A number of years ago, I was an artist-in-residence at the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston. There, I was free to walk, meditate and slowly choose what interested me about the space to photograph. The experience was exciting, as the challenge of transforming existing objects of art into something else intrigued me since earlier work I did with books where I played with photographing art reproductions on the printed page. One of the pleasures of working in museums the way I do lies in how I can become a sort of ad hoc curator. I get to organize installations of art to suggest a sisterhood among pieces that is based on my own visual hunger. I like to play in museums.
These experiments often lead me to take more and more liberties in my choreography of art objects to fashion unexpected conversations. For example, the sandwiching of a Hopper and a Nadelman at the Yale Art Gallery “feels” like an unknown De Chirico or Magritte. Other strategies involve photographing invented dioramas consisting of old picture frames, three-dimensional objects and paintings. I think of these pieces, often, as theatrical stages on which plots can thicken visually.
The Metropolitan Opera
In some ways I feel that photography involves a kind of theater. Photographs take things from the real world and convert them into two-dimensional, make-believe pictures. This transformational process that is embedded in photography itself is what, I think, theater also attempts to achieve visually. At the Metropolitan Opera, I was interested in showing the behind-the-scenes architecture of illusion, which, in its own inventive way, gives audiences that feeling of transportation of being in a believable world.