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March 13, 2005 E-mail story   Print   Most E-Mailed

ART
It's the art of sharing a secret
 

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By Diane Haithman, Times Staff Writer

In Hollywood, it sometimes seems that everyone is waiting to be discovered but probably not in quite the way that artist D. Jean Hester has in mind.

Hester's "Risk of Exposure," an "interactive installation" that opened Friday at the South La Brea Gallery in Inglewood, offers visitors the chance to trade intimate secrets with the artist in a sort of emotional barter system.

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"I'm really interested in the idea of revelation and concealment, the friction of those two," says Hester, who will be on-site throughout the exhibition, which closes April 9.

Hester will provide a visitor with a written "menu" of secrets to choose from, each with a provocative title (Secret #25: "Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman's Scorn"). In return for one, the visitor will have to write down a secret and give it to Hester.

But "before you get my secret, we need to negotiate," she says. "Let's say you want one of my primo secrets I'm going to make sure I get something valuable from you as well.

"All of it is the artwork. The art is the entire process. Interesting things can happen."

Visitors do not sign their secrets and may choose whether to leave their anonymous writings for others to read. But Hester will know who wrote what and you'll know she knows.

And how many secrets does Hester have to trade? "That's a secret," she says. "But they are all fresh, good, juicy ones."





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