Friday, May 7, 2021

Baseera Khan Studio Series Talk at Lux Art Institute (ICA)


By Patricia Frischer

In early May, Lux Art Institute presented another of their Studio Series Talks for current Artist-in-Residence, Baseera Khan. This is a self-confident artist from Texas now living in New York with a political agenda based around clothes and including performance, installation, sculpture, wall works and even a TV show to come. She is charming and engaging and grateful for this first showing in San Diego but she also admits that she does not do collaboration because of her controlling personality. I found that admission rather refreshing.

It helped me, as it always does, to hear the artist speaking about their own art. At first glance you might not notice these works were all tied together by clothing as she never mentions this. But what brought it home to me was how she identified everyone in the audience who asked a question with a description of the clothes they had one. “You with in the cool leather, you in the safari jacket, you in the black with embroidery.”

It is the politics of these works that is the challenge that she wants to present to her audience. For example, how the Nike company who offers customized sneakers did not allow certain words and how she worked around this. And an acoustic blanket with a couple of openings surrounded with gold embroidery that she hides in during some of her performances, sneaking out the occasional arm or leg.  Or the bench seats dressed in bits of fabric scrapes with vibrating subwoofers for deciding if we are allowed to sit comfortably, some of which ended up as wall works. The giant Corinthian columns cover with snake skin are all about power especially the power of history and who gets to sit at the table.  

So from the woven messaging prayer rugs to covering herself with charcoal to climb a body parts wall leaving behind charcoal smears that are framed, she is literally laying it all out or climbing the walls.

The 6 episodes of a TV show she started during the pandemic after she recovered from COVID-19 is in the works for 2023. But during her time in Cardiff by the Sea, she is inspired by flora and fauna and beaches, all things not accessible in New York.  Just maybe some of our colors will work their way into her next new project back east.

Lux Art Institute Artist-in-Residence: Baseera Khan
In Studio: Through May 8, 2021
On View: Through June 5, 2021

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