Spotlight on Intersections@5: Annabel Daou

The Phillips celebrates the fifth anniversary of its Intersections contemporary art series with Intersections@5, an exhibition comprising work by 20 of the participating artists. In this blog series, each artist writes about his or her work on view.

Daou_pieces of the love letter

Annabel Daou, pieces of the love letter: the common tongue, 2014. Gift of the Artist and Tanja Wagner Gallery, Berlin, 2015

In pieces of the love letter: the common tongue, fragmented sheets of paper are left unmarked by ink, but are held together by mending tape, which is alternately adhered to or suspended above the paper. The love letter is repetitive and frantic. It attempts to lay claim to something solid and precise and yet it seems always on the verge of disintegration.

The love letter figures in this work figures as a privileged marker of the impossible adequateness of language and desire. The ability to express a seemingly universal emotion is perpetually placed in question, both by the work and by the authors of the language they employ.

This work furthers Daou’s exploration of the intersections between writing, speech, and non-verbal modes of communication. As elsewhere in her work, language emerges as a site of both ruin and repair.

Waxing Poetic in the Laib Wax Room

madeline and ben wax room

Newly engaged Madeline and Benjamin.

Benjamin Krauss and Madeline Bouton got engaged inside of the Phillips’s Laib Wax Room on February 5, 2015 and caught the moment on camera. We asked the couple a few questions about their relationship and why Wolfgang Laib’s Wax Room is important to them.

How did you meet?
We met during our junior year abroad in Berlin. After realizing we were both art history majors from southern California, we knew we were onto something.

What was your first date?
We never really “dated.” After friends introduced us one night, we spent an inseparable 4 days with each other. Things never really cooled down.

Had either of you been to The Phillips Collection before the proposal? When was your first visit?
Madeline actually interned at the Phillips from February to December 2012 at the Center for the Study of Modern Art. She treasures the Phillips like nowhere else in the city.

Why did you choose the Laib Wax Room as your proposal location?
Madeline was interning at the Phillips during the room’s installation. She was one of the first people to step inside. She loved Laib’s work from that moment forward. When Ben first visited the collection, he went back to the room three times.

Laib’s use of the natural, meditative execution, and intuitively German approach strikes a deep chord with us both. Given the room’s two visitor constraint and Madeline’s history with the Phillips, it just had to be in the Wax Room.

The Delicate Balance: Happy Valentine’s Day

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Sam Gilliam, Red Petals, 1967. Acrylic on canvas, 88 x 93 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1967

Read in the context of today’s holiday, the description of this piece on our website struck me as especially poignant:

“Red Petals is among the first paintings in which Gilliam poured paint onto an unprimed and unstretched canvas, folded the canvas onto itself, suspended it, and left the paint to settle overnight. The next day he sponged, daubed, splattered, folded, rolled, and then restretched the canvas. Gilliam describes this delicate balance between improvisation and discipline as ‘a sort of accident, a part that I controlled, and then a part that I didn’t control, a part that I set into motion.’ The emotional intensity and expressionistic force of Red Petals partly derives from this careful manipulation and the tension between chance and control.”

Amy Wike, Marketing Manager