OK, so it was two nights ago. But Lipscomb's Presidential Lecture series is a big deal and deserves a little extra time to chew on it. Besides, Jessica Stockholder, who delivered this year's lecture to a packed auditorium of students from all of Nashville's universities, as well as working artists and normal (ish) people like me who love to hear a good art talk.
Without having an exhibit of her work to cart around with her to all the speaking engagements she has, Stockholder went through a selection of works with a slide presentation as she spoke about her process. I'm not sure that I would like Stockholder's work in person — it's sort of medium-sized, and I'm drawn to work, especially sculpture, that makes more of a broad visual statement, or else references something specific. But the way she speaks about her work is ideal. She is humble and direct, and she breaks her work down into ways that really invite a public discourse.
Here's a quote from her lecture that illustrates exactly what I'm talking about:
"When I was a student, Abstract Expressionism was a bad word, and I think there still is some of that. The expectation that feeling and personal feeling isn't appropriate in art. That art is a public thing and it should be about something bigger than your person. And I think that's true, I think art is a public thing and in order to be cared about publicly it does need to be bigger than your person. But it's also true that we all have feelings, and that our personal lives are all in some ways quite similar. I think that art is a place that joins conversation about emotional life and public life. I really appreciate that about art."
Watch a video of Stockholder discussing more of her insights about art making in the video below. It's from a 2006 panel discussion with Ann Lauterbach, Rochelle Feinstein and Sheila Levrant de Bretteville called "Powerful Art & Power: Some Introductory Ideas."