2 comments on “Kelly Bradford: Yellow Year – Gallery Lombardi

  1. As a close friend of Kelly’s, I want to submit my opinion of how Yellow Year succeeded as art. First, I think you’ve done a great job reviewing her experiment. However, I don’t think barter is a part of the capitalist system, which is a key assertion to understanding Yellow Year as art. Capitalism is built on profit, and a barter system rejects that baseline. You have a good point in writing that the community that supported Yellow Year was mainly commprised of Kelly’s friends and acquaintances, and that this fact diminished the “community awareness” goal of the art. However, I know for a fact that Kelly’s project drew in participants that were removed from her circle by a few degrees of separation, and I thinks this fact realized her vision of a barter system bringing people together and bringing depth and art to what is normally a commercially-driven preoccupation – that is, clothing one’s self. Additionally, I witnessed how several acquaintances of Kelly’s were affected by the experiment, and I think that the meaning they derived is valuable as art even if these people already knew Kelly. Some people became closer to Kelly because of the experience, some satisfied artistic expression in themselves that was not often expressed. An under-promoted aspect of the project was that each garment was supposed to be individually marked before trade, and although not all of them were, this goal was crucial in really involving the community in the performance. Some people were reluctant to give up their own yellow clothing for Yellow Year, and as the months wore on and their appreciation for Yellow Year grew, eventually gave up some very dear and personal garments. Those gifts were what touched me the most about Yellow Year and what cemented the show’s thesis- that clothing is and can be much more personal than we normally experience at the department store. Each piece in Yellow Year had a story and many had accumulated sentimental value over several owners. Kelly documented these garments and recorded that value, exactly the opposite of what you would see in your average department store or thrift store. So I think she succeeded in demonstrating a method of acquisition that is radically different from the norm and showed how art can be accessible to entire communities, made and shared by entire communities as part of an everyday activity like getting dressed. And you’ve done well to emphasize the determination. Sometimes Kelly would wear the same clothes day after day because she hadn’t received any new pieces, and she was a living example of how dependent people are on one another. Kelly both lost and gained individuality by doing this experiment, and revealed a great deal about what clothing means in our society. On one level, she was making quite a statement through her dress, which was observed by many both within and without her circle of acquaintance. But on another level, she lost her individuality- she could no longer decide what to wear everyday and was at the total whim of the community, almost as if she had sacrificed her individuality to that ideal. To me, that’s what made Yellow Year art- that complete self-sacrifice in pursuit of a vision of wholeness- in this case, the collective and nurturing art of a community.

  2. Ms. Delahoussaye,
    Thank you for your thoughts. Not to be defensive (or offensive) about it, but it sounds like you were close to the artist and the project. As a spectator, I was unaware of some of the info you revealed. Yet, there was already enough info to understand what was happening.

    Where I had trouble evaluating the show, was in defining what performance art is. Its the same thing with the work I’ve seen this year by Bunnyphonic. Even though I champion experimentation, without knowing the boundaries of the different “genres” of art, I find it difficult to evaluate.

    I enjoyed the show, but like a single painting in a group show, I’m asking myself, “Okay, what’s next?” Ms. Bradford’s commitment to the project was better than some artists in town. Now, the question becomes how is she committing to her art career, her art community, or art in general? I would like to see more work from her in order to add some perspective to her portfolio.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s