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Cannon Center for the Performing Arts
Memphis, Tennessee, 2003

When a guest enters any one of the eight public restrooms in the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, he or she will find what appears to be an arrangement of toilet tissue rolls on its floor. The arrangement of approximately two dozen rolls will vary from bathroom to bathroom. They may be stacked in vertical columns, stacked to form latticed pyramids, or stacked in stair-step fashion against the wall. Each restroom will have its own unique variation.

At first one might think that a prankish child, bored with the evening's performance, has slipped away from the parents and raided the janitor's closet. But upon closer inspection, it will be discovered that, instead of an unlimited supply of toilet paper, these are humorously site-specific minimalist sculptures that exploit the same principles of repetition and variation that Donald Judd or Carl Andre might have applied to steel cubes or firebricks in the sixties and early seventies. In this case, however, there is an undeniable conceptual relationship between the imagery and the location, which is playfully antithetical to some of the basic premises of minimalist art.

The sculptures will be cast in aluminum and painted white in order to give the appearance of actual toilet paper rolls. Each will be mounted directly to the floor with placement determined by a combination of aesthetic and practical concerns, including sensitivity to the needs of guests with disabilities.

This project is very much in keeping with my belief that all the beauty, courage, sadness, humor and absurdity of the world is preserved in ordinary things. By means of exaggeration, visual puns, unexpected juxtapositions and other devices, I hope to recharge the half-forgotten objects that fill our lives. It is my intention that those who encounter this series of bathroom still life sculptures will never quite look at a roll of toilet paper in the same way. After all, isn't there something both funny and profoundly disconcerting about toilet paper cast in a hard substance?