Larry Miller
Mom-moon, Mom-me, Stones, Knives

December 15–17, 1973 112 Greene Street/Workshop
Installation view for "Mom-moon, Mom-me, Stones, Knives," 1973

Larry Miller, Mom-moon, Mom-me, Stones, Knives, installation view, 1973

Exhibition Description

Mom-Moon was comprised of an audiotaped session with the artist’s mother in which he presented her with a photograph he had taken of the moon. He asked her about her associations with “moon”. The taped conversation and the photograph were part of a series of poetry-based audio, film, photo, and word pieces based on the conjunction of an image with Miller’s mother’s response to that image.

Mom-Me (1972-73; hypnosis, photographs, drawing, audio, and videotape). “This work represents an attempt to bypass the conscious mind altogether and get below mental characterizations to the more actual source within. I settled on hypnosis as a tool to make this possible. I worked with a professional hypnotist to forget my identity and to take on that of my mother. This was achieved. In this state “she” was interviewed by the hypnotist according to a carefully pre-arranged plan. In the first part, Mom is the subject and “she” (1) answers questions about herself and her life, (2) responds to time range photographs of herself, (3) draws a lifesized self-portrait as requested. In the second part, Me, “she” (1) answers questions about me and my life, (2) comments on a group of photographs of me, and (3) draws a correponding lifesize portrait of me. This interview session was videotaped and is shown along with the photographs and drawings. This work represented my search into the archetypal mother-child bond.

Stone (1973; stone, apothecary bottle, audiotape). “Some of my works are characterized by their utilization of psychics to realize information through touch and interpretation of shape. Stone was the first piece in which I used the psychic medium. For six years I had carried a small stone in my pocket at all times. decided to see if it had accumulated an information history during the six years by asking a bonafide psychic to handle it to divine its content. It seemed a logical step in the history of stones as a sculpture medium. – arranged meetings with nine different psychics who each handled the stone, giving forth information and stories by means of psychometry.

“These readings were audiotaped and accompanied the stone in the exhibition installation. The glass container was envisioned by two psychics as protection from possible radiation perceived.”

Knives (1973) “is a series of photographs of Bowery men who have belonged to the knife culture and been wounded. Photos are coupled with a collection of actual knives that had been confiscated by authorities from this population. Many of the knives were hand-made or personalized by the owners. This group belongs more to today’s urban deprived, but for me, the look of these tools recalls a primitive, still existent form of expression.”

Excerpted from Brentano, R., & Savitt, M. (1981). 112 Workshop, 112 Greene Street: History, artists & artworks. New York: New York University Press.

Installation view for "Mom-moon, Mom-me, Stones, Knives," 1973

Larry Miller, Mom-moon, Mom-me, Stones, Knives, installation view, 1973