David Velasco

  • interviews October 23, 2008

    AA Bronson

    Artist, curator, healer, and writer AA Bronson is the executive director of New York’s Printed Matter and the NY Art Book Fair. This year, the third annual fair, at Phillips de Pury, runs October 24–26, coinciding with the ARLIS/NY Contemporary Artists’ Books Conference, which takes place October 23–26. Here Bronson talks about artists’ books and the purview of the fair and conference.

    BECAUSE THE NY ART BOOK FAIR is a nonprofit fair, our idea from the beginning was to be as inclusive as possible: We wanted to include everything from Taschen to the independent, poverty-stricken artist. We gave

  • diary October 17, 2008

    Frieze Frame

    London

    “If any gallery tells you they’re doing well but their neighbors are doing poorly, don’t listen,” advised one veteran insider the night before the fair. “What it really means is that they’re the ones that are doing poorly.” Ruses, euphemisms, and circumspect sales pitches are the beloved lingo of every fair, even one as hip and unflappable as Frieze. Nobody was willing to rat out their neighbors this round (there’s always Miami), but many dealers admitted that they had arrived in London “expecting the worst”—though by the end of Wednesday, they also claimed that the worst was held at bay.

    At the

  • interviews October 05, 2008

    Edmund White

    A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Edmund White is widely known for his essays and novels on gay and artistic life, as well as for his biographies of prominent writers. In 1993, he published Genet: A Biography, for which he won the National Book Critics Circle Award. White’s brief Atlas biography Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel will be published October 9.

    RIMBAUD WAS a childhood hero of mine, and it was interesting to revisit him for this short biography. I found him less heroic as a person and maybe even more interesting as a writer. I think I wrote more about him as a

  • Burt Barr

    There’s not much to see in Burt Barr’s videos. His work’s visual terseness, along with its frequently droll content, can come off as a dead- pan sight gag. (Dolly Shot Twice, 2000, for example, runs with a double pun, comprising two dolly-shot pans across a character, presumably named “Dolly”—played by the artist Jessica Craig-Martin— who has been made up to appear as though she has been shot twice in the head.) In light of this, one is tempted to approach his work with an eye toward “getting” the essential joke, though such attempts to interpret the five laconic black-and-white videos that made

  • interviews September 30, 2008

    Catherine Opie

    Catherine Opie first came to prominence with her “Portraits,” 1993–97, a series of photographs documenting members of queer communities in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Since then, Opie has worked with a wide range of subjects, photographing everything from Los Angeles freeways to communities of surfers in Malibu and ice fishers in Minneapolis. Her midcareer survey, “Catherine Opie: American Photographer,” is on view at the Guggenheim Museum in New York September 26, 2008–January 7, 2009.

    I MOVED FROM Virginia to San Francisco in 1982, where I came out as a lesbian. I can’t imagine a better time

  • picks September 25, 2008

    Yang Fudong

    In her essay for a forthcoming catalogue on Yang Fudong, critic Molly Nesbit recalls how, as a young student at the China Academy of Art in the early 1990s, the artist encountered footage of Joseph Beuys’s 1974 man-meets-coyote romance I Like America and America Likes Me. Made in the wake of his epic five-part film Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest, 2003–2007, Yang’s latest video installation, the six-channel East of Que Village, 2007, gives evidence of a debt to Beuys’s parable. Here Yang leaves his beloved sophisticates far behind, turning his eye toward northern China’s bleak plains, a

  • interviews September 23, 2008

    Tere O'Connor

    For over twenty-five years, New York–based choreographer Tere O’Connor has been actively agitating for a nonnarrative, philosophical, and exploratory approach to dance and dance-making. O’Connor is also known as a mentor in the community and a frequent curator of dance at venues such as the Kitchen and Dance Theater Workshop in Chelsea. Here he discusses his reprise of Rammed Earth (2007), which runs September 24–28 at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York.

    RAMMED EARTH is an iteration of my idea that there are elisions between dance and architecture. Coming to terms with a piece of architecture

  • diary September 18, 2008

    Bund Traders

    Shanghai

    Pearl Lam was having trouble with her staff—or at least she was making a show of it, shouting from the kitchen, slamming doors, appearing occasionally to sulk in the doorway. For Pearl, the magnetic art wallah behind Shanghai’s influential Contrasts galleries, the world is both her stage and her oyster. (The New York Times recently proclaimed her a “Shanghai Auntie Mame,” while the local Tatler made the “Arts Party Lady” the cover model for its September issue.) Known for her large and lively dinners (she hosted one each of my first four nights in China) as much as for her ebullient attitude

  • “The Greenroom: Reconsidering the Documentary and Contemporary Art (Part 1)”

    Highlighting its perceived vogue in recent artmaking, curator Maria Lind has gathered more than forty artists to investigate some of the more perplexing questions raised by the form: Who narrates history? What constitutes the real?

    It should hardly surprise that generations bred on reality television, YouTube, and the films of Christopher Guest would find agency in the contested genre of “the documentary.” Highlighting its perceived vogue in recent artmaking, curator Maria Lind has gathered more than forty artists—including such increasingly familiar names as Michael Rakowitz, Hito Steyerl, and Omer Fast—to investigate some of the more perplexing questions raised by the form: Who narrates history? What constitutes the real? And how did a television show called Big Brother ever become a model for participatory democracy?

  • film September 01, 2008

    Carnal Knowledge

    JUST IN TIME for the back-to-school season, Criterion has reissued the DVD of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s pedantic bloodbath Salò, or 120 Days of Sodom (1975), an apologue so heavy-handed that it includes a syllabus in the opening credits. (Barthes, Blanchot, Beauvoir, and Klosswoski all make the list. The film just preceded the publication of Foucault’s first volume of The History of Sexuality [1976], otherwise it would have been a probable candidate.) Made just months before Pasolini was gruesomely murdered by a hustler who ran him over with his own car (though this story is currently in dispute),

  • Leigh Ledare

    A typewritten note describing the artist’s mother air-drying naked on a bed, postshower; a napkin on which his mother has scribbled things she would like to be (“a writer like Marguerite Duras and Anaïs Nin”); a grid of thirty-six photos of his mother playing with her labia; a page from a 1966 Seventeen magazine profile of his mother as a young ballerina; classified ads his mother placed in the Seattle Weekly seeking “a generous wealthy husband (not someone else’s) who wants his own private dancer.” In all, twenty-three works (images, texts, ephemera) made up “Pretend You’re Actually Alive,”

  • diary August 15, 2008

    Sugar Rush

    New York

    Fabulous interns made up the bulk of the crowd at last Saturday’s “secret opening reception” at Asia Song Society (ASS), Terence Koh’s compact, bi-level Chinatown art space. There were interns for Interview and V, for Matthew Barney and Yoko Ono, and a gaggle devoted to Ryan McGinley (both current and alums). Hans-Ulrich Obrist dropped by, too. (Perhaps his interns had other plans?)

    “Oh my God—all of these kids are in college. That makes me like forty,” pouted an obviously twenty-something artist, watching glumly as the juniors darted about sipping from bottles (with straps!) of Nicholas Feuillatte

  • interviews August 04, 2008

    Collier Schorr

    Collier Schorr was born and raised in Queens, but for many years, she has made a second home in Schwäbisch Gmünd, a town in southern Germany where, partially inspired by August Sander, she has set about making informal studies of the population. Last month, Schorr’s project “Freeway Balconies” opened at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, and on July 21, she opened an exhibition at the Villa Romana in Florence, primarily featuring works from a new series titled “Blumen.”

    I'VE COME TO Schwäbish Gmünd every summer for eighteen years. How I first got here is sort of uninteresting. I was traveling

  • interviews July 22, 2008

    Laurie Anderson

    Many people came to know Laurie Anderson through her 1980 song “O Superman,” which rose to number two on the British pop charts. Anderson has had an eclectic and wide-ranging career as an artist, developing music and multimedia performance works for numerous venues and films. In 2002, she became NASA’s first artist-in-residence, and in 2007, she was the recipient of the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. She will perform her latest work, Homeland, a “concert poem,” as part of the Lincoln Center Festival, July 22–26.

    HOMELAND HAS TAKEN all sorts of guises. Most things you write in the studio, and

  • interviews July 16, 2008

    Malcolm McLaren

    The artist, musician, designer, and impresario Malcolm McLaren is perhaps best known for his role as the manager of the Sex Pistols and Bow Wow Wow and for the mercurial clothing store on Kings Road that he founded in 1971 with Vivienne Westwood. From now through mid-August, Creative Time is presenting McLaren’s multimedia project “Shallow,” a series of “musical paintings,” on MTV’s HD screen in Times Square. McLaren is currently at work on a Broadway musical about the rise of Christian Dior’s fashion house and the emergence of pop culture after World War II.

    LAST FALL, some contemporary artists

  • interviews July 11, 2008

    Gillian Wearing

    Gillian Wearing came to international prominence as the winner of the Turner Prize in 1997, and also as one of the artists selected for Charles Saatchi’s exhibition “Sensation” that same year at the Royal Academy. Wearing works in a wide range of media, always provocatively plumbing the most ordinary human dramas for their extraordinary, often ironic, content. Her latest exhibition, “Pin-Ups,” is on view at Regen Projects in Los Angeles from July 12 to August 23, 2008.

    THE INSPIRATION FOR my latest project came from a statistic released in the UK last year that said that two-thirds of young

  • interviews July 06, 2008

    Matali Crasset

    Before launching her own studio in 1998, French designer Matali Crasset spent five years working for Philippe Starck, first in his studio and later as head of design at Thomson Multimedia. Last September, Crasset collaborated with the artist Peter Halley for an exhibition at Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris; she has plans to collaborate with Halley again next year at Cais Gallery in Seoul. Some of her recent major projects include design for the Hi-Hôtel in Nice, as well as for the temporary site of the Stedelijk Museum's–Hertogenbosch. Here she discusses some of her ideas on design and logics of living.

  • film June 18, 2008

    Lyon's Share

    “WHEN THE PRISONERS began to speak,” Michel Foucault told Gilles Deleuze during a 1972 conversation on power, “they possessed an individual theory of prisons, the penal system, and justice. It is this form of discourse which ultimately matters, a discourse against power, the counter-discourse of prisoners and those we call delinquents—and not a theory about delinquency.”

    To watch certain of Danny Lyon’s films is to read Discipline and Punish through the aperture of a camera. Lyon’s figures are more than just delinquents, though, more than subjects of an academic study (such that either of these

  • interviews June 16, 2008

    Neil Greenberg

    Neil Greenberg danced for Merce Cunningham from 1979 to 1986, when he left the company to pursue his own choreography. Greenberg has been known for his use of projected text in dance, as well as for making dances using material culled from videotaped sessions of himself improvising. His most recent work, Really Queer Dance with Harps, which features three harpists on stage concurrently with the dancers, is having its premiere at Dance Theater Workshop in New York, June 11–21. Here, Greenberg traces the trajectory of some of his ideas.

    THE FIRST PIECE I created that I really owned, in 1987, wasn’t

  • Susan Philipsz

    Many artists who use appropriation do so as a strategy for ironic commentary, parody, or critical reflection. Susan Philipsz is not among them. The reason has to do with her medium as much as her attitude: The forty-three-year-old Scottish artist is known for her a cappella renditions of well-known songs, recordings of which she typically installs in unfurnished, sometimes outdoor, locales. (She has played her “reinterpretations” of songs by such bands as Echo & the Bunnymen in the emptied galleries of the Malmö Konsthall, and a barcarole from the opera The Tales of Hoffman under a bridge in