Work Won't Kill You EXTENDED to September 18, 2016
Closing Reception: Saturday, September 10th 6-9pm
Gallery Hours: 11am-6pm Daily Entry through Tostadas or by Appointment
Art Produce is proud to host San Antonio based artist, Patty Ortiz, in the first of a series of artist residencies.
WORK WON’T KILL YOU is the third in an ongoing series of installation/performance art pieces by Patty Ortiz. Renowned for her conceptual and human interaction/social engagement work, Ortiz has hired workers to create an immersive photo-mural in the gallery space over a span of 10 weeks. WWKY investigates, documents and demonstrates the interconnection between work, art and the community of North Park, specifically the University Street corridor. The project reflects the intersecting concerns of buyers, sellers, workers and bystanders.
Keyed on retail sales, the installation demonstrates the addition of value through the fabrication, merchandising and consumption of marketable objects. Using the very medium of commercial exchange, money itself, as raw material for the finished product, the workers sew actual dollar bills into shopping bags. The bags are sold to gallery visitors with the understanding that the workers will visit a business on University Street, buy something that represents the business and then return to the art gallery where the purchased object becomes an aesthetic object, archived, catalogued and presented in the Art Produce gallery.
The phrase “Work Won’t Kill You” came from Ortiz’s father. Growing up as a migrant worker, WW II veteran and general benefactor to an extended family of many more than that, his motto was, “Work won’t kill you…laziness will.”
The concept requires that the artist instigate a direct goal oriented work activity within an environment that mimics the traditional circumstances of a conventional workspace. The workspace, the workers and the object of their efforts must reflect the nature and character of the immediate world around them in a significant yet purposely skewed fashion. This offers an opportunity to demonstrate and investigate the contrast and interaction between art and work in the lives of individuals and the life of a community.
As in each previous installation, the artist has advertised within the neighborhood for potential workers, interviewed applicants, then selected a small workforce based partly on the possession of a highly particular set of job skills and partly on a willingness to accommodate apparently irrational requirements in the service of an obscure goal. The workers wear lab coat uniforms bearing their embroidered names and the WWKY logo. They pledge to abide by the directives in a handbook detailing the rules, regulations, group policies and generally accepted accounting principles of the project.
The first performance of the art-piece WORK WON’T KILL YOU took place in San Antonio, Texas in the spring of 2015. It was primarily concerned with the experience of the workers and the results of their efforts, the de-construction then re-construction of typical jumpsuit uniforms to create a sheltering tent-like structure suspended from the ceiling of the workspace. The second installation, in Syracuse, New York, took the workers out of the workspace into the surrounding neighborhood, documented their interaction with the community then used the worker's own choices to create an iconography of significant imagery germane to the place.
Ortiz says of her current series, “Work Won’t Kill You" demonstrates through actual practice that art is intrinsically a social object. Placing the activities of a workgroup in an aesthetic context sets in motion an engaging dynamic between observer and observed that results in a shared aesthetic experience.”