Lost in a Hayes of Love
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 20:02
This Thursday, artist Sharon Hayes will visit Mount Holyoke College to give a talk on her work, Everything Else Has Failed! Don’t You Think It’s Time for Love? In this piece, available on her website, Hayes addresses an anonymous lover through a microphone with an amplifier outside the corporate headquarters of UBS.
Surrounded by the lunchtime crowds of midtown Manhattan, the footage, taken Sept. 17-21, 2007, shows Hayes’ intimate appeals to an absent, unnamed “my dear lover” or “my sweet lover.” Her calls, which convey distance and depersonalization, suggest that the separation she refers to may be the lover’s un-established identity. In any case, Hayes’ comments are expansive and ties together personal desiring, the state of the nation, war and war’s way of rupturing the daily order of civilian life.
At first, Hayes’ intimate words seem sentimental and hyperbolic, submerged as they are in the rush of a New York City lunch hour. But over time, as the messages continue to wash on, they begin to consolidate into a story that is only partly readable – the experience is like hearing one side of a phone call.
Poignantly, Hayes carries a quiet, vulnerable love into the chaotic, impersonal public sphere in order to realize the goals of the project, and to provoke, according to her website, “questions about the territory of the space of the ‘political’ and the ‘unspeakable’ as it relates to love, enforced normativity and the mythic notion of ‘free speech.’”
The New Museum for Contemporary Art, the Guggenheim Museum, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center and the Joseph Papp Public Theater are just a few of the locations that have displayed Hayes’ work. Her work has also been shown internationally at London’s Tate Modern, Museum Moderner Kunst and the Generali Foundation in Vienna. Aside from museums, Hayes’ work can be found in galleries, exhibition and performance spaces in throughout the U.S. and in Bogotá, Berlin, Copenhagen, Malmö, Vienna, Vancouver and Zagreb.
Hayes is not afraid to display her personal life: she announces her sexual identity through the microphone in the course of creating Everything Else Has Failed! Don’t You Think It’s Time for Love? The theme of identity politics is one that infiltrates and binds Hayes’ past work to her more current projects.
Hayes’ work is multimedia: she uses video, performance and installation to show the political moment as the moment of speech, and as a moment soon to be relegated to the past. Having received her Bachelor of Arts from Bowdoin College and her Master of Fine Arts from the University of California at Los Angeles, Hayes currently lives and works in New York City where she is employed as an Assistant Professor in Cooper Union’s School of Art.
More information about Hayes’ work can be found on her website: www.shaze.info. The event will be held tonight at 6 p.m. in Mount Holyoke’s Gamble Auditorium. The talk will be followed by a reception.