February 22, 2011 · Print This Article
Our latest post is up on our Art21 “Centerfield” column. This week, I interviewed artist/songwriter Rachel Mason, whose project The Ambassadors is included in the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit’s (MOCAD) current exhibition “Life Stories.” Mason also had a 500 Words piece on Artforum.com earlier this month. Those of you in Chicago will also remember Mason’s show “I Rule With a Broken Heart” at Chicago’s Andrew Rafacz Gallery in 2009. A brief excerpt from my interview with the artist follows; please click on over to Art21 blog to read the full piece!
Rachel Masonâ€™s work is not easy to neatly summarize. Iâ€™ve been following her projects for several years now, and I still have difficulty explaining what exactly it is that she does. Rachelâ€™s art is fluid â€” itâ€™s always easing in and out of different forms. She is a songwriter and performer; sheâ€™s an actress, of a sort, who performs as if channeling the poetic inner souls of controversial leaders like Fidel Castro and Manuel Noriega. Sheâ€™s also a sculptor who crafts idiosyncratic figurines that look like a cross between Hummel figures and Honore Daumierâ€™s sculpted bronze caricatures. During the 2008 election season, Mason sketched political candidates in the process of stumping for votes, and sheâ€™s also choreographed a number of live group performances. For me, the salient feature of all of her work lies in its sense of empathy. In a world that seems to grow more grim and globally conflicted with each passing decade, Masonâ€™s projects operate according to this blissfully simple principle: imagine yourself walking in the shoes of someone else, if only for a few brief moments. (Read more).