I went to the opening of Jennifer Dalton’s show on Thursday and I was too shy to talk to her but I’m looking for her on the playgrounds of Williamsburg so as to sufficiently freak her out with “OMG I saw you’re show and it was A-MAZING, save for those pink tights.. too hot for those, sister.”
The thing is…Jennifer Dalton makes it look so easy. She’s a master of the visual display of quantitative information she’s collected about the art industrial complex and the differences between the men and women who exist and work within it. Her newest piece archives Jerry Saltz’s Facebook activity in a huge bar graph titled “What Are We Not Shutting Up About? (Five Months of Status Updates and Responses from Jerry Saltz’s Facebook Page”. While I didn’t really understand the idea behind this until I left the gallery space, I realized how simply she illustrates the art community’s self-doubt, longing for Saltz’s virtual validation that what they are doing is indeed important and, simultaneously boosting Saltz’s onanistic self-esteem. Of course the data was collected before Saltz became a judge on Bravo’s Work of Art, which I’m saddened to say I couldn’t sit through, despite SJP‘s executive producer credit.
Dalton’s work center’s around the combination of the personal question (“is it just me or are women treated like eye candy in the art world?”) and the scientific method (‘for the hassle and expense, you’re 1% more likely to have gallery representation if you live in nyc’). I don’t know how she gets up the courage to say “Oh yeah, that’s a really great idea, I’m gonna actually do it”, because if I had the idea to chart Facebook status updates, I’d say to myself “That’s a horrible idea, who the fuck do you think would care?”. So, I give her props for not only having a completely successful installation but for having the self-esteem to follow through on an idea that probably sounded so ridiculous in it’s infantile stages.
here’s where the women stop:
This guy throws off the her results by double-dipping into the installation/side-by-side stash of bracelets labeled “it’s not you, it’s me” and “it’s not me it’s you”. At the end of the night, the container with the least number of remaining bracelets illustrates that the art you see isn’t about you, it’s about me, the artist (in this case, Jen), or vice versa. From the perspective of a participant/audience member, either bracelet stash you choose forces you into a downward spiral of self-diagnosed neuroses. I didn’t really get this one, but I took 2 bracelets… I didn’t have the mental energy to deconstruct what that meant…. it was too fucking hot. However, it did illustrate how easily numbers, statistics and, thus, value, are easily skewed.
the literal play-by-play: