In last Sunday’s The New York Times, artist Ryan Trecartin talks up his 1999 minivan in a really cute story.
Well, we have a 1999 minivan, too, and it’s worthy of a really cute post to this blog.
It is a Plymouth Grand Voyager, a tired teal blue, the right flank dented from a tangle with a garbage can. Paid off since ’08. A humble rig, but an astonishing number of famous contemporary artists and art world luminaries have ridden inside.
The minivan transported the belongings of artist Barkley L. Hendricks from his temporary studio at Golden Belt (a Duke-sponsored artist residency) and over to UPS.
Culture writer Dave Hickey took a ride in the minivan with his signature drink: five shots of espresso in a double latte.
I like to hand my iPod, connected to the car stereo, to visitors in the passenger seat. Artist Dario Robleto picked Nirvana Unplugged on the way to Allen and Son barbecue. Nice.
This minivan is so old it still has a tapedeck, a feature appreciated by artist Christian Marclay, who bought an obscure, homemade tape at Chaz’s Records here in Durham and played it on the way back to the hotel.
Music writer Dave Tompkins climbed into the minivan for a ride to a radio interview. When asked his music preference for the ride, he answered wearily, “Maybe silence” — which made me laugh. (Friends ever since.)
Last summer, three artists associated with “The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl,” on the opening day of the exhibition, found themselves stranded in the van when it blew a back tire. We limped into a garage; the mechanic changed the tire in five minutes. The artist William Cordova drew a beautiful little picture of the flat tire, complete with jagged black hole.
Other visitors have endured broken air conditioning during summer and a dead battery (fixed with a jump start).
Despite bumpy shocks, the minivan safely transported an ice record, on dry ice, made by artist Lyota Yagi. He played it on a record player at the museum; two people cried.
The minivan fetched performance artist Carollee Schneemann and three gnarled, lovely sticks selected from a Durham yard. She used one of them in her talk at the Nasher Museum. “You should have all the artists sign the dashboard!” she told us.
We dissected a theory of domestic love with artist Mickalene Thomas in the minivan on the way to the airport.
No artist complained of the smell of cheese fondu, spilled after a New Year’s Eve party. But the artist Walter Sipser, a member of Eve Sussman’s Rufus Corp., sat in the passenger seat, sniffed audibly and asked, “Do you have a dog?” (Yes, we do.)
Let’s stop here before we get all mushy. Come and visit the Nasher Museum. Take a ride in the minivan.
IMAGES: Top, a still from one of Ryan Trecartin’s videos, courtesy of The New York Times. Above, the unofficial Nasher Museum minivan.