In this interview American filmmaker, poet, and lyricist, Cecelia Condit gives shape to the contours of her work process. The artist describes the influence of her relationship with her mother, her long-term investment in the macabre, and her ongoing desire to confront death through art. While covering a broad range of topics, Condit’s discussion of her work and interests returns to several defining themes: aging, grotesqueness, and the notion of movement, both in terms of her own past as a dancer and the notion of the body in decay. With a particular emphasis on the production and context of her videos, Annie Lloyd (2008), and All About a Girl (2004), this interview offers insight into the artist’s fascination with aging, sweetness, and storytelling, while also articulating her joyful sense of discovery within the art-making process. No longer working with scripts, Condit presents herself in the interview as a scavenger–much like the crows she incorporates into her work–assembling videos which straddle the line between strange and silly. – Faye Gleisser
Matthew Coolidge is a founder and director of The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), an organization dedicated to raising awareness about how land is apportioned, used and perceived by its inhabitants. Through exhibitions, publications, and guided tours, Coolidge and the CLUI seek to foster and encourage a heightened sense of awareness of natural surroundings. In this interview, Coolidge defines a ‘land art spillover effect,’ in which the perceived significance of the landscape seems to increase the closer people get to a piece of environmental art.
Robert Cumming (b. 1943) is an American photographer/sculptor/bookmaker who borrows from the artifice of theatrical sets to construct his elaborate and often absurd images. He has also published several books of photography and narration. Central to his work is his desire to remind us that we are looking at a photograph, and not at the thing being photographed. His captions sometimes draw on a photograph's narrative aspects or are used to mislead the viewer.
Ann Cvetkovich is the Ellen Clayton Garwood Centennial Professor of English and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of a number of books and works also with documentary film, memoirs, music and dance performances, and visual art. Her work focuses on feminist and queer theory, affect and feeling, trauma, theories of the archive and oral history.
In this interview, American artist, independent curator, writer, and experimental filmmaker, Vaginal Davis reflects on her initiation into the punk rock and art scenes of Los Angeles during the 1980s and 90s, her stylistic influences, and her ongoing efforts to theorize queerness and visuality. Caught between the opposing poles of Hollywood classicism and the rawness of punk, Davis defines her unapologetically gender-bending, campy, and at times aggressively critical performances as scenarios, rather than spectacles or entertainment.
Turner Prize winning conceptual artist Jeremy Deller works across many different mediums, creating highly political and frequently collaborative works. Defying conventionality, Deller often exhibits outside of traditional gallery spaces, such as his 1993 twist on artist open studios, Open Bedroom, a secret exhibition in Deller’s family home while his parents were on holiday.
Paul D. Miller (b. 1970) is a conceptual artist, writer, and musician better known as DJ Spooky. A popular and prolific recording artist, he has collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Butch Morris, Yoko Ono, Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth), Kool Keith, and Killa Priest (of Wu Tang Clan). Miller’s work uses a wide variety of digitally created music as a form of postmodern sculpture.
Northern Irish artist Willie Doherty (b. 1959) works in photography and video installation. Since the late 1980s, his work has responded to the urban setting and rural outskirts of his hometown of Derry, Northern Ireland. Doherty’s artworks tend to begin as responses to specific terrains (most often mysterious isolated settings; places, we suspect, with a troubled past) and evolve as complex reflections on how we look at such locations — or on what stories might be told about their hidden histories.
Nathaniel Dorsky’s films are precise articulations of cinematic qualities: the surprise of an edit, the composition of framing, and the flash of the image. Dubbed the “filmmaker’s filmmaker”, Dorsky’s work captures the fleeting moments of everyday life in its poetic chaos in such films as Pneuma (1976-82), Triste (1974-96), Alaya (1976-87), and Variations (1992-98). Using a spring-wound Bolex and 16mm reversal stock film, Dorsky’s films operate in the realm of the purely visual.
In this interview, political and social theorist, Terry Eagleton (b. 1943), shares stories of his Irish upbringing and British education, and sums up his current engagement with art theory, leftist politics, and spirituality under capitalism. With reference to Henry James, Frederic Jameson, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins, among others, this interview spans a vast landscape of literature and social theory.
Felipe Ehrenberg is a prominent Mexican artist who has been actively producing interactive political art, installations, and murals for more than 30 years. Also a writer, Ehrenberg has run a small press in Mexico City and has published numerous articles for art journals in the United States.
Interview by Carol Becker.
Berlin-based Danish artist Olafur Eliasson complicates and simulates perception through his installations, sculptures, and photographs. He has created disorienting artificial illuminations and reproduced natural phenomena such as clouds, glaciers and the sun through large-scale, high-tech installations.
In this interview, African American filmmaker and DJ Ephraim Asili (b. 1979) discusses his upbringing, education, and creative process. Born and raised around the city limit of Philadelphia, Asili’s childhood and adolescence were imbued with hip hop music, Hollywood movies and television. He studied film at Temple University where he finished his thesis project, the documentary Points on a Space Age (2007) with the Sun Ra Arkestra.
German curator Ute Eskildsen (b. 1947) was born in Itzehoe (Schleswig-Holstein). After studying photography and working as an assistant in a fashion and portrait studio, she went on to study photography and the history of photography at the Folkwang School of Portraiture in Essen. A fellow in Visual Communication at the Essen University, she served as assistant to Otto Steinert in the field of photo-history exhibitions.
Karen Finley is well known for her confrontational monologues, often performed in clubs and bars, which exploit the stereotype of the hysterical woman to address the sexual and political taboos associated with femininity. Using a variety of unusual props, such as Jello, chocolate syrup, stuffed animals, and glitter, Finley provokes her audience into thinking about a range of repressions and contradictions in contemporary society. She gained mainstream attention when Congress questioned her NEA funding in the early 1990s.
Interview by Tom Jaremba.
Joan Fontcuberta was born in Barcelona in 1955. His work has been widely exhibited internationally. Fontcuberta uses photography as a conceptual medium, often testing the limits of the image’s credibility. Fauna (1987) and Sputnik (1997) take advantage of photography’s documentary quality to pose elaborate hoaxes. In recent work, Fontcuberta explores and criticizes the image and its proliferating sources with works such as Orogensis/Landscapes Without Memory (2002) and Googlegrams (2005).
The later 1950s and early 1960s saw the development and proliferation of radically new forms of dance driven by a desire to understand the essentiality of movement divorced from traditional, balletic and modern syntaxes. At the forefront of this new wave of performance was Simone Forti, an artist with a hand in both improvisational techniques and choreographed task-maneuvers. This interview details her exploration of each – with a particular focus on her earliest investigations into movement, owing to time spent under the study of Anna Halprin.
Hal Foster is Professor of Modern Art at Princeton University, and has written and edited numerous influential books on postmodernism, art, and culture. His books include Recodings: Art, Spectacle, Cultural Politics (1985); The Return of the Real: The Avant-Garde at the End of the Century (1996); and, as editor, The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture (1983); Vision and Visuality (1988); and Richard Serra (2000).
Interview by David Raskin.
A historical interview originally recorded in 2001 and re-edited in 2008.
Interviewed by Colin Westerbeck.
A historical interview originally recorded in 1987.
Coco Fusco is a Cuban-American artist and author who investigates race, gender, politics, and identity through installations, performances, video work, and writing. In her second On Art and Artists interview, Fusco discusses her recent works with Romi Crawford — an art historian at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago — and describes how she has evolved as a storyteller over her career.
Coco Fusco is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist and writer. She has performed, lectured, exhibited, and curated around the world since 1988. She is the author of English is Broken Here (The New Press,1995), The Bodies That Were Not Ours and Other Writings (Routledge/inIVA, 2001) and the editor of Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas (Routledge, 1999) and Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self (Abrams, 2003).
In this 2014 interview, South African artist Kendell Geers (b. 1968) discusses the function of magic, myth, and memory in his work. Beginning at childhood, Geers charts the path he has taken in his understanding of his own biography as a site of resistance. This interest in the use of personal biography culminated in 1993 with his decision to change his date of birth to May 1968 as a way to reference both the May 1968 student protests, and the fact that 1993 was the first year that South Africa had participated in the Venice Biennale since 1968.
In this 2002 interview, filmmaker Joe Gibbons (b.1953) discusses his early work and the path that led him to an interest in both narrative and experimental film. Gibbons recalls how exposure to P. Adams Sitney’s Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde while at Antioch College would compel him to begin making his own structural films. Describing his appreciation for the directness and immediacy of experimental filmmaking, Gibbons discusses a subject’s relationship with the camera as one characterized by intense intimacy.
The Guerilla Girls are an anonymous activist group who refer to themselves as “the conscience of the art world” and whose stated goal is to combat racism and sexism. Through posters, magazine ads, exhibitions, and panels, they have educated and agitated the art world with statistics on the under-representation of women and minorities in galleries, museums, and the press. This interview is conducted with three Guerrilla Girls, who appear adorned in their trademark gorilla masks to ensure their anonymity.
Interview by Carole Tormollan.
This extensive interview with California artist Doug Hall (b. 1944) provides unique insight into the culture and politics of experimental artistic production during the 1970s. Discussing the founding of the performance group TR Uthco, Hall offers context for his contribution to the field of video art, and shares stories of his collaborations with Ant Farm, Videofreex, and others. Ranging from his early years as an art student, to his romance with artist Diane Andrews Hall, to reflections on technology in art, this interview importantly extends the discourse surrounding topics of archive, performativity, and autobiography—subjects that have come to define the contours of video art today.