Who's in a Name? began as an intervention in a public project by artist John Baldessari. In January 2011, Baldessari launched Your Name in Lights on the façade of the Australian Museum in Sydney, Australia. Leading up to the launch of the project and during its three-week duration, viewers were invited to register their names on a dedicated website. Participants were then informed when their names would be illuminated on a nearly 100-foot L.E.D. screen; the website presented a 24/7 streaming image of registered names coming in and out of view every fifteen seconds. In January 2011, when Silton first learned about the project, she invited artist friends and colleagues to each register the name of an artist who had committed suicide. These names she culled from a Wikipedia site devoted to the archiving of artists (and others) who had ended their lives.
Fifty-nine artists, including Silton, agreed to participate. Subsequently the artist asked eleven young art historians/writers to rewrite 200-word bios of all of the living and non-living artists. These biographical entries, along with screengrabs she captured of all of the suicidees' registered names, and an essay by art historian Liz Kotz, are gathered together in the book.
The event at LAXART will consist of brief papers/presentations/readings by art historians/writers Jonathan Griffin, Natilee Harren, Michael Ned Holte, Liz Kotz, and Karen Tongson, along with readings by Who's in a Name? biographers Andrew Berardini, Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer, Stacie Martinez, Susanna Newbury, and Virginia Solomon. The event will also include a special performative work by internationally recognized artist David Lamelas, who registered the name of his friend and colleague Jack Goldstein for Silton's project.
Signed copies of Who's in a Name? will be available for purchase at LAXART.