This week Bad At Sports debuts its collaborative partnership with the online journal Art Practical. Scott Oliver, who has previously been on the show with the Collective Foundation, sits down with J. Morgan Puett. They discuss Mildred's Lane, a collaborative project with Mark Dion, the revolutionary politics of garments, and reclaiming the term migrant worker. An abridged transcript of the conversation can be found at Art Practical <http://www.artpractical.com/> .
Hooshing and the Nexus of Clothing: A Conversation with J. Morgan Puett
By Scott Oliver
I met J. Morgan Puett during her Bridge Residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts this past fall. I knew little of her or her work, but was immediately struck by her warmth and charm, and by the language she used to talk about her practice. She refers to it as “a practice of being” in which “an ethics of comportment” defines any engagement she might have—with students, collaborators, participants, fellow artists-in-residence. But also with her son’s teacher or her car mechanic. Terms like “hoosh,” “workstyles (a play on lifestyles),” “algorithm,” “emergent,” “entangled,” and “complexity” pepper Puett’s speech, effectively communicating her expansive approach to art. She doesn’t often mention “social practice,” perhaps because her work has been socially engaged all along. But the term is also insufficient, so is “installation art” (a form her work often resembles). Puett’s work is difficult to summarize. It is sprawling, layered, immersive and open-ended. It is as intellectually rich as it is sensually pleasurable. It is narrative, process-based and participatory. In short, it is meant to be experienced, yet none-the-less fascinating to discuss.
Scott Oliver is a sculptor and project-based artist living and working in Oakland, California. He has written catalogue essays for Southern Exposure, The Present Group, and independent curator Joseph del Pesco. Oliver co-founded Shotgun Review, an on-line source for reviews of Bay Area visual art exhibitions, with del Pesco in 2005 where he was a regular contributor until 2008. He is currently working on an audio walking tour of Oakland’s Lake Merritt.