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.

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Published—Interviewing Roxy Paine

December 2nd, 2010 § 0 comments

I’m almost glad that my first interview was with an artist who was unfamiliar to me as it made interviewing Roxy Paine seem almost easy. I spent weeks researching Viola, reading his book and anything else I could get my hands on, trying to commit to memory his extensive body of work. Roxy, in his early forties, is a familiar artist with a familiar story. Still young by art world standards, there has not been too much written about his work, and having written about him before I had already read most of what has been published. Gregory Volk wrote with a new article on Paine in last months Art in America, where Roxy seemed be to the flavor of the month. Being familiar with the artist’s work makes you less reliant on what other people have said about it in the past. Paine was easygoing and easy to talk to, sipping a cappuccino as we spoke. Learning from npr I know now to let my subjects simply talk, to let them answer my questions in their own way and at their own pace, which oddly gives you more control of the conversation instead of less. I have also found out that you don’t have to affirm everything they might say. This interview was less planned, but I still knew what I wanted to ask, and what I hoped to sneak in before the end. I think it went well, and I know I felt much better about it afterward.

Published-Interviewing Bill Viola

November 24th, 2009 § 0 comments

Learning to speak up happens in stages.

In undergrad I spent my time listening acutely during critiques to those professors and students who had already mastered the art of bullshit, articulation, and the clever dissection of ideas and artwork. In graduate school I became the conversation starter, enjoying how interesting conversations can be when you direct where they go. Teaching became another kind of public speaking stress, where you are expected to know in advance the correct answer to every unexpected problem. Presenting your work to an audience is a challenge as your voice is the only voice, and when it reaches a deadend there is nothing but your own desire to avoid embarrassment to redirect it. Interviewing an artist is stressful in a completely new way, being an odd combination of planned questions and improvised discussion. Avoiding the nervous trap that prevents from happening what should be an easy conversation about something both parties know a good deal about, seems key. It was a special kind of torture to slowly transcribe this 45-minute interview, as I heard every verbal blunder, stutter, and hesitation more times than I ever dreamed of having to. In the end it was a fantastic experience, and when whittled down to its core, a good interview.

Bill Viola

Viola Interview

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