Dear friends, colleagues and family,
It’s been almost a year since my last newsletter. To say that 2023 has been a mixed bag is using overly polite language.
Das Fundbuero — Civic Lessons closed on February 26th. The museum estimates 30,000 to 40,000 visitors to the show. If even 1% of these people interacted with the work, I’m thrilled, and they did if the wear on the record collection and missing books are any indication. Unfortunately, there was no published writing about the show. Minneapolis has very few arts writers, and critical discourse is virtually non-existent there. You can, however, see many images of the show on my website and develop your own analysis.
On February 1st, I suffered a serious injury during a medical procedure that has impaired use of my dominant hand. For months, all I could do was lay on the couch, and I had to have many basic tasks done for me. I thought about watching all the horror movies about artists and their hands (The Hands of Orlac (1924), Mad Love, The Hands of Orlac (1960), Hands of a Stranger, The Beast with Five Fingers and The Hand), but at the time my impairment was so severe and the future so uncertain, that I could not muster the appropriate level of irony for it. I’m happy to report that I can again write, cut my own food and draw in a rudimentary fashion, but I still don’t quite have the ironic distance for a hand-themed movie marathon. Full recovery, if it happens, will take until at least February 2024.
Despite this handicap, The GRIND Issue 3 was published in May. An editorial committee (formed through an open call) selected visual artwork and writing from dancers across the US as well as Canada and New Zealand. Designer Lucia Weilein provided a beautiful new twist on the old visual identity. And thanks to generous grant funding and reasonable printing costs, we were able to hold the price at $10 a copy—you can get yours at The Feminist Strip Club’s Etsy store.
On May 1st, my partner Matt Fritts and I closed on a three-story brick building built in 1895 in St. Louis, Missouri. We moved to the city June 1st. The intent is to live on the second and third floors and to rehabilitate the first floor to a storefront that I will use as my studio and community art space. The building needs significant work, more than was revealed in the initial inspection. Now I know why they say not to make life-changing decisions when you’re on the medications I am to control the pain in my hand. But Matt and I are both excited to live in a place where we feel like we can truly become part of the neighborhood and express our values through our living space.
Since September, I have been an artist in residence at the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, California. I am at the beginning of new work inspired by my experiences with The Feminist Strip Club and the issues around sexuality, transactional and reciprocal relationships and femme identity that have come up with them. I’ve been fortunate to meet many amazing artists here who are also working with similar themes. I have about 5 more weeks before I return to St. Louis, where I plan to continue working in the warm glow of an electric heater on the unfinished second floor of our building.
Finally, I’ve started an Instagram account on which I’ve been posting work-in-progress and updates on the rehab work on our building. I chose the very creative handle of monicasheetsartist
I’m not going to bother hoping that 2024 is better—at least not out loud.
With best wishes,