Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Weford artist Clive Murphy constructed the ‘Nasty Women’ structures which acted as hanging space for the provocative exhibition.

A WEXFORD artist, who is based New York, played an integral part in the NASTY WOMEN exhibition which was held in the Knockdown Centre in New York in the run-up to President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Clive Murphy, who was born and reared in Co. Wexford, now lives in Brooklyn with his wife Heather and two children Olivia (5) and Hazel (six months). He is a practicing visual artist and also works with the David Zwirner Gallery on West 19th in Chelsea.

NASTY WOMEN was a group exhibition that aimed to act as a catalyst for conversation, organisation and action, preceding January 20’s Presidential Inauguration.

The title came from President Trump’s quote about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, whom he referred to as a ‘nasty woman’ during one of the pre-election debates.

The exhibition invited self-identifying nasty women to contribute artwork to be sold for $100 or less, with all proceeds given to Planned Parenthood.

Over 700 women submitted artwork for the exhibition which was coordinated by Jessamyn Fiore, who remarked that the Wexford man had been “an essential part of the team as his design for the giant letters made the entire exhibition come together and work in the space.”

Clive explained that the exhibition had come together swiftly following an initial call-out by an artist friend, Roxanne Jackson who took to Facebook calling for fellow women to participate in a ‘Nasty Women’ art project.

“It went viral almost immediately and she contacted Jessamyn (Clive’s housemate) who was able to secure a huge exhibition venue through her curatorial connections at the Knockdown Centre in Maspeth, Queens.”

So, an exhibition for women and by women – where did Clive factor into this equation?

“Although the venue, a renovated 18th century industrial space, is huge, its walls are clad in windows and don’t have a lot of open wall space suitable for hanging art on.”

With 700 participating artists, wall space was something that was going to be in hot demand.

“Jessamyn came to me and asked if I had any ideas on how best to present the project. I suggested building the letters NASTY WOMEN as ten-foot tall freestanding sculptural letters and hanging the artworks directly on them.

“Not only did that give artists a place to hang their works but it also created a monumental physical statement in response to the Trump administration and all of the foul, belligerent rhetoric that he had been spewing for the previous months against women, as well as minorities across the board.”

The Nasty Women concept continues to be shared across the States and the world and is one that could easily be replicated by other artists and organisers in their own communities, according to the organisers who have encouraged interested parties to visit www.nastywomenexhibition.org for more information.

Clive, who spoke to this newspaper in the aftermath of the Presidential Inauguration, following the Women’s Marches in Washington D.C. and other locations said that he was happy to be involved in the exhibition, saying: “I wanted to represent my daughters, the oldest of whom was one of the youngest participating artists in the exhibition.”

Clive moved to New York in 2005 but his Wexford roots are strong. His grandfather Dick Whelan ran a popular shop on North Main Street which offered a range of services from a toy shop to a hairdressers. His mother still lives in Castlebridge.

He attended Art College in Galway and subsequently graduated with a Master’s Degree from Belfast. While there, he met American girl, Heather whom he married and moved to New York with in 2005.

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