The Orange County Museum of Art was abuzz with history this past Saturday. After an excellent tour of the State of Mind exhibition, in which curator Karen Moss neatly relayed the story of California conceptualism in just under 45 minutes, two special Pacific Standard Time programs dynamically connected history with the present day.
First, almost all of Ilene Segalove’s The Mom Tapes (1974–78) were screened in the museum’s auditorium; they were introduced by Segalove herself and followed by a Q&A with the artist and her mom, Elaine. The Mom Tapes are on view in the galleries as part of State of Mind, but it was great to be able to sit down and focus my attention on this body of work, created over a period of four years. The episodic tapes, which are really charming and funny, capture aspects of Segalove’s relationship to her mom as well as their upper-middle class family life in a posh Beverly Hills house—it’s a classic instance of the personal playing into a larger political concern of valuing women’s daily contributions.
Here’s a short snippet of Segalove’s introduction to The Mom Tapes:
“I always knew that real life was material for art. I always was kind of a spy in my own life. I would spend hours leaning against the door to my parents’ bedroom, overhearing their loud conversations. And sometimes I would turn them into cartoons and entertain my younger brother with illustrations of what they said, and how they said it. My brother later became a psychiatrist. I don’t know if there’s a connection, it’s possible.”