Whitney Biennial 2014

Solo en Inglès

Hear directly from artists as they discuss the thoughts, processes, and ideas behind their work in the 2014 Biennial. The guide also features commentary from Biennial curators Stuart Comer, Anthony Elms, and Michelle Grabner.

Joel Otterson, Curtains Laced with Diamonds Dear for You, 2014

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Joel Otterson: My name is Joel Otterson.

The curtain is an idea that I've had for a long time. When Andy Warhol went and visited the Shah of Iran, and he came back and in Interview magazine he talked about in the basement in the Shah's palace were strings of diamonds. I've always thought how marvelous that would be, like, "Oh my God, strings of diamonds for curtains."

A portion of the materials came from a lady's jewelry collection. Her name was Stormy Parker. A friend of mine had to go clean her house out. He worked for 1 800 GOTJUNK. It was sixty years of her jewelry I got to recycle into this piece. 

Narrator: Otterson also purchased some of the beads at bead stores. He’s attached old farm tools to the bottom of the curtain, demonstrating its surprising strength. He’s interested in the fact that the jewels and tools are both meant to be handled—though obviously in different ways and by different people. 

Nearby, there’s a lace tent that Otterson has described as a “transgender object” due to its surprising combination of materials and function.  

Joel Otterson: The object, it's strange, I think it's about the imagination. It's about imagining what it might be like to be inside of it, without ever entering inside of it. It is big enough to sleep two people. It's either a little girl's tea party, or it's about making love. What else can you do in that thing, you know? 

An installation of a tent in a gallery.

Joel Otterson: My name is Joel Otterson.

The curtain is an idea that I've had for a long time. When Andy Warhol went and visited the Shah of Iran, and he came back and in Interview magazine he talked about in the basement in the Shah's palace were strings of diamonds. I've always thought how marvelous that would be, like, "Oh my God, strings of diamonds for curtains."

A portion of the materials came from a lady's jewelry collection. Her name was Stormy Parker. A friend of mine had to go clean her house out. He worked for 1 800 GOTJUNK. It was sixty years of her jewelry I got to recycle into this piece. 

Narrator: Otterson also purchased some of the beads at bead stores. He’s attached old farm tools to the bottom of the curtain, demonstrating its surprising strength. He’s interested in the fact that the jewels and tools are both meant to be handled—though obviously in different ways and by different people. 

Nearby, there’s a lace tent that Otterson has described as a “transgender object” due to its surprising combination of materials and function.  

Joel Otterson: The object, it's strange, I think it's about the imagination. It's about imagining what it might be like to be inside of it, without ever entering inside of it. It is big enough to sleep two people. It's either a little girl's tea party, or it's about making love. What else can you do in that thing, you know? 


Joel Otterson, Installation view, Camp, 2014. Cotton and polyester lace, silk, copper plumbing pipe and fittings, redwood, aromatic cedar, and bamboo, 68 x 129 x 64 in. (172.7 x 327.7 x 162.6 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy Maloney Fine Art, Los Angeles