Miranda July: Venice Re-Union

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Published June 2, 2010

PHOTO BY LUKAS WASSMANN

 

 

At the 2009 Venice Biennale, Miranda July installed Eleven Heavy Things, a series of photo-sets in the spirit of those hokey pedestals for vacationers that, in spite of being made of steel and fiberglass, was meant to encourage a type of communal levity. In the context of the world’s premiere art destination (and tucked in a relatively peaceful garden in the back of the Arsenale), the piece spoke to the range of enjoyment and viewership possible for a serious work of art. Eleven Heavy Things has moved to New York and finds itself in the middle of university student and tourist hub Union Square, to push the boundaries of acceptable behavior around a work of art.

One afternoon during the opening weekend of the Venice Biennale, Interview teamed up with her and invited a number of attendees to pose with the works for an exclusive art-meets-the-world collaboration. For “20 Questions,” curated by Matthew Higgs, friends and colleagues of the artist were invited to pose a single question to July. Here is some of what they asked, and how she answered:

CINDY SHERMAN: What is the scariest situation that you’ve ever put yourself in in front of an audience?

MIRANDA JULY: Nothing I can come up with these days is as scary as opening for punk bands in bars back before anyone knew who I was. Sometimes these audiences were so confounded, so unfamiliar with the idea of “performance” that they would get angry and yell at me while I performed. I remember searching the crowd for the eyes of one woman who looked like she might know what I was talking about. I would do it for her; that would get me through it.

DAVID SHRIGLEY: What is your favorite term of abuse, or your favorite expletive/profane exclamation?

JULY: I throw “pud” around a fair amount, which I just looked up and discovered means penis. For expletives, “fucklord.” I got that from a friend. Sometimes I follow it up with “lord of fuck.”


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. MIRANDA JULY’S ELEVEN HEAVY THINGS IS NOW ON VIEW IN UNION SQUARE, NEW YORK.