Martha Rosler speaks
I interviewed Martha Rosler for my review of her Worcester show. Here’s a couple things she said.
On her 1967 to '72 "Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful" montages:
It was these two projected spaces, one idealized and the other cast completely into the other mode. It showed a picture of who we thought we might be if we only strove hard enough, our best selves, versus this picture of the rejected space. It just seemed like this is the way it had to be shown. It wasn’t about contrasting two realities, but two world views: our ideal self and this other thing which was the unacceptable reality of another place. One suggested we had agency, that we could create this world, and the other suggested that we had no agency, that others had agency, the military or elected leaders or terrorists, though that’s not the lingo of the day, other geopolitical forces. This was not an arena that we had any power over.On her 2004 “Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful, New Series” montages:
I wanted to – even at the loss of some self-pride – to go back to something that I had done many years before in exactly in the same way, or as close a way as I could, to say ‘you know this work of mine now’ for those who did, I must return to exactly the same form because we have sunk back to that same level, of a kind of indifferent relationship to what our country is doing. I wanted specifically to evoke a mood and invoke a way of working, to say, "Tout la change, tout la même chose.”
Pictured: Martha Rosler, “Photo-Op,” 2004, copyright Rosler, courtesy of Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.