Drawing charcoal from Fire Project #2, 2013 (numbered edition)

Designed by Amy Yoes and built by Paul Bartow, the Fire Projects are ambitious gestures in the landscape. Starting as sculptures constructed of discarded wood, they have an aesthetic provenance rooted in a modernist language whose reverberations have changed the way we see the world. The work takes on a performative aspect as the structure is lit on fire before an audience. Successive built layers, arranged to burn in orchestrated ways, reveal themselves from within the flames.

The ephemeral moments produced by the fire are registered as black and white photographs, the final representation of the project. The charcoal from the ashes is the concentrated material that allows for a further extension of creativity, in the form of drawing.

Affixed to the walls of the MoMA installation were various shelf mushrooms that had been collected from the forests at Mildred's Lane. All of the genus Ganoderma, these mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine as a panacea, or medicinal cure-all, specifically to extend longevity—and perhaps even attain immortality. In modern times, we recognize these mushrooms as adaptogens, medicinal herbs and fungi that energize the body by gently balancing the hormones. They are highly anti-carcinogenic, fight tumors, increase the body's natural resilience to stress, strengthen the immune system, promote longevity, and have no known deleterious side-effects. Colloquially known as the "artist's conch," they can be found on decaying trees in all 50 states, often with drawings etched onto them because, when scratched, their white undersides leave permanent dark markings.

Inspired by this image of the artist working with nature to leave a lasting impression and informed by the alchemical tradition, artists Clayton Lewis and Christine Buckley of The League of Brooklyn will spend the afternoon crafting a medicinal tincture by pulverizing, macerating, and boiling the these unique fungi. GANODERMA OPUS, or "the labor of light," serves as a prayer for the holistic health and longevity of the Mildred's Lane community and its archives. This ritual is also an act of labor to produce the Artist's Elixir.


In conjunction with the exhibition MoMA Studio: Common Senses