Comma began in 2016 as a way for the two of us to connect creatively with other artists in the US and beyond. Every year we invite a small group to work on a boxed edition of objects, which is conceived collaboratively and produced in Comma’s studio; as well as an accompanying exhibition featuring the creative projects of our collaborators (CommaRoom). We see Commabox as a portable gallery that can be taken anywhere. It is both inclusive and interactive, focused on creating conversations about the varied and changing cultural landscape. The idea of a portable gallery shipped to your door alongside your groceries is in itself germane, but this latest volume has particular resonance. Through this quarantine we are still creating community and a platform for the artists we collaborate with, finding ways to come together virtually as well as getting this project out into the world.
Our latest Commabox, Vol. 3: I’m Never Coming Home, features artists Barbara Weissberger (Pittsburgh), Eleanor Aldrich (Knoxville), Kelly Hendrickson (Tallahassee), and poet, Erin Belieu (Houston). It revolves around the idea of a “go box” and examines doomsday preppers as a cultural phenomenon and niche consumer market. Working with a genuine aim to understand rather than to deride, the six collaborators asked “what does it mean to survive a dystopia?”
Each hand-crafted metal box contains eleven art objects including a beautiful chiffon scarf printed with a photo by Barbara Weissberger specifically made for this project, as well as her purple leather “Leathermann,” ceramic battery operated I-vibrator, and a full-sized, hand dyed and sewn tarp/hazmat suit. Eleanor Aldrich contributed the silicon godseye, felted bag of pills, silicon toothbrush, ceramic gas mask, and the Leave-2-Live logo that seals an envelope containing a letter to the reader. Kelly Hendrickson contributed the ceramic shrimp, and Erin Belieu loaned us her wickedly humorous poem, “Ars Poetica For the Future,” which we etched on fluorescent acrylic. We have handcrafted every object, making each box a unique edition. The box, with built-in solar grill, and the letter was designed and authored by yours truly.
Judy Rushin and Carolyn Henne
Eleanor Aldrich’s felted bag of pills
Eleanor Aldrich’s ceramic gas mask
Barbara Weissberger’s beautiful chiffon scarf printed with a photo
Barbara Weissberger’s ceramic battery operated i-vibrator
Eleanor Aldrich’s silicon godseye
Erin Belieu’s etched poem on fluorescent acrylic
Eleanor Aldrich’s silicon toothbrush
Barbara Weissberger’s purple leather “Leathermann”
Kelly Hendrickson’s ceramic shrimp