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Couch For A Long Time, perhaps the most important work by Jessica Jackson Hutchins, is a homemade altar. Selected for the Whitney Biennale, it is a celebration of change and transformation, while expressing the sense of national pride. The couch, which was from Hutchins’ childhood living room, is covered entirely with newspaper clippings featuring President Obama from the New York Times. Jessica Jackson Hutchins questions the relationship between people and objects, exploring how the interactions form and inform each other. The newspapers suggest the temporal idea of the fleeting nature of news stories. The newspaper became obsolete as soon as being read, but would suddenly be relevant the next morning, printed with new information. On the other hand, the resting ceramics, resembling an idling person, offers vastly different rates of change. Sheltered from weathering by the glaze, the ceramics are eternal, as long as being handled carefully. The contrast is further highlighted by the fact that the information became outdated sometimes even before being read. The title of the work toys with this very notion of time. The physicality of the ceramic sculptures reminds the viewer of the human body, with colours similar to bones or flesh. The ceramic surrogates slouch on the sofa in place of all that had sat there, as if watching the imaginary television in front of it. The newspapers wrapped the sofa up forming a protective layer, as if the room was being painted, preserving it. Couch For A Long Time merges public and private moments, creates a monument symbolising how ephemeral news events influence the everyday life.
—Courtesy of Phillips
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Whitney Biennial, 25 February - 30 May 2010, cat., p. 70 (illustrated)
London, Saatchi Gallery, Paper, 18 June - 3 November 2013, cat., pp. 78-79 (illustrated)
New York, Volume 43, New York Magazine Company, 2010, p.67
Derek Eller Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2010
About Jessica Jackson Hutchins
The intimate disclosure of Jessica Jackson Hutchins' personal life is both the conceptual and formal basis of her work. Her use of everyday personal objects and materials hint at the dramas of love and family, yet she keeps her references oblique and mysterious, allowing formal qualities free rein to create their own abstract and tactile languages. Her ceramics are painstakingly moulded by hand, their forms shifting from the refined to the more rudimentary. Tattered soft furnishings sagging with familiar dents or knocked about tables and chairs provide the seats for these ceramics that are redolent with autobiography and anthropomorphism.
American, b. 1971, Chicago, Illinois, based in Portland, Oregon