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Weekly Update – Jaynes’ Last Favour


This week’s Weekly has my Q&A with Teresa Jaynes, artist and head of the Philadelphia Print Collaborative. Here’s the link to the art page and below is the copy.

Party Favour

Pew fellow Teresa Jaynes makes art installations that delve into fairy tales, myths and the great collective unconscious. Her 2001 “Red Maids” at the Rosenbach Museum and Library created a drop ceiling of red satin petticoats in an upstairs boudoir that was like a storm cloud of sexual energy. Jaynes’ artist’s book from that project The Last Favour-a primer for young men on how to woo a woman-will be celebrated tonight in a soiree and tea party at the museum.

“Meaty” an image from the book “The Last Favour”

Like Jaynes’ art, The Last Favour is nonlinear and suggestive. At its center is an antique photo of “Meaty,” a voluptuous woman with a come-hither gaze. But the book is less a how-to than a collection of oddities–recipes for love potions, purple prose from Bram Stoker and some curious advice from Ben Franklin in a letter to a young friend to choose an old woman for your mistress instead of a young one.

I recently met with the artist, who’s also the director of the 5-year-old Philadelphia Print Collaborative, to ask about the book and PPC’s upcoming Philagrafika project, an international art festival devoted to contemporary print practices.

You said the book was an epilogue to the exhibit.
“For me the book is something I hadn’t experienced in an installation. When an installation is done, it’s gone and you have nothing left but the documentation. A book has a life of its own and it goes out into the world.”

“Red Maids” detail of the cloud of red skirts that hung from the ceiling in an upstairs room in the Rosenbach.

I understand it’s a spoof of an 18th- or 19th-century self-help book.
“The book is a little tongue-in-cheek. Society in the 18th and 19th centuries was very genteel. But I was finding things in the Rosenbach collection that belied that-bawdy drinking songs, etc.”

So you made a work about desire that’s told from a man’s point of view. But you’re a woman and a feminist.

“I was all about Moll Flanders–the fake autobiography of a woman by a man, Daniel Defoe.”

Switching gears, tell me about Philagrafika.
“When the founding members of PPC came together in 2000, we talked about what the consortium could do. They all wanted to make Philadelphia an international print center. Our first five years we were setting up a network. After that the group said it’s time to shoot for the big one-the citywide international event. Philagrafika will be in 2010, but 2006 is a pivotal year. And on March 20 we’re having an open house and a website relaunch. We think Philagrafika could create a niche for Philadelphia [in the art world].”

“Teresa Jaynes: The Last Favour” Wed., March 1, 5:30pm. Free. Rosenbach Museum and Library, 2008 Delancey Pl. 215.732.1600.