My Own Glorious Retrospective (2013-2014)

Last week, a magazine published by the art school I attended arrived in the mail bearing news and highlights of various exhibitions including this upcoming BFA show:

“…[the artist] draws on the paradox of simultaneous hypervisibility and invisibility within critical race theory and her own lived experience as a “brown femme queer woman occupying the deviant body of the ‘other.'” Through a combination of video, photo, sculpture, and installation, she explores the construction of the other by responding to the imagery of a “standardized body” enforced by capital-driven industries.”

I’ve never been clever enough to write such incomprehensible intellectual descriptions of my own work and processes. And I’m not trying to bash my fellow artists here, it’s just… WHAT?  

Here’s another:

[the artists] collaborate to present Womb, a large-scale 3D animation with the sound developed to incite a dialogue about the connection between digital bodies and human emotion. Drawing from reality to fabricate an invented one, the content and installation of the animation emulates the interior of the human body while the sound element is modulated live based on the vibrations traveling through the physical gallery space. The exhibition creates a metaphysical loop that evokes the human desire to return to the womb.”

Do you have a desire to return to the womb?

Do I?
graph1graph2 I think it’s time I had a retrospective of my own. Since I don’t feel like waiting for the invitation from a major gallery or museum to arrive,* I think I’ll do it here, myself. And I think it will be much more efficient to plagiarize appropriate text from my art school magazine than to come up with my own pretentious third-person drivel descriptive prose. So, enjoy (and you’re welcome).

Laura Bruzzese: My Art, My Womb: Art Returning to My Womb: The Retrospective (2013-2014)

Biodegradable Funerary Urns contend with themes of death. The works emphasize mortality, and the process of creation and display to honor departed loved ones and defy traditional commercial funerary practices that rely on the underpaid labor of brown people in other parts of the world to satisfy the traditional 400% industry mark-up.

Sustainable, affordable, non-toxic, and fair-trade, Biodegradable Funerary Urns allow families to explore nuances of death, celebration, and impermanence for several seconds before they (the urns) sink to the ocean floor and eventually disintegrate or are consumed by sea life, thereby expanding Biodegradable Funerary Urns into a collaboration with ourselves.

Lotus urn

Lotus Urn, recycled paper, 7″ x 13″, full-sized capacity

Dolphin (1)

Dolphin Urn, recycled paper, 7″ h x 13″ w, full-sized capacity

Sand Dollar

Sand Dollar Urn,  recycled paper, 7″h x 13″ w, full-sized capacity

Small Turtle Urn, recycled paper and plant-based adhesive, 8 oz capacity

Small Turtle Urn, recycled paper, 8 oz capacity

Large Turtle Urns, recycled paper, 12

Full-sized Turtle Urns, recycled paper, 12″ x 16″

Botanical Motif  Ceramics are inspired by garden life. “One time I took a Plant & Animal Illustration class at art school. It’s been pretty useful.” –Laura Bruzzese


b blossom mug pr

Blossom Mugs, 5″h

b bloss mug

Small Blossom Mug, 3.5″ h, 6 oz

b blossom cup detail

Poppy Tumblers, various sizes

Poppy Tumblers, 4″-7″h

b poppy detail

The Screaming Toad™ series investigates the complex layers of selfhood and phony trademark usage in the context of taxonomic background, breeding preference, and personal displacement. Simultaneously satirical and sincere, the works operate in paradox: both seductive and foreboding, they are embedded with the politics of hearing and being heard, loving and being loved — among ourselves, amphibians and unsuspecting neighbors.

toad detail

Toad Love™ cups, 2.5″ h

Toads Galore Cups, 3

Toads Galore Cups, 3″h

toad draw1

Pair of Toad Love Mugs

Spanish/French Toad Love™ Mugs, 4″h

Recent praise for Toad Love™ mugs: “My coffee will never be the same.”  –Bob

The critically-acclaimed Jumpy draws from reality to fabricate an invented one, creating a metaphysical loop that evokes the insatiable desire of gallus domesticus to eat grapes.


Dia de los Muertos works: “As we artists living [in] Nu[evo] Mexico like to [say], ‘Put a skull on [it] and it will sell… [H]ear[t]s too…'” –Laura [Bruzzese]

Lidded Tea Cup with Skulls, 7

Lidded Tea Cup with Skulls, 7″ h 3″ w.

Pair of Sugar Skull Cups with Creepy Detached Jaw, 3.5

Sugar Skull Cups, 3.5″ h

b skull mug

Muertos Mug, 4″h

Assorted Pendants and Refrigerator Magnets, 1

Assorted Pendants and Refrigerator Magnets, 1″-3″

Bruzzese has recently extended her masterful range of talents to collaborate with world-renowned wildlife photographer and one of her personal heroes, Nick Brandt.

©nick brandt, Ranger with tusks of killed elephant, amboseli, 2011

©nick brandt, Ranger with tusks of killed elephant, amboseli, 2011

Although Mr. Brandt has no idea Ms. Bruzzese exists, that might change when his Big Life Foundation receives the first of (hopefully) many donations from the sale of Elephant wares in her Etsy shop. These works espouse hyperbole, creating confusion around lines drawn between “us” and “them,” ignoring categorical limitations of cross-species empathy, innocence, and exploration of permanence: extinction vs. human greed vs. stupidity vs. inexpensive decals.

Set of Elephant Espresso Cups, 2

Set of 6 Elephant Espresso Cups, 2″ h, 4 oz

Pair of Elephant Mugs, 3.25

Elephant Mugs, 3.25″ h, 8 oz

In Buy My Kid’s Crap, Ms. Bruzzese expanded her internet-based multi-media work beyond Etsy into the wider and more depraved ebay auction audience, examining our relationship with the material world as both a container for, and disposable manifestation of, our childhoods. The ebay store was itself the artwork, including the carefully written item descriptions (more valuable than the objects for sale) as well as marketing materials. This graphic was printed on 6″ x 4″ gold leaf tickets and included with each sold auction item, forcing the recipients to contemplate the implications of “winning,” “admittance,” and the responsibilities of possession/consumerism, while simultaneously suggesting that Bruzzese is, perhaps, insane. winner1

Guest Lecture: Rufina

Seeking The Essence of Womb
Friday, March 12, 2014, 2pm
The Coop

Rufina is recognized as one of the major figures in the artist’s back yard. For more than two years she has been discerning boundaries between industrial sounds and wilderness sound environments, proposing a blind, profound, and transcendental listening freed from the imperatives of knowledge and open to sensory and spiritual expansion. She will present this lecture as performance, a series of movements informed by the unique perspective that only an eyeless, overweight chicken engaged in a largely sedentary life might render. Free and open to the public. rufina

25 thoughts on “My Own Glorious Retrospective (2013-2014)

  1. LOL! That’s brilliant.

    For more than two years she has been discerning boundaries between industrial sounds and wilderness sound environments, proposing a blind, profound, and transcendental listening freed from the imperatives of knowledge and open to sensory and spiritual expansion.

    Perfect, and I have to say, Ruf is looking huge! 🙂

    Love, love the toads. You should seriously look into selling those in Queensland, Australia. The cane toad is our (unofficial) state symbol, and name. There are shops dedicated to selling nothing but cane toad things. Well, there was when I was last home.

    • Aw, thanks so much Mr. John! You know what the best thing is about the paragraph you sited? It was an EXACT lift from the magazine! I couldn’t believe my luck. And yes, poor Ru… she can’t exercise much so there’s nothing I can do about the weight (having already ruled out a tiny treadmill). She sticks close to the coop where she feels safe. And thanks for the cane toad info! I’ve heard about that but never thought of it with these… how did you end up in Brazil, anyway? I think that’s where you are. I have to visit my bloggie friends more often — lately I’ve just been swamped with other stuff.

      I appreciate, as always, your comments 🙂 🙂

  2. Laura, that was wonderful. Your writing always brings a smile with it.

    Loved the toad “amor” cups, especially when remembering your earlier post re nocturnal music… you find inspiration everywhere 🙂

    Thanks for starting my day with on a happy note. Takes my mind off the 2 feet of snow sitting in my front yard. Maybe I should make a sculpture of two feet with it LOL

    • Thank you Tina! Yes, it’s always satisfying for us artists when we can turn an annoyance or problem into actual artwork! Inspiration works in mysterious ways. Yes, maybe you should begin some completely white, floor-to-ceiling work to reflect your current surroundings! Glad you stopped by and have a great week.

  3. The best!!! Oh I have laugh my butt off this morning reading your piece. Pretentious twattle artist’s feel driven to write or the vapid “I am inspired by nature.” should forever be banished.
    It reminds me of folks who like to walk on the beach at sunset… a way to sell themselves in personal ads!
    I so am sharing and sharing this post!!!!!!! Brilliant!

    Oh on my website I might say I am inspired by the natural world. I should be hung!

    • Laughing your butt off AND sharing… such a compliment, thanks Ruth! Yes, many cliches in the world should be banished but then they might lose their cliche status and all those greeting card companies would be stuck with inventory. Great to see you here 🙂

      PS I think somewhere on my Etsy store it also says I’m inspired by the natural world… I can’t remember. I should replace it with something vapid and plagiarized. ha

  4. Fabulous I need some of those cups. Let’s make a time when I’m back from Hawaii. Missing you and your family. Love Marilyn

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Hi Marilyn! I didn’t realize you were still in Hawaii — good for you! Yes, anytime for cups. I have quite a few on hand right now. Went a little toad crazy…. Looking forward to seeing you soon. xL

  5. “Finally, someone who speaks the language that the art world understands! Ms. Bruzzese, whose previous works have been lacking due to her naive belief, hope really, that art is appreciated for art’s sake, has crossed that mystical border between fact and fancy. Her retrospective collection, complete with her new realization that, to quote Billy Crystal, “it’s better to look good than to feel good, dahling,” gives us hope that more young artists will cross over to the light. While apparently one has to hit Ms. Bruzzese over the head with a 2×4 to change her focus (literally and figurately, and we can’t wait for the artistic video representation of the artist’s reawakening with said 2×4 – apparently it is still in editing), we look forward to more of her collaborations (whether they exist in reality or the artist’s mind is immaterial, in our opinion). The one drawback to her presentation is the inclusion of the performances of Gallus Domesticus – really, they are only goddamn chickens. We see similar such ‘performance art’ performed by unsuspecting attendees at conventional art retrospectives, and even we get weary of it.”

    Art Critic Magazine

  6. Art Critic Magazine… I’m speechless. I’m SOMEONE!

    I have no comment and no way to make this brillinat review better (surprisingly) except to say: regarding your dismissal of Gallus Domesticus… obviously, the volume on your computer wasn’t turned on/up because if you’d heard the accompanying soundtrack, there would be no way to draw the “only goddamn chickens” conclusion and deny the profundity of this artistic expression. So, up yours.

    And thanks for the review.

  7. Hey, Laura! I’d been thinking of asking you to sell me gifts for my Public Affairs Committee this year, leaning possibly toward elephant cups for the Republicans and toad cups for the democrats. But after reading this posting, how would you feel about coming to Santa Fe and doing a performance art piece on Rufina for the entire committee some evening late in the session? Or possibly as the culminating event at our committee dinner on Sunday night, March 7. Sure, they wouldn’t have some memento or actually anything to take home to the wife and kids (or husbands) but on the other hand they’d have something engraved permanently in their memories. Just wondering…what do you think? Jerry

    • Well Jer, if you’d asked me a week ago I might have said yes. But now? I don’t think you can afford my wares. That’s what happens after one’s first major retrospective. Sorry.

  8. Laura, this is hilarious!!! I’ve read some of those reviews and have had the exact reaction as you. Your work is divine though and I personally like the elephant and poppy ones better than that skull. I’m nota skull kind of gal but as I said, your insight about this made me laugh out loud.

  9. Just don’t try to crawl back into my womb as part of your Retrospective. Is that baked-on lipstick i see slithering around the rim of those skull cups? I love the “Jumpy Garcia” chicken ballet. Rufina is my new Saint. Let’s buy a case of Depends.

  10. Beautiful work, Laura! Dead right about the pretentious art-speak, though I did enjoy reading your approximation of it. Highly entertaining, Bruzzese. Here’s some non-pretentious art-speak about my thoughts on pretentious art-speak. “It gets right on me tits” -Len Romano

    • Thank you Len! Fortunately, I didn’t have to come up with much of my own pretentious art-speak, with the entire magazine offering up choice bits. I only added a word here and a tweak there… and presto! Incomprehensible drivel. Speaking of plagiarism, don’t be surprised if your A+ quote appears in a future review or show. Thanks! And thanks to your tits! xxx

Talk to me! I spend too much time alone in the studio.

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