From the category archives:

Interview

What Makes An Artist Special? Nothing, According to the IRS

by Hannah Cole on October 18, 2016
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Being poor for art has a shelf life. It’s important to be brave enough to sacrifice income potential to follow your dreams, but to make a career in the arts happen, eventually a sustainable income and lifestyle has to be secured. Part of getting there, is knowing how to handle your taxes. Learning the ins and outs of this part of your practice will help you get through the tough times and the boom times.

We’ve had both over here at AFC, so we thought a few questions to an accountant might be useful not just for our readers, but for our own, self-serving purposes. In the following Q&A we tried to discern what, if anything was unique about artists taxes, how creatives can get the biggest tax breaks, and whether they should attempt to do their taxes on their own.

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An Interview with Eric Mistretta: When to Panic

by Irena Jurek on September 28, 2016
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Visiting Eric Mistretta’s current show, “Bad Doctor,” at Anna Kustera (on through October 2nd), feels a lot like walking into the mind of a mad pop culture meta-physician. He’s turned the gallery into a glowing ultramarine chamber complete with glowing violet crystals and a pentagram painted on the floor. At first glance, the show looks like it’s a celebration of New Age beliefs and all the accouterments that go along with the lifestyle.

A longer look at some of those accouterments creates a more macabre interpretation . “Healing” crystal book ends flank volumes of “When to Panic,” self help books. Seemingly pleasant, yet ominous paintings, give one the sense that all this magic isn’t intended to save the viewer from more malevolent forces at play.

I sat down with Mistretta to discuss superstition, human foibles, the saving graces of humor. We even looked at the importance of belief and the way we construct meaning in everyday life.

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Bye-Bye Bb: An Interview with Allie Linn & Colin Alexander

by Michael Anthony Farley on August 25, 2016
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For the past two years, we’ve been big fans of the little artist-run space Bb, which has brought smart site-specific projects to both its odd storefront in Baltimore’s Westside and booths at art fairs. When Colin Alexander and Allie Linn, Bb’s founders, announced that the space was closing, everyone seemed to be scratching their heads. Why would a popular art space close, one year after receiving a grant and so much attention? Colin’s answer, it turns out, is pretty straightforward…

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Burning Down The House: An Interview With Brandi Twilley On “The Living Room”

by Emily Colucci on August 10, 2016
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How accurate are the precious memories of our childhood homes? And what happens when those memories are all that’s left after the home is irreversibly destroyed?

Artist Brandi Twilley attempts to answer these questions through a series of ten paintings in her current solo exhibition The Living Room at Sargent’s Daughters. Her paintings painstakingly document an estimated six year progression of the living room in her childhood home. This spans the room’s water damage and a fire, which burned the house to the ground in 1999 when she was 16-years old.

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Paradise Interrupted: An Interview with Jennifer Wen Ma and Guillermo Acevedo

by Joyce Yu-Jean Lee on July 20, 2016
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In the words of composer Huang Ruo, “The installation opera Paradise Interrupted integrates opera, theater, dance, music, poetry, made-up words, interactive multimedia, and cross-cultural operatic spirits, all into one entity.”

Sound ambitious? It is. This stunning opera combines more media than I’ve ever seen in one work of contemporary art, while gracefully navigating Chinese-English translation.

For this reason, I wanted to talk with the artist mastermind, Jennifer Wen Ma, Director and Visual Designer of Paradise Interrupted, which kicked off Lincoln Center Festival.

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Sugar Shock: An Interview With Jessica Stoller

by Emily Colucci on July 15, 2016
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Dainty and delicate, porcelain is not the typical medium for radical feminist art. However, Brooklyn-based artist Jessica Stoller’s porcelain sculptures seem closer to Karen Finley’s chocolate sauce-drenched performances than precious Royal Doulton figurines.

Depicting oozing glaze, dripping sickeningly sweet confections, rippling flesh and cavorting nudes, Stoller’s sculptures shatter the normally quaint porcelain subject matter. She subverts long held standards of female beauty, consumption and femininity by using this historically charged medium to portray the grotesque.

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How To Turn a Museum Into An Arcade

by Rhett Jones on July 7, 2016
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Now that our culture has crossed the hurdle of recognizing that video games are more than just a time-wasting triviality that rots your brain, institutions have to grapple with how to preserve and present the rapidly forming canon. The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens was the first museum to collect video games and its currently showing off some prime gems in the exhibition, “Arcade Classics: Video Games from the Collection.” (on through October 23rd)

Art F City sat down with the museum’s Curator of Digital Media, Jason Eppink, to discuss the difficulties of preservation, how VR may become the new social medium and exactly why Duchamp was such a dedicated gamer.

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Teenage Daydream Bedroom: An Interview with Nick Alciati on “xoxo, Darlene”

by Emily Colucci on July 1, 2016
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Artist Nick Alciati’s bedroom installation xoxo, Darlene feels immediately familiar to anyone who was a teenager in the early 2000s. Photographs of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Madonna and Alicia Keys almost completely paper the walls. Trendy clothes lie strewn on the bed and floor. High school yearbook photos are wedged in a mirror above a row of cutesy thrift store tchotchkes. Even if your bedroom wasn’t a pink shrine to mainstream pop culture, Alciati’s contribution to the SVA Photo, Video and Related Media’s 2016 MFA Thesis Exhibition is accurate enough to spark memories of classmates’ similar spaces.

Between images ripped from magazines, Alciati hangs posters of his glamorous alter ego Darlene. Darlene, with her long auburn hair, sultry poses and crop tops that reveal just a little chest hair, represents Alciati’s attempt to embody the pop idols he worshiped as a teenager in Syracuse, New York. In addition to the cheesy centerfold photographs, Alciati also presents Darlene’s recreation of three music videos from that era–Britney Spears’ Everytime, Mariah Carey’s Honey and Ashanti’s Rock Wit U (Awww Baby).

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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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