In the Morning (2011)

In the morning of August 5, 1962, actress Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home. In the morning of June 28, 1969, Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn was raided by police and the gay liberation movement began. Inspired by these two events, Danish artist Michael Chang and regional artist Jan Kather created a video installation in an empty storefront window on the Ithaca Commons as part of The Working Relationship to Let art program.

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Tammy Renee Brackett (Alfred), Tom Oberg (Elmira), Graham McDougal (Ithaca), Dan Reidy & Wendy Taylor (Elmira), John Criscitello (Ithaca), Wilka Roig (Ithaca), Janeen LaMontagne (Waverly), and Marty McCutcheon (San Francisco) were invited to contribute to this installation. Michael Chang and Jan Kather created video clips as well, and conducted an artist "talk back" on the Ithaca Commons. They asked participating artists to choose one of the "In the Morning" historical events and create a one minute video recording that expresses thoughts or feelings about the significance of the event (s) in relationship to the present.

Invited artists were given these rules:

  1. Express your thoughts or feelings about the significance of the death of Marilyn Monroe and/or the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village in 1969.

  2. The video should be 60 seconds and will be silent.

  3. The video will be appropriate for all audiences

  4. Artists retain all rights to their video and agree to public screenings of the finished collaborative work.

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Artist Statement

International artist Michael Chang and Finger Lakes artist Jan Kather invited video artists to participate in creating a collaborative video “In the Morning” that was screened on the Ithaca Commons, Ithaca, NY in August, 2009 as part of the To Let vacant storefront art initiative. The events:

Actress Marilyn Monroe, was found dead in her home, 1962 On August 5, 1962, LAPD police sergeant Jack Clemmons received a call at 4:25 a.m. from Dr. Ralph Greenson, her psychiatrist, proclaiming that Monroe was dead at her home in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California. At the subsequent autopsy, eight milligram percent of chloral hydrate and 4.5 milligram percent of Nembutal were found in her system and Dr. Thomas Noguchi of the Los Angeles County Coroners office recorded cause of death as "acute barbiturate poisoning," resulting from accidental overdose. Many theories, including suicide, circulated about the circumstances of her death and the timeline after the body was found. Some conspiracy theories involved John and Robert Kennedy, while other theories suggested CIA or mafia complicity.

The Stonewall Riots At 1:20 in the morning on Saturday, June 28, 1969, four plainclothes policemen in dark suits, two patrol officers in uniform, and Detective Charles Smythe and Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine arrived at the Stonewall Inn's double doors and announced "Police! We're taking the place!" Two undercover policewomen and two undercover policemen had entered the bar earlier that evening to gather visual evidence, as the Public Morals Squad waited outside for the signal. Once inside, they called for backup from the Sixth Precinct using the bar's pay telephone. The music was turned off and the main lights were turned on. Approximately 200 people were in the bar that night. Patrons who had never experienced a police raid were confused, but a few who realized what was happening began to run for doors and windows in the bathrooms. Police barred the doors, and confusion spread.

The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are frequently cited as the first instance in American history when people in the homosexual community fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted sexual minorities, and they have become the defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.


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