Museum of Everyday Art: An Artless Exhibition
Cork City
28 November – 9 December 2012

jim ricks

Eight months ago I proposed an experiment titled the Museum of Everyday Art: An Artless Exhibition. I sought to borrow a selection of works of vernacular art, chachka, kitsch, etc. local people from the neighbourhood around this gallery collect, sell and keep. The result of this was to be unknown. Indeed, a certain amount of risk was involved.

In the last weeks I have spent many nights and days in Cork trying to fulfill these aims. It became immediately apparent that to ensure a successful experiment this project would take months, considerable financial and administrative support, dedicated outreach and institutional backing.

I have since attempted to resolve this through numerous variations and strategies:

The entire contents of a closed joke shop.
A selection of non-art objects from an abandoned studio.
All of the everyday items from a friend's apartment.
Selected works from the collection of the Blue Dolphin B&B.

I have walked a frustrating path. I have been met with cool disinterest, hostility, bewilderment and downright anger. In many cases I was unable to rent or even purchase objects from people. I was a stranger with a strange idea.

However, over this past week, which coincidentally overlaps with Black Friday in the US (the day following Thanksgiving which is the biggest retail sales day of the year and a day that is synonymous with big spending and big business) I invested around €400 into the local Cork economy for transport, accommodation, food and this project.

The resulting piece I present, Twentyfive new products under €10 I believe I need from North Main Street, Cork, County Cork, represents my own desires and fantasies about this project and the market. These are perhaps the objects I had hoped to borrow. They are certainly a selection of the extraordinarily mundane to the certainly bizarre and they are appealing or attractive to me beyond the purely utilitarian. I used only North Main Street as my test subject due to the variety of shops selling the quotidian, including Asian and Christian shops, decorator and hardware suppliers, as well as merchants specialising in tasteless tat.

Has my experiment failed? Yes. Has my practice been reduced to my credit card? Indeed. Is this project an insult to curation? Almost certainly.

But, for what its worth, I believe this is still very much in keeping with my original statement:

"It is at once humourously critiquing the way we experience art; the way we see and know it, and it is simultaneously a serious extension of Ricks' practice that hybridises institutional/gallery and public/private roles into a single project. It blurs the distinctions between curator, audience, producer, collector, consumer, patron, etc. Essentially it is an art-historical and curatorial performance... It is at once a playful jab, an attempt to come to terms with the artist's own uneasiness with the standards of the Artworld, a class-based look at what and who 'makes' something art, a critique of literacy and elitism, a post-conceptual populist exhibition that blurs the line between high and low, and a contrarian anti-art Museum. Issues of epistemology, ownership, permission, misrepresentation and audiences are fundamental as well. It will also be a conscious nod to Dadaism, Duchamp, Triple Candie, Marcel Broodthaers... and the long and 'proud' history of institutional critique."

In the spirit of generosity, relational aesthetics and knock-off culture I am also presenting Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Tortilla Soup copied from the artist's recipe used in his work Soup Kitchen, shown at Gavin Brown's Enterprise, NYC.