If you haven't yet visited Franconia Sculpture Park to see my latest work, make a visit! If you can't make it this month, no pressure, it will be up until September 2020 at least!
photo by Jaffa Aharonov
For those on the East Coast, I will be giving a talk on Weds Feb 20th at 6:30 at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.
Ramstad’s talk considers the intimate collectivity of public bathrooms, domestic grooming implements, and archives of the body. He will discuss his work in the context of considering what it means to care, be cared for, and provide care and how institutions exhibit tenderness towards their public.
All readings and artist talks will be held in the Stanley Kunitz Common Room, and all exhibitions will be in the Hudson D. Walker Gallery unless otherwise noted. Both venues are located at 24 Pearl Street in Provincetown.
The Stanley Kunitz Common Room and the Hudson D. Walker Gallery are handicapped accessible. If you need assistance, please call the Fine Arts Work Center at 508-487-9960 ext. 101 in advance.
Juried by Nicole Soukup, this group show at Rosalux looks great. It is open from Dec 7th-Dec 30th. Come and see some art if you are in Minneapolis!
It was a pleasure to work on a bathroom commission at The Minnesota Museum of American Art this fall. They are now open to the public as of December 2nd! It's okay, take your time (water sounds), features waterfall murals in two bathrooms for the whole year. So when you visit, make sure to take your loo break in the education wing of the museum and enjoy the rushing water imagery! Admission is free, the bathrooms are both single stall, lockable, accessible by wheelchair, with support bars and one has a baby changer. Let me know what you think!
Francisco J. Galarte featured my work, Touching Each Other, in the Transgender Studies Reader fashion section. Check out all the awesome articles.
I am really happy to share my latest collaborative artwork that Riley Cludy and I made over the summer at Midwest Special Services. Riley and I were totally connected about making useful, durable, and accessible artworks. We made this viewing stand together and Riley took the photographs. We were thinking about multiple perspectives, how sitting, standing and being elevated each allow us to see things differently. We were inspired by horse mounts and Kinji Akagawa's sculpture Seating, Reading, Thinking (1987/2017). Please come and celebrate our work and all the other collaborative artworks made through Co Lab this summer.
Co Lab Opening Reception
Saturday September 8th, 5 pm- 8 pm
The Show Gallery Lowertown
346 Sibley St North
Saint Paul MN
Parking: Street parking with several pay-parking lots nearby. The closest one is located at the corner of Sibley and Kellogg, on the left when you enter the Sibley one-way from Kellogg toward the gallery.
Access: The Show Gallery Lowertown is wheelchair accessible with a gender together single stall bathroom.
There will be a program starting at 6 pm, featuring experimental video introduction by William G. Franklin and Mazin Hasabelrasoul, a performance by Carnage the Executioner and Michael Dangerous, and live drawing by Lara Hanson and Kelly Mcnamara.
The Bill Murray’s Choice Award Winners will be announced following the program, around 6:30. I hope to see you all there to thank you for your hard work in person!
Samuel Steward and the Pursuit of the Erotic is finally available in paperback! Aren Z Aizura and I wrote the chapter "Ungilting the Gold Star Gay." Order from Amazon.com or Ohio State Press.
Come see the show Living Together at Gallery 71 in Edina on July 25th and listen to the artists talk about their work (including me). See previous post for details about gallery location and information.
May 21 – Aug 25, 2018
June 6, 7 – 9 pm
July 25, 6-7pm
Living Together is an exhibition featuring the work of five artists – Betsy Alwin, Mara Duvra, Teréz Iacovino, Haley Prochnow, Emmett Ramstad, and Jen Sonibare – whose practices analyze our encounters with interior environments, the objects we live with, and spaces we live in, and do so often by marrying materials and disciplines in unexpected ways. The collective works form a range-ystill life or a Period Room of a conceptual parlor. Exhibitions are living arrangements; objects and artists are gathered in a room and co-habitate for months. The exhibition asks us to consider what does this living arrangement look like? How do exhibition spaces feel like home and not a showroom? What art do we choose to live with, and what artifacts do we inherit? How do we create spaces for ourselves, as artists, not only to live safely and comfortably, but to show our work publicly and form a livelihood? As art spaces adapt to changing support structures and economies, how will we change our living arrangements to continue our work?
The exhibition will include a public conversation prompted by these questions in late July.
Saturdays 12-4 pm and by appointment
Gallery 71 is located at
7141 France Av S
Edina, Minnesota, 55435
within the France 71 apartment building
About Gallery 71
Gallery 71 is an artist-run gallery space at 71 France. Located in the heart of Edina, the gallery contributes to art and dialogue around issues including misconceptions of the suburbs, the myth of the artist, new rules for the artist-run spaces, how we live with art (and artists), urban planning, and the importance of being a good neighbor.
Email email@example.com to schedule a tour, or make an appointment outside of gallery hours.
About Waiting Room
Waiting Room is a non-fixed platform intended to support artists through visual and personal networks. Born out of a start-up ethos, Waiting Room insists that artists can bypass the traditional gallery model and grow their own audiences through genuine relationship-building. The duration and focus of this program and space will be responsive to the changing values of artists, audiences and patrons. At present, Waiting Room produces exhibitions and public programming at Gallery 71.https://www.gallery71mpls.com/living-together
For more information about the exhibition or program, please contact Jehra Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
BETWEEN BOREDOM AND THE BODY: EMMETT RAMSTAD'S LAYING IN WAIT by Erin Moore on MPLSART.COM April 25th, 2018.
You’ll find toilets, tissues, and existential ennui in this meditation on patience at Hair + Nails Gallery. Waiting is such a common occurrence in modern life that it’s hardly something bearable to dwell on, only something to endure when it happens to us. However, this is not the case for Minneapolis artist and educator Emmett Ramstad. In his installation at Hair + Nails Gallery, titled Laying in Wait, he teases out what it means to wait in our society, where it places us physically and mentally. Despite a title that anticipates action of some kind — such as a capable predator waiting to spring — the installation’s warped take on waiting room aesthetics instead seem to imply a prone subject, waiting with unease.
Just inside the space is a spot for such a subject to lie: a bench, slanted so that if you were to lay upon it, you would look right up into the ceiling, which is a slanted wall of square ceiling panels. Two of the panels have been replaced with cut-outs of a vivid blue sky dotted with clouds, lit from behind with long flourescents. This bench, this ceiling, were they upright in a real waiting room, would be where you would sit and wait, glancing up to count the tiny perforations in the panels, wondering about the weather, tallying your errands. This setting being tipped at an angle makes it very possible that the viewer could walk right into the ceiling; it confronts the viewer with all the dimness and dread that waiting rooms can possess, just as much as they can be places where the mind wanders untethered. The piece is titled Escape to the Country, after a British reality show about potential homebuyers searching for the perfect holiday property. It’s a name that recalls the daydreams we often have in waiting rooms like the versions Ramstad supplies throughout the rest of the installation.
The other works upstairs highlight the bizarreness and awkward falseness of these spaces with their offerings of comfort. On one wall, a picturesque calendar image is stretched to 12 feet (Until Tomorrow); on another, a ticket dispenser affixed to the wall is fitted into a white knitted coozy (Get Comfortable (This Might Take a While)). In the back room, Do you have a tissue? features an entire wall covered in pale blue tissue paper boxes, laid like bricks, with a tuft of tissue sticking out of each box, while a fake tree sits nearby and a hollow window glitters with a translucent faux fish tank. The stillness of the fish tank and that of the overbearing wall of tissues compound each other, stifling the room, submerging it in quiet even as the soundtrack “Waiting Rooms” (made in collaboration with Jacob Aaron Roske) plays through its loop of nauseating, indecipherable human chatter, soothing piano, and a stuttering, glitched-out sample of the sax part from “Careless Whisper.” Here Ramstad perfectly captures how the experience of waiting muffles and jumbles the sounds around you.
Downstairs, there is a feeling of tense association between the act of waiting and waste. Toilet Family takes up the majority of the space and is made up of a semicircle of chairs and accompanying side tables, all with oval cutouts in the seats and the tabletops. Some of the chairs and tables have trash cans beneath the cutouts. If you were to sit in the chairs, it would be as over a toilet. If you were to absentmindedly set something on a table, it would fall into a trashcan. Since this “toilet family” resembles a cramped waiting room, one can sense the inspiration for this piece — stuck in the waiting room, needing desperately to go to the bathroom, helplessly blowing a runny nose and tossing the tissue into the trash, checking the clock, watching time pass by. Ramstad also makes use of the bathroom with Escape to the Country (Number 2),where one wall next to the toilet is lined with a shelf of complimentary chips. Beneath the toilet is a TV with the grainy images from a VHS tape playing across its screen. While the program says the show playing is Escape to the Country, what is playing upon my visit is a colorful ice skating performance, Strawberry Ice ’83 National World Exhibitions. The piece recalls our new tendency of submitting ourselves to the thrills of our phones while using bathrooms, which seems to mark the bathroom as another waiting space, where our own bodies are the thing waited upon, ignored as their needs are endured.
In his artist statement, Ramstad asks, “Can this space of non-presence or stasis be a place of potential? In this time of political turmoil, which is actually all times, is it possible to have productive waiting?” These questions seem to be posed from a point of anxiety. First, because of our boiling political state, where each day is a new experience in the absurd, in getting through the day normally despite whatever the president is tweeting or what “BREAKING NEWS” is lighting up our phone screens. Like the time spent in a waiting room, there are too many uncomfortable or even distressing stimuli to ignore. Secondly, the anxiety seems to stem from the contemplation of waiting itself, from staring down how much time one has spent in stiff chairs, brain hovering halfway between the dull reality of the space, errant thoughts, and perhaps guilt that one is not able to spend their time more productively. The world we live in, where we always have access to multiple places at once — online and real life — grooms us to develop this anxiety and validates our compulsive need to be engaged. There is an unasked question that hangs in the conflicted air of the space: “Is it okay to simply sit? To be unproductive? To be bored?”
In the description of the installation, Ramstad says, “Sometimes being a person or supporting a person is purely tending to the needs of the body.” This description calls to mind the most interactive parts of the show, the pieces Fishing for Compliments and Giving Compliments, which utilize the upstairs and downstairs spaces. Fishing for Compliments is a hole in the upstairs floor, through which a string attached to a pulley system descends to the downstairs space. Giving Compliments is its basement counterpart, where the string lands in a bedpan full of "conveniences” — tampons, mints, band aids, condoms, moist towelettes, toothpicks, and ibuprofen packets. Nearby sits a chair, an oval cut in the seat, implying that the sitter pinning conveniences to the line is “giving a shit” about whoever is above. Giving care that will be taken above. Care might be a pulley system of asking, receiving, and inevitably waiting.
Maybe one can’t be productive in a waiting room, but perhaps it’s possible to find peace in the fact of idle time. Perhaps letting go of the need for entertainment or productivity and embracing boredom for half an hour is just another way to care for oneself. Enduring the awkwardness of the physical realm may just be an inescapable part of being a person with a body. It’s okay to wait for the rope on the pulley to reach you, its clothespin brimming with comfort-giving gifts, necessary items.
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