Interviews

  • 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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  • 1000 WORDS: TIM HAWKINSON

    A Post-it note almost imperceptibly twitching on a page to mark time; a model sailing ship stretched full circle until bow and stern merge like a snake eating its tail; a skeleton assembled out of rawhide dog bones: Tim Hawkinson's work is always surprising. But with Überorgan he's outdone himself. A combination bagpipe, pipe organ, and player piano elegantly jury-rigged mostly out of materials you might find at your local Home Depot and Radio Shack, Überorgan is a behemoth sound-producing instrument. Its principal components are twelve Winnebago-size polyethylene bags lashed to the ceiling,

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  • 1000 WORDS: PAUL SIETSEMA

    WHILE DOING PRIMARY research for his most recent film, Empire, 2002, which took Clement Greenberg’s library as its thematic starting point, the Los Angeles–based artist Paul Sietsema started to collect scholarly books steeped in the milieu of midcentury modernism. As a result, he soon found himself amassing a vast bank of images from various disciplines, but what particularly piqued his interest were the numerous pictures of cultural artifacts he discovered. Indeed, seeking after a time to organize this trove of material—and establish his own relationship to it—he privately began comparing

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  • 1000 WORDS: TOM BURR

    THE WORKS IN “ADDICT-LOVE” suggest a push and pull of personae, types, and stylistic movements from throughout the twentieth century, and also my “curatorial” approach to appropriated materials. A number of characters populate the installation. I jump from the 1930s to the ’50s, and reference the ’70s and ’80s, like a rock skipping across the century. Chicks, 2008, is a large work comprising six white-railing pieces (as well as a circular smoked Plexiglas mirror, a vintage turntable, a vinyl recording of Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein’s opera Four Saints in Three Acts, and a ’70s Chanel dress)

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  • 1000 WORDS: HARRY DODGE AND STANYA KAHN

    “ONCE UPON A TIME, or maybe twice, there was an unearthly paradise,” begins the Beatles’s 1968 animated extravaganza, Yellow Submarine. As the opening line’s turn on the cliché suggests, visions of other worlds—past, future, or parallel—have popped up repeatedly throughout history as the shadow expression of an era’s collective unconscious. But these fantasies don’t easily divide into categories of utopic or dystopic. From the radioactive monsters in cold war sci-fi novels to the Blue Meanies that invade Pepperland, the nightmare that threatens civilization is what generates the dream

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  • 1000 WORDS: YVONNE RAINER

    ROUGHLY TWO YEARS ago I was in London visiting a friend who, for some reason, had recorded this BBC dramatization called Riot at the Rite (2005), a fictionalization of the making of The Rite of Spring. All the characters in the historical episode appear in it, from Stravinsky and Roerich to Nijinsky, and the story culminates on that night in 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris—with the dance performed for the BBC version, remarkably, by the Finnish National Ballet. The perspective cuts back and forth throughout between the stage and the riotous audience, which is fictional here,

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  • 1000 WORDS: CHARLES RAY

    CHARLES RAY DID IN FACT STEAL the thirty-two-foot-long fallen tree that inspired his recent sculpture Hinoki, just as rumor has it. After spotting the tree in a California field, Ray tried and failed to acquire it through legitimate channels. Not to be deterred, he returned to the site, chain saw in tow. Over a series of trips, he transported the tree, in hundreds of pieces, back to his studio in Los Angeles.

    Thus commenced Hinoki’s decadelong backstory—protracted even for Ray, who often spends years on his intricately fabricated sculptures in order to achieve just the right subtle-yet-delirious

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  • 1000 WORDS: FRANCESCO VEZZOLI

    GO AHEAD, ADMIT IT: You’re more than a little curious to see Francesco Vezzoli’s contribution to the new Italian Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale. If, for some, disclosing such curiosity might be a kind of quasi confession, it’s in part because Vezzoli’s last Venetian outing—Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal’s Caligula, 2005—has over the intervening years become something of an art-world guilty pleasure, an unrepentant consummation of art’s long and sometimes agonized courtship with the firmament of celebrity-addled spectacle. Sure, we’ve managed to carve out an amorphous critical space

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