"TODD CAMPLIN WEEKLY: KATHY LOVAS"
by Todd Camplin
moderndallas, May 2018
TODD CAMPLIN WEEKLY: KATHY LOVAS
The era of #metoo was launched in late 2017 and those that have perpetrated bad or despicable behavior have been put on notice that the world is watching. In response to this text based movement, Kathy Lovas has created a Lifeguard chair built with slats of wood with text relating to terms associated with the #metoo and the tag itself. Where else would you see an art piece that has such strong conceptual and political significance in Dallas, none other than Liliana Bloch Gallery of course.
This art installation is an imposing white wood chair with a couple of binoculars and several wood planks with more hashtags hung around the room. This is not your typical art object where you can talk about line, form, and shape to help decipher meaning. This is an anti-art object that is not about the product, but rather the message or ideas are the emphasis. Notwithstanding there are formal elements to this installation. Lovas doesn’t wants you to admire the hard edged painted wood, but rather see the chair as a symbol of this movement. In the same way the logo for Unicef is suppose to indicate they care for people’s wellbeing. According to Lovas, this work is representing a perspective. The hashtag is a method where people are watching over one another and policing the society through sharing experiences. Just like social media is the platform for these tags, the chair is the platform for Lovas’ representation of these #words.
The concept of this Lifeguard chair dates back to her 1996 chair in the Galveston Art Center, which was themed on photography. At the time, Lovas was interested in the emotional connection to the photograph so a couple of words she used were lensculture and viewpoint among others. The chair disappeared over the years of living, much like Duchamp’s first “water fountain.” But unlike Duchamp’s readymades, this Lifeguard chair was resurrected to serve a new purpose. Lovas’ chair proves that an art idea can change and evolve with time to create new meaning and generate new ideas. Duchamp’s remade readymades only served the purpose of being recreated artifacts, Lovas breathes in new life to her conceptual works. I sadly missed Lovas’ show celebrating her 25 year career as an artist. Her show was at Eastfield College gallery back in March, but thankfully I was able to see this installation. My only regret was not taking my 8 year old daughter to see it. No date has been called for the deinstall, so it still could happen.
Kathy Lovas’ Lifeguard chair is a great reason to visit Liliana Bloch Gallery. I would want you to also see Bogdan Perzy?ski’s photos in the main gallery. You enter the space and you start to feel like you’re in the middle of a movie with a world traveling narrative flowing over you all at once. His show is down on May 5th.