Friday, March 20, 2009

The Life and Times of Lillian Virginia Mountweazel @ Monstert Truck Gallery from March 19th 2009

The Life and Times of Lillian Virginia Mountweazel

Participating artists:

Teresa Gillespie / Fiona Hallinan / Philip Kennedy

Sabina Mac Mahon / Fran├žoise de Mulneton / Jim Ricks

Monster Truck Gallery & Studios, 73 francis St, Dublin 8.

The Life and Times of Lillian Virginia Mountweazel is group exhibition in Monster Truck Gallery, 19 – 31 March 2009, illuminating the unusual life of this artist & designer.

Mountweazel, Lillian Virginia, 1942-1973, American photographer, b. Bangs, Ohio. Turning from fountain design to photography in 1963, Mountweazel produced her celebrated portraits of the South Sierra Miwok in 1964. She was awarded government grants to make a series of photo-essays of unusual subject matter, including New York City buses, the cemeteries of Paris and rural American mailboxes. The last group was exhibited extensively abroad and published as Flags Up! (1972) Mountweazel died at 31 in an explosion while on assignment for Combustibles magazine.

William H. Harris and Judith S. Levey, eds, “Mountweazel, Lillian Virginia”, The New Columbia Encyclopedia, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1975), 1850.

Apart from those who have seen this entry on her in the New Columbia Encyclopedia, or those who have read the occasional press article that her strange life has excited, most people have never heard of Lillian Virginia Mountweazel. She never existed. Indeed, the word ‘Mountweazel’ is now used as a synonym for ‘phantom’ or ‘false entry’ in reference works – fictitious articles created as an aid in the detection of copyright infringement, as the encyclopaedia editors did in this example from the seventies. If such a false entry is present in work lifted from a copyrighted source it can be used as evidence of intellectual theft.

This eighty-three word encyclopaedia entry forms a point of departure for an exhibition exploring what might have been for Lillian Virginia, in the imaginations of six artists chosen by curator Davey Moor for their interest in fictitious narratives.