Presenting visual and performance art in unexpected public spaces.

AiOP 2010: CHANCE artist Linda Hesh will help you reconnect through doorknob hangers

Our next Art in Odd Places 2010: CHANCE artist hails from Washington DC. Linda Hesh, whose works were featured in the Washington Post and the New York Times, is not new to the public art scene. For this year’s festival, her project is an extension of her previous work that use door knob signs on random places, or should I say “odd places” to invoke a reaction. However these doorknob signs are more than your typical “Do Not Disturb. Another reason to keep your eyes peeled October 1-10.

Who is the artist behind the doorknob signs? Hang for a bit and read below.

Aiop: Tell us about Linda Hesh

photo provided by Artist

LH: I moved to Washington, DC for love, but my personality is more suited for NYC where I previously lived for ten years. I am a full time visual artist who teaches occasionally when I think something might useful to other artists. For about five years I have had objects commericially imprinted with words and then photographed them in installations to address social issues such as displacement, bigotry, and gender disparity. This has included steel benches, doorknob hangers, coffee mugs, and real apples all with words on them.

Photo by the Washington Post

Aiop: We read about your “For and Against Benches”. What was that about?
LH: The “FOR and AGAINST Benches” were my last big interactive public art project. I took these two 6 foot long steel benches around the Washington, DC metro area and asked people what they were FOR or AGAINST. I photographed volunteers and then put what they said they were for or against under the portraits as captions. The benches plus 309 photographs made into a slide show video were shown at the Museum of the Americas in Washington this year. The FOR and AGAINST Benches were reviewed in numerous local publications including the Washington Post Newspaper written by Michael O’Sullivan

Aiop: How did you hear about Art in Odd Places?
LH: A Washington, DC area sculpture group sent out an email notice.



Aiop: What made you decide to submit a proposal for the Festival?
LH: A couple of years ago I installed my “Desolation” doorknob hangers on 14th St. as part of a Washington, DC public art exhibition. These had statements of longing that could be about gentrification or a lost love. It seemed natural that I should put doorknob hangers on 14th in NYC. Plus, I have a personal connection to this street. When I lived in NYC, 14th was a sort of demarcation line. I was a downtown gal, meaning I didn’t go above 14th St. unless absolutely necessary.

Photo by the New York Times

Aiop: How is the preparation coming along for your piece this October?
LH: After numerous re-writes, I have my statements done for “Chance Meeting” doorknob hangers and they are being printed in Kansas.

Aiop: What’s your favorite spot on 14th street?
LH: I like 14th St. all the way west where you can see the meeting of the old and the new: the meat packing district along with galleries, high design stores and restaurants. I remember when you had to convince a cabdriver that you really did want to go there.


Aiop: Do you have a hidden talent you would like to share?
LH: I am a raconteur . I’m not good at writing my stories down, but always have a narrative hidden in my art.



Aiop: Any message to the people who will be in 14th street during the festival?
LH: Enjoy the random moments of art. They add energy to the everyday.

Aiop: What should people expect from your project?
LH: I hope that people feel a moment of surprise when they see one of my doorknob hangers, and then they steal it.

Aiop: What’s your lucky number?
LH: 666 I raised money for my last show by selling real apples that were laser etched with the word “EVIL” and then freeze dried. The pre-show price was $66.60 (the devil’s number). People were amused by the price which encouraged them to buy so it’s my new lucky number.

Aiop: Write a fortune
LH: A chance meeting will change your life.


Aiop: What’s the strangest encounter that you’ve had as a pedestrian in New York?
LH: Whenever I go back to New York, I seem to run into old boyfriends on the street. This can be kind of embarrassing when I’m with my husband since each time it’s a different guy.

Aiop: What do you hope to bring to the festival?
LH: Initial confusion that turns into reconition and amusement.

Aiop: Where do you live?
LH: I currently live in our Nation’s Capitol. When I lived in New York, I was in Little Italy or what is now known as Nolita.

Thanks Linda! We are looking forward to see where your doorknobs signs end up.
Want to know more about Linda Hesh? Visit her website http://www.lindahesh.com/

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