For this installation, we embraced a new demographic in our audience, and they embraced us back. Typically, our work lands in galleries or universities where our audience is going to see art, and expects to see something like what we do. This time we were commissioned by the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation to make work for an audience of fair-going Midwesterners with no idea of what to expect.
The end result was that we proved to ourselves and everyone that what we do has value to the type of people who make up our hometowns. Even before we had finished, folks were posing for pictures in front of the work, and with us. We got questions and answers from so many people who had probably never been to an art gallery or heard of any of our all-star cast of artists – and some who had.
It was like going back to visit grandma, and being told that she actually doesn’t disapprove of us – all that stuff we did in our twenties is going to not be brought up anymore. We tapped into an audience that we all sort of knew we had, but we’d been ignoring, because they didn’t have ties to ArtForum. In the end, it was a reminder that they are just as, if not more important, and their engagement with us and the work meant a lot.
Aside from all that, we got drunk a few times and put on shows with a ratty old sloth-like/homeless biker puppet in a pay-by-the-week hotel by the freeway. He said things, and made us say things that someone fitting that description might say, and we all ended up having to re-evaluate certain aspects of our character as a result. His name is Danis. I think he said Dennis, but the guys gave him that name to make fun of his raspy lisp.
It was good to be back in Iowa.