nueBOX Resident Artist Kyle Daniels Created a Thrift Store of Sentimentality at Phoenix Center for the Arts

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What happens in the studio shouldn’t always stay in the studio. Studio Visit Q+A is a weekly series that profiles artists in their studios. We ask them questions, they provide answers, and then we have a nice discussion about their work. This week: nueBOX resident artist Kyle Daniels.

The multidisciplinary work of Kyle Daniels often has a lot to do with sentimentality and the everyday. His work deals with the things we collect, the memories we hold on to, and the significance of interpersonal relationships. Daniels will be entering his last semester in ASU’s bachelor of fine arts intermedia program next month, but this summer he’s been a part of nueBOX’s installation artist residency program. New Times visited his space in Phoenix Center for the Arts to see what he’s been up to during his residency.

Daniels has spent most of his residency working on “Object of Affection,” a thrift store of sorts dedicated to taking in sentimental items. These items aren’t assigned a price in monetary terms but, instead, those who donate assign a task or favor to be completed in exchange for the item. The prices are negotiable and trade is an option, as well. A seashell on display can be bought if you “try to hear the ocean in the shell.” Each item on display has a price tag, along with information about the item and its donor.
The thrift store came out of a separate project that Daniels started earlier this year called “Museum of Socks.” This pseudo-institution takes in socks that have lost their match. Daniels logs each sock in a database that can be viewed on the museum’s website. When a match is found and a pair is formed, Daniels then links the two donors together. “Object of Affection” operates similarly, using the residual items of the everyday to talk about community, connectedness, and affect.

The items that make up the current inventory of “Object of Affection” vary in terms of conventional notions of value — a graphing calculator, a small fish tank, a book about puberty, and original artworks are just some of the items on display. Many of the items are the kind of things that we hold on to just because we feel like we have to. Daniels’s project begs its audience to think about what these things mean and why we hold onto them.

“You still care about it, you don’t want to throw it away. Maybe you want to give someone another chance to have it and do something with it,” says Daniels. This project creates a system for the general public to let go of priceless things filled with emotional value. The premiere of this multi-faceted project will take place on Thursday, July 30, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Phoenix Center for the Arts. Though his residency is almost complete, Daniels plans on continuing the project online until he can secure another physical space to house the thrift store.

Tell us about your work in haiku format.
left sitting alone,
remembering yesterday,
you are still with me

What artist(s) are you really into right now?
I’ve gotten pretty into the work of Josh Greene this past year. I enjoy his work because it does a good job of having a sense of humor while still being sensible. I’m always coming back to Yoko Ono, Tehching Hsieh, and Miranda July though.

What are you reading?
Of Walking in Ice by Werner Herzog

What's the last TV show, film, or video you watched?
TV show: X-Files
Film: Hoop Dreams

If you could collaborate with any artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Hmm. Maybe I’d just like to get coffee with Andy Kaufman or something. That way I might fall into some elaborate scheme of his.

What was the last exhibition you saw and what did you think of it?
The last exhibition I saw was "Collective Dissent: The SMS Portfolios" at SMoCA. I liked it quite a bit. It gave me a chance see some work by some of my favorite artists. The Yoko Ono and Claes Oldenburg pieces are just too good.

Jeff Koons or Marina Abramovic and why?
Marina Abramovic. The ability to endure is something I really appreciate in people. There’s something sort of beautiful about it.

What's the best advice you've ever received?
Trust yourself.

What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on “Object of Affection.” It’s a store I opened at Phoenix Center for the Arts as part of the nueBOX residency program.
The store exists as an opportunity to part with sentimental items that act as a constant reminder of memories past. Items are not sold for money but instead are listed for trade, task, or favor. I think we all have those things in the back of our closets that are hard to look at, but even harder to get rid of. The hope is that you can get some sort of compensation — on your own terms, and allow the life of the item to continue with someone new.

What's your most valued tool as an artist?
Empathy. If I couldn’t look at a birthday cake or blackboard and see myself or someone I love, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.

Editor's note: This article has been edited from its original version.

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