Gail Rothschild

Hay People

1989–1991


ARTISTS SPACE UNDERGROUND: A Celebration of Your Re-Election, Mr. Helms, 1990
Hay, Wire Mesh, Wood, Ink Wash Drawings, Paint
Installation size: 8'h x 12'w x 35'd
Commissioned by Artists Space, NYC

Rough-sawn cedar benches are grouped to form an open rectangle, which nearly fills the cave-like basement space. Seated around the bench and facing inward are forty huddled figures of hay. On the lap of each lies a drawing – an extremely intimate self-portrait – bound with cord to a block of wood. To view each drawing one must peer, voyeuristically, over the shoulder of the hay person who holds it. The walls of the space are covered with grey-spattered negative prints of the artist's hands. They resemble the hand prints found on Paleolithic cave walls. Is this a conference room? Is this a prison? Or is this a space for artists to engage in activities no longer permitted "above ground"? (The project received no funding whatsoever from the National Endowment For the Arts.)

Hay People, 1990
Artists Space, NYC

Hay People, 1990
Artists Space, NYC

Hay People, 1989
Lower Manhattan, NYC

Hay People, 1989
Henry Street Settlement, NYC

Hay People, 1990
Artists Space, NYC

Hay People, 1990
Artists Space, NYC

Hay People, 1989
Wall Street, NYC