Art Historians Terri Cohn and Alla Efimova, with the Sonya Rapoport Legacy Trust, present a new series of videos featuring conversations with artists, scholars, and curators about Sonya Rapoport’s Objects on My Dresser (1979-1983 & 2015).
View full series playlist on YouTube.
Objects On My Dresser is Rapoport’s magnum opus. During a time when she was mourning her mother’s death, she collaborated with a psychiatric social worker to analyze and interpret the personal significance of 28 objects accumulated on her bedroom dresser. Her complex associations with the souvenirs, trinkets, photos, and other personal items developed into a web of meanings that she externalized into a kind of data-driven self-portrait. Rapoport gathered information about herself as well as participants in interactive, computer-mediated “participation performances,” and then incorporated resulting plots and graphs into intricate drawings and collages.
The first episode of the new series focuses on Phase 12: The Transitive Property of Equality (2015). Cohn and Efimova interview poet and art writer Anne Lesley Selcer and Farley Gwazda, director of the Sonya Rapoport Legacy Trust.
The second episode focuses on phase 10: Periodic Table of the Elements (1983), and features artist and writer Meredith Tromble, artist-in-residence at the Complexity Sciences Center at the University of California, Davis, and Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at San Francisco Art Institute. Tromble served with Rapoport on the board of Leonardo journal (MIT Press).
The third episode features artist and writer Sue Heinemann and critic and curator Anuradha Vikram discussing Rapoport’s “exhibitions in print”. Phase 4 was printed in Journal – The Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art (1981), and Phase 8 was printed in HERESIES: A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics (1983).
The fourth episode features curators and art historians John Zarobell and Kayleigh Perkov, who explore the ways in which Rapoport engaged with technology, programming, and data visualization in the late 70s and early 80s.
The fifth episode features curators and art historians Kathryn Wade, John Zarobell and Kayleigh Perkov, who discuss Rapoport’s exploration of the materiality of computing technology.
The sixth and final episode features Renny Pritikin, chief curator of San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum, who curated Rapoport’s exhibition “Psycho-Aesthetic Dynamics” at 80 Langton Street in 1980.
Alla Efimova and Terri Cohn are currently working on a book exploring this materially intricate and art historically important project!