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INTERVIEW: Artist Alice Hope Brings Her Unique Talents To Jobs Lane

T.J. Clemente

Alice Hope's Priceless. (Courtesy Photo)

Artist Alice Hope is the first to be featured in Southampton Arts Center's (SAC) Storefront Art Project - phase two of SAC's Public Art Project, which was launched this past summer. Presented with the support of the Long Island Community Foundation and assistance of Morley Property Management, Hope's new project Priceless is now on view at 8 Jobs Lane in Southampton.

"Alice is someone whose work I have always admired and I knew she was the perfect person to start with," Amy Kirwin, SAC Artistic Director, told us.

Talking with Alice Hope only accentuates the reality that gifted artists exist in a creative world all on their own. In measured words, she spoke directly into the corners of one's mind to explain her vision, her mission, and her talent. She plans on updating her exhibit as her vision evolves over time. Although the exhibition is titled Priceless, in our 45-minute discussion she never mentioned money, a price or anything pecuniary. That alone should draw you to her and her exhibit.

Hope explained, "Southampton Village is requiring artwork to be put in the windows of unrented storefronts in the Village. Amy Kirwin approached me, we met with the manager of the space [on Jobs Lane] and I came up with a proposal. After the proposal was approved, I hunkered down and got to work. I focused on the preparations for about a month before installing, but I was working on the pieces beforehand."

It premiered in early November. She noted, "People pass by the storefront, they do not enter into the space and what I found is that the night view is particularly good because of the lighting and it really being dark outside, it really pops - but you can see it 24 hours a day. I hope to keep it really dynamic and I am planning to go in and evolve the installation within the next month. As long as I am staying there, I will keep it growing."

When asked what were her goals for the viewer, the artist answered, "I really do hope for a varied experience with everybody bringing their own perspective to the work."

When asked for the biggest thrill in her long, distinguished career, she revealed, "It's actually a current project, doing the lobby of the embassy in Maputo, Mozambique. The project has been a couple of years in the works. I was supposed to go over last March to install it, and at this point, because of the quarantine I need to reschedule. It's been postponed to next March. It was thrilling to meet the local artist in Maputo and also the cross-cultural assignment of making work that's in conversation to the art that's made in Mozambique."

Hope was born in Hong Kong, lived there for ten years and then was raised in Oakridge, Tennessee. She went to Reed College in Portland, Oregon for undergrad and finished off her studies at Yale.

About the storefront window, Hope said, "Priceless is a multimedia art installation made with accordioned chromed coat hangers, paper price tags, and strung can tabs." Of the project, Hope elaborated, "While assembling this installation, my query has been: What's priceless? I hope for this unanswered question to be the subject of this installation, my first in a storefront. In our commodified world and in this commodified discipline, where value equates success, I'm aspiring to transform tens of thousands of blank price tags, a vast population of ephemera, into evanescence."

Priceless will remain on view for up to six months or when the shop is once again occupied.

Kirwin hopes that this is just the start. "We are hoping other landlords and property managers will now work with us and other cultural organizations to do the work for them, and at the same time create beautiful window displays that will drive visitors to the Village and help boost business for others," she added.

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