From the category archives:

Interview

ONLINE PREMIERE: “Ways of Something – Episode 3”

by Paddy Johnson on January 30, 2017
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With John Berger’s death this month, the online premiere of Lorna Mills’ “Ways of Something, 3” feels particularly poignant. While Mills’s “Ways of Something” wasn’t conceived strictly as an update, as 117 person re-interpretation it effectively functions as such. To complete this piece, Mills invited over 100 artists to remake all four parts of Berger’s 1972 BBC series “Ways of Seeing”, minute by minute. Each artist was given 60 seconds of video—doled out on a first come first serve basis—with the sole condition that they would need to retain the text used in captioning. What they did to the captioning font, the visuals, the sound, was entirely up to them.

The result is almost certainly the largest video exquisite corpse in existence. Similar to the first Surrealist conceived exquisite corpse drawings, where each half is made blind of the other, each artist creates a minute without knowing what will come before or after it.

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Do It Slow: A Conversation With Sara Reisman on ‘Enacting Stillness’

by Emily Colucci on December 20, 2016
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Stillness as a form of protest is nothing new. There are numerous examples of die-ins, sit-ins and even, hunger strikes that mobilize through immobility. And yet, at a time when many are searching for methods of resistance to Trump’s upcoming administration, a reminder of the potential power of stillness seems necessary.

A current exhibition at The 8th Floor provides this much-needed refresher. Enacting Stillness gathers a group of artists who use slow moving bodies and themes of waiting, silence or inaction in order to provoke dialogue and maybe even, political change.

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An Audit Nightmare Turned Artist Victory: An Interview With Susan Crile

by Hannah Cole on December 15, 2016
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If your arts practice loses money for more than a couple years, the IRS may question the legitimacy of the business – specifically, the profit motive. Typically, they reclassify such a business as a hobby, and disallow the artist from expensing deductions past the point of their income from the activity. That’s bad news for any artist, but it was a near nightmare scenario for artist Susan Crile.

Crile spent eight years in tax court (from 2005-2013), defending her right to take losses. In this interview, we discuss how she proved her case, what it took, and what she recommends for artists in a similar position.

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Art Is The New Black: An Interview With Tatiana von Fürstenberg On “On The Inside”

by Emily Colucci on November 11, 2016
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After Donald Trump’s election, private prison stocks soared. While this small but ominous tidbit might be overshadowed by the glut of other horrifying news pouring in since Tuesday, it makes On The Inside, a group show of incarcerated LGBTQ artists at Abrons Arts Center, that much more crucial.

Curated by Tatiana von Fürstenberg (yes, the daughter of designer Diane von Fürstenberg), the exhibition is an essential reminder that art can be harnessed for activism. Many shows claim to make the invisible visible, but rarely does the work come from the silenced populations themselves. Von Fürstenberg organized the show in collaboration with LGBTQ prisoner grassroots organization Black and Pink. They placed an open call for art in their monthly newsletter, which reaches 10,000 prisoners. The response was overwhelming, receiving around 4000 submissions from prisons in all fifty states.

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Be Somebody With A Body: Curator Jessica Beck on “Andy Warhol: My Perfect Body”

by Emily Colucci on October 27, 2016
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It’s hard to imagine there’s anything new to say about Andy Warhol. The glut of books, articles, dissertations and exhibitions on the artist seems to always tread the same critical territory–celebrity, consumerism, “business art” and mass production. But, Associate Curator Jessica Beck found a refreshingly innovative take on the much-analyzed artist in her current exhibition Andy Warhol: My Perfect Body at the Andy Warhol Museum.

The show examines Warhol’s treatment of the body–a subject, which Beck says has been woefully overlooked by curators and historians. “Everyone thinks it’s just understood. Somehow it keeps missing its place in the exhibition history,” Beck explains. This oversight is the driving force behind the exhibition, which thematically traces Warhol’s figural interest through his career.

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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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