Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Wave

We had a fabulous Opening Night party last night. Many thanks to the volunteers, contributors and musicians who made it a wonderful event. We will be open Sunday (Halloween) and Tuesday (Election Day) from 1-5 p.m. After I stop racing around I will post hours for the rest of the month of November.

In the meantime, for those who can't come see the art in person, here is a picture of The Wave, as I am calling the DVD sculpture. The following is the "artist's statement" I posted next to the artwork:

The Wave

By Lucinda Naylor,

in collaboration with two thousand households.

Media: Repurposed DVDs.

These discs originally carried a divisive message sent in the name of the Catholic Church, seeking to block the civil rights of same-sex couples. I say sent in the name of the Church, but not the Church I know. The Church I know is inclusive, not exclusive.

For fifteen years, as artist-in-residence at the Basilica of Saint Mary, I used whatever materials I could scrounge from a budget-strapped liturgical department to create art for all the seasons of the church year. When I heard about these DVDs, I thought “Free art materials! I’ll turn them into art.”

I put out a call on Facebook, asking people to donate their DVDs to my project. I called it DVD to ART.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The first DVD arrived in a bag of bagels. People slid DVDs through by mailbox, passed them to me in the pews, threw them into collection boxes outside several churches. They sent them to Return The DVD with notes saying “Turn me into art.” Church workers passed them along, laughingly, “under cover of night”. Over and over, I heard, “Thank you for changing this message into one of love.”

Some DVDs came broken, scratched, written on: “Return to sender, offensive material.” “Not in my name.” “You are not alone.” Repeatedly they quoted Jesus: “Love one another, as I have loved you.”

Thank you to everyone who passed along a DVD.

The Wave is about the Spirit of inclusion and love, which is sweeping though the Catholic Church as it continues to change, as usual from the people up to the hierarchy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Party Just Got Better!

DVD to ART project is pleased to announce that the following musicians will be contributing their art to the Opening Night experience:

John James and Ben Radecki

"Very Small Animal" with Tim Harlan-Marks and Patrick Noonan

Brian Laidlaw

Join the fun!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

DVD to ART: Opening Night!

What art project has almost 2,000 collaborators?
Yes, DVD to ART!
Come celebrate the transformation of DVDs into ART!
Opening Night: Friday, October 29th
5 p.m to 10 p.m.
2756 Hennepin Ave South
Minneapolis, 55408
If you can't make Opening Night,
stop by Saturday or Sunday afternoon
between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Friday, October 22, 2010

One Week Until ART!

This DVD, like so many others, came with a sweet note.

I'll continue to accept DVDs through the weekend.
After then... all my DVDs will be turned into ART!
ReturnTheDVD will continue to collect DVDs into November.

Details about next Friday night's opening will be posted here soon.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

DVD to ART: Bare Bones

I'm already past this stage... or I'd be panicking by now...

Here are the bare bones of the DVD sculpture's structure.

You can see how they start to interconnect.

In the pictures, they look so pretty just like this...
it's almost a shame to take it to the next level.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Me, Robin Hood, and the Washington Post!!!

When I was three my TV heros were Roy Rogers and Robin Hood. I played Robin Hood all the while I was growing up--I had the hat, the bow & the (rubber tipped) arrows.

So imagine my delight upon reading the article "Of bully pulpits and bully bishops" in the Washington Post. Author Anthony Stevens-Arroyo makes the comparison between our Minnesota archdiocese and Sherwood Forest.

While no one's comparing me to Robin Hood, I'd happily sign on to be one of his "merry band".

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bumper Crop!

Spent the beautiful fall afternoon outdoors shucking today's harvest.

Separating the raw DVDs from their husks is the first step in this recipe for transformation.

Monday, October 11, 2010

More Prep Work...

Before I actually received my DVD, I was hoping it would have a lovely--or at least neutral graphic.

Unfortunately, to quote Fresca, when she saw the DVDs overlapping each other: "the fingers look like a bunch of worms". yecch!

I tried sandblasting. I tried scraping. I tried peeling. None of those made it any prettier.

So I've had to resort to painting. Here I am putting a thin coat of blue over the DVDs. You can still tell they are the archbishop's DVDs--the fingers show through--but they are toned down.

They don't look like blue worms. Whew!

There are about 800 DVDs surrounding me in this photo.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

DVDs AS Art... It's beginning!

"Catholics get creative in response to archbishop's anti-gay-marriage message" is the headline of a front page story in today's Pioneer Press. (Click on title for link.) The subtitle is "Anti-gay marriage message has local Catholics buzzing"--and that really captures the focus of the story: people's reactions to the DVDs.

There are even a couple pix in the story of me working in my new medium. (Photo to left by Jean Pieri from Pioneer Press article).

On a different note---People keep telling me, "I haven't received my DVD yet". I know bulk mailing can be slow, but I'm hearing this from so many people, I'm beginning to wonder if the diocese stopped mailing the DVDs after seeing all the kerfuffle they've caused...

Those who have yet to receive your DVDs--never fear! You can continue to send them to me via or our collection boxes (see sidebar). I will continue to incorporate DVDs into my sculpture up until the last week of October, and ReturnTheDVD will continue to collect them even beyond that date. So, keep 'em coming--even if you get yours weeks from now!

Friday, October 8, 2010

DVD to ART: bandsaw-- a Video by Infinity Café

This little 34 second video shows me making the first cuts into the DVDs, on the way to transforming them into art.

Song: The Beatles' "I Will", sung by Alison Krauss

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Few Thoughts From DVD Donors

Some of the DVDs collected by DVD to ART and have come with heartfelt and thoughtful notes.  I'd like to share a few with you here:

One envelope was covered in notes of different handwriting in colored markers; each family member had written something on the envelope:

"Jesus taught tolerance".
"Please focus your energy on helping. Spread love and not hate. Embrace."
"They're not hurting anyone.  What is love?"
"My best friend is a gay Catholic. Doesn't the word "catholic" mean universal and inclusive?"
"There is so much to do now! Why are you spending so much time spreading hatred."
"Heschel: "The opposite of good is not evil, the opposite of good is indifference."

Other DVDs had small letters tucked inside them:
"Thank you for taking these DVDs.  My husband does not believe in gay marriage and I am undecided. However, we feel the Catholic Church has over stepped their boundaries in mailing the DVDs and even creating them. It is not the Church's place to force their "rules" on the flock, their purpose should be to guide us and lead us but let us make our own decisions."

"Thank you so very much for turning something so hateful into something beautiful. When we received our DVD, my partner and I watched it... mostly out of curiosity. When the video was finished we were stunned and very sad.  It's difficult to listen to a leader in our church say such terrible things when the church where I visit is so far from hateful. I am saddened for all my GLBT family that are self damning and not able to see beyond those words of hate and be part of the church--as is--and feel Christ's ever present love and acceptance."

"Thank you! I was so angry when I got these DVD's in the mail all I wanted to do was shred them.  Shame on the catholic church and the knights of columbus!! Please give my DVD's to the artist so that she can make something beautiful out of this ugly, ugly propaganda the catholic church feels it needed to spread with this DVD!!!!"

Lot of DVDs had one-liners:
"Thank you for giving me a positive way to express my anger!"
"What a sad waste of money * Turn me into Art!"

The envelope that caught at my heart arrived completely anonymous. Tucked into the case with the DVD were 4 small photos of a young boy--at different ages-- posing in his hockey gear.  I don't know the story that prompted these photos to be sent with this DVD, but I can guess... and offer my prayers.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Good News Keeps Coming!

So far between DVD to ART and we have collected about 1600 DVDs!

This morning, after meeting with the owner of a fabulous, yet vacant, space-- I walked out with key in hand. Now the creative process can begin full tilt because I have a space to build and show the art in.

A number of the DVD jackets I've received are their own little works of art already. Here's one that contrasts the priority of homelessness with the message of the DVD.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunday's DVD collection stories from various media

To listen to/read the MPR story click on: Artist gathers raw materials, raw emotions with Catholic DVD
(The audio story is different from the written story.)

Click on Catholic Marriage DVD a Work of Art for a story about Sundays DVD collection from Fox 9 news.

Click on Collecting Controversial Catholic DVD For Art for WCCO's take on the story
(warning this one comes with commercials).

Your wonderful response!

It's been wonderful to receive your DVDs and support.  Some of the DVDs or letters dropped in the collection boxes yesterday included messages meant for the archbishop... I'll be posting a few of those now and then, as above.  As of this morning DVD to ART has collected nearly 600 DVDs... and I know there are many more to come!  Keep spreading the word about DVD to ART and also that "return to sender" doesn't work on bulk mail (the post office trashes it).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What can $1,000,000 do?

It has been widely speculated that the archbishop's DVD cost $1, 000, 000 to make and send---yes, one million dollars!

When we were collecting DVDs at the Basilica this Sunday (tally to follow soon) a thirteen year old named Annika, approached us with handouts she had made titled "What can $1,000, 000 do".

The following is an exact quote of Annika's handout and what  her brilliant research uncovered:

It can feed 2,325,581 people with a cheese sandwich.
It could house 185 people for a year in a one bedroom apartment.
It could buy 800,000 bus passes.
It could heat the Basilica of St. Mary for 8 years.
It could change peoples lives.
But 1 anonymous donor decided to donate $1,000,000 to send 400,000 DVD's across Minnesota to deny the right of gay marriage.
What do you think this is right?

Now here's someone who truly understands the Christian message!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Great Press in the Star Tribune this morning!

Artist to collect DVDs outside five churches is the title of today's Star Tribune article that does a wonderful job of addressing the issues surrounding the DVD to ART project.  It also mentions all five churches where volunteers will be collecting DVDs Sunday morning.  (Click on the article title to be directed to the link.  Church addresses and mass times posted on this site.)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Letter from a BOLD Priest

I've never met, but have long admired, Fr. Michael Tegeder, for his willingness to take a public stand. Below is a letter he sent to the Mpls. Star Tribune, which they chose not to publish.

To the editor,

Regarding the Minnesota Catholic bishops DVD campaign, they might listen to one higher in the pecking order. The Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schoenborn, main author of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and  friend of the Pope, recently publicly stated that the Church needs to look differently at committed same sex relationships. Obviously, to raise such questions in the media let alone in an artwork is not to "lobby" against the teachings of the church as the Archbishop's spokesman awkwardly opined.

Rev. Michael Tegeder, pastor