[Five questions to SFMOMA artists, staff, or guests. Lynn Marie Kirby is a San Francisco–based artist and teacher. Her collaborative video project with Li Xiaofei, Hello? 你好!, is on view through June 17 as part of the Descriptive Acts exhibition.]
Do you collect anything?
If you could steal any artwork in the world to have up in your home, what would it be?
Must be Vermeer, judging from the picture that Alexis Petty just took of me for this blog. Alexis and I meet frequently in this café as we are collaborating on a project along 24th Street. The café window is straight out of Woman Holding a Balance, we didn’t realize it until we saw the photo. But I couldn’t live with one of Vermeer’s 34 paintings all for myself; it would be too precious. I often steal from dead artists across history, but I think of it as collaborating across time.
If you weren’t an artist, what would your gig be?
I have come to know the librarian Andrea Grimes in the Historical section of the San Francisco Public Library. She takes off on adventures following obscure leads she finds in books or articles, traveling around the country meeting people and looking at sites to unearth information. Her practice sounds similar to my art-making practice.
Who did you spend at least two hours with today?
I watched my 16-year-old son and the students at the Academy of Ballet rehearse Songs Without Words, a ballet by Richard Gibson, for their upcoming performance. They were discussing subtle details of gesture and movement, both in terms of emotion and technique. Amazing.
What’s your favorite tool?
Improvisation. Improvising requires being in the moment, working with what is on hand.