Cigarette Line

May 2023, New Haven, CT
My studio window opens up to the MFA Painting courtyard, which means I see and have gotten to know many of the students, primarily the smokers. This past year I have also befriended Jose Ramirez, who is the primary custodian of the three buildings. I see Jose more often than anyone else in the school. I know his routine and he knows mine. The first thing Jose does when he comes in at 7am, is sweep up the butts which had been left out by students the day before. When I had the idea for this piece, I made an agreement with Jose that he would no longer clean up the littered butts so I could collect them, and eventually make a line of butts that went across the entire length of the Yale School of Art. Eight months later, on the last day of MFA Painting and Printmaking final reviews (May 11th), I installed the Cigarette Line from Crown to Chapel street by individually placing over 6,000 cigarettes in the seams of the cement sidewalks. The piece remained for 6 days. It was documented on 16mm film, whose 400 ft length is approximately the distance of the actual line itself. On the last day, Jose and I did a performance in which we cleaned the line up together.

assistance:Film Crew/Production:

Joii Baratelli
Jarett Malouf
Jack Antholis
Hasabie Kidanu
Renee Theodore
Michael Wang
Chiara Hardy
Rudd Fawcett
Doruk Eliacik
Aki Sasamoto
Mark Mitchel

Institutional Support:

Lisa Kerezki
Jose Ramirez
Kimberly Pinder
John Hogan
Trumbull College