Alexandra Hammond

Alexandra Hammond was born and raised in rural Northern California and now lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She holds an MFA from the School of Visual Arts and BA from NYU’s Studio Art department. Hammond’s multidisciplinary practice spans painting, installation and conversational performances. Hammond believes that reality arises from attention. She also believes that all things, including perception, arise from a common ground of being and are therefore in constant relationship with what is and what has been. The seeming poles of her practice, which are painting on the one hand and “relational aesthetics” on the other, are manifestations of an oscillation between idealization, the experience of individuation and the experience of simultaneously being shaped and always in relation to everything else that exists. Hammond’s paintings are portals into other worlds - interior landscapes where the imagination, the unconscious and the mind manifest visually.

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"Goldlugger" (2013-2015) is a modular network of interconnected artworks that revolve around and imagined product - the Goldlugger tote. Goldlugger tote bags exist in reality as soft sculptures made from primed painting canvas sewn as tote bags and inscribed with the Goldlugger “brand” along with original phrases that refer to the conflation of happiness, spiritual wellbeing and moneymaking in late capitalist America. Sample phrases include: “Carry the change you want to spend in the world”, “Never be a beast of burden”, “Manifest your destiny”, “Speculation rewarded."

 

These objects have been the common thread in a variety of artworks, such as the “The Goldlugger Factory Freelance Work Party,” an in-home factory employing 4 freelance workers in cutting, sewing and stenciling Goldluggers (San Francisco, 2013). Workers were paid $1/hour (well above the global average wage for garment and accessory workers.)  Payment was issued in the form of Sacajawea US Dollar coins. Other artworks arising from Goldlugger include “Carry the Change You Want to Spend in the World”, a video piece featuring the “founder of Goldlugger” explaining her values and inspiration in terms that echo tech “visionaries” of the 2000s, as well as posters and graphic elements that inhabit the world of Goldlugger.

 

The Goldlugger project as a whole appropriates and exposes the language of the contemporary “gig” economy and nomadic capital, recombining terms such as “freelance,” “work,” “party” and the image of gold itself to highlight how contemporary wage labor has been recast as a mere hobby to fill spare time, thus shirking the responsibilities of traditional employer to employee. Goldlugger soft sculptures themselves are made of white primed painting canvas, referencing both the transmutation of painting into product and the white canvas tents and trousers of prospectors during the California Gold Rush. These images resonate as we find ourselves in a second Gilded Age where inequality, corruption and surveillance are masked by the illusion of frictionless connectivity in the Digital Age.

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