Skot Armstrong

A long and harrowing account of how and where the artist grew up

Later that year, I was contacted by my parents about returning to live in their five-bedroom house so I could keep an eye on things while they traveled. When they weren't travelling, I managed to become a highly sought-after house sitter.

7. In 1979, I was included in a show of young emerging British artists at the Hayward Gallery. I have never been to England.

In 1994, I met James Tallon and eventually began to cohabit with him. It is interesting to note that I am approaching, in this cohabitation, my longest time spent ever in a single location.

In 1996, I began contributing to the Amok dispatch, a sort of Whole Earthof extreme literature.

In 1997, I got my first digital camera and began to produce tableaux photography. I had my first show of these at DiRT Gallery [sic] in 1999.

In 1998, I began to draw up a business plan for a company called Museum of Fun. My ulterior motive had been to create a company that specifically designed museums as art installations. The first project was to be a toy museum that was an actual tourist attraction. A funny aspect to the times in which I had decided to do this was that despite a solid reality-based business plan, most venture capitalists showed no interest in an old-style brick-and-mortar business. As I pursued the options for funding this, I found that the expectations of those who were willing to get involved were not those of people I wanted to be beholden to.

In the meantime, Museum of Fun had taken on a new life. I had previously used Science Holiday as a sort of corporate identity. I had learned early on that most artists of note had huge support staffs. I was not comfortable with the idea of claiming a group effort as a Skot Armstrong Production. But the idea of a group effort having a corporate identity did not cause me any similar problems. Andy Warhol claimed that he had a Factory and that he was trying to be Walt Disney. My idea was to take things a step further and make it a corporation. One thing that had always proved problematic was that Science Holiday was meant as an entity not connected to moneymaking enterprises. Museum of Fun was another matter. Having started its life as a commercial enterprise, it was a logical leap to retool the business plan to make it an entity that was specifically for the purpose of producing large-scale artworks.

I am currently in the process of seeking to capitalize my art corporation. I consider this a long-term investment with loads of cachet for whoever is credited with funding it. Because of this, I am being very particular about where I get the money for this.

8. A famous Los Angeles punk rock band wrote a song about me called "Skot's Anonymous." It is about whatLA Weekly called my "high-profile obscurity."

In the meantime, I see the production of art as a biological urge. I have spent the time at Catbutt's house producing prototype artworks that I can expand into a variety of shows once I am in demand.

Themes of My Personal Art

The concept of modern archeology is a huge and ongoing theme in my artwork. This manifests itself as both artifacts that appear to be old with modern motifs and things that look modern but are contextualized to look as if they are relics. Just as a temple from Egypt was reconstructed whole within the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it is my eventual goal to create art installations that look as if a section was torn from the Met and landed in the context of a modern-art museum. The "art" of this will be that the actual displays will be of an irrational nature or will tell fictional stories of events and people using objects.

My other main motif involves the concept of masculinity. My exploration of this subject involves the changing nature of the masculine ideal, icons of hypermasculinity (including superheroes) and an examination of masculinity as a fetish.

Museum of Fun: An Art Corporation

I am a product of '60s idealism. Collectives and collaborations in this context seemed like the next logical step in evolution. As I began to discover the Dadaists and the Surrealists, I was enchanted by the idea of artists working as a "movement" to achieve a certain end. As I read more about these artist collaborations, I noticed that they frequently ended in acrimony.

"How," I wondered, "could artists work together and remain amicable?"

About the time I was pondering this, I chanced to hear a very basic explanation of how corporations are formed and what their advantages are. This formula, reduced to a sort of algebra, might also apply to artist collaborations. In the late '70s, I set out on a long-term project titled "Art Imitates Business." The goal of this project was to create an entity that would facilitate artist collaborations.

9. Thanks to Scottish Tartans, my entire name can be spelled in plaid.

I have always characterized Science Holiday as an art movement (dedicated to artist collaborations) that was to remain pure of commercial considerations. This art movement was meant to focus more on the spiritual side of the creative act. A lot of emphasis was placed on the William Burroughs concept of a Third Mind that occurs when two minds meet.

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