The Artist’s House: From workplace to Artwork

Essay, critcism

Kirsty Bell

Essay, critcism
Sternberg Press
Kirsty Bell


Included for obvious reasons. Bell’s writing here reorders the notion of the artist’s home as workplace, through the lens of 20 different individual artists’ practices including Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Louise Bourgeois, Gabriel Orozco, Frances Stark and Alice Neel – all of which speak of the desire to grasp experience at the level of the ordinary. For most of these artists this refers to the ways in which their living and working spaces have coalesced, not just in terms of shared or multipurpose space, but through the ways in which their work has become an expression of that domestic experience.

Bell’s writing here is situated within the history of practices that merge the private with the public through their use of space; and as is the case at Lawson Park, which is at once a working space, a home, and almost a work in it’s own right - I think this might have less to with ‘creating a balance’ and more to do with maintaining order where the boundaries blend. Described by the author as ‘an attempt to pick it apart, discover its clues, and use these to elucidate the generative possibilities of the three-way connection that links artist, home, and work’, Bell also loops together a now familiar constellation of writers on the subject of the domestic including Georges Perec, Gaston Bachelard, Walter Benjamin and Marguerite Duras. This idea (and I seem to remember the book itself) refers also to John Berger’s statement that as a characteristic of late modernity, ‘the home is no longer a dwelling, but the untold story of a life being lived.’