In our ongoing series of Q&As with contemporary Los Angeles–based artists, this week we interview Jennifer Moon, an interdisciplinary artist whose practice involves an expanded field that encompasses object-making but transcends the studio to include every aspect of lifestyle, character, community and patriarchy-smashing social systems.
L.A. WEEKLY: What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
JENNIFER MOON: For once, I am happy to answer this because I finally figured out a satisfactory short answer for what I do — thanks to numerous grant applications! I am a life-artist committed to expanding beyond binaries, hierarchies and capital!
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I would focus more on The Revolution, which is part of my practice as an artist. … So, if I wasn’t working as an artist or on The Revolution, I would probably be an interdisciplinary theoretical physicist (interdisciplinary, meaning not a heavy reliance on mathematics), but that would still be part of The Revolution (Faction 4). Scientists and artists are very similar; and since I’m a life-artist, everything is art!
Did you go to art school? Why/why not?
Yep, I went to art school: Art Center for grad and UCLA for undergrad. I applied to art school because my parents told me I had to go to college. And the year I applied, in 1991, UCLA didn’t ask for a portfolio, only an essay. I always wanted to be an artist but couldn’t draw or paint well, so I thought I couldn’t be an artist. However, I could write an essay. So I did, and I got in! To this day, it is probably the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me. It changed my life.
When was your first show?
My first show was in 1993 at UCLA and it was also my first life-art piece. It began as a three-month performance where I changed my identity to Deedra Swan, CEO of Deedra Inc., a corporation that specialized in covert agents and covert operations. I also played other characters like Electra, the ultimate covert agent; and Jennifer, Deedra’s pot-smoking roommate; but Deedra was my everyday persona. In addition to the IRL performance aspect, there were monthly newsletters, videos, T-shirts, a comic book, and it culminated in a cocktail party for investors at the Griffin Commons Grand Ballroom at UCLA, where Deedra sang in her band, Deedra and the Galaxies, and Electra performed a martial arts exhibition to show off her skills to investors. And to answer your first question of when did I know I was an artist? It was with this project.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show?
My most recent show was this past November–December 2018, which was actually a collaborative show with my family called "Familial Technologies" at Commonwealth and Council. Currently, I’m in a group show, "Augmented Realities: Performance in Real Life," organized by Christina Valentine and Hannah Kim Varamini, at Love’s Remedies at the Reef— there’s a closing reception March 27. And an upcoming group show, "Beyond the Pale," organized by Janet Owen Driggs, at Cypress College Art Gallery, opening March 7. There are amazing artists in these shows. Check them out!
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