Thursday, March 8, 2012

Miranda July: Definition of a Hipster Multi-media Artist

We are always looking for hipster books to read for our PBR Book Club.  Our current book of short stories is written by quirky hipster Miranda July.  We know July as a filmmaker and as a writer, but July is also a well known visual artist.  Her art involves interactions with people and words and is web and performance based.

One of her main works, a web project that lasted seven years called Learning to Love You More, has been acquired by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The online project  was started in 2002 and ended in 2009,  and worked with over 8,000 participants. July and others created assignments for the participants to complete.   Participants accepted the assignment, completed it, and sent in the required report (photograph, text, video, etc), and their work was posted on-line. Examples of assignments include spending time with a dying person, braiding someone's hair, and growing a garden in an unexpected spot. 

                                                  Assignment #66 Make a field guide to your yard

                                                   Assignment #62 Make an educational public plaque

In another project set up in Washington Square in New York in 2010 called Eleven Heavy Things, July set up a series of gray pedestals with text written on them by July herself, encouraging people to stand on and interact with its components.

Reaction to July's movies, books, and art have mixed reviews. In an October 2011 Guardian article by Paul Harris entitled Miranda July-doyenne of the art house chic or epitome of trendy indulgence?, he writes "To their fans, the works of July, Anderson and Baumbach are whip-smart and intelligent. But to their critics they are indulgent and overly focused on the perceived problems of a literary, white middle class......The criticism against July and others who create similar genres of art are nearly always rooted in the same arguments. Their work is all too often twee and overly self-conscious..."

I love the the new buzz word "twee" and I actually love July's art. Whether or not you love or hate July's work, July is the definition of a multi-media artist.  More about her work and her artist statement can be found at:

1 comment:

  1. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of the short stories. I generally like her work, but I can't deny or defend the twee and self-indulgent criticisms, either. I thought Learning to Love You More was brilliant.

    All that said, I don't think I can bring myself to watch that ridiculous cat movie.