Interview

A. D. Coleman started writing regularly on photography in 1967 for the Village Voice, at a time when very few critics took the medium seriously. His work, according to Joel Eisinger, qualified him as perhaps "the first postmodernist critic" in the field. After his tenure at the Voice, Coleman became the first photography critic at The New York Times, and has since published in numerous publications internationally on mass media, communication technologies, art, and photography.

Robert Colescott paints expressive parodies of Western masterpieces. His work—which has transformed Leutze’s George Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851) into George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware (1975), Van Gogh’s The Potato Eaters (1885) into Eat Dem Taters, (1975), and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) as Les Demoiselles d’Alabama (1985)—deals with stereotypes and the role of blacks in American culture.

Interview by Jim Johnson.

Satoshi Uchiumi, Japanese abstract painter, believes that the beauty of painting lies within paint itself. He has pursued beauty by painting thousands of colored dots. He has also become known for his ability to highlight the relationship between the artwork, the exhibition space, and the viewer.

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

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.

Jim Dine (b. 1935) first emerged as an avant-garde artist creating Happenings and performances with Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg, and others in the early 1960s. Ultimately, he rejected the performances that led to his early success in favor of an introspective search for identity. Using banal objects as subjects for his paintings and prints, Dine displayed a growing sense of self-awareness.

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.

Jonas Dos Santos is a performance and installation artist from Brazil who came to the U.S. in 1968. His early work consisted of sculptural pieces in atypical spaces—caves and parks. His work remains informed by Brazilian iconography and rituals such as Carnival while also integrating responses to American culture’s tendency toward waste. His work, in particular his performance art, comes out of improvisation and intuition. This video incorporates still images of Dos Santos’s sculptures and footage of his performances.

Interview by Toni Rosato.

Rackstraw Downes’s “observation” paintings, executed on-site at ponds, intersections, and baseball parks, began as a mischievous response to the dogma of style and modernist criticism.

“There was a tremendous intellectual back-up, essentially against a lot of the figurative painting being done in the ’60s,” Downes says in this interview with Robert Storr. “If I show my slides in an art school I’ll get, 'Your paintings are very nice but how can you go backwards from Cézanne?’”

Painter/mixed media artist David Dunlap creates installations and performances that draw from the notebooks he has kept since the mid-’70s—giving three-dimensional, public form to his intimate thoughts and diaries. He lives and works in Iowa City, where he is a professor of art at the University of Iowa.

Cherokee-American artist Jimmie Durham has worked in performance since the mid-’60s. In the ‘70s, he immersed himself in activism, working for Native American rights as part of the American Indian Movement. In the ‘80s, his focus returned to producing art in multiple forms—performance, poetry, and mixed-media visual works—that consider Native American identity and critique American domestic colonialism. He has also published numerous critical essays.

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.

Eileen, 2000

This video is an unabashed fan letter to poet Eileen Myles. As in Laurie, my desire was to romanticize the poet, but not through her writing so much as through her reputation as the natural born child of the New York School and the Beats. I shot the movie as I imagined Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie shooting Pull My Daisy, a film that left an impression on me chiefly of the struggle between form and formlessness, plan and improvisation, sketch and story.

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.

Encounters I May Or May Not Have Had With Peter Berlin deals primarily with monumentality, narcissism and the ways in which our heroes are embedded into our identities, and manifested through the body. Through a variety of gestures, the pervasiveness of this practice is highlighted alongside its ultimate, inevitable failure. The viewer moves through various stages of anxiety, idolization and actual touchdown with 1970s gay sex icon Peter Berlin himself, capturing both the apparent and the hidden.

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.

Consisting of 13 brief spots, Experience: Perception, Interpretation, Illusion features works by artists included in a Pasadena Armory exhibition. Curator Noel Korten explains that the artists in the show have all reached mid-career and are now less concerned with expanding the boundaries of contemporary art than on reflecting back on culture through their own perspectives. Artists include Karen Carsen, John Outterbridge, Michael C.

Southern California visual artist Jud Fine seeks to promote democracy in art—the idea that anyone can be an artist. This video presents the artist and his work in a style that reflects the multi-layered dimensions of his artwork.

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.

Reverend Howard Finster was a preacher-turned-folk artist. He created Paradise Gardens Park & Museum, a product of all his murals, drawings, sculptures, and mosaics—and Summerville, Georgia’s largest tourist attraction. He began Paradise Gardens around 1961; in 1976 he responded to a vision to paint sacred art. As this video begins, Finster is painting with his hands in his studio. Finster then embarks on his first visit to New York City and comments upon his exhibition at Phyllis Kind Gallery. He spins rhythmic narratives that turn into miniature sermons.

Eric Fischl's early works were large-scale abstract paintings. While teaching in Nova Scotia, Fischl began to shift from abstraction to smaller, image-oriented paintings, beginning with narrative works that investigated a fisherman's family. By the time Fischl left Halifax the narrative element was gone, but the subject of family melodrama remained. In the '80s Fischl's large figurative paintings, aggressive in their confrontation with the viewer, began to receive attention.