From the category archives:

Interview

Scary Stories To Tell In A Gallery: An Interview with Langdon Graves on “Spooky Action At A Distance” at Victori + Mo

by Emily Colucci on June 24, 2016
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Walking the darkened halls of 56 Bogart Street, a pulsating pink glow radiated from the open door of Victori + Mo. I felt like I was in The Shining’s Overlook Hotel and told artist Langdon Graves as much when we met to speak about her current exhibition Spooky Action At A Distance. “Yeah,” Graves responded, “That’s not the first Kubrick reference I got.”

Spooky Action At A Distance is nothing if not creepy. Based on her grandmother’s experiences with ghosts, Graves’ exhibition immerses viewers into a dreamlike but distinctly familiar space of a mid-20th century home covered in flowered wallpaper and a jarring candy-colored palette.

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Why Artists Make Better Landlords: An Interview with Akin Collective’s Oliver Pauk and Michael Vickers

by Rea McNamara on June 20, 2016
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The belief that artists are too independent or focused on their career to self-organize needs to die. Artists have the capacity to be both generous and great.

Take, for example, the affordable housing movement, and the artists dispelling the traditional artist-as-gentrifier-enabler role. Theaster Gates transformed vacant and abandoned buildings in his neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side by establishing a foundation, and then partnering with the city and developers to rehab a public housing complex into mixed-income housing. In Houston, Rick Lowe’s Project Row Houses covers six blocks in the Third Ward, providing affordable housing for low-income tenants. Mark Bradford’s Art + Practice not only brings contemporary art programming to Los Angeles’s Leimert Park, but also provides social services for youth in the city’s foster care system. Artists have the potential to readdress urban displacement and ensure affordable space still exists for art by pulling up their sleeves and playing a bigger entrepreneurial role in real estate development.

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The World’s Longest Game of Telephone: An Interview with Lexie Mountain

by Michael Anthony Farley on May 18, 2016
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Artist, writer, curator, and musician Lexie Mountain is planning to break the Guinness World Record for the longest game of “telephone”, the childhood pastime wherein participants whisper a phrase from one end of a line to another. Along the way, the message might be misheard, mutate, and end up with a totally different meaning. It’s a fitting endeavor for Lexie Mountain, who has a prolific oeuvre of examining and manipulating meaning in a variety of media—from performances live-remixing audience-recorded tapes to dissecting the tropes and idiosyncrasies of art history.

This Sunday, (hopefully) more than 1,330 people will snake throughout the galleries of the Walter’s Art Museum in Baltimore, following a line of red tape, to pass along a phrase Lexie will whisper in one participant’s ear. We sat down to discuss the project, Egyptian gods, and documentation just across the park from the museum.

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Skin Game: An Interview with Michael Mahalchick

by Irena Jurek on April 27, 2016
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There may be nothing more distinctive than a Michael Mahalchick show. In the past, his exhibitions have included a mural made during a performance in which he affixed piece of bacon to the wall with their own fat, a stack of Playboy Magazines topped with a hypodermic needle, a gallery full of objects arranged as though they were simply the refuse in a used hotel room of a rock star.

For his fifth solo show at CANADA Gallery, Skin Game, Michael Mahalchick continues to find inspiration in sex, appropriated media, and the history of rock and roll to create a gallery full of darkly romantic pop culture shrines.

We sat down and discussed the significance and the meaning behind the ephemera, and discarded objects he chooses. We also discussed his performances, which have always played a vital role in his work; the last iteration will be taking place May 1 at the gallery

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No Justice: An Interview with Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw

by Irena Jurek on April 15, 2016
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Anyone who’s seen Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw’s work, has zero chance of forgetting it. In the past, their work has involved placing a dinner table and its diners on a hydraulic lift, live chickens, pig fountains, a crawfish food truck, a tour Chelsea tour bus that sold editioned knock offs of famous artworks, and a gallery-sized art-world themed Monopoly game board activated by actual players. That’s not even half of the work they’ve produced.

The point of all this, is to poke fun at contemporary American culture and question the belief systems that inform it. Their current show at Postmasters, “Behold! I teach you the Overman!”, uses their trademark high-energy approach to art making to great effect. It engulfs viewers in installation, video, painting, and performance that simultaneously criticize and celebrate the role of decadence in life and art. It includes a chair that lifts you upward into a ceiling mounted video viewing cube. Inside, a parade of morally ambiguous leaders and characters engage in heavenly glee while consuming mounds of food. In the middle of the gallery, a freestanding grove of trees cover an artificial pond with a functioning boat ride. The forest’s canopy consists of a multi-media video piece starring Catron and Outlaw. In it, an intergalactic sunbathing chair propels an orange-tanned woman towards the intense light of an overpowering tanning bed, alluding to either a nuclear doomsday, or spacial bliss.  

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An Interview with Phoebe Founder Alex Ebstein

by Michael Anthony Farley on March 31, 2016
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At the end of January, artist/critic/curator Alex Ebstein opened Phoebe, a new gallery in Baltimore that focuses on work by female-identified artists. I chatted with Alex about the importance of spaces for women artists, the challenges and rewards of being a gallerist in Baltimore, and Virginia Poundstone’s upcoming solo exhibition, which opens at the Phoebe this Saturday.

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An Interview with the Displaced Artists of Sterling Road: New Book, New Perspectives

by Rea McNamara on February 26, 2016
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TORONTO — On January 11th, Toronto artists and studio mates Lili Huston-Herterich, Vanessa Maltese and Abby McGuane were informed by their landlords of a 55% rent increase for February. This means their studios, located at a two-storey factory on Sterling Road, would jump from $1,905.50 CDN per month to $2,964.50.

The artists weren’t alone — indeed, as first reported in the Toronto Star, the landlords increased the rent across the board, with other artist and small business tenants also being forced to vacate the formerly desolate industrial zone in Toronto’s lower Junction neighborhood. The rapid revitalization along Sterling Road is bittersweet — despite the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art’s imminent move to the historic Tower Automotive Building at 158 Sterling next year, as well as new developments like “limited edition townhouses”, artists are getting pushed out of their live/work studios to be converted into offices for film production and advertising companies.

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The Sum of Everything: An Interview with Charles Atlas

by Rea McNamara on February 12, 2016
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“The career of the American filmmaker Charles Atlas has been a steady but slow-burning fire for more than 40 years,” wrote Holland Cotter just last year. Despite pioneering the media-dance art form, and collaborating with dancers and performers like Michael Clark, Marina Abramović and Leigh Bowery, Atlas didn’t have his first solo until 1995 at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. That’s a big name institution to land a solo with, but it’s only been within the past decade that he’s had a steady stream of solo presentations at institutions and galleries. Those include the Tate Modern, London’s Vilma Gold, and Luhring Augustine in Chelsea.

Why the CV gap? This question naturally came up in the context of Atlas’s recent screening of his early works in Toronto. Organized by Pleasuredome, the event was a cross-section of motion movies, narratives and video featurettes accompanied by a book launch of his first monograph at Art Metropole.

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Miami’s Art Scene Looks to Ownership for Longevity

by Michael Anthony Farley on January 27, 2016
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In nearly every city, the art world is feeling the pinch from rising rents and a dwindling supply of large, affordable spaces for making or exhibiting work. But in Miami, a growing number of gallerists are opting to buy their own real estate—putting the breaks on a cycle of gentrification and the instability that comes with renting.

And they’re leaving Wynwood—until recently the undisputed center of Miami’s gallery scene—in droves. Many gallerists, studios, and artists are looking north to Little Haiti to rent or buy. I sat down with Brook Dorsch (of gallery Emmerson Dorsch), Nina Johnson-Milewski (of Gallery Diet), and the couple Annie Berkowitz and Jordan Trachtenberg, who recently opened the new &gallery in a building they bought for their own design and real estate offices. Collectively, they’re transforming a suburban-looking stretch of NW 2nd Ave into Miami’s latest—and permanent—arts neighborhood. We discussed the merits of property ownership and strategies for making it more accessible to Miami’s art community.

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Johnny Rogers on Pyongyang Apple Store

by Michael Anthony Farley on January 6, 2016
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Artist Johnny Rogers has turned to social media for product development ideas. These crowd-sourced designs will be unveiled next month at his bootleg “Pyongyang Apple Store” inside Current Gallery.

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