Temporary Art Review

State of the Art / Lenka Clayton / 21st January 2015

My first published essay! Along with a few other artists I was invited by James McAnally to contribute to Temporary Art Review's collective response to being part of the State of the Art exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Like many artists a huge portion of my time is spent in administration; applying for opportunities, corresponding with other artists, curators and writers, research, discussing exhibitions, and so on. I sometimes feel frustration at this endless and invisible labour that eats away at precious studio time.

For this piece I decided to compile and publish all email correspondence between myself and the various departments of the museum that was necessary to organise the inclusion of my two works; 63 Objects Taken From My Son's Mouth, and The Distance I Can Be From My Son in the show.

I see the collection of emails as a piece of accidental, automatic writing. Each email was only ever intended for one set of eyes. Very many thanks to all staff at Crystal Bridges Museum for their openness to this idea and their collaboration. Thanks to James McAnnaly for the invitation, and for writing the lovely introduction.



As a portion of Temporary Art Review’s long-form “social response” to the State of the Art exhibition, participating artist Lenka Clayton has compiled a comprehensive email exchange with the museum, spanning a full year from the initial studio visit, to logistics about the exhibition, and, finally, to her invitation to participate in this survey. The meandering, exhaustive exchange is a compelling document of the scope of a single artist’s inclusion within a massive survey that amplifies this discourse a hundred-fold. Mirroring her own work, which often measures, transcribes and transforms the mundane, Clayton’s communication with Crystal Bridges is presented almost unedited, with only names and private details removed when it was determined necessary.


11 October 2013 at 16:13

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art request for studio visit Oct 17-18

Dear Lenka,

I’m writing on behalf of Don Bacigalupi, President of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and assistant curator Chad Alligood to inquire about your availability for a visit to your studio or a gallery that represents you in the Pittsburgh area. Don and Chad will be in the Pittsburgh area between Thursday, October 17 and Friday, October 18. If you are amenable to a 20-30 minute visit at some point during that period they would like to touch base and view some of your work.

If you are interested and available for a visit, please reply with your preferences for appointment times as well as a studio/gallery address and a phone number for contact so that we can schedule our itinerary with your preferences in mind. I look forward to your reply!

Kind regards,

Stephanie Clendenin

Executive Assistant, Special Projects