Monday, May 11, 2009

Collab Fest 19 - 05.06.09

collab fest 19 was a public viewing of an episode of Art 21. the quotes in this post are from interviews available at the Art 21 site.

hoola hoop decoration and aerial silk ballet by beth deel and friends.

photographs by ralph eaton.

Nancy Spero: Maybe the strongest work I’ve done is because it was done with indignation. Considering myself as a feminist, I don’t want my work to be a reaction to what male art might be or what art with a capital A would be. I just want it to be art. In a convoluted way, I am protesting—protesting the usual way art is looked at, being shoved into a period or category. But I don’t want to tell anyone they have to do this or that. I do what I do, and I’m not standing up for women’s art. I just do what I do, and if people want to take something from it I’m thrilled because in a way that gets my message to the world.

An-My Lê: The kind of work that I make is not the standard political work. It’s not agitprop. You would think, because I’ve seen so much devastation and lived through a war, that I should make something that’s outwardly antiwar. But I am not categorically against war. I was more interested in drawing people into my work to think about the issues that envelop war—representations of war, landscape and terrain in war.

Alfredo Jaar: People describe me sometimes as a conceptual artist, as a political artist, with work of a strong political connotation or social content. I always reject those labels. I’m an artist, and believe it or not I’m interested in beauty and I’m not afraid of it. It is an essential tool to attract my audience, and sometimes I use it to introduce horror because the audience has to be seduced. If we learned anything from the activist art of the 1960s it is that when you make that kind of work people don’t even get close to you. They don’t want to see another drop of blood on the floor. So beauty becomes a tool to bring the audience in.

Jenny Holzer: It has always been hard for me to write, as I think it is for anyone who wants to write well. I was pleased to leave it, and I have no idea whether I’ll write again. One reason why I stopped was because I tend to write about ghastly subjects. So it’s not just the difficulty of having something turn out right, but it’s also the difficulty of staying with the material long enough to complete it. It’s necessary to be emotionally engaged when writing about these topics. It’s exhausting.
I know that my researchers and I have had to stop various times reading the material for these redacted paintings. Sometimes it’s a relief to come to the pages that are wholly blacked out because then for at least a page or so you don’t have to read what was there.