nearby.  

he said his name was bruce nez and acknowledged that he'd not used his roadside stand for a couple years.  but since i was putting art up on his outhouse, he was going to start using the nearby stand again and asked if i'd hook him up with some sheep on that.  i told him i would.  bruce said he'd seen other examples of my work around and thought it was something sponsored by the tribe.  i asked what he thought about an old, black man putting the art up.  "not who you expected, was it?'  he thought it was cool.  

the thing i love about the outhouse installation is making 3 dimensions look like one and that the outhouse is still fully ventilated.  this is an important feature for an outhouse.

so yeah, the mary reese on the outhouse piece is dedicated to diego rivera.  he's been an inspiration for some time - since i was doing the urban guerrilla art assault project in flagstaff in the 90s.  the cool thing about this piece is that like diego's work it celebrates the every person (living on the rez), but it goes a step further and carries a seed for promoting economic growth and viability for bruce should he start using his stand again.

roadside vendor's stand at cedar ridge. while installing here a woman named annie stopped by.  her stall is a couple stalls down from this one.  she wants sheep as well.  sheep is life.

mary reese on 89 north


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