The Transitive Property of Equality (2015) was created just prior to the artist’s death in 2015, during an artist residency at Krowswork – a center for video and visionary art – in Oakland, CA. The installation was completed posthumously, according to Rapoport’s explicit instructions.
Rendered on newspaper pages, The Transitive Property of Equality is part of her late-period New York Times series.
The 26 collages in the series and associated interactive installation represents the 12th Phase of Rapoport’s Objects On My Dresser series, which originated in 1979. Short phrases selected from fellow Krowswork resident Anne Lesley Selcer’s poem “The natural world frozen” (2014) are collaged onto paged from The New York Times, many featuring women, and matched with a domestic object on a shelf.
Viewers were asked to participate in the installation by selecting an object and matching it with a phrase from the poem and a page from the New York Times. They were asked to record their choice by placing a colored glass bead in a grid.
Completed in the final weeks of Rapoport’s life, this meditation on artmaking embodies Rapoport’s generous humor, unflinching critical eye, and fascination with categorization and matching.
Transitive Property of Equality Video Interview
Art Historians Terri Cohn and Alla Efimova host a video series exploring artist Sonya Rapoport’s magnum opus, Objects on My Dresser”(1979-1983 & 2015).
In this first episode, which focuses on the 2015 installation The Transitive Property of Equality, they interview poet and art writer Anne Lesley Selcer and Farley Gwazda, director of the Sonya Rapoport Legacy Trust.