This talk by PINK de Thierry about the genesis of her performance-installation work: “Ter Zake. Business as Usual, USA 1988” [Inventoried at the Government Art Collection under # K95002-A-G.], marks the book launch of “Acquired! A record of art acquisitions by the Dutch government 1990 – 2010,” published by the Department of Art Collections of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in The Netherlands. The talk was recorded at the State Warehouse for Art Works in The Hague on November 16, 2011.
In October 1988, Pink de Thierry (HPM Scheerder, Haarlem, 1943) undertakes a ‘reconnaissance trip’ to the United States. She carries with her a selection of photographs from large-scale performances, (video-) installations and interventions in public space dating as far back as 1981. These projects explored themes of continuity and transmission through the metaphor of Man-Woman-Child (in: Oost West Thuis Best/Home Sweet Home, VideoSchetsBoek/VideoSketchBook, At Home, and TeaTime) and ‘the glamour of ordinary objects’ (in: HouseRites).
Pink (pseudonym of H.P.M. Scheerder), Ter zake, Business as Usual, USA Pink 1988, installation, performance, 175 x 228 centimetre, Inventory number K95002-D1
A series of posed portraits capturing their essence remained a tangible reminder of these projects. For the U.S.-trip, PINK printed 25 of these portraits onto a roll of canvas measuring 80 by 3 feet. This enormous scroll she carries around in a golf bag on wheels, when she presents herself at museums in Texas, California and New York - always with her ‘financial advisor’ trailing several steps behind her - the trip ends up being a thirty-day-long performance.
Museum directors of Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York had been informed about PINK’s work beforehand, through the mailing of a linen-bound copy of PINK WORKS, with a description of each of the projects. To a museum director inclined ‘to do business’, PINK responds in opening the golf bag and unfurling the scroll she is carrying with her. At MoCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Los Angeles, PINK is officially invited to be part of a planned show called “Family Matters.” Here, she performs a ritual unfurling of the scroll for the first time. The second time the scroll is laid out is in April 1989, during the opening of a solo exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum “Pink Works.”
The art work “Ter Zake. Business as Usual, USA 1988” is the physical vestige of her performance. It consists of a golf bag on wheels containing the linen scroll, a video record of the unfurling, and four weights to keep the scroll in place once unfurled. Added to this are three large, posed portraits of the artist and her financial advisor, on location in Los Angeles, Houston and New York.
Ter Zake. Business as Usual, USA 1988 reflects well PINK’s vision on the primacy of the arts and its shifting relationship to the art-and museum world in the 1980’s, where artists need to become businessmen and marketing and sales drive creation.
Translation Erica Bilder October 2012