Pushing insistently at what a blog is and can do, the recently-launched The Smartest Thing She’s Ever Said is an interesting take on storytelling in the digital age. Teams of visual artists and writers collaborate to create a loose serialized narrative over the course of three weeks under the sharp eye of curator Alexis Hyde. Supported by Ann Taylor, the project is essentially an open platform for celebrating the work of young artists on the rise.
When we heard about The Smartest Thing She’s Ever Said, we were interested in getting to know the people behind the project. Here, we speak with Alexis Hyde about art disasters, Los Angeles rising, and gut reactions.
In no less than two but no more than three sentences, who are you and what do you do?
I ‘m Alexis, and I am the curator of the site. Translation: I help the artists flesh out their ideas into a form that is translatable for the platform and help coordinate some of the logistics of running the blog.
The age of information has in some way, shape, or form turned everyone into a curator of sorts. What do you think makes your perspective special?
I have such a hard time with people calling me or themselves a curator just because I or they have a blog where they compile images. I’m a blogger, a writer, and perhaps a collector of images of works that I admire, and haven’t considered myself a curator until I started working on this project where there’s a concise voice and a vision that the artists are trying to achieve.
Honestly, I don’t think my perspective is special. What I do know about it is that I am always honing it. Every day I try to absorb as much information as I can. Also, I have learned to trust my gut when it comes to art; if I am not immediately attracted, moved or affected then I move on. There is too much for me to waste my time on something that doesn’t have immediate draw or impact. Which is what I am loving about this first story on ArtSheSaid.com, each image and piece of story stand on their own and have the ability to immediately grab your attention.
You’ve got exactly 10 minutes in your museum of choice before it burns to the ground. What do you save and why?
The Louvre, “Winged Victory.” I remember seeing it with my mother in Paris and being entranced by its mystery and beauty. There is also a fun family story of my very Texan grandfather giving my mother and her sisters a whirlwind tour of the Louvre when they were young and they all say that is the only thing any of them remember. Imagine a man, who looks like Clint Eastwood, basically jogging through the Lourve with four girls in tow talking about art in a very Southern accent, it’s just too good.
Imagine you found yourself in control of LA’s arts budget. Who would you throw your money at, and what would you commission them to do?
I would do whatever I could to help save Watts Towers. They’re a national treasure and an amazing achievement in art that unfortunately is in a not so great part of town and are difficult to conserve and restore. People are trying, but it seems that there is more red tape than there should be. I remember coming to Los Angeles for a weekend and some friends of mine took me there and I was floored! It’s such an astounding site to take in. The love and patience that went into every part of this project really shows and that energy sticks with you for such a long time.
Also, I would have Chris Burden build me a mini “Urban Lights” for the patch of grass in front of my apartment building.
Taking your thoughts on the the over-proliferation of the title “curator” one step further, are there any legitimate curatorial voices out there that you respect, admire, or are particularly moved by? What is it about them that touches you?
The Hammer always has amazing projects and I am always cursing the distance between me and the Tate Modern, where, if they let me, I would move in.
Fette and Jogging stand out to me. Everytime I see a new post I am always impressed with how well they are able to get their vision across. Always concise with a little bit of a twist that makes you think.
It seems like there is a rising tide of interesting and relevant action happening in Los Angeles that hasn’t really existed since the ’80s. Places like NYC get by on long-established cred, but L.A. has had to struggle to regain that kind of ground. What made you set up shop there and are the rumors of an L.A. revival real or all hype?
That’s actually why I moved here, to be a part of what I hope is an L.A. revival. Well, part of the reason. The other reason is that I am a huge weenie when it comes to weather so N.Y. and S.F. were out of the question for me. There are a lot of exciting things happening in Los Angeles all the time. The feeling that you can create something new, of yourself, of your work, is ingrained in our culture here. I know it doesn’t sound good, but I think that the freedom from a long-established art history in this town helps some people be more comfortable in their creativity. It’s different for everyone, some people like to be in NY so they can break down those barriers, others like to be here because the barriers weren’t there in the first place.