TING TEAL: HUMOR & MEANING
Updated: Mar 1
Ting Teal is an “interdisciplinary artist trying to find some humor and meaning” while living and working in New York. I was introduced to Ting’s work through Rene Franco, an artist we featured last year; they met during their residence at Skowhegan in 2019. I was fortunate enough to speak with Ting over the phone a few months back. We talked about things like the art market’s attachment to certain media and the difficulties that places on interdisciplinary work (specifically in performance and video work.) Many of the topics covered connected back to their fascination with histories and mythologies; how they inherently define standards, create divisions, and muddy understanding.
So much of that conversation was stirred up again as I reviewed Ting’s performances, installations, and video works. Sarcasm, humor, social and cultural critique are commonly layered into Ting’s artistic practice where they employ different mediums to uncover, question, and laugh at the things that make up our contemporary “realities.”
The following three essays focus on Ting Teal's recent work, ART ATTACK!, Pepper Box (Stony Point Battlefield), and HOW to Kill in a PALACE COURTYARD. It was truly such a gift to be able to research these pieces and to have such open communication with Ting while doing so. These essays are a combination of my initial reactions to the work and the contextual conversation Ting offered about where they were coming from, what they've been thinking about, and how they made each piece.
Do you remember that show on Bravo called Work of Art: The Next Great Artist? It was a reality competition produced by Sarah Jessica Parker. The premise was to have 14 “up and coming” artists compete in challenges each week for a chance to have a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. It was judged by “elite” art world figures Jerry Saltz (art critic), Bill Powers (New York gallerist), and mentored by Simon de Pury (art auctioneer.)
Artists including KAWS, Mary Ellen Mark, and Adam McEwen were guest artists & judges. The show even had its own catchphrase: “your work of art didn’t work for us.” Well, the show didn’t work past its second season. The winner of which, Kymia Nawabi, was quoted shortly thereafter by Hyperallergic saying, “I am still waiting tables to pay my bill so… I have had folks recognize me on the streets and in the subway, but by no means am I well known for my artwork.”