Interviews

  • William Cordova

    Earlier this year, William Cordova, whose artwork frequently references human rights struggles, organized two exhibitions for Ingalls & Associates in Miami. One, titled “Casa de Carton,” features an intergenerational range of contemporary artists, and the other, “Up Against the Wall,” the photographs of journalist Ilka Hartmann. Both exhibitions will open at Branch Gallery in Durham, North Carolina, on Friday, June 20. Here Cordova discusses Hartmann’s work.

    TWO YEARS AGO, while doing research into commonalities across various radical groups of the late 1960s and early ’70s, I gradually realized

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  • 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

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  • Jane and Louise Wilson

    Last summer, Jane and Louise Wilson unveiled their sound installation The Silence Is Twice as Fast Backwards, commissioned for the exhibition “Reconstruction #2” at the Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe, UK. On June 14, the sisters will present this work along with two series of photographs as part of their fourth exhibition at 303 Gallery in New York. Here they discuss the making of the piece.

    ELLIOTT MCDONALD AND MOLLIE DENT-BROCKLEHURST invited us to participate in an exhibition last year at Sudeley Castle, where much of the work was to be site-specific. Mollie was interested in having an artist

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  • Saâdane Afif

    The French artist Saâdane Afif, who lives and works in Berlin, will have his first museum survey this summer at Witte de With in Rotterdam. The exhibition, titled “Technical Specifications,” opens on June 13. Here he discusses the show.

    NICOLAS SCHAFHAUSEN AND ZOË GRAY invited me to survey a decade’s worth of my work. Soon after I saw the symmetrical rooms my show will inhabit at Witte de With, I knew I didn’t want to present a straightforward overview of my practice but instead wanted to structure the exhibition playfully. I wanted to challenge myself. But explaining it requires me to back up

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  • 1000 WORDS: MARIA LASSNIG

    MARIA LASSNIG

    OVER THE YEARS, I have been involved with a lot of isms. They don’t simply disappear, of course, but are somehow still present even in my most recent pictures. I am, so to speak, eclectic within my own oeuvre, selecting things from the various isms that I mix into something new. I have been working long enough to establish my own tradition, from realism through Surrealism, art informel, automatism, and I don’t know how many other isms. I had to go through all of that—just imagine that I knew nothing about any of these movements when I studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Art at

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  • Brian O'Doherty

    On May 20, after thirty-six years of presenting his art under the name Patrick Ireland, the Irish artist Brian O’Doherty reclaimed his birth name with the symbolic burial of his alter ego in the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Here he discusses the project.

    WHEN THE BRITISH SHOT down thirteen unarmed civil rights marchers in the city of Derry in January 1972, I was in New York. I thought, What the hell can I do? I decided that if I changed my name to Patrick Ireland and signed my works by that name alone, it would be a provocation, a statement. Every time I exhibited, it would give me

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  • 1000 WORDS: ED RUSCHA

    PERHAPS THEY WOULD PREFER to forget the past and enjoy the present (whose transience they are so much more aware of than younger colleagues), but circumstances conspire to make successful artists of a certain age dwell on their history: retrospective exhibitions, monographs, compilations of writings and interviews, the queries of art historians for whom each speck of memory might be the one that yields a dissertation chapter—such things make it inevitable that, willy-nilly, the artist finds his own past increasingly occupying his attention. I DON’T WANT NO RETRO SPECTIVE, an Ed Ruscha

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  • 1000 WORDS: JASON RHOADES

    It’s hard to imagine anything that wouldn’t be grist for Jason Rhoades’ artistic mill. At times he seems to want to swallow the world of things in a single gulp, the way you might an oyster on the half shell. At the Nürnberg Kunsthalle, the LA-based artist has mounted his hungriest show to date, “The Purple Penis and the Venus (Installed in the Seven Stomachs of Nürnberg). As Part of The Creation Myth.” Treating the institution’s seven rooms as a mammoth digestive system, he’s arranged his earlier works in a drama of cosmic bulimia.

    When I met up with with Rhoades this summer to discuss his work

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  • 1000 WORDS: TOBIAS REHBERGER

    A guy wants a classic suit and goes out to get one. Maybe he thinks he’s found the ideal cut. But years later he takes another look at his sample of eternal beauty and the whole thing seems grotesque. Maybe the lapels are too wide, or the color seems off. My work deals with these mechanisms. What at one time is seen as a classic form—something neutral or even timeless—is a construction. I’m interested in this whole process. I want to look at the context in which aesthetic values arise.

    Things can often be seen from more than one vantage, and I like to retain those possibilities. My

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  • 1000 WORDS: CARSTEN HÖLLER

    Being something of a specialist on playgrounds myself, I can assure you that Carsten Höller’s two slides (Valerio I and Valerio II, both 1998) at Berlin’s Kunst-Werke are quite effective and also unusually fast. It’s fun to take the slide instead of the stairs, and its amusing to see others shoot out from one of the curved cylinders. However, what first attracted my interest wasn’t so much the slides themselves, as a small drawing with the fascinating German title Hochhausrutschbahnverbindungen (Slide connections between skyscrapers), which convincingly adds a visionary dimension to the works.

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  • 1000 WORDS: FRANZ WEST

    Listening to the Viennese artist Franz West speak about the viewer’s relation to the art object, I was instantly taken back to an unpleasant experience I had as a boy in Vienna. As I was trying to get a closer look at a painting in the Kunsthistorisches Museum (I think it was a Brueghel), a stentorian voice came out of nowhere: Step back! Obviously, museums all over the world have to keep visitors from touching the objects, but nowhere is the method as frightening as in Vienna. Since West’s art is all about touching the works, I can’t help but see it as a reaction to these scary Viennese museum

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  • 1000 WORDS: ZOE LEONARD

    ZOE LEONARD

    I see this tree from my back window. I’ve had the same apartment for eighteen years, and I’ve watched this tree grow up and around the fence. I’m amazed at how, over time, it has absorbed the fence into its body.

    In 1994, I started spending time in Alaska. The first time, I stayed six months. I returned in 1995 and lived up there alone for a year and a half in Eagle, a small village on the Yukon River. I got interested in the idea of subsistence—of living more directly from my own labor. I heated with wood, hauled my own water, and gathered and grew some of my food. Gradually, my

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