A unique and intimate view of an American Home – ‘A Place for Everything’ by Kerry Phillips @tontalovesme, now on view at Miami Airport Terminal D, is probably one of the most intimate portraits there is of an American household. It neatly displays all contents and knick-knacks of the catch-all, junk kitchen drawer of her parents’ home in Texas.
After all, how often do we have the chance to go through the contents of the junk drawer at any house other than ours? This really is a very close glimpse to American domestic life for people visiting from other latitudes, passing by to catch their connecting flights at MIA Airport.
For this installation, the artist borrows her parents junk drawer as is, with some of its contents having been there for over 30 years. Then she displays each object with painstaking honesty, down to the smallest clip and empty wrapper. This means that every time she makes this installation (this is its third iteration) she makes, in-situ, hundreds of decisions, in quick succession, about where to place each item. This much mental and physical effort (did I mention there were hundreds of items?) is a key part of Phillips’ practice. She reacts to the space where she is installing, making each piece site specific and unique, and imprinting a lot of her energy on it.
There is also a documentarian aspect to this work. There are clues of what life has been like at this home for the last thirty years, as evidenced by old appliances’ manuals, receipts, and discontinued phone batteries. Can you imagine what would it be like to have an accurate record of this type of a drawer from 100 years ago?
Since the drawer’s contents are borrowed (the drawer has gone back and forth to her parents’ house before), this time Kerry has made replicas of the contents, preserved in a red velvety material, creating a more permanent, more abstract version of her parent’s junk drawer, that will live on.
As part of this project, Kerry is collecting pics/stories of people's junk drawers via her website on her bio @tontalovesme.
You can see this exhibition at North Terminal, Gate D29 / D30 at MIA Airport.