On display in the booth were several self-portraits by K8 Hardy, each very similarly composed with consistent camera angles and a flattened pose that seemed distorted, evoking simultaneous perspectives without the weight or formalism of cubism. K8 is one of those artists who is hard to nail down. She works in many modes and mediums, characterizing herself in portraiture, sculpture, video, performance and installation pieces. Hardy’s identity and her work are effectively indistinguishable—even down to the stylization of her name—breaking down potential barriers between performer and performance, and keeping her audience entertained and attentive with the breadth and variation of her art.
In her notable video project New Report: Morning Edition (2005), she and fellow artist Wynne Greenwood stage a mock newscast that explores issues of objectification, media, and feminism. “It’s stylish to be a feminist now,” she says, but specifies that this has not influenced the way she works. It isn’t that her pieces have a feminist agenda per se, but rather that she exists in a personal feminist domain, from which her work emerges.
She also addresses the looming presence of business and industry in art, but feels the public attention given to that sector far outweighs its significance to the art itself, especially for her. “How we interact with the world is commercial, but it’s not commentary on the art world that people sell art. That conversation is so much bigger than the reality. There are a handful of people who sell art, and I’m not one of them.”
Hardy has also delved into fashion in her work, producing a runway show for the 2012 Whitney Biennial and creating a capsule collection for the 2011 JF & Son pop-up shop in New York. These pieces are cut-and-paste, incorporating found materials, and they exhibit a wit and skepticism in the way she confronts the expectations of the form. “I think high fashion is being more artisanal, and that was more industrial and produced in a factory kind of way.”
Feminism, commercialism, and fashion are just a handful of the myriad topics impacting the life and work of K8 Hardy. By playing all sides, K8 portrays her self with a conceptual framework of nearly infinite simultaneous perspectives. “On a personal stylistic level I’m responding to what’s happening in the world. I trust that doing me is interesting enough in the long run.”