Mission Loc@l: Hi. I noticed a big truck parked inside and a lot of heavy things being moved in here. Are you moving in?
Alexis Laurent: It’s more of a return. This art has just come back from Houston.
ML: So you’re an artist? Or is this a gallery? I’ve never seen it open before….
AL: It’s not usually open to the public. But I’ve been thinking of having it open more. Maybe a few days a week, once my next show opens.
[points to enormous plinths of wood stacked along the wall] It’s too bad that you can’t see this right now. That whole thing is an image of the Muni tracks at 20th and Church.
ML: Why 20th and Church?
AL: I ride my bike past there every day. I think that the tracks there are just so beautiful.
ML: Ever go to to the bus yard at York and Mariposa?
AL: Oh! Oh! It’s unbelievable….
But I’m also in the process of planning for my new show. You see over here? [gestures at rows of tiny spindly plants laid out along the wood floor] These are air plants. I’m going to connect them together so that they will be like walking into a house made of plants.
And then when the sun hits it…the sunset here is killer! First it’s pink! Then orange! Then…blah blah blah. [waves hand dismissively]
Over there will be a branch made of planters. I make them out of COR-TEN. It’s the steel that all the artists use. It’s the steel that is made to rust. It wants to rust.
You see over there? [gestures in the direction of a huge blank white wall] Over there will be a billboard, but made of succulents. The concept of the billboard is to say something. This will be like the billboard that doesn’t say anything, and in saying nothing, says everything. It will be like being assaulted by advertising! But in the other direction.
[gestures toward an enormous set of white headphones] This will be a play on the iPod. Lavender will be growing out of the earphones. I will put these in the doorway, and you will have to walk through them like the security gates at the airport. It will smell good.
I want it to be fresh. I’m tired of conceptual art. I like things. But I have to build it first! Ha ha ha!
ML: [looking over to the truck driver] Do you live around here?
Truck driver: Nope. Drove this truck all the way from Houston.
ML: Is there anything different about moving art?
TD: Nothing at all. Just got to wrap it up right. [smugly] ‘Course not — everybody can do that. You know where I can find, like, a Chinese buffet around here?