Give Thanks (2011) is a site-specific installation of responses to the question, “What are you grateful for?” Responses were generated from a public call, which explained that the exercise of listing gratitude elicitors has been found to increase subjective well-being. A few responses from the artist—who examines optimism and pessimism in her work—are included; most responses are from the members of the public in the US and UK.
After editing the texts for concision, the artist handcrafted an installation of 39 pennant flags. Each linen flag bears one response in satin ribbon. Pennants signify celebration or strong spirit; here, they form a collective gratitude journal.
The flags are strung together with a ribbon whose tail spells “Give thanks.” This instruction was also enacted in a participatory activity at Project Space Leeds.
Give Thanks will be on view in Voices of Home at Jenkins Johnson Gallery in New York through February 25, 2012. It was exhibited in Enter a Small Room Arranged for this Purpose: Part Three, Untitled Gallery's contribution to Peering Sideways at PSL [Project Space Leeds] in Leeds, UK in 2011.
The artist expresses her gratitude to Victoria, Mike Chavez-Dawson, Rebecca Chesney, Christian L. Frock, Regine M. Gilbert, Whitney Lynn, Liz Mariani, Susan O'Malley, Nyeema Morgan, Dorothy Santos, Joseph Sobel, Michele Théberge, and Rachelle Tolwin.
site-specific installation of 39 pennant flags: satin ribbon, linen, gratitude statements, dimensions site-variable.
- installation view (composited), Jenkins Johnson Gallery, New York
- installation view, Untitled Gallery / Project Space Leeds
- installation view
- detail: “give thanks” text sewn from pennant tail
- detail: “balance”
- detail: “I get to do what I love”
- detail: “today”
Photos 2–7: Katie Rutherford, Untitled Gallery, Manchester, UK.