NYCU | Mary Mattingly Owns Up

Artist Mary Mattingly pushing a sculpture of her personal belongings at the Port Newark Container Terminal, Newark, NJ, 2013. Production still from the "New York Close Up" film, "Mary Mattingly Owns Up". © Art21, Inc. 2013.

Artist Mary Mattingly pushing a sculpture of her personal belongings at the Port Newark Container Terminal, Newark, NJ, 2013. Production still from the New York Close Up film, Mary Mattingly Owns Up. © Art21, Inc. 2013.

Do objects come with responsibility?

In this film, Mary Mattingly transforms personal belongings into sculptural forms that she later incorporates into photographs and performative actions. Experimenting with living in her Greenpoint studio space, Mattingly is determined to live with just the bare essentials. Over several months, she undertakes a process of recording every object she owns and tracing the history of each of her belongings—how it came into her life, its distribution via complex global supply chains, as well as where the raw materials for its manufacture was sourced—before uploading a digital version of each object to her website OWN-IT.US. Throughout this process, she takes stock of the environmental and societal impact of her personal consumption, wondering if “maybe we need art more today because we’re in a world with so many mass produced things.” Mattingly aggregates all of her personal belongings into boulder-like sculptural bundles, held together with rope, so that she is able to roll and drag them. She’s photographed walking the sculpture Fill (Obstruct) (2013) across the Bayonne Bridge, from Staten Island to New Jersey, and to the Port of New York New Jersey—symbolically returning her personal belongings to the place where they entered the East Coast. “It’s kind of really incredibly Sisyphean in a way,” says Mattingly about her actions that eventually attracted the attention of the Port Authority Police and Homeland Security who surveil the port. Also featuring the works Kart (2008); Floating a Boulder (2012); Pile-High (2012); The Furies (Titian, again) (2013); The Damned (Titian, again) (2013); and Life of Objects (2013).

Mary Mattingly (b. 1978, Rockville, Connecticut, USA) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

CREDITS | New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Producer & Editor: Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland. Cinematography: Wesley Miller, Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland. Sound: Ava Wiland. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Design & Graphics: Crux Studio & Open. Artwork: Mary Mattingly. Music: Darren Will. Thanks: El Bandido Loco (Cat), Greg Lindquist, Nina Lucey, Robert Mann Gallery, Papaya (Cat), Lauren Slowik & David Smith. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2013. All rights reserved.

New York Close Up is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; The Lambent Foundation; Toby Devan Lewis; the Dedalus Foundation, Inc., The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and by individual contributors.

Contributor
Jonathan Munar is the Director of Digital Media and Strategy at ART21, overseeing the organization's overall digital, Web, and social media presences. He edits and contributes to the Magazine's "Art 2.1" column.
  1. Tom Lo Cicero says:

    Thanks, enjoyed your work Mary. Rhe garden on the E. river is fabulous. tlc

    Reply

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