Miriam Katz

  • interviews December 20, 2016

    Pete Holmes

    Los Angeles–based comedian, actor, writer, and podcaster Pete Holmes could have been a youth pastor. Instead, he makes dumb jokes with deep meaning. Below, Holmes discusses his recent HBO comedy special Faces and Sounds, as well as his HBO TV series Crashing, produced by Judd Apatow, which premieres on February 19, 2017.

    BEFORE MY WIFE LEFT ME, I was already a comedian, but I didn’t really see an urgency to make people feel good or give people another perspective on the world. I was fine and everything seemed fine and I made a lot of light, observational humor, which was great—I still like that

  • interviews August 16, 2016

    Danielle Agami

    In 2010, after five years of performing with the Batsheva Dance Company, Danielle Agami left her native Israel and made her way to New York, where she introduced American students to “Gaga,” an improvised form of dance created by Batsheva artistic director Ohad Naharin. Two years later, she changed gears once again, this time making her way west, where she formed the Los Angeles–based dance company Ate9. Below, Agami discusses her choreographic process and ethos, including an embrace of both struggle and awkwardness, all of which may find its way into Ate9’s collaboration with the LA Philharmonic

  • diary November 09, 2014

    Supreme Being

    “FUCK THIS VIP SHIT—I want some real California dick!” cried a braless Bridget Everett as she made her way toward the general admission section of the crowd. Everett eventually found an object for her affection, a masked dandy she nicknamed “Corky” (cause he was “Down’s-y in the eyes”), whom she cajoled into playing a grown-up game of airplane, bearing the weight of her significant frame right there in the middle of the stage. Soon enough she was motorboating Peaches (the musician, not the fruit), forcing a security guard’s head up her dress, and crooning gorgeously about lady parts of various

  • diary February 01, 2014

    Riot On!

    “GUYS, you just saw a baby deer bouncing through the forest for the first time—how am I supposed to follow that?” It was 1 AM on a Friday night in a packed dive bar during the second annual RIOT Alternative Comedy Festival in Los Angeles, and a very stoned Guy Branum was sending up Whitmore Thomas’s endearingly sloppy performance at the “Midnight Run” show, for which comedians get extremely high (in Thomas’s case, for the first time ever) just before stepping onstage. (Audience imbibement was also encouraged; this was California, after all.)

    The event was quintessentially RIOT, a four-day

  • diary October 10, 2013

    A Supposedly Funny Thing

    “IT FEELS LIKE we’ve inserted a bizarre multiverse within the ship.” Comedian Kurt Braunohler and I stood on the aft of the Royal Caribbean cruise liner, gazing out at some heat lightning scarring the horizon on the third and final evening of the Atlantic Ocean Comedy & Music Festival (aka “boatparty.biz”), masterminded by the Maximum Fun network of podcasts. Indeed, our group of 250 tattooed, Twitter-literate, tech-savvy weirdos did stick out from the other 90 percent of RC passengers (the “normals,” as they were fondly dubbed), who seemed to view us with a mixture of curiosity and confusion.

  • diary August 12, 2013

    Laugh Track

    “DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW LUCKY YOU ARE? I’m eighty years old—I could die at any moment,” bellowed Joan Rivers to a crowd of five thousand during the 2013 Just For Laughs festival in Montreal. “Never mind all this shitty comedy. You’d be invited to dinner for the rest of your lives: ‘You were there?!’”

    Well, no such luck. If there was a whiff of death, it’s because Rivers killed onstage, crawling around in a royal purple sequin robe as she attacked celebrities, derided her aging body and mind, and invoked a range of ethnic slurs with refreshing equanimity (“everybody’s something, calm down already”).

  • diary July 19, 2013

    Just for Fun

    FOR YEARS NOW I’ve heard about MaxFunCon, a mythical mountain retreat for comedy creators and lovers in Lake Arrowhead, California. Instead of a “fan con” where people migrate to some loathsome locale to froth and idolize with like-minded genuflectors, MFC, organized by the Maximum Fun network of podcasts founded by NPR host Jesse Thorn, encourages attendees to actually do what they love, offering classes and workshops in subjects ranging from animation to improvisation. For those of us who in fact enjoy a bit of adulating, there are also lectures and performances by some of the greatest talents

  • interviews August 26, 2012

    Amanda Palmer

    Last April former lead singer of the Dresden Dolls Amanda Palmer launched a month-long Kickstarter campaign to fund an album, a book, an art exhibition, and a live music tour. Here, the performer discusses the successes of the campaign, which raised over one million dollars, as well as the intersection between art and business. Palmer’s album, Theater Is Evil, will be released September 11 and her year-long, world-wide tour begins September 10.

    A LOT OF THE DRESDEN DOLLS BAND PHILOSOPHY was about inviting people on stage and getting them into the circus. It’s the same on the Internet— I like to

  • diary August 09, 2012

    Funny Business

    “IF YOU WERE being raped and you saw a shooting star, would you use your wish to stop the rape? Or would you look at the bigger picture?”

    The question came courtesy of twenty-four-year-old LA-based comedian Jerrod Carmichael during his set at the cozy Théâtre Sainte Catherine in downtown Montreal. I had arrived from the airport just hours before for the final week of the monthlong, annual Just for Laughs festival. The latest iteration, the fest’s thirtieth, featured dozens of shows per night in bars, tents, strip clubs, and opera houses radiating outward from the crowded Place-des-Arts.

    Given the

  • interviews July 13, 2012

    William Wegman

    Throughout his career, William Wegman has consistently created drawings, paintings, photographs, and videos about and within the natural world. From July 13 to October 21, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art will present “Hello Nature,” an exhibition featuring some thirty years of work inspired by Maine, where the artist spends his summers. Here Wegman discusses his long-standing relationship with nature and how it has influenced his work.

    I GREW UP IN RURAL WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS in the 1940s and ’50s in an era when parental supervision wasn’t so important. We didn’t have play dates. We were on

  • interviews December 03, 2011

    Ann Liv Young

    Since graduating from Hollins University’s dance program in 2003, Ann Liv Young has riled and thrilled audiences with her performances. Integrating music, movement, and direct engagement, in recent years Young has begun to make work that leans more toward improvisation than choreography. Here the artist discusses her alter ego Sherry, the subject of a “mid-career retrospective” (in Young’s first solo gallery exhibition). “Sherry Is Present” opens at Louis B. James in New York on December 7.

    “SHERRY” IS A TOOL that I made when I was pregnant. I thought, “How am I going to make art and support a

  • Nathalie Djurberg

    In Nathalie Djurberg’s frenzied stop-motion animations, even innocuous actions—a kiss, a lick— quickly turn violent.

    In Nathalie Djurberg’s frenzied stop-motion animations, even innocuous actions—a kiss, a lick—quickly turn violent. The crude, childlike appearance of the Swedish artist’s handmade figures and environments renders her work all the more sinister and unsettling. For “The Parade,” her largest exhibition in an American museum to date, Djurberg explores the social psychology of birds—their mating rituals, flocking patterns, and territorial displays—with eighty-five freestanding mixed-media sculptures and five films (all of which are synced to one incongruously

  • interviews June 18, 2011

    Clifford Owens

    Clifford Owens’s upcoming exhibition at MoMA PS1 comes out of his long-standing interest in what he considers to be underacknowledged histories of performance art. Rather than reperforming works or simply exhibiting documentation, Owens will interpret and embody twenty-five scores provided by contemporary African-American artists. Public performances at the museum throughout the summer (including events on June 19, June 25, and July 29) will generate the raw material for the works on view in “Anthology,” which opens November 13.

    I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT THIS PROJECT since my graduate studies in

  • interviews June 29, 2010

    Reggie Watts

    Reggie Watts’s comedic-musical performances tend to confound his audiences for long stretches of time, leaving them anchorless as he futzes senselessly with sound equipment, or morphs from one absurdist character to another. Here, Watts muses about his use of abstraction and channeling, providing a glimpse at the freedom inherent in his process of improvisation. The artist performs on July 1 at Le Poisson Rouge in New York, on the occasion of the release of his CD/DVD Why S#!+ So Crazy?

    PEOPLE USUALLY END UP THINKING, What the fuck is he doing? At some point in a set I’ll start doing stuff that’s

  • interviews December 09, 2009

    Ronnie Bass

    Ronnie Bass’s exhibition “The Astronomer, Part 1: Departure from Shed” at Marginal Utility in Philadelphia comprises a video, a sculpture of a fountain, and a live performance, which relay a narrative about an astronomer, his assistant, and a man under a blanket. Below, Bass discusses the video and the process of composing its simple, emotive score. The exhibition is on view through January 10.

    THE CHARACTERS in my work are all pretty similar. There are slight differences, but they’re basically just an exaggeration of who I am. They all have my interests, too. Like the astronomer in this video,

  • interviews May 05, 2009

    Carey Young

    Employing the structures and tropes of corporate and legal systems, Carey Young frequently implicates viewers in playful yet unnerving participatory actions. To enter her 2005 exhibition at Paula Cooper Gallery, visitors were required to sign away the copyrights to a set of their own fingerprints. With the help of a top-notch legal team, the artist also delineated a zone of the gallery where the US Constitution did not apply. Here Young discusses her first solo museum exhibition in the States, which opens at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis on May 8.

    “SPEECH ACTS” WILL FEATURE a series of

  • interviews April 08, 2009

    Wynne Greenwood

    Infused with a solid dose of humor and feminist theory, Wynne Greenwood’s sculptures, videos, and live performances collapse sonic, linguistic, and visual hierarchies in an effort to incite personal and political transformation. Here the artist talks about her latest project, Sister Taking Nap, a performance presented from April 15 to 19 as part of the thirtieth anniversary of Seattle’s On the Boards.

    THE DIFFERENT ELEMENTS OF SISTER TAKING NAP––sculptural set pieces, prerecorded sound and video, and live performance––interact with one another to tell the story of hearing one’s instinct and making

  • Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

    Mexican-born Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States will cast his audience as star, presenting five works that evolve in response to the public’s interactions with them.

    Mexican-born Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States will cast his audience as star, presenting five works that evolve in response to the public’s interactions with them. Each of the one hundred hanging lightbulbs in the installation Pulse Room, 2006, blinks at a rate determined by a museumgoer’s heartbeat; two works from his “Shadow Box” series combine the spectator’s visage, displayed on an LCD monitor, with saved footage of hundreds of previous passersby; and in 33 Questions Per Minute, Relational Architecture 5,

  • Elizabeth Peyton

    Titled “Portrait of an Artist,” this show will shift our gaze from the embellished glamour of Elizabeth Peyton's oils to the more straightforward look of her snapshots, providing a candid peek at her famously moody muses.

    For the past decade and a half, Elizabeth Peyton has painted an attractive set of artists and musicians—Tony Just, Nick Relph, Jarvis Cocker, and the like—as idealized icons complete with pale skin, rouged cheeks, and pursed crimson lips. Perhaps prompted by Peyton's habitual use of photographs as source material, this exhibition features fifty color prints taken by the artist since 1994—including an especially tender image of DJ Ben Brunnemer napping in a German train car—and marks the most comprehensive survey of her work in the medium to date. Titled “Portrait of an

  • picks August 06, 2007


    This gallery is currently emanating some seriously positive vibes. Upon entering “NeoIntegrity,” a group exhibition curated by artist Keith Mayerson, viewers are immediately flanked by emblems of love—on the left by Lisa Kirk’s Hope’s Tree, 2007, a copper beech into which is carved a heart dedicated to the artist's mother, and on the right by the late Wendy Moore’s photograph of a traffic sign–turned–amorous missive, Can’t Stop Loving You, 1994. Emotions continue to soar throughout this densely packed 190-artist show.

    In an assembly this large, there are bound to be some misses, yet despite the