Category Archives: Show

One Night Stand – Handout

handout As a handout to my part in the One Night Stand show at San Jose Museum of Art, I provided this little cutout body.

It read:

Suspended Parts

Why did I do this?

Trying to understand racism, I wondered why skin color could make such a difference to how we treat each other. What did that really signify? Weren’t our pancreases the same color? Wasn’t so much underneath the surface the same but we were being blinded by the surface color? What if all we could see was each other’s pancreases? Or kidneys? Or brains? I also noticed that I had a variety of visceral reactions to people simply based on their looks – not just different skin color but facial features, height, weight.

I knew logically that each person was rich in story, experience, potential, and each had their own soul and deserved to strive to be happy. Why do I pull away from certain ones? I’m happier when I’m around happy engaging people. Whatever my initial reaction to them, couldn’t it be one to help make their day? Why not?

What if we actually talked? What could we see then? Could a conversation be mutually rewarding if I were more open? How could I get past these visceral reactions?

It became a long term practice to remind myself of parts of others I could not see.

From a different tack, I began learning firsthand how my body holds emotion. Given stress afflictions, I became more familiar with parts of the body that deal with fear. I wore a wild red and orange brooch that I considered to be my amygdala, which was feeling very stressed at the time. (Our amygdalae handle the fight or flight decision, below consciousness.) I wore it to corporate meetings where people just thought it was a wild pin. But I knew it was my amygdala and I was reminded to take care of her. It was the closest thing to carrying one’s favorite rag-tag teddy bear into corporate. It also helped me remember that each player in that room had their own amygdalae in various states of disarray. Over time I believe this new attention helped the afflictions subside. I’ve found that handling body parts brings up many thoughts and reactions for myself as well as those I’ve shared my work with. It took me three weeks to be comfortable typing the word “rectum” on my website to describe the image I’d posted but erroneously called a colon. Some people go easily and enjoy this conversation. Others cannot hold the item or are disgusted by it. For me, this is all ok. Making these items in soft and engaging fibers with crochet tends to make them about as safe as possible. And since we all own these parts, my deepest hope is that in time, we all – world leaders included – would be very comfortable in our bodies and share many hearty laughs about our predicament. Laura Mappin San Jose Museum of Art One Night Stand June 7, 2007

One Night Stand

Visitors to the San Jose Museum of Art handled, twisted, fondled and pondered my crocheted body parts as part of the museum’s evening show One Night Stand contemplating Personal Identity.

display table

Pre-show. Table full of crocheted body parts and a flyer describing why I did this.

For examination, I provided intestines, eyeballs, and appendices as well as the always anticipated genitalia. I suspended amygdalae, tongues, and recta to symbolize those body parts of real people in conversation.

I often ponder only one part of the body of all the people around me as an effort to remember we are all more than what is immediately visible externally. Sometimes I ponder their brains when I’m in stressful corporate meetings. Or I ponder their stomachs when I’m in line for breakfast for the fifth day of a cruise.

Together we pondered religious teachings that we’d been exposed to that encouraged treating people differently because of skin hue – “it would be better for both if you don’t date someone of a different color”. One woman came by and tweaked the pearl of every vulva on the table. Another wondered why there were more penises than vulvae – and then we counted. The penises were just more visible but actually the vulvae were more numerous. One viewer commented that many more women handled the objects than men. I encouraged him to help balance that out.

serious discussion

Intense contemplation did happen once or twice but raucous activity ruled. Unfortunately we were too busy bantering comments and body parts about to take any pics then.

suspended tongues

Tongues suspended at kid height, in a circle

suspended tongues close

Close-up of suspended tongues

suspended amygdalae

Suspended amygdalae

suspended recta

Suspended recta

girl rectum

Someone dubbed this exhibit a “Girl rectum”

brown shimmering rectum

Does that mean this is a “Boy rectum”?

eyeball play

Some people can’t be taken anywhere

intestine fondling

Quiet moment with intestine

playing with parts 2

The eyeballs connected to the appendix, the appendix connected to another appendix, the other appendix connected to … .

body part menagerie

Back: lungs ride a rectum over the amygdala through a sea of intestines.

Front: a wormy red and white appendix inches its way up to the head of a penis while an eyeball watches on.

Flippin’ the Doily

I had my pink fuck doily on display at the Triton Museum in Santa Clara, California a while back.

It was opening night, artists and guests schmoozing and filling up the place.

A friend came by and told me that someone had turned my doily over.

“Ha! Really?” was my first reaction. It’s pretty much equally readable upside down. I wondered if they were satisfied.

And then I got mad.

This is a museum. Don’t you know the rules of a museum?! You’re not supposed to touch things! I can’t show these things at work, I can’t show them at home, hardly anyone in my classes thinks they’re funny. Can’t I have just one place where it can be out in public but everyone will just leave it alone if you don’t like it? Is that too much to ask? Isn’t that what museums are for? It’s crochet, for heaven’s sake. It’s not going to hurt you.

No, I didn’t say these things but I thought them.

The last show I participated in here, I displayed a book of stringed garbage. You can read all about it here. It involved a lot of garbage and I stored it in a large garbage bag, which was part of the display.

During opening night, people threw their trash in the bag.

At another show with another doily on a small end table, the oblivious artist who won best of show set his wine glass down on it. I politely picked his glass up and handed it back to him. He had no idea why and didn’t even ask.

“So you make unlikely participatory art – deal with it,” Baubo ESP’d to me. I got back to laughing. My friend pointed out the woman. No one in our group knew her. And I didn’t want to cause a scene or make her feel defensive so I didn’t approach her.

Weeks after the show ended, I received a phone message from someone I didn’t recognize. I called her back. She thanked me for returning her call and then said, “I want to apologize for turning your doily over.”

“Ohhh, so this is who this is. Oh, that’s fine. Gee, thank you for calling. I have a hard time finding acceptable places to display these works and I was really hoping that the museum would be an acceptable place and …” I went on.

When I stopped, she quietly repeated herself, “I just want to apologize for turning your doily over.”

“Oh … ok. Thank you for calling.”

I hung up the phone. I was moved that she had made the effort to call me, which involved several phonecalls to get my phone number. But then I was even more moved because it was apparent that she didn’t like the piece but still wanted to apologize. I am still wowed. Thank you, whoever you are.

Am I a Pimp?

My friend S contacted me: Congratulations on the extended run. I hope you’re selling lots of genitalia. Does that make you a pimp though??

No, pimps only rent it. … must say the comeback was from my most retort-worthy friend, GZ.

Left up to me, I’d go off on this diatribe of my huge wish/hope/desire/longing that I lived in a world where every single person would have full control over their own and to never rent it without full choice, never be in a life situation where they are forced to rent, where any activity would be consentual completely through and through. and through. forever. and ever and ever.

But S, you meant the question lightly. So I’ll stick with GZ’s witty response.

MissionMission blog

MissionMission enjoyed both the crochet show at SOAP and the embroidery show at Benders.

They’re also garnering some comments that go back and forth, as this art tends to do.

I really like this blog – very open, considerate, and community minded.

I’ve never lived in San Francisco but LOVE visiting it pretty much anywhere. I’ve learned my way around the Mission because of the art galleries I’ve shown work at. There is So Much Good Stuff Here!!!

I was just at a gathering last night after gallery sitting for my show at SOAP. The Million Fishes Artist Collective hosted the dorkbots group. The speakers were Very Interesting and the group was such an eclectic collection of curious scientists, engineers, artists, creative people!

I LOVE the Mission!

Opening Reception Pics

While viewing the Golden Tampon Award:

He1: Can you imagine having to use those things?

He2: Yeah man, do we have it easy.




Studying for the final

In order to exit this reception, each viewer had to answer 2 out of 3 questions correctly. Do you know the answers?

1. Is ejaculate gross or is it art?
2. What really actually constitutes the vulva, the whole vulva, and nothing but the vulva?
3. Was Jesus actually endowed?


Men-To the wall and read. NOW! Women-Circle in the middle and talk!


Cheshire dogs


If his dick were at slightly more of an angle …


Gee, there are genitalia swaying in the breezes everywhere here and these two are talking so seriously. About What?! Oh, that’s me with my roommate discussing whose turn it is to take the garbage out.

What does a crucifix mean? What do my physical looks mean?

The day before my show opened, I participated in an unrelated community collaboration / brainstorming event.

I was paired with a Filipino woman and we were to talk for a few minutes about what was alive for us.

Having just come from putting the finishing touches on my first solo art show, I told her about it.

Me: It’s about addressing secrets, taboos we hold emotionally in our bodies that contort us when we can’t be honest about them and let them out.

She: Is it paintings, photography?

Me: Wellll, I do it through provocative doilies.

She: Oh? Tell me the worst doily you’ve made.

I considered the gorgeous onyx and gold cross around her neck.

Me: Really?

She: Yes, tell me the worst one, the worst message.

Me: O … kay … well, I made a cock that’s big enough to go over the back of a chair … I demonstrated with my hands flowing over the back of my chair. She was already laughing. Encouraged, I added the next detail about the spray and she was doubled over in her chair with more laughter.

Me: I’m curious exactly what part is funny for you.

She: You don’t look like someone who would do that!!

Me: Well, I was considering the cross you were wearing and wasn’t sure it would be a good thing to share this.

We laughed many more times that afternoon as we passed each other to join different groups. It is not lost on me that I was having my own stereotypically-tending brain blown just like she was. How pleasant.