Report Card (1998-)

This installation comprises all the report cards I received at school from age 7 to 15 (from 1973 to 1982). Without altering anything in the cards, I exhibited them at an exhibition as an aggregate or survey of grades and ranking. The cumulative data could be analyzed as an academic estimation of my formative years. These numbers and averages reflect how teachers had judged my performance at school and represent authorized evaluations of both my aptitude and attitude. Through tests deemed standardized, they are objective summations of my capacity as a student. However, the objective becomes dependent on the subjective, i.e. the value and meaning of these numbers are subject to the significance variably mandated by parents according to their own sets of values. Parents have varying degrees of being particular about grades. These numbers could mean eliciting either pride or shame. In any case, report cards are a common experience and usually kept private and confidential even as they determine negative or positive values that they assign to students. Rendering my report cards exposed to the public in the spirit of a kind of defiance gave me a chance to observe/watch people respond to these evaluations. Their responses reveal their own values.

These report cards are a form of commentary on the acceptance of art in our society. Art typically resists authority as its precepts dictate defying norms and embracing complexity. But in reality, Art is also subject to the appraisal and judgment of others and such evaluation fluctuates through time and depends on differing points of view. Art is not just what is seen but how it is seen and judged by others. Marcel Duchamp: “Art is not about itself but the attention that we bring to it.”

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