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THE L: The way Art Cart went about that project at Bushwick Open Studios seemed just in line with that. It was bringing social media to people, almost putting it in their face, or even having it put themselves in their own face. Do you see yourself taking on projects in the future that play in this way to the potential strengths of Art Cart? As in, projects that bring art to people can happen on the internet alone, but this is bringing art to people to have them participating, involved in and confronting it.
HF: I think this is the first show we did that really accomplished what Art Cart’s mission is, which is to get people to interact, to participate, to define what they’re looking at and listening to and experiencing. People were surprised, asking, ‘where’s the “art” part?’ and I said it’s not just about fine art, we’re actually doing something this time, and we are getting you as visitors to actually be enablers and to be defining what it is that we’re seeing and talking about. I agree that this is the first time we executed what I want Art Cart to do, and I hope that we’ll take on projects like this. That’s not to say I don’t also want to show the work of artists who I really like, but I really felt that we were doing something with this show in a way that we hadn’t done yet. Doing something rather than showing something.
THE L: ‘Doing something’ is a topic I wanted to talk about with Art Cart, since it’s an issue that has to come up when you do something that is so much more active in terms of medium, and it lines up with a project that is so much more active and—maybe not confrontational—but certainly challenging. Art Cart seems to have the potential to be a form of social action, meant in some way to have an impact not just on art, but on people and society. When you came up with Art Cart, did you have in mind a more socially active undertaking involved in getting itself stuck into society?
HF: I did in theory, in my ideal vision of what Art Cart was going to be. With any venture, it’s very rare to reach your ideal vision on the first try. We really nailed it with this show, and as I take the next step, it will be an interesting process to see how we can build on what we’ve started since I do think that this worked in a different way from how my other shows did.
THE L: Did you make an entry for Art Cart in Defaced? It probably has a take on how social media shapes it.
HF: Not consciously! I submitted many comments to Defaced, especially in the beginning. But they were mostly my personal feelings. It’s like your diary. That’s what excited us about the website, you can really write anything you want, and it’s fun when you read comments on the Facebook page or Twitter stream that you wanted to write yourself but realized you didn’t write it and it was somebody else feeling the same way.
THE L: Reading the archived comments, you could see some of the people who wrote weren’t quite ready to let go and be honest, and others felt safe to say anything true and real.
HF: Some people were being just being polite and contributing.
THE L: Some were being trolls or spammers.
HF: But then you get to the people who were really there. And those are amazing to read. I did put a lot of personal things, which are affected by Art Cart in a profound way. I curate my Facebook page to reflect all of the art things that I do, and I’m always promoting Art Cart on my personal page.
THE L: Interesting, because a gallery is in so many ways like a Facebook page of art, in which you’ve got the ability to think about what you want to do with the paintings you’ve got, what kind of paintings you’re going to show, when people will be allowed to see it, who will be allowed. But thinking about Art Cart not just commenting on gallery or museum art, but being more confrontational by putting things out there so people ask questions like they do in this project about social media—do you think it gets viewers to ask questions about galleries, or the legitimacy of art in galleries versus this more imperfect, natural form?
HF: In my other professional life, I manage a private art collection and work with an art advisor and galleries every single day. I love going to galleries and shows, but there’s something always a little too perfect about them. There’s a veil. It shows among the people who work there; people you see at the front desk set the tone for your entire experience. You see someone who is tight-lipped with you or ignoring you altogether, and suggesting he or she serves a world that is above you, or beyond you. That’s a different experience of art when you go in, and you can immediately identify, if you work there, who’s a student, who’s an important person in the room, who’s trying to make you believe he or she’s an important person but isn’t.
There are so many social factors involved in that world, and I don’t want that to be the only image of what the art world is. Art Cart, instead of having this veil, is very straightforward, you might be able to see how we put an exhibition together, see all the work that’s gone in. In some ways it’s more honest.
THE L: And it seems more communicative. I love paintings, but I’ll admit to having gone to a museum and the purity of an exhibition or the behavior code you have over your shoulder going in to look at paintings loaded with deep, raw emotion, dulled the power of the experience.
HF: And there’s an implication that it’s above you. In some ways, art is, because you’re constantly trying to work through something when you’re experiencing it, but for this project I wanted it to be very clear that it’s not above you, it’s a part of you and you are partly making it.
THE L: Before we finish, any future plans?
HF: Taking steps to get closer to having this ultimate goal of having this city-wide/world-wide, truck yeah!