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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6 Years: Death & Objecthood

September 17th, 2012 § 0 comments

With every year that passes I try my best to negotiate a new kind of truce with your death, to find peace in the lingering and everlasting grief, and each year it’s a different kind of truce. Six years now—I can hardly believe it—since you shattered my 22-year-old world, one that was cozily wrapped up in a kind of childish innocence about what life could, would, or should be. My childhood ended, and all things associated with it, mainly my youthful marriage, that lonely day years ago when you left. It’s not the immediate heartbreak of grief that scars us, but living with it year after year that leaves traces we can’t erase. Like the slow process of aging, the subtle shifts in our body’s abilities, loss etches lines that are just as permanent.

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Art School & Arguing

July 15th, 2012 § 1 comment

It was pointed out to me recently that I love to argue, and that I tend to engage with every subject like it’s worth the serious critical thought I give it. My poor rebuttal to this observation was, “well at least it makes things interesting!” The incredulous look on my friends face seemed to say something along the lines of, “what’s wrong with a little silence once in a while?”

Realizing shortly after the words had left his mouth that he was right, I wondered what happened. After all, I was that silent child playing by myself in the backyard for the first ten to fifteen years of my life. My first thought was that it must be some kind of family trait. We used to tell my older brother that he should become a lawyer because of his gift for arguing his way out of chores. Then I realized something much more obvious was to blame; art school.

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The Return of Photographs

January 15th, 2012 § 0 comments

The final months of 2011 were good for writing, and good for my photography. Prolifically shooting while in South America, switching between lenses I borrowed that allowed me much more freedom than my own kit lens, I finally had a reason to edit and publish my images—I’d promised my editor a few art related photo essays while on vacation. It was an excuse, really, to do what I would have done anyway, and that extra motivation I need to get the images edited and published. I’m thinking of turning all my vacations into business ventures, or things I can get paid to write about later, and have my sights set on the upcoming art biennale in Havana, Cuba this May—with four weeks of paid vacation this year, travel options are much less restrictive than in the past.

Though I am very detailed in my research while writing here at home, I found I was much less committed to getting the necessary information while away, perhaps understandably, though it’s something I’ll have to work on in the future to save myself hours of Google time later. While in South America I covered street art in Rio de JaneiroBuenos Aries, and a show about India at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil. My piece on street art in BA was tweeted by MoMA as a “great read,” and as a result was read, looked at, liked, reposted, and retweeted by more people than have looked at anything I’ve done, ever. That particular piece is also going to be republished by the online magazine Global Graffiti sometime in February.

As usual 2011 was brought to a close by Patti Smith, who gave one of the least impressive performances I’ve ever seen her give, leaving me to think perhaps her 65 birthday was too much for her to handle. I wrote a piece about the show nonetheless, and I’ve got a good feeling about 2012—it’s going to be a damn productive year.

South America—Rio de Janeiro

December 15th, 2011 § 0 comments

Nothing about South America is what I expected. It’s a huge continent, and you can’t hop from country to country like you can in Europe; it took four hours just to fly from Brazil to Argentina. There are entry fees and visa’s required, which seems exciting until you actually have to pay them or get one. Because you have to fly everywhere you want to visit, I had to ask (and then pretend to be) a travel agent what would be a doable two-week trip. I had to fight my instincts for months while I planned, otherwise we would have covered all of South America in fourteen days. When the trip was finally narrowed down to Brazil and Argentina, the debate over Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo began. It’s hard to ‘pick’ a city when you don’t really know what it is you’re picking, but I chose Rio on the advice of a good friend. In the end I planned what was probably the most reasonable vacation of my life: one week in Rio, and one week in Buenos Aires.

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