Joanie 4 Jackie - Archive - Eleanor Antin on A Reason to Make Art Current Joanie 4 Jackie



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Eleanor Antin on A Reason to Make Art

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Laszlo Moholy-Nagy on Why We Are All Multi-Media Artists

A Small Story Sent by Ms. Melissa Tveten on 6.27.00


Eleanor Antin on A Reason to Make Art

Eleanor Antin: But can you really win? Have you ever seen a revolution that didn't swallow itself? Isn't defeat built into the world, as basic as carbon? Aren't we all doomed? We go out in the morning and we're going to be defeated at night. If we have really bad luck, we'll be defeated by noon. You said I was a comedic artist, but the comedy in my art is more like the story they tell about Max Jacob--or maybe it was Robert Desnos, I don't remember, I've heard it about both--who was in the concentration camp, waiting his turn to go into the ovens. He went up and down the long line of people waiting with him, and he leaned over their hands and read their futures from their palms...That's one of my favorite stories. [crying] I'm sorry. [composing herself] Okay...ask me something else.

Fox: [moved, disturbed] But nothing in life--unless you are a very religious person who has a full faith in a life after death--is going to eliminate the ultimate defeat. But for you, is there something that redeems or exalts humankind?

Eleanor Antin: For me personally it was making art. And to me that means inventing, making meaning happen where there wasn't any before. It has made my life worth living. Hey, it even helped me survive the art world.

Eleanor Antin is a video, performance, conceptual and installation artist from Southern California. This was excerpted from Eleanor Antin by Howard N. Fox, published by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1999.