Featured Long Durational Work

Thirst, and the Martyr (2011), J. J. McCracken

Duration: Seven Hours

Text by J. J. McCracken
Cover photograph by Margaret Boozer, ©J.J. McCracken, courtesy CONNERSMITH

Photograph by Margaret Boozer,  ©J.J. McCracken, courtesy CONNERSMITH

The Martyr is at once a hoarder and a provider. She may be viewed as opposing sides of the same character, at war with each other — or she is two individuals at odds, refusing compromise and unable to work together. By examining actions of self-service, self-sacrifice, and self-centeredness, “Thirst, and the Martyr” questions the availability and distribution of resources critical to our survival on this planet. Two blindfolded women laden with hundreds of ceramic bowls and gourds full of water are tethered together back-to-back. Each attempts to reach a trough ahead of her to scoop water using the long ladles affixed to her arms. When she prevails over the will of her counterpart, water spills as she raises a ladle to drink.

Photograph by Margaret Boozer,  ©J.J. McCracken, courtesy CONNERSMITH

J. J. McCracken received a B.A. in Anthropology from The College of William and Mary in 1995, an M.F.A. in Studio Art from The George Washington University in 2005, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2012. McCracken is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, recently including a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award, and two grants from the Puffin Foundation. J.J. McCracken teaches at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. and has exhibited at venues across the United States. She is currently building large-scale projects with the support of a position as Artist-In-Residence at Red Dirt Studio on the Washington, D.C./Maryland line. Her website can be found here.