Last week I installed a piece at the Rockport Art Association for a exhibition titled Out of Bounds.
It was a great experience, though, incredibly stressful. My original piece was apparently to far out of bounds:
Titled: …a drifting boat with a slow leakage,” The Dry Salvages by Eliot. The piece included wood, rope, a sail, sand, charcoal, and communion wafers. The intention of the piece was to respond to T.S. Eliot’s poem The Dry Salvages and to start a conversation about the two bells Eliot mentions in his poem.
I would encourage you to read the poem in order to think about the difficulty of both those bells being in such close proximity. Unfortunately members of the RAA took offense to such a profane use of communion wafers. They felt the piece was sacrilege and insulted the many who have lost their lives of Rockport’s shores. I was asked to either remove the wafers or remove the entire piece.
My response came in two parts. The first was a reformation of the original piece while maintaining the same title:
I cut a hole in the sail with my knife and removed the sand and salt. Making the sail a tattered veil of sorts. Then I white washed the text of The Dry Salvages so that I may not read it again.
My second response was a performance that was not connected to the exhibition or the RAA in any manner. The performance titled: Rockport Mass, entailed the feeding of the discarded communion wafers to sea gulls on the rocks of Rockport’s shore.
I performed this act while wearing an icon of St. Francis of Assisi as he preached to the birds.