As told to Andy Campbell

  • interviews August 27, 2019

    Xandra Ibarra

    Kill your darlings: This perennial piece of writerly advice—as dramatic and violent in its associative logic as it is lazy in its deployment by workaday writing instructors and superstar seminar leaders—points to the challenges of revision and, by implication, the supposed hazards of attachment. The idiom implies that you wouldn’t have to kill your darlings (a certain haughtiness creeps in here) if you hadn’t let them wheedle their way into your emotional core in the first place. So: Don’t get attached.

    The work of Xandra Ibarra (AKA La Chica Boom) suggests that our darlings and s/heroes might

  • interviews January 22, 2016

    Jennifer Tyburczy

    Jennifer Tyburczy’s book Sex Museums: The Politics and Performance of Display (University of Chicago Press, January 2016) proposes that all museums have the potential to be sex museums—if a visitor approaches them right. An assistant professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Tyburczy was also the curator of “Irreverent: A Celebration of Censorship,” which was on view last year at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. Here, she discusses the genesis of her research and some of the unexpected surprises that come with doing work in sex museums.

    ONE OF

  • interviews December 29, 2015

    Mario Gooden

    “How does it feel to be a problem?” So begins a chapter titled “The Problem with African American Museums” in Mario Gooden’s new collection of essays, Dark Space: Architecture, Representation, Black Identity. By repeating the question with which W. E. B. Du Bois launched The Souls of Black Folk, Gooden locates himself in an illustrious lineage while highlighting the stasis that lets the query resonate as profoundly now as it did over a century ago. What follows is a subtle reading of a number of African American cultural institutions, a consideration of the politics they spatialize (sometimes

  • interviews March 09, 2015

    Melvin Edwards

    Over fifty years’s worth of work by sculptor Melvin Edwards is now on view at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. Well-known works from his ongoing “Lynch Fragments” series, 1963–, hang next to surprises—a roiling, hanging tumble of metal titled Cotton Hangup, 1966, for example, which was used as a prop in “Crazier than Cotton,” an episode of the anthology TV program Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater. “Melvin Edwards: Five Decades” runs through May 10, 2015.

    BETWEEN THE AGES OF SEVEN AND TWELVE I lived in Dayton, Ohio, home of the Wright Brothers. In those years the headquarters of the

  • interviews September 30, 2014

    George Herms

    LOVE is not just the word with which George Herms signs his work but an expression of a particular ethos. Well known in Beat generation poetry, art, and 1960s-era California Assemblage circles, he was also involved with Wallace Berman’s influential publication Semina. Herms speaks here about a series of recent collage works exhibited in “LOVE George Herms” at testsite in Austin, Texas, which are on view from September 7 to October 19, 2014, as well as the recent acquisition of his archives by the Getty Research Center.

    IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE STORYBOARD—isn’t that how the Bible starts out?

  • interviews March 12, 2014

    Igor Siddiqui

    Croatian-born architect and designer Igor Siddiqui identifies with the “not everything” approach to architecture—the notion that architects can make small, incisive contributions to larger projects rather than focusing solely on the big picture. Siddiqui speaks here about his latest innovation, the use of bioplastics in creating his architectural work, which is the focal point of his latest exhibition, “Igor Siddiqui: Protoplastic,” on view at TOPS Gallery, Memphis, from January 31 to March 29, 2014.

    I COOK MY BIOPLASTICS at home, which might seem to be a domesticated way of producing work, but

  • interviews February 24, 2014

    Yan Xing

    The Beijing- and Los Angeles–based artist Yan Xing is known for creating intricately staged installations, photographs, videos, and performances that play on registers of high camp, melodrama, and sincerity. For his recent solo exhibition at Galerie Urs Meile in Beijing, he presented new works including The Collectress, 2013, which is based on the novels and paintings of Duan Jianyu. “Yan Xing: Standard Exhibition,” his first solo show in Switzerland, runs from February 14 to April 12, 2014 at Galerie Urs Meile in Lucerne.

    THE PHYSICAL FRAMING of my work—the way it is presented to a public—is

  • interviews January 30, 2014

    Lauren Berlant

    Duke University Press recently published Sex, or The Unbearable, a long-form critical dialogue between theorists Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman. Through a series of close readings addressing the work of Larry Johnson, Miranda July, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and the short story “Break It Down” by Lydia Davis, the book examines the often unbearable pressures and cleavages sex can produce—for good and for ill. Berlant and Edelman variously mitigate and amplify the theoretical, structural, and vernacular ambivalencies of intimacy, collaboration, and collective life. Berlant states in the book’s

  • interviews October 17, 2011

    Judith Halberstam

    Judith Halberstam’s latest book, The Queer Art of Failure, is published this month by Duke University Press. She is a professor of English, American studies and ethnicity, and gender studies at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Here Halberstam discusses her methodological interest in the “silly archive,” a phrase borrowed from literary theorist Lauren Berlant, which Halberstam uses to denote the importance of seeking knowledge in all the wrong places: cartoons for children, horror films, Spongebob Squarepants, offbeat manifestos, and other low-cultural sites.


  • interviews September 28, 2011

    Mika Tajima

    Mika Tajima is a New York–based artist whose latest project, The Architect’s Garden, is on view until December 17 at the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Tajima’s site-specific installation is accompanied by a program of events, including a conversation she had with Richard Linklater, director of the 1991 film Slacker. Her latest body of work continues to excavate the social implications of contemporary built environments, and the concomitant development of particular kinds of human performers, such as the flaneur, the slacker, and the good worker.