Jillian Mayer on ‘Family Matters’

By | April 5th, 2011 | 2 Comments

A still from I Am Your Grandma, 'a video diary that I am leaving for my unborn grandchild to be viewed if we never get to meet face to face,' says Mayer. -- photo courtesy of David Castillo Gallery

In 2010, when Jillian Mayer was 26, it was a very good year, one that included having her “Scenic Jogging” short video featured in the Guggenheim’s Youtube Play Creative Video Biennial and a spot in MoCA’s Optic Nerve. Mayer is on her way to having another a good year with the opening of her first solo show, Family Matters, on Saturday, April 9 (Art Walk), at the David Castillo Gallery.

A multimedia exhibition, Family Matters represents a search for identity in the artificial worlds of 90s family sitcoms. On Monday night, I spoke to Mayer as she drove from Wal-Mart with a truck load of flat screen TVs that will figure in her show. We discussed the dearth of avant-garde households on cable, Judy Winslow’s transformation into “Crave”, and Mayer’s collaboration with the Borscht Film Festival to remake an obscure French art film starring Uncle Luke.

Tell me about the show and why you chose the name.

JM: The show is called Family Matters. I picked that name because I thought it would be really funny. The people from our age demographic can relate to that name as a TV show name, but it’s also a play on words. I like to take on serious matters with a satirical approach, and always intertwine comedy into it. A lot of my personality and my work is heavily informed by all the television I watched when I was young, so I thought the name would be a perfect fit.

I think I was really fascinated with the characters that existed inside this little TV in my room when I was a kid. For a long time, I guess I thought that those were real families. You know, now I work in production and I know how fake every aspect of it is. But I remember really thinking they were real when I was little. I didn’t understand when people said it was all constructed and existed on these sets.

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