Saturday, April 14, 2007

Opening Day

Friday the 13th was the premiere of Artomatic 2007 and I was dutifully in charge of making sure Frank Warren's hard work didn't go unseen. Excited and nervous to have such a huge responsibility on my hands, I rushed down to Crystal City to set up the PostSecret room. You'd think all I had to do was push play, but just my luck the whole tv and dvd had been unplugged for the inspector. I had to reset everything (luckily Frank had forseen such events and given me directions to do so). A few fellows poked their heads in and asked if I had broken it, but thankfully I had not, hah. So finally I got the exhibit up and running; I patched the few post cards that had fallen back up on the walls; I placed PostSecret post cards on the pews and turned out the lights.

Artomatic went off without a hitch and a rough 4,000 people walked the halls. There we're so many artists there and I really feel like Frank created a mini-sanctuary away from all the clamor and bright lights. In his little room with two church pews and the cool darkness, you could relax and be invited into a world of secrets (perhaps some you might recognize in yourself). Frank said he wanted the experience to be almost spiritual and I think that is what he achieved. I imagined a conversation or a struggle forming within a person as they viewed the secrets on the screen. A few times I sat in the room watching with a stranger and I noted their reactions. They laughed to themselves and silently regarded the secrets that seemed to hit home, but I almost felt as if I wasn't suppose to be there. Seeing someone else read secrets seemed like an invasion of privacy. I wonder if I hadn't been there if those people would have laughed louder or perhaps cried. I will never know.

The room was a place I always returned to after making a few rounds to other exhibits. It was like a hideout. A place where I could rest my feet and feel no urgency to get up and leave.

- Jenna

Monday, April 9, 2007

Art as a Science

I was asked to come in and secure postcards on a wall for the Artomatic exhibit. I envisioned that I would just be undiplomatically tacking up the secrets wherever I could find space, but the assignment was actually quite arduous.

Frank requested that the postcards be posted with the address-side facing out. He explained that he wants to keep his audience always wanting more. This is why he only puts up a handful of secrets on the website each week and why he neglects to maintain an internet archive. He reasons that if he gives his audience all of the secrets they demand, they will tire of the project. Some of the magic will be lost. As one of his audience, I want to object to this notion, insatiably desiring to see more secrets, but as an intern who is privileged to view a plethora of secrets, I can completely understand his logic. For me, the secrets do not have quite the same impact after reading dozens of them at once.

Logic and art are not generally associated together, and that is what I found so interesting about Frank's revelation on how he manages the project as well as how I put the postcards on the wall. There was a definite design and order. It made me reflect on how different an "art internship" is from my regular 9 to 5 job. At my day job, there is a definitive right and wrong. With this project, it is much more difficult because the objectives are not as translucent. The project is Frank's, and the requests are a result of his vision. I consider how difficult it must be for him to relinquish some small part of the project to us, the interns, because our own influence inevitably infiltrates the project. My composition of postcards on the wall will undeniably differ from Frank's arrangement, had he done it.

How does an artist relinquish some control of his project and effectively convey his vision to the people he has selected to help? How can he maintain the nuances while permitting the influence of others in the project? I suppose I won't know until one day I have a creative venture of my own.


Thursday, April 5, 2007


I am the "other intern". I am Nicole, and I am currently a student at Northeastern University. Northeastern promotes their co-op program, and that is how I ended up in D.C. Luckily enough, the PostSecret project "headquarters" is in this area too.

This week Jenna (pictured above) and I learned that being a PostSecret intern is about more than just reading postcards (okay, so we were supposed to be organizing them and might have stopped to read one or two or 50). We met Frank in Crystal City to assist with set-up of the next Post Secret exhibition, the Artomatic.

From the outside, the site for the Artomatic looks like a standard, boring office building. But on the sixth floor, dozens of rooms are occupied by frenzied artists preparing to showcase their work.

Pictured is our room just before we painted it. Frank hopes to display a 30 minute DVD featuring a slideshow, to selected music, of his indelible postcards. Opening night is April 13. Jenna will be there handing out blank postcards. The exhibit runs from April 13-May 20. If you are in the area, be sure to check it out.

Monday, April 2, 2007

First Day

Hello! My name is Jenna and I am one of Frank's interns at PostSecret. This past Saturday was my very first day working at PostSecret Headquarters. It was really exciting and a little nerve wracking. We actually got to sit down and open some of the secrets that were in envelopes and discuss them with Frank. One secret that I remember the best was sent in a plain white envelope. As I opened the enveloped, I saw that a message was being reveled at the top. My poor memory doesn't recall the exact words of the secret, but the person expressed that they didn't feel like their artwork would ever be good enough and also that they seem to be experiencing a loss of self. As an visual arts major, I could relate to this scary feeling of work not being good enough compared to everyone else's. However, I've come to realize that art is very subjective and as long as your heart and soul go into it there is no limit to the way it can impact others. Myself and the other intern also got to choose 150 secrets between us for Frank's exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum. It was really hard to choose among the secrets, but we tried to be as objective as possible to get a variety of secrets. As I was reading through all of these secrets, I found myself wanting everyone to get responses to their secrets and wanting those people to see their personal postcard go up on the website. It was definitely a great day that passed by very quickly. I was really tired by the end of it, haha, Frank called it "secret overload."