Becky Suss Recalls the Formative Interiors of Her Childhood

Part of a series that recalls the artist’s childhood bedroom, a new painting on display at Art Basel Miami Beach illustrates the resounding power of how domestic interiors, memory, and fiction coalesce.

Here, we ask an artist to frame the essential details behind one of their latest works.

Bio: Becky Suss, 41, Philadelphia (@beckysuss)

Title of work: 8 Greenwood Place (1985-88), 2021

Where to see it: Art Basel Miami Beach (Jack Shainman Gallery, Booth J3) until Dec. 4.

Three words to describe it: Childhood, palimpsest, ‘80s.

What was on your mind at the time: This painting is part of a series about my childhood bedroom through the years. They’re the first works I’ve ever made about my childhood home, so of course I was thinking a lot about that place. I’m always thinking about how we conflate fact and fiction, and how that mix tells the most interesting story. Central to this painting is the importance of the kid’s bedroom and children’s literature, and I wanted to elevate those often-overlooked subjects that are actually foundational to how we all grow to understand the world. 

An interesting feature that’s not immediately noticeable: If you look through the windows of the dollhouse, the interiors are pulled from a few children’s book illustrations: The Berenstain Bears, Miss Rumphius, and Where the Wild Things Are.  

How it reflects your practice as a whole: Domestic interiors have long been at the center of my practice, spaces that have historically been understood as belonging to women and children, and have subsequently been undervalued and deemed unimportant. Equally relevant to my practice is the notion that there’s no such thing as an inaccurate memory, only recollections that encompass a broader and more revealing story. My previous body of work focused on interiors as described in children’s books; before that, most of my paintings were about remembered interiors. This new painting brings those two subjects together.

All Stories