Shana Agid, “Call a Wrecking Ball to Make a Window”
Artist: Shana Agid (Brooklyn, NY)
Title: Call a Wrecking Ball to Make a Window (2012)
Medium/technique(s): Letterpress / map-folded book, envelope cover
Edition size: 40
Number of pages: N/A
Dimensions, open: 22″ x 30″
Dimensions, closed: 10 1/4″ x 7 5/8″
My visual arts practice focuses my convictions, questions, and hunches about power and experiences of identity through an examination of the ways peoples’ and systems’ histories intersect with and form social, physical, and political environments. My work explores the stories these environments can tell about speculation, longing, and myth at both small and encompassing scales. In my print series’ and artist books, I use woodcut, screenprint, letterpress, digital printing, and movable mechanisms to explore the ways such stories appear in relatively public spaces and what they describe or make visible.
Call a Wrecking Ball to Make a Window is a map-fold book with original text that explores routes taken and spaces made by queer people in New York City from the 1970s through the 2000s. Drawing links between the lives of gay men in that period and my own coming out into the height of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1990s, the book proposes a fantastic landscape in which these lives overlap through the geography and infrastructure of the city. By following the writings of David Wojnarowicz, the queer writer and artist who died of AIDS in 1992, I trace his moves in and through Manhattan’s grid, attempting to link back to my own queer trajectories, first as a young lesbian, and now as a trans person. Wrecking Ball was letterpress printed on a Vandercook SP-25 from original drawings made into polymer plates. The book’s title refers to both to the changing built landscape of New York and to effects produced by the desire to find redemption and instruction through an oversimplification of personal and political histories. Manhattan is 13 ½ miles long and 3 miles wide. It is, geographically speaking, a small and navigable place; despite this, it is a monster of a city. It is a good landscape for telling impossible stories.