Later in February I’ll be going to NYC in part to speak at a memorial forTee Corinne by the Queer Caucus of the College Art Association Conference, a conference for teachers, curators, and artists. Tee was a founding member of the Queer Caucus of the CAA. The Caucus is sponsoring an exhibition “Mother, May I?” curated by Sheila Pepe at the Campbell Soady Gallery at The LGBT Community Center (208 W. 13th Street, NYC ). It runs from February 1 through April 26, 2007.
It includes this portrait of Tee I took about 2 months before she died.
And this portrait from her “scars” series.
Tee Corinne and I knew each other for many years. We changed mother and daughter roles with great frequency around our art. And since daughters often “mother” their own mothers, who was in which role was sometimes a little hard to call.
We gave each other motherly advice from our experience about our work and sometimes explained to each other in daughterly ways why the advice didn’t suit us.
Tee was a master of photographic self portraits. When I was photographing her last summer I could feel everything she wasn’t saying to me as I shot her photos. She truly wanted the photos to be my images. But I could still hear her “mother’s” voice telling me how to shoot, and in a very appropriately daughterly way I simultaneously ignored and was influenced by her words.
When she was diagnosed last February, my role transformed itself into almost exclusively daughter, in the obvious ways of helping her work on the future of her art after her death and taking on the responsibility of aesthetic curator for her “Scars, Stoma, Ostomy Bag, Portacath: picturing cancer in our lives” project.
Far more important for me was what I learned while watching her work and plan for the preservation and exhibition of her work after her death. Tee planned with great force and elegance for a very long artistic future. Watching and helping her seriously changed the way I see the long-term future of my own work. My choices are very different from Tee’s and I would not have made them without my experience with her. I can already hear her voice approving and disapproving of my choices. There is nothing more “motherly” than that.