4447 Union Pacific Avenue
Commerce, CA 90023 March 23, 2017
Mr. Todd D. Smith, CEO and Director
Orange County Museum of Art
850 San Clemente Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Dear Mr. Todd D. Smith,
I want to thank you and the curator Cassandra Coblentz for the privilege to share my work with the community of Orange County and the general art-viewing populace. As part of my work I am asking you to use your authority as the director and CEO of the Orange County Museum of Art to bring transparent and equitable remuneration and employment practices to everyone employed to run this institution. This project is comprised of three hand blown glass vessels, each holding a material remnant invoking the PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE histories of OCMA accompanied by three framed letters, of which this letter is one. Altogether, they are a reminder to this institution that the intellectual, creative and physical work of cultural production involves the hands and minds of many people. There are many people’s efforts in the art industry whose efforts are under-recognized and live in precarity while currency is granted to those in the most privileged positions. The myth of the artist making their work solo without responsibility for those around them is a myth needing to be unraveled at this time.
It is with this letter that I gift the glass invoking the PRESENT titled “Neither Liquid Nor Solid But Amorphous; differently ordered bodies flow under large stresses, creep or remain stationary under smaller stresses, and have complex, history-dependent behavior” to the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) from the opening of the 2017 Cal-Pac Triennial. Upon de-install it should be placed in the office area of the CEO/director of OCMA as a persistent reminder to employ just and fair labor practices for all your employees.
This work operates as a reminder to whomever holds the Director/CEO position, that not only is it your obligation to generate temporary art exhibitions, but that you are the steward of an interdependent infrastructure that preserves cultural discourse for future generations. By keeping the conditions of livelihood fair and dignified for all OCMA museum employees, you are in turn exercising an equitable ideal that serves all of us.
By ensuring just labor practices in the infrastructures of all our museums, we can begin the arduous task of making sure that art functions beyond the fluctuation of its economically speculative moment, and actively reflects its part in society. And through this modeling, perhaps it can help all citizens to believe in the relevance of art, as its support system mirrors its place respectfully in the social and economic order.