In this episode of Forms of Life, host Nato Thompson speaks with artist and fashion designer J. Morgan Puett, a founder and host of the communal residence Mildred’s Lane. Their conversation tracks the many activities at Mildred’s Lane, a place where collaboration, interdisciplinary art-making and socially engaged practices are tested at a distance from major art centers, and in conversation with local townspeople. Puett describes the 96-acre residence, located along the border between Pennsylvania and New York, as an “old, 19th-century, wild, crusty farm…transformed into a new ‘art complex(ity).’”
Deeply influenced by her experiences growing up in southern Georgia, the daughter of a beekeeper and a painter, Puett shares memories of her childhood and discusses the challenges of raising a son as an artist and a single mother. “Most residencies in the world don’t allow kids…so what am I to do as a woman, a single parent, a project artist, nomadic?” Puett asks. With Thompson, she considers the role of feminism in the contemporary art world and how Mildred’s Lane can help artists construct better ways of living together.
Forms of Life is a monthly podcast hosted by Creative Time’s chief curator, Nato Thompson. Guests are culture makers whose work posits new ways of looking at political realities. By addressing a wide variety of issues—such as alternative economies, calcified political structures and new forms of collective living—or simply by being a thorn in the side of normality, Forms of Life interviews provide an opportunity to think counterintuitively about social conditions faced by people around the world.
Special thanks to The Clocktower Gallery and ARTonAIR.org for their support.