Dec 12, 2010


This is from John Kelly's performance piece "Paved Paradise".  I saw him in New York a couple of years ago when he screened 'Blood of a Poet' at Queer/Art/Film.  During the Q&A  he said that when it comes to making art "I need permission all the time". A funny statement coming from someone who seemed really confident in his skin.  I jotted down the quote and later looked up his work.  This video has been in regular rotation since.

Honestly, I've never really been that into Joni Mitchell.  I appreciate and respect her, but she wasn't a life changing discovery for me like for so many others.  I have a few friends who  "listened to 'Blue' every day in high school."  I get that.  We obsess, repeatedly look at the same art, listen to the same records and read the same books over and over and over again because they give us permission to do our thing, which is why I've watched this video at least twice a month for the past two years.

In January I'm in a show at the Levy Gallery at the Buckman Performing Arts Center here in Memphis with Mary Catherine Floyd, the resident apprentice at the Metal Museum.  Last spring we met at the museum on a gorgeous spring day and sat at a picnic table batting around ideas for a title.  We talked a lot about a sense of place and rootedness, not just geographically but in our work as well.  I told her about John Kelly and the whole notion of needing permission. We were both drawn to the idea of intentionally claiming permission instead of waiting for it to randomly spring up. With that, we came up with the title "Permission to Roam". 

Well, it's time to get back to work.  Where's my wig, sparkly dress and microphone?

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