Melissa Nunes_Lecture:Nao Bustamnte

Melissa Nunes

Artist lecture 1

I attended the lecture with Nao Bustamante.  The lecture was called “An Evening with Nao Bustamante”.  She began by telling us a little about herself and her background.  She was originally from San Juaquine Valley and began her career with sculpture and video.  She said that she considers herself an amateur still and a little bit like a fraud in a way.  But she really appreciates all the people that have been so supportive of her during her career.  She said that she was not supposed to be an artist and had other dreams in mind but ended up following a career in art. 

She then changed tones and said that in order for this lecture to work, we had to be hypnotized.  She wanted us to be her and see her work through her own eyes.  She started with a work done called “Finding Me” which was basically a bunch of “Nao Bustamante” heads.  She also goes on to mention that she hopes that because of the hypnosis, we will be more likely to be comfortable when asking questions.  She wanted us to be able to ask her anything that we wanted and interrupt her if needed.  The first question asked was “what would you want to be if you were not an artist” and Nao replied with “she felt that being an artist is the only thing that she could be.  But when she first started, she did not like it because she felt like an amateur.” 

She also said that there is no hierarchy in the way that we express ourselves, which I found to be a very true statement.  People choose many different ways to express themselves and there is not right and wrong.  I tend to see expression to be not so much an up and down hierarchy but more of a side to side, left to right order making each expression of the self different and unique. 

She talked to us about an exhibit she did in San Francisco that she called “Under the Rug”.  In this piece she stayed under a rug in a museum with a microphone for 45 minutes responding to the people and environment around her.

She then talked about the time she went on the Joan Rivers show, which I thought was very interesting and also exciting because I myself am a huge fan of Joan Rivers.  She told us that her first task was to get asked to be on the show.  Her way of getting on the show was the first part of this lecture where things started to get a little weird.  I was not sure if it was just strange for me because I am not used to speaking with artists or if it actually was getting weird.  She told the audience that she got on the Joan Rivers Show by telling them “while on a public bus, if she knows someone is looking at her, she can squeeze her legs together and have an orgasm”.  I was not sure if she was serious about telling them that or not but she got on the show so I just went with it.  She then showed us the clip of her on the Joan Rivers Show, which I thought was very funny because she was obviously making up extreme stories about herself for the show.  Back stage she told the camera that everything she said was just for show and none of it was true, but it made me wonder if other people who watch the show at the time thought it was true. 

The last thing she showed us was one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen in my life.  It was a film that started off with her running through a forest/field.  Then all of a sudden she looked down and started to grow a penis; that scene was not even the weirdest part of the film.  Right after she grew the penis, several penises started to chase her through the forest and still after that it became even more bizarre.  She finally fell and started to talk to her penis, which was now covered in jewels!  At this point of the lecture I was not even sure what to take seriously.  I felt very uncomfortable and was not sure how to act.  Overall I thought that Nao Bustamante was very funny and extremely creative.  She definitely did not have a problem being open and forward with her artwork.  However I did not like what I saw.  I can appreciate what she has done as an artist but overall I do not think I would want to watch a film with a bunch of penises again no matter how creative and artistic it is.

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