A Buried Interview

April 20th, 2013 § 0 comments

Artists Space Books - Talks

Sitting down in the slightly damp, roomy space on 55 Walker Street with the soft-spoken, mild mannered, but extremely articulate curator of Artists Space and the new Books & Talks venue, we discussed the goals of the new program, and how it fits into the ongoing relationship between art and verbiage. 

Tell me a bit about yourself…

Richard Birkett- I am the curator of Artists Space and I’ve been in New York for a couple of years now. I moved from London a few years ago, and have a background as an artist. I had a studio practice in London for a while, but I gravitated more and more toward curating.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Personal Libraries & Pawel Althamer

October 13th, 2011 § 0 comments

The nice thing about being a book critic, aside from getting to read books that you normally wouldn’t read (or wouldn’t want to read), is that you get to keep them, and therefore build a library. I’ve been getting spoiled lately, wishing I had more books than I actually have, while moving the ones I’ve amassed between several different bookshelves. A while back we created a dedicated book area that now seems to be expanding to other walls and shelves, and I’m already dreaming of the day when one whole area is filled only with art books. The appeal is not just to have them, however, though some are pretty, but to also use them. Currently researching for a review on Eva Hesse, I keep wishing that I had a good collection of writing by the minimalists or Judd, who wrote highly and often about her work. A somewhat forgotten woman in a generation of male sculptors, I keep finding archived articles in the New York Times with titles like “Eva Who?”

» Read the rest of this entry «

Published—Van Gogh and Vampires

August 4th, 2011 § 1 comment

A part of me wishes that Centerpieces, the latest book by the author Penelope Przekop, and the subject of my latest book review, had actually been what it promised: a historical fiction about Van Gogh. I would have enjoyed it more if it had even reminded me of Van Gogh, his art or life. A cliché artist now as part of the Impressionist/Post-Impressionist pack, he is always an appealing painter. I still remember the old portfolio of Van Gogh prints I discovered during my childhood, hidden away in my mother’s closet. I don’t know where they came from, but finding a whole collection of poster size prints was like finding gold. She let me take them, and for a large part of my childhood colorful, swirling portraits in careful rotation filled my bedroom walls. I’d lie in bed staring at them when I’d take breaks from doing schoolwork. When I started dancing my mother bought me a beautiful Degas print of a little dancer tying her shoe, and framed it on my wall. It’s not terribly surprising that I found myself taking both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism in undergrad, where I learned about the dark personalities that made such colorful and seemingly cheery paintings. Both movements were full of moody, brooding men with devoted families they didn’t love. Instead of any of this, however, Przekop gave us vampires, pharmaceuticals, and awkward writing.

Published—Reviewing Art Books

June 9th, 2011 § 0 comments

My new job with a second new publisher, the sassy and opinionated art blog called Hyerallergic, is to be a weekly (or bi-weekly) art book critic. Starting out with a review of a very accessible, short essay in the exhibition catalog for a rather dull show at MoMA on South African prints, I realized two things very quickly: reading takes far, far long than writing, and 800 words, when you are regurgitating (or assessing) another writer’s essay, is a lot longer than you think. My inability to keep within a certain word count is a constant struggle, but is only a struggle when I actually have a lot to say. Working on this new project I could feel myself sometimes fighting that schoolgirl desire to expand and elaborate for the sake of making something longer. It’s a different format for me, as talking about art through books, a visual medium described in glossy pictures and obtuse words, is not what artists, I included, do best. I welcome the challenge, however, and hope I can learn how scholarly critics write through reading their essays.

An Imagined Sacrifice: McCarthy’s Road

November 16th, 2009 § 0 comments

“How does the never to be differ from what never was?”

The Road seems like the kind of book that requires little explanation and needs no context. I knew before reading it that Cormac McCarthy’s last son was a young child when he wrote the book—it is dedicated to him—and that he was born when McCarthy was in his 60’s or 70’s, but I actually forgot these personal inspirations while I was reading the novel. The Road is a contemporary revival of the classic father and son journey narrative, but more than that the book questions and explores a father’s self-sacrificing love, and to what extent and under what circumstances that love can be maintained. It does not seem to be a story about McCarthy and his son, or even about a real father and his son, but more an imagined speculation of all that a paternal love could entail. The Road is not literally about a dark and desolate projected future for mankind, a post-apocalyptic wasteland, it is a nightmarish story born of parental anxiety.

“I wash a dead man’s brains out of [my son’s] hair. That is my job. Then he wrapped him in the blanket and carried him to the fire.”

» Read the rest of this entry «

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Books category at Escaping Artist.