Dear Colette

From: Shen-Shen Wu
To: Colette Robbins
Subject: RE: "Archaeological Fiction"

Dear Colette,

First of all, just let me say that I’m having a really tough time narrowing down the scope of this letter (and this collaboration) to something that is digestible - there's just so much good stuff to sink your teeth into.  The first things that come to my mind - my personal favorites, you could say - are the archaeology metaphor and thinking about how your two timelines (life and art) can be mapped together. 

I am enthralled with the idea of the archaeological process as an extended metaphor for your artistic process. It helps that I'm fascinated by archaeology and visually drawn to the design and layout of archaeological museums, sites, ephemera, etc. etc. Check out the snapshot on the left I took at the archaeological museum in Antalya, Turkey. This was just one of many rooms that had pottery and trinkets on display in THE NEATEST, MOST ORGANIZED FASHION. My heart. I die. I'm curious to see your shots from the archaeological museum in Dublin. For fun I've put a photo of the install from your instagram side by side with mine. 

A view of the archaeological museum in Antalya, Turkey, 2014. Photo: Shen-Shen Wu

A view of Archaeological Fiction in Los Angeles, California, 2016. Photo: Colette Robbins

There's something brewing in my mind about the advancement of both archaeological tools (e.g. Lidar) and artistic tools (e.g. Photoshop, Wacom tablets). Regarding the former, a quick Google search reveals that BBC, The Guardian, Scientific American, National Geographic, and even the more industry specific GIS Lounge have written about Lidar technology within the past 4 years. The award for most clickbait-y title goes to Scientific American, but it worked, I clicked, and was rewarded with another interesting tagline: "Space lasers developed in the 1970s are being put to a brand-new use." Space lasers. Nice. 

Click to enlarge

To wrap this up I wanted to share a draft of the dual art-life timeline we've discussed. Writing things down and laying them out helps me think through things. From this exercise it looks like the timeline could be split out into three streams (life, learning, art) as opposed to two (life, art).  And, it's clear that I am missing some dates (such as your birth year!), a series or two (small circular paintings, for one) and a few work citations - I feel it would be interesting to note which of your works is the first of each series. Also worth noting is that the timeline is not yet to scale, which is something that I would like for the final version. 


Thanks again for going on this journey with me - it's certainly new territory for me. On that note, it seems appropriate to bring up that this is the beginning, isn't it? Or rather, beginnings. This is your first solo show, and there will be more, and they will get better. This is my first time creating a sort of artist-exhibition-micro-site, it has been great fun so far, and it seems a format that I will come back to. This is our first collaboration, it is only in its infancy, and I feel it will be something great. I don't think many people have seen something like this before ;)


Larry Rivers at Art on Paper NY

I was part of the team representing 101/EXHIBIT at Art on Paper New York. Together with the Larry Rivers Foundation, we exhibited 32 works on paper ranging from the late 1960s until 2002, the year Rivers passed away. These works came from the Foundation's archives and were curated in collaboration with David Joel, executive director of the foundation. The works are collaborations between Rivers and many prominent members of the New York School (Kenneth Koch, Frank O'Hara, and John Ashbery), of which the artist was also a key figure.