Bill Jones: "If You Knew Suzy (part 2)"
Color and black and white photographs, 24 x 30 inches.
opening Friday November 21st:
Paul Petro Contemporary Art
980 Queen St West
Toronto, ON M6J 1H1
gallery hours: wed-sat 11-5pm
In 1976 I was living in Vancouver and had seen an ad in FILE Magazine in which
Suzy Lake is pictured standing against a massive column wearing a slinky floor-length
dress (a version of the image in the current exhibition). The ad copy challenges
New York artist, writer and entrepreneur Willoughby Sharp to a kind of "art mogul"
contest. Shortly thereafter, I received a studio visit from Bill Ewing, then the director of
Galerie Optica in Montreal. He showed me examples of photo-conceptual work he was
interested in and which defined his gallery's direction, including stills from Suzy's
"A Natural Way to Draw." Later that year, I went to Montreal for my solo show at Optica
and met Suzy for the first time at my opening. Patty Hearst, the American Newspaper
heiress, had been all over the news. The radical group, the Symbionese Liberation Army,
had kidnapped her; Hearst had shown up in a bank security camera photo carrying a
machine gun during a robbery. I asked Suzy on the spot if she would play Patty Hearst
in a photo-piece I had in mind. Suzy showed up the next day wearing a red beret and
raincoat and carrying a realistic-looking gun right out of the news photos.
-- Bill Jones, 2008