Critics’ Picks

“Danica Phelps: Integrating Sex into Everyday Life.” Installation view.

“Danica Phelps: Integrating Sex into Everyday Life.” Installation view.

New York

Danica Phelps

319 Grand Street
September 5–October 4, 2003

In her current show at LFL, Danica Phelps lays bare her personal economy with illustrations, detailed lists of her activities, and rudimentary charts that track expenses and income. Phelps has previously used similar means to explore the economics of daily living and of artmaking and -collecting. But now a fresh variable—namely, her girlfriend, Debi—has entered her equations, and she has turned her attention, as per this show’s title, to “Integrating Sex into Everyday Life.” She is living in the gallery space with her girlfriend for a month: Amid futon, hot plate, desk, and houseplants, Danica and Debi are on view. They sleep, cook, talk to visitors, and make affordable art that is sold from the walls. Numerous line drawings depict the couple engaged in sex, the outlines of their bodies delicately ensnarled: Phelps and her lover “consume” the space while offering their private lives for consumption. Putting a price tag on representations of sexual intimacy cannot signify the value of a relationship the way cost indicates the value of a car. But the depictions are no less affecting for their resistance to being commodified.