Lizzi Bougatsos’ New Show is Red Hot

The Artist and Founder of Gang Gang Dance tells us about her latest show Work Habits at James Fuentes Gallery.

Lizzi Bougatsos’ New Show is Red Hot

Bathed in red light, Work Habits is an experience even the jadedest gallery habitué will find refreshing. Lizzi is known for her inimitable vocal style in Gang Gang Dance and her unrelenting rhythms in IUD and also as an artist with a very personal process. We recently took a look “Her Perfume Tears,” mid-career retrospective. It’s a career that’s still going strong. She tells us about how she’s working at it harder than ever.

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How personal is the title of this show? Were you thinking about your own work habits?

Well WORK HABITS refers to this book I was reading while preparing for my show. It centers on the lives of Nuns (specifically one) which is based around planting crops for harvest, plowing fields, paving roads etc. The title is a play on my own Work Habits as I am a hard worker, but I used to feel it was unnoticed. I don’t feel that way anymore; it was just a personal expectation of myself to be in a higher state/place with my work. My habits can “feel” lazy, but the truth is I am always writing and researching even if it is during a Netflix show. Down-time is a form of resting that one needs to create. My zine BLUE DENIUM is also flirting with these themes.

Is it an effort to balance your work making music and your work making art?

Balancing as always is a quest, yet it is getting more and more combined as a practice as I go on. I was struggling over whether to have an opera-ish sound piece accompany my Marilyn piece (I just wanted to be Wonderful), yet the light alone was overpowering. I titled the red light atmosphere later, “Unforgettable.”

The show as a whole feels like a full sensory experience. To what extent do you think about the show as a whole when you work on the individual pieces?

I see the top of all the works as circular, uniting the works as Dr. Bronner says, “All is one,” etc…

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Can you tell us a little about what we might call the “cigarette collage” approach? What inspired it? I’m into it.
“The King’s Virgin” was inspired by the one nun in particular: Mother Dolores Hart, O.S.B. She was an actress, quite popular in Hollywood, who became a nun. Her life path is sort of the opposite of mine, yet I relate to her martyr-like aspirations, again that is a past notion of sacrifice and love. Now I am just a work horse.

I’m glad to see you’ve name-checked the YPG and YPJ in your press release. How closely have you been following their travails?
In the studio in the past two months, I would read articles I was inspired by as I worked. I would print out the articles from FB (I follow some great feeds) and lay them around the studio as to when I needed a break from physical activity, I would do the “brain read” I like to call it.

This is at least your third show at James Fuentes. Can you tell us a little about your working relationship with the gallery.
I have been working with James since 1999, he gave me my first solo exhibition. I switched galleries for a while, American Fine Arts Co. to Reena Spaulings, yet I somehow landed to where I started. We have a very circular relationship, constantly bouncing ideas on my practice as well as other artists we like or dislike. I feel like we are like-minded with our beliefs.

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