What piece of art changed your life? And how did it affect you?
I must say that the question of 1 piece of art, music, film that changed my life is difficult because there are many...Many!
I could easily give you a list of 20 off the top of my head. I had narrowed it down to seeing the Gee's Bend
Quilts at the Guggenheim, where I saw the most beautiful quilt made out of a woman's husband's old pants still carrying the impression of the 2 bodies that had slept beneath it for so long...
Or Felix Gonzales Torres' photograph of the rumpled white bed he had slept in with his lover...both pieces so filled with longing and romance. But, it came to me today as I was taking a walk around the Louvre, looking at all the classical treasures, there is one piece that changed my thinking in many ways.
Bed, Robert Rauschenberg
I remember hearing about it first in modern art history, but seeing it in person at the moma as a teenager changed me and the way I thought about painting. I felt I could sense and see the artist's thought process, which is often masked in most artworks. It was imbued with a true feeling of discovery for me as a viewer and him as the artist. It broadened my ideas of materials, that an object can maintain its identity and history, yet become color or pattern within the composition at the same time. A sort of dual existence, which is something I strive for in my work. This was first inspired by Bed.
Baltimore native Shinique Smith has a terrific installation on view at the National Portrait Gallery this month. She is also featured in the current issue of Baltimore.