Danica Phelps


Out to Dinner with Rolf – Danica Phelps 2002.

I like Danica Phelps’s work. There’s a number of reasons why.

She is combining intimate drawings of her life with simple data visualisation of intimate financial details of her life. The former was taboo under the universalising abstraction of modernism, the latter is taboo under the money laundering marketeering of contemporary.

She prices her drawings based on how good she thinks they are. The introduction of quality, taste, or difference into consideration of work is disruptive for contemporary.

She copies her drawings before selling them. You know the generation of the work you are buying, and your purchase of it becomes part of the financial record abstraction in the work. This reduces the scarcity of the work and introduces the sale and reproduction of it into the work itself.

And she had a show where she bought work from other artists, displaying and selling it alongside (as part of?) her work. This makes curation, reference and dialogue, and again taste all part of the work. Given the premium placed on reputation and the divisiveness of competing for opportunities it is also un-markety sociability and a Gift to other artists.

This is all a different universe from much contemporary art, one that acknowledges a world outside the gallery door and how that world corrupts (or at least intrudes on) the aesthetic plane. The work looks good too, all contour drawing and coloured stripes.