What glue did you use to glue the raisins down in Atomic Love?
Different kinds of glue, depending upon whether the raisin needed to
adhere to a vertical or horizontal surface. The mannequins and almost all
of the clothing had to be done with a hot glue gun raisin by raisin. The
walls were done on wooden panels and the raisins were sprinkled onto
a bed of epoxy resin.
Why in your work are some people cast and others real?
In the photographs the real people are used as a kind of an objective
reference to allow the viewer to get a sense of scale and that the unreal
space is human scale. The use of real people in the photographs is
very important and critical to understanding the final photographs,
especially since they are separate or detached from the final installation.
The cast figures in ?The Cocktail Party? and ?Atomic Love? are used so
the material could be spread over the entire body.
Where do you get your mass amounts of bacon, jam, and meat to work
I bought the bacon in 30 pound boxes which is the way it is packaged in
the food distribution network here in New York. The jam was from
Polaner. That was after I did tests on various brands and checked for
texture and color. When I decide to work with different kinds of
materials, I look for what is out there. Once I decided I was definitely
going to do a piece on jam, I went to the grocery store and bought the
different major brands. I tried to buy jam wholesale like bacon but I found
that in the wholesale food industry, food is not as carefully sorted out as
when it is sorted out to household consumers. For example, the bacon I
bought in the 30 pound boxes has a very irregular look to it, not as well
sorted out visually as the one pound packages bought in the store. That
can be either good or bad. It?s less expensive but for photography
purposes sometimes it doesn?t work. When it came to the wholesaling of
jam, in a 5 pound bucket, the color and texture wasn?t there. It didn?t look
like jam. The interesting thing about the food distribution service is that
when food is sold wholesale, it is mainly sold for cooking. The visual
part is not as important. The raisins were the same situation; again I
bought the raisins wholesale in 30 pound boxes. I guess that is
Does the meat start to rot before you finish working with it?
Yes and no. The red rare hamburger used for Spirituality in the Flesh
was the fastest piece I ever had to do time wise, because the meat
turned color within about 12 hours and then overnight it turned rotten.
One assistant and myself pressed the meat up against the walls and did
the entire piece in about 8 hours and then I did the photography. Doing
that piece was like digging around in my mother?s grave; it was very
morbid and nasty. We went in with rubber gloves and took the whole
piece down the next day. The bacon lasted longer because the bacon is
already very preserved with salt and nitrates. So while you have the
strong bacon smell, it wasn?t the kind of disgusting smell you get with red
meat. The bacon piece had to be done in one day because the bacon
dried a little bit and it started to contract and fall off the walls.
Are you familiar with Jana Sternbeck's (spelling is probably wrong)
Yes, I am. That?s a wonderful piece -- I love that piece. My
understanding of that piece, even though I?ve never seen it in person, is
that she allowed the meat to dry out to the point where it is sort of
preserved, that the meat is aged considerably.
Have you ever used gum in your work?
Yes. ?Germs are Everywhere? is in fact chewed gum.
>>> Ruth Esther Altman <r-altman> 02/27/96 09:20am
What glue did you use to glue the raisens down in Atomic Love?
Why in your work are some people cast and others real? Where do you
get your mass amounts of bacon, jam, and meat to work with? Does the
meat start to rot before you finish working with it? Are you familiar with
Jana Sternbeck's (spelling is probably wrong) meat dress? Have you
ever used gum in your work? If so how? I have used it as a covering
rubbery looking agent in my work. It looks good, but only stays hard
under cold and cool temperatures. Thanks