ADAM WILSON — GUEST ARTIST PROJECT — NEW YORK
Installation, video, and 4-day performance with viewer action
120” tall x 168” wide (10’ x 8’ x 6’)
Edition of 5 + 2 Artist’s Proofs (APs)
First edition sold in conceptual ownership, see details below.
New York, Nov. 8, 2018, The Other Art Fair — As a featured guest artist, painter and conceptual artist Adam Daley Wilson showed two large-scale installations — “Fourth Study for a New American Flag” and “Just Who Has the Illness of the Mind”. The installation includeed four artworks in total, including a conceptual video and 4 days of interactive performance art.
The work created a substantive dialogue between the installations, and feelings of physical enclosure and moral responsibility on the part of viewers, particularly as they stepped within the parallel walls of the installations.
In addition, the work invited viewers to amplify the meaning of the art by acting to create the most diverse and inclusive group of art ownership ever. More below.
FOURTH STUDY FOR A NEW AMERICAN FLAG
The work argues traditional American symbolism excludes many voices and is subject to misuse. It proposes a new, fully inclusive symbolism, amplifying the voices of all people on American soil, consistent with the constitutional norm of domestic tranquility. It further contends that it is people — the diversity of a population — that should be symbolized and celebrated. The work also invites contemplation of a reality: Many of the fifty states memorialized in the current flag have failed to provide justice and equality to many populations, both historically and into the present. This is one of several ongoing “flag studies” by Wilson as he explores artistic methods of amplifying marginalized voices. Specifically, it is his FOURTH STUDY FOR A NEW AMERICAN FLAG.
JUST WHO HAS THE ILLNESS OF THE MIND
The work continues one of Wilson’s primary artistic inquiries: Beyond the individual, at the level of culture and society, what are the standards of normalcy and abnormality — and who makes them? This work frames those questions in relation to children and other innocents, challenging the viewer to consider whether known events, from deportation to treatment of the mentally ill, can in fact be deemed normal, and, if so, under what, or whose, standards. The work leads the viewer from questions of opinion to questions of rationality to, perhaps, even questions of morality and moral consensus. The work also asks whether the models of mental illness used to diagnose individuals can or should be applied to entire cultures and societies. Such questions, and the apparent incongruities, are in the mirror held up by JUST WHO HAS THE ILLNESS OF THE MIND.
CONCEPTUAL VIDEO #5 — PROTECT ME FROM MY PRIVACY
By reading captions ending in possessive pronouns, the viewer adopts and amplifies them. The sentences are not isolated. They are connected, culminating in a shift from the individual “my” to the group “us”. The work invites the viewer to contemplate the nexus between the individual, “others,” and the social contract. Text and unstaged film by the artist. During the Fair, the video is playing on devices near the installation.
MORE ABOUT THIS ART PROJECT
Amplification or Appropriation?
Wilson says his intent, as an artist, an art lawyer, and a person with a diagnosed mental illness (he has bipolar 1) is to ask why some art is thought to amplify marginalized voices, while other art is thought to appropriate those voices for other ends.
“Take the artworks here, which touch on diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality. Does the art actually amplify those issues? Or does it just take those issues to make some catchy art? And what answers those questions? — Is it the artist’s intent? The viewer’s conclusion? Is there more?” Wilson asks.
Can Ownership Inform The Meaning of An Artwork?
His theory, as both an artist and a Stanford-trained art lawyer, is that ownership is part of the mix. “What if ownership is the unexplored third part of meaning? The artist makes the art, and the viewer interprets it — and both make meaning — can ownership make meaning, too?” Wilson asks.
He elaborates: “Usually, who owns the art is separate from what the art means. But what if the artist structured ownership so that it, too, supplied some of the art meaning? In other words, can the artist make ownership part of the meaning of the art?”
Make Meaning By Being A Diverse Owner?
Wilson’s performance explores this by giving viewers the ability to become, he hopes, “part of the largest, most diverse, and most inclusive group of art owners ever.”
“Imagine a group of artwork owners, hundreds of people, even thousands, across races, religions, ethnic groups, sexual orientations, economic situations, and more,” Wilson says. “Would such fully inclusive diversity, reflective of society, cement the meaning of the art as amplifying issues, and not just appropriating them?”
“New York City is the perfect place to try this conceptual art — the perfect place to create a fully diverse and inclusive group of art owners — because it’s one of the best, if not the best, cities in the world for diversity and inclusion,” he adds.
Why Become A Conceptual Owner?
At the Fair and online, through Wilson’s art site, adamwilsonart.com, viewers can become, for the weekend, conceptual art owners of the first editions of the works for any amount they wish, as little as one dollar, using money-sharing apps on their phones. The first editions will be destroyed, and the conceptual ownership will end, when the Fair concludes and the walls are taken down.
The conceptual owners receive several things, Wilson says. “These owners can say they didn’t just see the works, and they didn’t just own them, either — they were part of art history, if all goes well, as part of the most diverse art ownership group ever. And through their act of ownership, they actually become part of the art — and they help create its meaning.”
Is This Art Project A Failure Or a Success?
He adds, “Will this fail? Maybe. But this idea, that creative ownership models can inform what the art itself means — I think it’s a pretty cool idea, and I can’t wait to see.”
The Art History Relevant To The Project
The works in this artist project reference the New Genres art movement, which began in the early 20th century. New Genres encompasses the artistic use of media such as video, installation, performance, and sound. The installations by Wilson at this Fair also make specific reference the instructional works of Sol LeWitt, as Wilson explains:
“Paying homage to conceptualists such as LeWitt, the two large-scale conceptual works will be executed temporarily at the Fair by a third party, using LeWitt-like instructions that I made. Those instructions are part of the project, and can be seen here.”
More broadly, the four artworks that comprise this artist project — the two installations, the video, and the performance art — are a cumulative attempt to artistically put forth not a dialectical process, but rather a dialogical process — the co-existence of four different artistic approaches that interact together, and engage in a dialogue together, with no one work being primary over the others, as the viewer receives and interprets them separately and together to contemplate their cohesive meaning.
About The Artist
Adam Daley Wilson (b. 1971, US) is a self-taught emerging painter and New Genres artist. His interdisciplinary work (painting, drawing, video, performance) addresses issues of power, norms, irrationality, identity, and law. The art started in 2014 at age 42. It comes from his bipolar disorder. He was first diagnosed in 2000. In 2013, he hit an unexpected rock bottom and lost almost everything, including his life. When his psychiatrist changed his medicines, the art started pouring out. He is an emerging speaker on both mental illness stigma and hope in recovery. He is also a Stanford lawyer who clerked for a federal appellate judge in Philadelphia and practiced antitrust and appellate law at international law firms based in Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Los Angeles. To date, he has no art degree. He self-studies art history and practices art law, helping artists and creatives.
His text works are influenced by Wool, Kruger, Holzer, Ruscha, Baldessari, Prince, Nauman, Twombly, Rauschenberg, LeWitt, and Kusama; his performance works are influenced by Abramovic, Hsieh, Ono, and Kasper. His studio is the hallway of his tiny flat, in the art museum district of Portland Maine.
I make what comes into my mind. I have to, it's my only defense. This is how I survive what I see and feel. I need to make it. I'm no longer scared that it comes fast in natural half-manic highs. I work as hard as I can to learn fast, my voice is becoming mine, I get glimpses of where it could go. I'm not for everyone, but if I'm your fix, you won't find me anywhere else. I'm going to make a cohesive narrative, the rest of my life, and it will be beholden to no one. I just need to make what I see and feel.