0141Danish artist Lise Haller Baggesen has made it her personal mission to “locate the ‘mother-shaped’ hole in contemporary art discourse” and has been touring site specific variations of her exhibition Mothernism since 2013 in an effort to do so. Today, we are lucky enough to have it on view at the Gatehouse Gallery at the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria. Alongside the exhibition, Baggeson has also written a beautiful Mothernism book, available for purchase at both Contemporary Austin locations.

This interview was conducted in the disco womb room and has been edited for both length and clarity.

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IMG_0293In  recent months and weeks Mothernism has been touring some great venues in the United States, including the Elisabeth Foundation in New york (NY), the Elmhurst Art Museum Biennial in Elmhurst (IL) and my first US museum solo at The Contemporary Austin (TX). As the good-enough mother she is, the installation accommodates the different spaces she visits to make it what we need… and this old mama is only getting more photogenic with age. Enjoy!

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This month I had the great pleasure of participating in Tricia van Eck’s “Pleasure Zone” at Théâtre de la Ville in Paris (F) with my installation “Sound of Silver Talk to Me.” The installation will be up until July 2016.

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Navigating cultural constricts, post-modern philosophy and places as diverse as the sweaty dance halls of northern Europe to intimate moments of  contemplating while writing letters, Lise Haller Baggesen culls an intersection that merges contemporary thought and practice while examining an array of popular and obscure topics (e.g., disco, hedonism, the works of Julia Kristeva, to name a smattering).

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A video interview with Fred Sasaki for the Poetry Foundation in Chicago.

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I: Future Trash

Last night I dreamt we were all gonna die. The rich ones, the poor ones, were all gonna die. The white ones, the black ones were all gonna die. The old ones, the young ones were all gonna die. We were walked down to a small lake or a pond at dusk. We were told to lie down. Some put their feet in the muddy water, but I did not, as I didn’t want death to come from the water. It was getting dark, but we could still see. Our assassins were young and beautiful, like rock stars. They were not cruel, nor out to torture us. They took no pleasure in their task, but they showed no mercy. My assassin looked like St. Vincent. I looked at her and I knew she was mine. We were told to close our eyes, that we would know when it was our turn, by a poke or a prod. Next to me lay a young girl, a child of nine or ten. She was curled up against me in fetal position, her shins nestled against my ribcage. When it was her turn to go, our assassin asked me if I wanted to kiss her goodbye, as we were companions. I could not open my eyes to look at her face —but I kissed her legs and her knees, the bones of her feet and the flesh of her calves, knowing it would soon be gone.
I woke up with a song in my heart. It was Antony Hegarty singing: “It will grow back like a starfish. It will grow back like a starfish. It will grow back like a starfish. It will grow back like a starfish.” But now that I am fully awake, I am not so sure. [1]

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Lise creates work that not only address motherhood and its feminist components, but act as a mother through its execution and content. Her practice focuses on staking out a territory for mothering in contemporary discourse, balancing her vibrant, tented environment with the printed text of her piece Mothernism—a disco beat serving as the lyrical and aesthetic inspiration.

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Jetlag is the Devil’s work!

Or is it a First World problem?

First World problems are the Devil’s work and jetlag is the hands-on reminder that in this day and age it is never really enough, if at all possible, to be in one place at a time, when you can be all over the place.

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What a great way to ring in 2015 on Gender Assignment, with one of the great discoveries I made this year, Mothernism by Lise Haller Baggesen. It is a treat to behold—purple with silver text block bling—and to devour. (I read it in one sitting.) Haller Baggesen runs the gamut on topics, from pinkwashing breast cancer campaigns, to little-known artist, Hilma af Klint. She considers their cultural significance in letters to her sister and daughter, as well as passionate essays full of personal experience, and lesser-known sources. I was lucky enough to score an interview, which got me thinking as much as Mothernism did.

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Ok, so this happened: this morning, as I was about to leave my hotel, there was some screaming and commotion in the hallway. A woman was yelling for help. I rushed outside and saw the staff, room service, the reception clerk, and some other hotel guests (military men, judging by their uniforms) swarm in from all corners an descend on the hotel room right next door to mine, where a young woman was standing in the door way, whimpering. She looked like she had just been on the way in or out of the shower (out, I think as I believe her hair was wet). She was half naked, or half dressed – but despite her state of undress, she did not look at all like she was “asking for it” – she just looked scared, in shock actually, and tried to compose herself as she struggled to give a coherent account of what had just happened.

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