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Every Image Tells a Story.

Take Classes in San Francisco or Online Student artwork by Safi Kolozsvari, School of Fine Art - Painting Academy of Art University | Founded in San Francisco 1929 | 888.680.8691 | | Yellow Ribbon Participant Visit to learn more about total costs, median student loan debt, potential occupations and other information. Accredited member WSCUC, NASAD, CIDA (BFA-IAD, MFA-IAD).




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Yuji Ueno’s Performance at Pivot Art & Culture, Seattle, Photo by Ian Bates











































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JUXTAPOZ ISSN #1077-8411 NOVEMBER 2016 VOLUME 23, NUMBER 11 Published monthly by High Speed Productions, Inc., 1303 Underwood Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124–3308. © 2016 High Speed Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in USA. Juxtapoz is a registered trademark of High Speed Productions, Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in articles are those of the author. All rights reserved on entire contents. Advertising inquiries should be directed to: Subscriptions: US, $29.99 (one year, 12 issues) or $75.00 (12 issues, first class, US only); Canada, $75.00; Foreign, $80.00 per year. Single copy: US, $6.99; Canada, $6.99. Subscription rates given represent standard rate and should not be confused with special subscription offers advertised in the magazine. Periodicals Postage Paid at San Francisco, CA, and at additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 0960055. Change of address: Allow six weeks advance notice and send old address label along with your new address. Postmaster: Send change of address to: Juxtapoz, PO Box 884570, San Francisco, CA 94188–4570. The publishers would like to thank everyone who has furnished information and materials for this issue. Unless otherwise noted, artists featured in Juxtapoz retain copyright to their work. Every effort has been made to reach copyright owners or their representatives. The publisher will be pleased to correct any mistakes or omissions in our next issue. Juxtapoz welcomes editorial submissions; however, return postage must accompany all unsolicited manuscripts, art, drawings, and photographic materials if they are to be returned. No responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. All letters will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and subject to Juxtapoz’ right to edit and comment editorially. Juxtapoz Is Published by High Speed Productions, Inc. 415–822–3083 email to:

Cover art by Ugo Rondinone Seven Magic Mountains Las Vegas, Nevada 2016 Photo by Gianfranco Gorgoni Courtesy of Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art





ISSUE NO 190 “My work is described as beautiful, horrible, hogwash, genius, maundering, precise, quaint, avant-garde, historical, hackneyed, masterful, trivial, intense, mystical, virtuosic, bewildering, absorbing, concise, absurd, amusing, innovative, nostalgic, contemporary, iconoclastic, sophisticated, trash, masterpieces, etc. It's all true.” —Bruce Conner THE UNWRITTEN RULE OF ART IS THAT THERE ARE NO rules. I’m not sure who said that, so we will just take the credit for now. I wanted to start this month’s issue with this quote from the great Bruce Conner because, even though it touches on the emotional aspect of art making and viewing, the sentiment alludes to being both a curious and non-definable artist. To constantly find new avenues for your creativity seems like an art project unto itself, but it’s that energy that I find both interesting and inventive. And this issue is full of innovators. We look at Conner’s new retrospective, It’s All True, as it travels to SFMOMA this month, and we delve deep into the careers of Danny Lyon, Henry Taylor, Lucy Sparrow, Ugo Rondinone and Aaron Draplin to find they are influencers and tinkerers, those who never settle on one thing but expand their artistic language, year after year. When Danny Lyon, the famed photographer who has documented everything from the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr., to urban renovations of southern Manhattan, says so succinctly about moving from topic to topic, “They are all arriving. It’s time for me to go,” you do get this feeling that the best artists, the ones we spend decades and centuries writing about,

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have this inclination in them. To find motivation to move and evolve, even when they were a defining member of a style or period of time, is characteristic of artists who understand the seriousness of time and place. To grow only emphasizes how important they take their lifelong body of work. If there ever was an appropriate title for a presentation of decades of your work, Lyon’s Message to the Future (opening at the de Young on November 5th) carries the weight of importance, but also robust productivity and artistic range. There are a lot of quotable lines this month, whether it’s Lucy Sparrow noting, “In order to get people to sit up and listen, you need to do something that people cannot ignore,” or Ugo Rondinone telling us, “My art is not about something. It wants to be that something.” Lyon, Conner, Taylor and Rondinone are established voices that institutions around the world have honored, while Sparrow, Draplin, Alex Gardner and Olivia Bee are talents we highlight this month who carry the torch proudly. From public art in the desert to Post Street Art in Norway, poster design in Portland to museum retrospectives in San Francisco, the message to the future here is that artists are constantly forecasting the next generation, and we are here documenting all the present-day trailblazers. Enjoy #190.

above Seven Magic Mountains Las Vegas, Nevada 2016 Photo by Gianfranco Gorgoni Courtesy of Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art

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Joseph Gross Gallery presents:

Cecil, new work by A Love Story Cecil, A Love Story Joseph Grazi October 6th - 31st, 2016 548 W 28th St, New York, NY, 10001

A collection of new works from



WELCOME TO THE FELT CAVE '"THE FELT CAVE" IS MY STUDIO AND IT'S WHERE I MAKE my work, with the exception of the odd tin of baked beans that gets made when I'm on a train, a bus or waiting at the doctor’s. It's supposed to be a cross-section of what my brain would look like if you took a slice out and had a peek inside; hence, the pink wall-to-wall carpeting, a washing line for ideas, and canteen trolleys full of trays that are drying felt food instead of waiting to be washed up. It's an extremely industrious place and has, so far, given birth to three massive installations. In the States, you have Jo-Ann Fabric, but in the UK, I go to Hobbycraft. Try to explain to the staff why you are buying so much felt at once, like, "I'm making 8,000 felt items, and that's why I need this amount, and you'll probably see me another 200 times in here.” I just don't say what I'm doing. Whatever answer you give them, it's always going to produce ten more questions than you want. Because of the nature of it, you're always in a rush.

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It makes me really happy that the work gets to travel all over the world and be in all these fancy galleries and shows. Yet, in reality and less glamorously, it's being sewn by hand in an old pig shed on a farm in rural Essex by girls in their pajamas. The Cave will always be this crazy place of comfort with giant beanbags, cuddly animals, chocolate biscuits and posters of Jarvis Cocker because I believe that if you're going to really go for it in the art world and work as hard as you possibly can to deliver a really impressive show, you need to surround yourself with all the things that make you happy. —Lucy Sparrow

Read Lucy Sparrow’s interview on page 88.

Photo by Jo Bassett


Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts Designed for contemporary artists, writers, educators, and scholars.

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BRUCE CONNER’S IT’S ALL TRUE AT SFMOMA All images © 2016 Conner Family Trust San Francisco / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York above Mexico Collage 1962 Netting, paper, paint, ink stamps, fringe, bell and costume jewelry on Masonite di Rosa Collection Napa, California

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THERE ARE ARTISTS WHOSE WORK IS SO VARIED, SO vast, that the undertaking of showing decades of output is complex. Where do you start? Where should the focus lay for an audience to understand the breadth of work? This is the particular difficulty in the case of Bruce Conner, whose career from the late 1950s until his death in 2008 has completely resisted categorization. That Connor tended to cross mediums and genre challenged the notion of form all together. On top of defying definition, Conner created work under his given name as well multiple pseudonyms throughout his career. That doesn’t even speak to announcing his own death on at least two occasions... erroneously, of course.

The latest show of Bruce Conner’s work is the most comprehensive to date, and in that, perhaps the most honest and true to Conner as a true artistic chameleon. With a curatorial collaboration between Rudolf Frieling and Gary Garrels of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Stuart Comer and Laura Hoptman of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, It’s All True travels to SFMOMA on October 29, 2016. So who was Bruce Conner? He was an artist and an antiartist; feminist and a profound misogynist; a romantic, a realist, a surrealist. In a self-reflective letter written to late gallerist Paula Kirkeby in 2000, Conner remarked, “My work is described as beautiful, horrible, hogwash,

clockwise (from top left) Child 1959 Wax, nylon, fabric, metal, twine, and wood high chair The Museum of Modern Art New York gift of Philip Johnson Bruce Conner Supervisor 1967 Screenprint San Francisco Museum of Modern Art gift of Michael Kohn Black Dahlia 1960 Cut and pasted printed papers, feather, fabric, rubber tubing, razor blade, nails, tobacco, sequins, string, shell, and paint encased in nylon stocking over wood The Museum of Modern Art New York purchase The Artist March 21, 1990 Collage of found illustrations Collection of Joel Wachs


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genius, maundering, precise, quaint, avant-garde, historical, hackneyed, masterful, trivial, intense, mystical, virtuosic, bewildering, absorbing, concise, absurd, amusing, innovative, nostalgic, contemporary, iconoclastic, sophisticated, trash, masterpieces, etc. It's all true.” In what feels like perfect harmony, Conner’s statement informs the title of his own retrospective, It’s All True. Rudolf Frieling, Curator of Media Arts at SFMOMA notes that the show was an effort that extended beyond just curators. “How can you do a show with Bruce Conner that does justice to his spirit without him being actually personally involved?” he asks. “In one perspective that’s actually been very beneficial that he wasn’t personally involved. As we all know, his stories with institutions were legendary. And in most cases they did not have happy endings. But in this case we very closely collaborated with the estate, with his wife and his collaborators, so that we feel that it was as close as possible to the spirit of Bruce Conner.”

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For such a tremendous amount of work that Connor produced, It’s All True does feature touchstones from Conner’s career, including his his first foray into film. A 12-minute movie entitled, appropriately, A MOVIE (1958), features a collage of found footage from B-movies, newsreels, soft-core porn and other sources, set to a musical score featuring the entirety of Ottorino Respighi’s Pines of Rome. It’s inclusion is definitely a highlight to the over 250 works of various media, including pieces on paper, other film and video, assemblages, photographs, and performances on view. —Elicia Epstein

Bruce Conner: It’s All True will be on view at SFMOMA from October 29, 2016–January 22, 2017

above (from left) Sound of Two Hand Angel (with Edmund Shea) 1974 Gelatin silver print Collection of Tim Savinar and Patricia Unterman Untitled May 10, 1957 Oil and gold leaf on Masonite Collection of Guillaume Malle





THE TOUR METHOD OF BARONESS FRONTMAN, JOHN BAIZLEY MANY ARTISTS FIND THEMSELVES INSPIRED BY MUSICAL creativity, and conversely, musicians find themselves inspired by the creativity they see in fine artists. Few creatives blur the lines between the two in such fluid ways as John Baizley. A former Juxtapoz-featured painter but famously the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for Baroness, Baizley consistently pushes the band’s musical and visual identity by operating on a philosophy dictated by creativity over commercialism. And you could say he’s pretty damn good at both. This is a man on a mission. While on tour recently with Baroness in support of their newest LP, Purple, Baizley told us he spends every waking moment when not playing music working on his personal art. Whether in a hotel, bus lounge, backstage, park, or coffee shop, he’s working on his craft. “When I’m on tour, I hold small events in most towns at local galleries, coffee shops, record stores, bars, tattoo

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parlors, wherever,” he says, “in an effort to physically meet the people who support my art and have real interactions with them, which helps ease my social anxieties and relieves some post-show pressure.” While many artists find themselves teetering between staying true to themselves and their craft while trying to balance the realities of funding their pursuits, Baizley has entrenched himself into a constant and consistent mode of output. “I don’t break. I don’t relax. I’ve committed myself wholly to my artistic pursuits, which blurs the lines between visual art and music.”

Baroness is currently on tour to support their new album Purple. See them at Aftershock Festival in Sacramento, California October 22–23, 2016.

Purple album art by John Baizley




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IF YOU DON’T HAIL FROM ONE OF THE BIG CITIES, it can be challenging for an artist to graduate from hometown hero status and be widely recognized in the broader world. Somewhere like Portland, Oregon, for example, can be difficult to decipher creatively when you’re not a resident. While visiting a few years back, I felt curious about what spawned in PDX, so I texted a friend and asked for suggestions about local artists. She was silent for a minute or two and then replied, “Check out Olivia Bee.” At the time, Bee had already graduated from hometown hero, but not from the local high school. Through early internet exposure, Bee had amassed a huge following, earning a campaign shoot for Converse at age 16 and publishing work on the cover of the New York Times the following year. She exhibited in multiple European cities and even spoke at a TEDx conference in Amsterdam, all before turning 18. No need for a career counselor! Her insanely successful trajectory working with both editorial and commercial clients on countless campaigns for some of the most recognizable name brands runs parallel to a veteran photographer. Her work is distinctly personal. Saturated in cinematic color, it captures the nostalgia of romance, intimacy and the emotion of burgeoning adulthood. Now 22 and living in Brooklyn, Bee recently published her first monograph through Aperture. 136 pages, and entitled Kids in Love, it is an impressive collection of everything she has worked on up until the present. Separated into large bodies of work, this is a profound offering from a very young talent with a big future. —Austin McManus

left Love is the Purest Blue 2015 Jökulsárlón, Iceland

“The coldest I have ever been for a photo. And I didn’t get it on the first try, so I had to go back in... I can’t tell you how good hot soup tasted after this.”


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“Oregon is still the most beautiful place to me and the place I feel the most.”

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above Tuesday (Searching) 2015 in Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

above Pre-Kiss 2010 in Battleground Washington

“My high school boyfriend and me.”


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“Sasha on a roof in Brooklyn.”

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above Heat (Love-Swept) 2016 in Brooklyn New York

above Close Encounters 2016 in Brooklyn New York

“Joe and Carly on a roof in Brooklyn.”


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THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT above Summer Camp Island Film still 2016

JULIA POTT’S ILLUSTRATIONS OF BEARS IN SWEATERS and other animals paired with phrases of love and longing are full of feels, and her animated short films are always moving—the kind you continue to think about, long after watching. Her newest project was developed for Cartoon Network, where she’s also worked on the megahit, Adventure Time. Julia Pott is the loveliest badass around, which is reflected in her sweet stories that carry us safely through the tough times with an innocent perspective. Kristin Farr: Tell me about your new animated short. Julia Pott: It was created as part of the Cartoon Network Shorts Program, and it’s about the first few days of a summer camp where everything is strange—there are aliens and monsters under the bed, and a shark living in the retractable wall of the swimming pool. The main character, Oscar, really misses his mom and dad and enlists his best friend Hedgehog to help him plan a really normal sleepover that reminds him of home so he doesn’t feel so homesick. But it doesn’t go according to plan. I wanted to deal with what it is like to grow up during those long summers away from your parents when you’re getting crushes on people and going on adventures, and it feels like there is potential in everything. What’s your personal connection to summer camp? I have actually never been to summer camp! I grew up in

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England where summer camps weren’t as common. I did, however, grow up with a huge love of Americana. I would spend many summers in America visiting my Grandma, and I would meet kids who would talk about summer camp, cheerleading and little league, and it was all so foreign and exciting to me. Tell me about Oscar, he’s a recurring character in your work? Oscar originated in my Royal College of Art graduation film, Belly. He was representative of me as a child, as I was very clumsy and noisy, and was often referred to as an elephant by my mother. When I was developing the idea for my short, I was still excited by the character, so he became the protagonist. I’ve always loved elephants. When I was younger, my dad told me that having an elephant facing the door in your room is lucky, so I have always associated them with luck and my dad—two very good things. What are the main ways your time is spent working on the short? My usual method of working is to hide away in my studio with only the Gilmore Girls for company. Working with Cartoon Network meant I had other people to help me when I was stuck on character poses or plot points. It took me a second to let go of having total control, but once I did, it was a much more fun and collaborative process. And they still let me wear my pajamas.

Who were some characters you loved as a kid that contributed to your style? I am hugely influenced by Charlie Brown. I listen to the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack whenever I feel sad or stressed, and it completely calms me down. I loved getting to know these kids who were wiser than their years, and dealing with the problems that face all of us, with these calm, quiet philosophies. It also taught me to work autobiographically— taking something you are dealing with and using your artwork as a kind of therapy to work through the problem. I also loved Rugrats, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, and anything that was on Nickelodeon in the ’90s. Children’s books I was obsessed with were Maurice Sendak’s and the Eloise books. Have you always had a narrative aspect to your work? I’ve always been very inspired by literature and I think that often directs my writing style. I save book passages that I love. When coming up with a new idea, I will collect the ones that seem to resonate with me at that time. Often there is one particular quote that inspires my films that I will come back to as a reminder of why this subject fascinates me. With my animated short, Howard, which was about the end of a love affair, it was this quote from Love in the Time of Cholera that inspired the idea: “They were not capable of living for even an instant without the other, or without thinking about the other, and that capacity diminished as their age increased.” That’s a poignant one. How does it feel different writing for a young audience versus your previous work? I agree with Maurice Sendak’s view that when it comes to kids, you can tell them anything you want. I think my work has never been particularly adult, so tailoring it to a younger audience hasn’t been so difficult. I tried to think in terms of what I would have wanted to watch as a kid. I was fascinated with the spooky and the unexplained. I spent a large part of my childhood worried that I would fall into quicksand, but it was a good kind of fear that was conjured up in my imagination, and I was dealing with it in a safe space. I’m a

big believer that if you censor too much of what kids see when they’re young, they won’t be able to deal with the actual scary stuff when they get older. How do you describe the moments you are most drawn to illustrating? I’ve noticed, as I’ve gotten older, that I tend to be drawn to things that ride the line between the safe and the strange. Twin Peaks became a great influence on me as the town itself seemed comforting, familiar, and then all the eeriness is built on top of that, so it seems like it could almost happen in real life. I tend to work autobiographically—exploring things that I am obsessed with, such as crushes, friendship, or the fear that everything I do is meaningless.

above I Would Rather Just Hang Out With You Pencil on paper digitally colored 2014 left Cat and Dog Pencil on pape digitally colored 2008


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Did your mom really make you draw your bad dreams when you were a kid? Yes. I often credit my mom with encouraging me to pursue an artistic career—and this is one of the reasons. The drawings revolved around sharks and plane crashes, but the one I remember most vividly was me crossing the street and getting crushed between two cars. What’s your favorite quote from My Girl? I heard you like to quote that movie. Mine is “He needs his glasses!” Absolutely the same—“He can’t see without his glasses!” I shout this at my boyfriend every morning when I can’t find my own glasses. You voiced Don Hertzfelt’s short film, World of Tomorrow, and went straight to the Academy Awards for it! Do you voice any characters in your short? And tell me your most surprising Oscar moment. As I was inspired by Charlie Brown, I wanted all the kids in the short to be voiced by actual kids. There is a four-year-old kid played by my friend’s daughter, who is magic. My favorite part of the Oscars was when I punched Don in the arm while we were waiting to be led onto the red carpet and said, “Look! It’s Julianne Moore!” Julianne Moore immediately turned to look at me and said hello. My takeaway from this is that Julianne Moore is the best.

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Good to know! You’ve mentioned being girly, but you often work with male characters. Is that a way to challenge yourself, which you often do? Working with male characters was more about creating someone that seemed androgynous to me. When I was growing up, I loved playing with barbies but also climbing trees, and I often dressed and looked like a boy, and it was that fluidity that I wanted to get across. In Belly, Oscar is voiced by a 12-year-old girl to try and heighten that idea. I do like to take on challenges, and then soon live to regret that decision when I’m tired and want to go to the movies. Taking on challenges has the most benefit when I am looking back. When I am feeling socially anxious or like I can’t achieve something, I’ll think back on a time I pushed through that feeling and how great it felt on the other side. If you could add smell-o-vision to your animations, what scents would you use? Christmas trees and cinnamon. Oh wait, are these things I want to smell, or what my work smells like? My animations probably smell like teenage hormones.

above I Love That You’re Here With Me Pencil on paper digitally colored 2010

BFA Animation Creative Writing (Fall 2017) Drawing + Painting Drawing + Painting w/ Sculpture Emphasis Game Art Graphic Design + Digital Media Graphic Design + Digital Media w/ Action Sports Design Emphasis Graphic Design + Digital Media w/ Illustration Emphasis Illustration Illustration w/ Drawing + Painting Emphasis Illustration w/ Entertainment Emphasis


MFA Art of Game Design Creative Writing (Fall 2017) Drawing Painting POST-BACC CERTIFICATE Drawing + Painting MINORS Animation Art History Creative Writing Drawing + Painting Graphic Design + Digital Media Illustration Sculpture

Janna Mattia

LCAD ILLUSTRATION ALUMNA Janna Mattia, Little Red Riding Hood, Graphite on paper, 8.5” x 11”, 2015 (




A BRAND WITH A VIEW above Cole Barash for SALT’s SEESALT campaign

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THE HARDEST THING TO DO IN ANY FASHION PROJECT is to make the end result appear both timeless and simple. If your concept is of huge factories and the gluttonous menus of the fast-fashion world, simplicity could be mistaken for “simply-made,” not taking into account the numerous brands that create products with meticulous attention to detail and material that go unnoticed by the casual consumer. Made in Japan with durability and superior quality at its core, SALT eyewear has built an identity that exceeds your typical idea for what a sunglass and glasses brand can be. With an appreciation of past and present frame designs, SALT surrounds itself with photographers and designers who create a seamless aesthetic and almost fine art presentation of its product. We sit down with SALT designer David Rose to talk about the origins of the brand and how they paired themselves with design guru Tom Adler to make the best things look effortless.

Evan Pricco: Made in Japan immediately evokes the idea of attention to detail and really well-constructed, longlasting items. This goes for everything from jeans to cars to stereo equipment. What did SALT find in Japan that is hard to find elsewhere in terms of production and construction of eyewear? David Rose: For me, it has always been the attention to detail and how the Japanese take pride in everything they do. Walk down the street in Japan and you see a shop owner who has his own little space, and small as it may be, he takes such pride in his property, taking the best care of it, sweeping the sidewalk and pruning the bushes. Another example is the taxi drivers who wear white gloves and suits while feather dusting their cars between calls. These examples demonstrate the culture and sense of pride and honor in what people have. Also, we deal with third generation manufacturers, companies handed down from

generation to generation, so product knowledge runs deep. I wanted frames that combined handcrafted techniques and utilized tools from the ’50s, which is what we get when working with third generation companies. I love the concept behind SALT’s name, "Sea, Air, Land, Timelessness." Talk a little bit about how the brand was formed, and how you and the founders had the SALT idea in mind. That goes back to our fondness for nature. We live in such an amazing environment. We are lucky that we have the opportunity to enjoy multiple environments within a day. Surf in the morning, enjoy the mountains hiking or snowboarding in the afternoon, and then head to the desert the next day. It's such a key to who we are.

Tom Adler did some branding work for you early on, and it really set the tone for the brand as clean and artistic, not dependent on trends but an aesthetic for any era. What did Tom add to the brand, and are there other designers or artists you look to or work with that keep the vision on point? His great eye helped us define the brand early on. Tom was instrumental in setting the foundation from a conceptual point of view. He took our inspiration and helped set the tone for the imagery that you see in our branding. Evan Backes played an important role in continuing the work we started with Tom. We work with a lot of other photographers, such as Daniel Volland, who is inspirational to me personally. He's an optician, photographer, philanthropist, and allaround great guy.

above Taft frame with original design sketch below Dr. Daniel Volland for SALT’s SEESALT campaign


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You have an extensive background in the eyewear industry, from shipping to design. Tell me, as you explained when we first met, how hard it is to resist becoming super trendy in developing an eyewear brand. SALT could work in 1956 and 2016, but lots of brands can't do that. Do you have to channel your energies and ideas in a certain way to avoid becoming a flavor of the month? For me, it’s keeping to the principle of "simple things made well.” And since I’m not designing for one specific group, it allows me creative freedom to design in a way I think speaks to a lot of people. Although I do keep a watchful eye on trends, I like to piece together my own take, having a taste of current trends without devouring them. It's keeping things current without becoming irrelevant, embracing simplicity as well as quality. Those are the two most important concepts and act as the barometer. It’s definitely more difficult to not fall for the trends generally. In my opinion, I feel we provide fresh perspective on eyewear, and to me, that's what's exciting. I like to think we revolve around culture, not necessarily trends. When it comes time to name the frame, who gets to make that final call? Who christened one frame the “Brody?” I do. For me, it's just a fun quirky way of doing things. Frame names are picked from movies or books such as Jaws, The Life Aquatic, Airplane and Jacques Cousteau: The Sea King.

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Typically it's a movie or book with a setting based around the environments of the sea, air and land. You have done the SEESALT campaigns, working with photographers for charity events and non-profits, and I got to see some of the photographers and their work in person. Besides how great it is to do these fantastic charity projects, picking photographers and curating the visual identity of the brand has to be fun for the team. It’s a lot of fun. We’ve enjoyed discovering various artists like Daniel Russo, Cole Barash, Meg Haywood Sullivan and Daniel Volland and have enjoyed listening to the stories that describe their adventures while capturing images. Likewise, it’s interesting and inspirational to be involved in events that form partnerships with charities that help bring awareness to important causes. All right, which pair of glasses do you wear? Well, I typically wear the Ned optical frame, but right now I’m wearing the Murdock. It’s a real representation of the SALT aesthetic.

above Fog on the shores of Iceland used to inspire the Hooper frame in Black/Chrome





Danny Lyon has spent more than five decades documenting social and political issues and the welfare of individuals often considered to be on the margins of society. This absorbing exhibition includes seldom or never-beforeexhibited and remarkably prescient photographs, documents from Lyon’s personal archives and rarely seen films that showcase the artist’s achievements in that medium.

NOV 5, 2016 – MAR 12, 2017

This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Presenting Sponsor: Anonymous; President’s Circle: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Patron’s Circle: Anonymous. Danny Lyon, The March on Washington, August 28, 1963. Gelatin silver print, 29.8 x 20.8 cm (11 3/4 x 8 3/16 in). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Anne Ehrenkranz, 398.1997. © 2016 Danny Lyon, courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

“Compelling, feisty.” –The New York Times

Since bursting into the New York art world in 1959, Frank Stella has challenged and expanded the definitions of painting and sculpture. See more than fifty major works that span the artist’s career, from his legendary early Black paintings, through his groundbreaking shaped canvases and relief constructions, to recent sculptural works created with cutting-edge digital technologies. NOV 5, 2016 – FEB 26, 2017 This exhibition is organized by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Curator’s Circle: Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, The Herbst Foundation Inc. Patron’s Circle: Thomas W. Weisel Family. Additional support is provided by Richard and Peggy Greenfield, Dr. Giselle Parry-Farris and Mr. Ray K. Farris, and Dorothy Saxe. Frank Stella, Harran II, 1967. Polymer and fluorescent polymer paint on canvas, 120 x 240 in (308.4 x 609.6 cm). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, Mr. Irging Blum, 1982. © 2016 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Clockwise from top left Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor Opening night at Pivot Art & Culture Zoer & Velvet’s mural with sculptures by Toilet Paper Magazine The Death of Marat sculpture by Chinese artist, He Xiangyu

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CULTURE SPLASH AND GENRE SMASH IN SEATTLE WHAT STARTED OUT AS A CASUAL CONVERSATION about James Jean turned into a James Jean Juxtapoz cover that stoked anticipation for the August, 2016 show at Pivot Art & Culture in Seattle. Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor’s wise and whimsical “fabric-ated” characters watched the proceedings among the soul and soles of He Xiang Yu’s installation, while Takashi Murakami’s armatured sculpture unfurled onto the marble floors of the former auto showroom. In the adjacent space, a garden of pottery and sensational stonework was surrounded by fresh modern pieces from artists located in the East and West. Across the street, a Japanese Ikebana master topped his live, massive shopping-cart-atop-station-wagon performance with a swirling floral arrangement. Street artists Zoer & Velvet’s site-specific mural waved to the crowds, who were greeted with drawing paper, colored pens and chalk to create their own works. The conversation that turned into a

vibrant, truly modern show accomplished just what we all had in mind: an ongoing conversation between the contemporary art world and our readers, for whom art appreciation is alive and amazing. Enjoy these highlights from the show.

All photos by Ian Bates above Takashi Murakami and Kazumi Nakamura’s collaborative work

Artists that appeared in the Juxtapoz x Superflat show included Chiho Aoshima, Urs Fischer, Kim Jung Gi, Kazunori Hamana, James Jean, JH Kagaku, Friedrich Kunath, Takashi Murakami, Kazumi Nakamura, Otani Workshop, Mark Ryden, David Shrigley, Katsuya Terada, a selection from Toilet Paper Magazine, Yuji Ueda, Yuji Ueno, He Xiang Yu, Zoer & Velvet, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Todd James, Austin Lee, Rebecca Morgan, Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor, Paco Pomet, Parra, Christian Rex van Minnen, Erin M. Riley, Devin Troy Strother, Sage Vaughn and Ben Venom.


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clockwise from top Installation view featuring works by Todd James, JH Kagaku, Paco Pomet, Otani Workshop, Yuji Ueda and Kazunori Hamana

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New sculpture by Parra

David Shrigley’s Life Model interactive installation

Snøhetta expansion of the new SFMOMA; photo © Henrik Kam

“Headed for icon status.” —WIRED magazine Premier Sponsors

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above Seven Magic Mountains Las Vegas, Nevada 2016 Photo by Gianfranco Gorgoni Courtesy of Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art

A COMMON REACTION UPON SEEING UGO RONDINONE’S colossal, neon vision in the desert outside of Las Vegas, Seven Magic Mountains, is to gasp and then pick your jaw up off the ground. This stunning surprise was an exclamation point in public art this year, complete with enchanting title and colors. Rondinone’s work honors nature, and he successfully inspires feeling before thinking. The towering Seven Magic Mountains are framed by their magnificent Mojave stage, maintaining a bright and powerful stance in a location of historical significance. They echo natural hoodoo rock formations, pointing to Rondinone’s deep reverence for the environment, but as he explains so memorably, “My art is not about something. It wants to be that something.” Kristin Farr: How did you get the idea for Seven Magic Mountains? Ugo Rondinone: In 2013, I was working on a big project for Rockefeller Center where I stacked nine stone figures in the middle of the city at the the Rockefeller Plaza, and those stone figures were built with bluestone blocks. While I was working on that, I was approached by the Nevada Museum. They wanted to explore an idea that could happen on the strip between Las Vegas and L.A., and because I was already

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working with the stone material, it was a given that I would also use it in Las Vegas, but in a contrary sense. In New York, I used the stone in its natural, rough way, but in the desert, in nature, I wanted to give it an artificial appearance. If you see them from afar or even close, you think they’re styrofoam and not really heavy rocks. This was the initial idea, and it was also a way to bring forward the notion of Land Art in a contemporary way. My work stands out in nature, so maybe that’s a way of bringing Land Art into the twenty-first century. The color is what makes it contemporary. The neon colors and their cruel artificiality. The Land Art movement at the end of the 1960s camouflaged the intervention, and I wanted to highlight it, with the same premise to make a work surrounding the beauty of the desert and landscape, but with a different tool, bringing colors to distinguish the work from the landscape background and the setting. Is it hard to find Day-Glo paint that doesn’t fade? The Day-Glo is not the problem. It’s the coating, which is aircraft coating. The challenge was to find a lacquer that doesn’t have high gloss because the sun would bounce off of

it, which would be very irritating. If you use something matte, you’re drawn in, but if it’s glossy, your view bounces off it. What makes you decide to use color or lack of it? Is it mostly based on location? In this sense, it was really the dynamic between this one and the work that I did at Rockefeller Center. In the middle of the most abrupt site on Earth, I wanted to bring nature in its full force, not manipulated. And in the desert, I wanted to do the contrary. That’s how my work plays out—it is activated by duality and doesn’t have fixed values. If I would have said a stone can never be painted, then I would close any perspective on my work. If I keep it open, then even if I had previously used the stone in a raw way, I can use it in a completely different way, and then there is a duality. I don’t give either the better value; they are equally valued. For the colors in Nevada, besides the Day-Glo, I chose the seven rainbow colors and added black, white and silver, but the foundation is the rainbow colors. If you see closely, they are not mixed. You don’t have two different oranges. It’s always the same shade of pink, red and blue on all the stones. Even if I use a second yellow stone, it’s always the

same shade of yellow. If you concentrate on the colors when you stand in front of all seven, you can feel the colors bouncing around. I see how the yellow rocks change levels so the color goes up and down. Exactly. Also, from far away, everything looks small, so you have to approach it to get a sense of the size. In the desert, everything vanishes in size, so I decided early on that I would organize those Seven Magic Mountains very close together to create an artificial canyon that you walk around.

above Human Nature 2013 Bluestone and steel 9-parts. Installation view at Rockefeller Center, NYC Photo by David Regen

I spent a lot of time finding the right spot. I would go back and forth on the highway, and at some point, from far away, I saw something silverish. It was a dry lake, and the Seven Magic Mountains are aligned with that in the background. In front of them—it goes unnoticed—but there is a little plaque that indicates “the last spike,” meaning it was the last spike hammered into the ground for the railroad in 1908. One side came from Salt Lake City, and the other from Los Angeles. Without that railroad, Las Vegas wouldn’t exist, so it is significant that Seven Magic Mountains is aligned with that symbolic information.


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You just stumbled upon that? It was really by chance, yes. It’s a nice coincidence. Why did you call them Seven Magic Mountains? Because there are seven. And the color, of course, has a fairy tale appearance, so that’s why. It’s like a modern day Stonehenge. Not that people should worship there, but maybe have a spiritual moment. If you go at sunset or sunrise, you feel the magic of this glow because the main force in the desert is the sun, and the Day-Glo color is activated by the sun. When you have a full moon, you still have the glow of these colors at night. That’s the magic! It is magic. I made a painting called Magic Mountain and someone asked me if it referenced the Sylvia Plath poem, which I hadn’t read. I had never heard of it either, but I looked it up when you first mentioned it. There is also the book Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, but my title isn’t related to that either. I just wanted to give it a name that people could relate to. Did you make seven formations because of the colors of the rainbow? Exactly. Yes. I love your piece, Hell Yes, made with rainbow letters on the side of a museum. The rainbow poems were from 1996 and were my first public works, so I wanted to speak in a universal language, and the rainbow is a symbol everybody can relate to. At the same time, the public sculptures that came after that had nature at the core, so I did clay masks out of bronze, but I made them in right (from left) Purple Pink Red Orange Yellow Green Mountain Painted stone, stainless steel, pedestal sculpture 78.75” x 14.12” x 14.12” 2015 Sechsundzwanzigsterjunizweitausendundfünfzehn Acrylic on canvas, plexiplaque with labeling 70.88” x 106.25” 2015 opposite Seven Magic Mountains Las Vegas, Nevada 2016 Photo by Gianfranco Gorgoni Courtesy of Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art

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clay first so you would see the imprints of my hand. Then they were cast in bronze and then painted again in a clay color so, when viewed outdoors, it looks as if they are made of fresh clay. Those masks were called Moonrise and there were twelve, one for each month. For my third group of works for a public art project, I cast ancient olive trees in aluminum and painted them white, so again, you have a relation to nature. The fourth series was a collection of scholar’s rocks, which I collect. It’s a Chinese tradition that goes back to the Ming Dynasty where monks would collect rocks and and bring them to their studio and meditate with them. They saw those rocks as concentrations of nature. I’ve collected them for 20 years, and in 2007, I made a selection of 14 of those stones and enlarged them to 15-foot sculptures made of sand, gravel and concrete. Then came the Rockefeller project, Human Nature, and then Seven Magic Mountains. All of my public works started from the rainbow poems and are related to nature. I love your sculptures in San Francisco. Their expressions are unexpected for permanent public art. Those are three of the Moonrise pieces. The faces were inspired by Yup’ik masks. Turn-of-the-century indigenous people in Alaska made masks specific to the phases of the moon. The eyes and mouth would imitate the phases. I also cast them in aluminum and called them Sunrise, so again, we have a duality of moonrise and sunrise. What makes a scholar’s rock different from other stones? They are made of soft limestone and they have a lot of holes. Over the centuries, the water and weather worked on them and formed their appearance. Many scholar’s rocks are


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called Taihu stones, made where the limestone is soft and the salt is aggressive. Over centuries, it digs holes in those stones. That’s why you see them old and petrified. The ancient olive trees also have strange forms because they grow on a hill and are exposed to wind force. Do you spend a lot of time in nature? I grew up in nature. I lived in a small village called Brunnen in Switzerland. It was surrounded by a mountain and lake, and I’m sure that had a big impact on my being. I like nature in general, and it’s a big part of my work. All my symbols come directly from the German Romantic movement, which was the first time the spirituality of the landscape was acknowledged. That’s when people started climbing mountains and looking out into infinity, so nature became synonymous with the Romantic era. It was the first movement to acknowledge the importance of dreams and irrational feelings, so all the symbols that I use in my work are related to German Romanticism, which has a foundation in nature. Nature is personified and becomes a soul. Earlier, my work was landscape drawings, then mandala-like sun paintings where the colors blurred into each other to give this hypnotic effect, like staring into the sun. I did star and cloud paintings, used stones and clowns… the clown becomes a solitary figure on the edge of a cliff looking out. All of those symbols have origins in the German Romantic movement. Americans are not so familiar with German Romanticism, but people like Rothko were very much influenced by it. There is one painting by Caspar David Friedrich called The Monk… By the Sea! I’m American and The Monk By the Sea is the only German Romantic painting I can name. And if you see that painting, you’re going to make the relation to Rothko very quickly. Right! It’s all becoming very clear. I also see the connection with your work, but you take it into another dimension. Do the Magic Mountains have different personalities and names in your mind? In the end, I am always surprised how they look because it isn’t something you can plan. First, I chose the 37 boulders. I photographed them and then decided by feeling which should be on top of the others. I made a distinction that there would be a minimum of three and a maximum of six boulders for each mountain. Of course all of them are towering, and in the natural formations, we are inclined to see faces and personality. The weather and time of day makes them change dramatically. As a group they’re called Seven Magic Mountains, but as single mountains, they are named after the colors they carry—Red Blue White Silver Black Mountain, and so on. Seeing them in person is a mystical experience. I’m very surprised that people stop by because it’s not a given that people will stop in the middle of the desert. Did you ever do rock piling as a meditative practice? Every child seems to do that. We have all experienced this pastime that everybody is drawn to. There are very serious practitioners of balancing rocks as a spiritual activity.

Art, spirituality and nature seem very intertwined for you. For me, visual art is a spiritual and transcendental discipline in the sense that art has to be in its own time to have the feeling of today, but at the same time, it has to be as old as art is. If you do art today with relevance, then movements like Pop Art and Land Art from the ’60s are naturally part of the information in this new work. Every artwork has its history and carries the whole information of art history. The importance is only as much as you can bring something new to that information database. Like the scholar’s rocks, with their years of weathered history. They are connected. It’s inevitable. You have some smaller versions of the Magic Mountains at Sadie Coles. Were they maquettes? I trained myself for probably half a year, just doing small ones, to give myself a feeling of how they would work, so this was necessary. The big ones took just six months to complete, but the whole process was over four years because it was very difficult to get permission. Everything is very regulated in the desert and, of course, all the historic works from Land Art would not be possible if they were made today. There is a reason to make it difficult, and I understand that. For example, we had to dig out every plant on the site before we came in with the stones, and we had to replant them in the exact same spots. I think they should have a new public project in the desert every two or three years, because that’s the asset that Las Vegas has—their desert. Many people who live around there or visit to gamble and have fun have no idea of the beauty of Las Vegas, and artwork gives easier access to the surrounding landscape and beauty of this desert. What are some different ways you investigate silence? I know it’s something you’re interested in. There is a lot of silence in desert rocks. Silence is the way that I organize. It is a spiritual item in my artwork. It’s not a comment about the world. My work is contemplating the world. So if you stand in front of one of my works, it’s not something that should make you think right away. You start looking, and this is the spiritual connection. Art, for me, or successful art, is when it stops me in my tracks, and my thinking stops, and I just start looking. I don’t do sarcastic. My work is not ironical. It’s not a comment about something, it’s building that something. My art is not about something. It wants to be that something. People often ask what art is about, and that’s a hard question. They don’t ask that as often with music. With music, you just listen and feel the music, and the same should be true for art. You should just feel it. Just exposing yourself to art will create an effect. You don’t stand in front of an artwork and start thinking. That’s the wrong way to experience art.

previous spread Seven Magic Mountains Las Vegas, Nevada 2016 Photo by Gianfranco Gorgoni Courtesy of Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art opposite (from top) Breathe Walk Die Neon, acrylic glass, translucent foil, aluminium. Ed. 1/2 + 1 AP. 44’ x 4’ 2014 Vocabulary of Solitude 2016 Installation view at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam Courtesy of the artist and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam Photo by Stefan Altenburg Photography


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Even having the text and title next to the work makes you think too much. Right, but you just open your senses, and then the language will kick in anyway at some point to organize your feelings. Language can explain art to a certain degree, but then it fails because it’s visual. You cannot experience the visual as well through language. That’s why writing about art can seem futile. Do you collect anything besides scholar’s rocks? I like to collect art. I like to be surrounded by other people’s work. They are more or less exchanges with colleagues. The only artist I collect in a bigger way is Louis Eilshemius. He’s one of the few American Romantic Painters from the turn of the century. Do you have a favorite work of Land Art? Probably Mount Rushmore. Really? Have you been there? It’s very impressive. It took many hands and 25 years to realize it. How about Easter Island? I would love to go there! I’m still shocked that those massive, ancient stone heads had hidden bodies the whole time. 60% of them is underground. What are you working on next? I’m doing a new group of human figures. My first human figures were all sitting and lying, and then the stone figures were standing, and now I’m going to do a group of flying people. I have a very high ceiling in my studio, and I thought I should do something in the air. I started researching how to do flying people. It will be naked bodies flying in space, but gilded in gold. And they will be called We Are the Sun. Beautiful. It sounds beautiful, but it has to work! It needs this lightness. I’m a Leo and the sun is my planet. That’s why I love your work. What’s your sign? I’m a Sagittarius. November 30th.

Happy Birthday, Ugo Rondinone. See his Seven Magic Mountains in the Mojave Desert, ten miles south of Las Vegas, through 2018, thanks to the Nevada Museum of Art.

left Scholar Rocks (“We run through a desert on burning feet all of us are glowing our faces look twisted”) Sand, gravel, concrete and an inner-steel structure The Art Institute of Chicago 2013


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“I THINK BILLY McCUNE IS THE SAME AS ME. WE ARE, IN EVERY MEASURE that I can imagine, equal, and what he has suffered, I must imagine, for even a moment, as my suffering.” Deeply personal statements like this about the inmate befriended by Danny Lyon in the Texas jails suffuse Julian Cox’s essay about the Bronx-born photographer, the subject of a historic exhibit at the de Young Museum. Working in collaboration with Elisabeth Huffman of the Whitney, where it made its debut, Cox spent several years researching archives and visiting Danny and his wife Nancy in their New Mexico home. In 1962, at age 20, Lyon hitchhiked to Cairo, Illinois to chronicle nonviolent demonstrators protesting a segregated swimming pool. He embedded in the Texas prison system before journalists embedded and photographed miners in rural China when everyone else was flocking to the business centers in Beijing. His family and New Mexico neighbors are lovingly montaged in personal collections he has made for years. I looked through the exhibit catalog with Julian Cox and learned more about this artist and citizen.


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All images courtesy The de Young Museum Previous page Self-Portrait, New Orleans 1964 Collection of the artist above Bill Sanders, Tattoo Artist Houston, Texas 1968 Collection of the artist opposite The March on Washington August 28, 1963 The Museum of Modern Art New York Gift of Anne Ehrenkranz

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Gwynned Vitello: To be honest, I’m surprised that many people are not familiar with Danny, but promoting himself doesn’t seem to be much of a priority. He didn’t want to be part of the establishment, so I wonder if this is important to him. Julian Cox: That’s an interesting observation, off the top, of him. He’s always been on the fringes of the art world, and has taken great pride in being an independent voice and staying true to his vision and his goals. This is the first major lifetime retrospective. There was a mid-career assessment in 1991 organized by a German woman called Uta Eskilson, a show that traveled from Europe and then to different venues in the US, but didn’t go to New York City or the West Coast. That’s one of the reasons we wanted to do this project, to breathe new life into the entire arc of his career, these great bodies of work that he produced in the ’60s, and flesh them out with the important work from the ’70s onward.

I know that a lot of the work involves his films, and I’d like to know more about them. It is very relevant because it’s another way of dealing with his ideas and how he approached his subjects, starting with Bill Sanders, the tattoo artist he got to meet through his work in the prison system. He was introduced to Bill by one of the prisoners, a guy called “James Ray” Jimmy Renton who told Danny that Sanders “has tattooed many of the prisoners who are in this Texas prison system.” Danny went to meet with Bill and was absolutely bowled over by this guy’s personality and realized he would make a great subject for a film. What was Danny’s intention when he said that he wanted “to put into a movie how I see him, not as he is, and certainly not as he sees himself.” What that means is that Danny sees in this guy the potential to be a character, a protagonist. He really becomes a voice


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for something much larger—a voice for the undereducated. He behaves like an idiot savant. He is talking to clients about the Vietnam war in a very powerful, purposeful way, but also talking about gender roles and same-sex relationships in a very off-the-cuff, slightly irreverent way. He becomes a mouthpiece that represents a whole perspective of American culture in that time toward the war in Vietnam and how we define ourselves through sexuality. Danny identified these elements by spending time with this person, and then finds a way, through the medium of film, to express that. As a director, he has choreographed the film and edited it to draw attention to this guy’s idiosyncratic world view, and it was 1969, his first film.

below Clifford Vaughs, SNCC PHotographer Arrested by the National Guard Cambridge, Maryland 1964 National Gallery of Art Corcoran Collection

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And what a clever way to present him in the film, like, why is this guy wearing a suit and tie? At the beginning, you see him teaching a class, and that’s why the film is called Soc. Sci. It’s like a social sciences class. The suit and tie is kind of a deceit, if you like, of the movie, at the very beginning where he looks like a conventional lecturer in this scene set up by Danny, where he’s teaching a class about the history of the tattoo and the idea of writing

on your body with this implement. Then you jump into this crazy color footage of a guy progressively getting more drunk and kind of sounding off with his clients. One of the things that’s interesting about the film, and a thread that runs through Lyon’s work, is this notion of finding reality and responding to it in a certain way that provides a very clear sense of your view of the world. Danny comes out of a photojournalistic tradition in that way. It’s not just one way of making a picture or describing a community, but is quite layered and quite intense. Something he expanded on with his project at the Texas Department of Corrections? He was in and out of the Texas prisons for more than twelve months working in that environment, and he realized early on that the still photograph didn’t feel sufficient to really capture what he needed to say about the environment. To be able to film it would be very important, so he did. The exhibition features silent 16mm film footage that he made in the Texas prisons that’s never been seen before and relates very closely to some of the very iconic pictures taken

there. For example, there’s an amazing film sequence of the guys hanging out on the weekend recess in the jails, where they’re just patiently recreating or playing dominoes, one scene especially where you see them kind of flipping the dominoes and smoking. The way he sees this prison environment is very filmic and has a close relationship to the films of someone like Kenneth Anger, with a definite homoerotic element, that sort of focus on the male body. I guess when he strictly took photos, he felt he wanted to add more and needed to expand on the subject. That’s part of it, but also the notion in a lot of the projects, say the bikers or in the prisons, it’s about the accumulations of images that relate to a specific theme. One of the things film allows is to sequence imagery in a new and different kind of way, and of course, edited in one’s own unique way. It’s different from the way you edit still photographs, and I think that was a challenge that really interested Danny—an additional, more expansive way of telling stories. That is at the very heart of what Danny is trying to do, to make a record of his time in the moment with issues that are of grave concern to him as an engaged member of society—civil rights, immigration, and the prison system. These big themes are very present in his work and have had a hold on him for a lifetime.


When he worked with the SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), he operated with guidelines and structure that would help later on in his filmmaking. His very earliest work in Cairo, Illinois was him really following his instinct and deciding to go there and see what was happening. That’s where he met John Lewis, who has become a lifelong, very dear friend. It was Lewis who said, “Danny, if you want to get involved, you should come down South, and you can really get involved there.”

above Crossing the Ohio RIver Louisville 1966 Silverman Museum Collection


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above Kathy Uptown, Chicago 1965 Collection of the artist

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above View South from 100 Gold Street New York 1967 Collection of Melissa Schiff Soros and Robert Soros


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That was the trigger for him to leave his studies for the time being. You couldn’t make a picture any more effective than he did to communicate the philosophy of nonviolent, social direct action.

below Border Patrol El Paso, Texas 1973 Collection of the artist

Danny was meant to cover certain stories. He would tell you that he really cut his teeth as a young artist involved in the movement because it was high intensity, high emotion and commitment. Danny was there when Dr. King delivered his “I have a dream” speech on August 28, 1963, on the mall in Washington. His amazing picture, with the negative space making it a perfect poster, became an important icon of the SNCC movement. When you turn the page in the Message to the Future catalogue, you get to the self-portrait, and you

see his activism, where he’s doing a job, doing it for himself, but for larger reasons. Knowing that, I don’t understand him saying that when he walked away from the civil rights movement, he “didn’t look back?” The fact of the matter is that in 1964, when he did pull away from the movement, he’s still a very young man, don’t forget, 22 years of age. Even then, he was very, very conscious of his desire to grow as an artist, to challenge himself to learn new things. That was foremost. He wanted to make new kinds of pictures. It’s clear in letters from that period, but also important that this is 1964, that Freedom Summer where there is a flood of activists of all kinds, where filmmakers and photographers are going to the South and organizing. He did not want to be part of a club or group. He said, “They are all arriving. It’s time for me to go.” When he goes back to Chicago, he takes these beautiful portraits where he’s trying to make a different kind of picture. Without being present in the civil rights turmoil, he tries to make a lasting portrait of an individual, in this case with his still, handheld 35mm camera, and then a two and a quarter camera. Here we see a different kind of photographer who is almost creating a studio portrait within the street. As graceful as Irving Penn, he has the same sort of reverence and respect for his subjects, but his interests are artistically different, presenting a totally different side of who he is as a person and an artist. Although not an art major at the University of Chicago, Danny was mentored by Hugh Edwards, Curator of Prints and Drawing at the Art Institute, who was also self taught. Describe their relationship. Edwards is the person who lends Danny his two and a quarter camera and says, “You should really try making a picture with this, see how it pushes you in a new direction.” This work shows a young artist flexing his muscles and really expanding with a totally different kind of subject. The Chicago Motorcycle Club was an entirely new focus, one that fed his appetite for adventure. How did this come about? He had a classmate at the University of Chicago who was a motorcyclist, a Scrambler, as they called them, who would go off to do these off-road races, and Danny loved attending them. He started thinking about connecting himself with this biker gang and became integrated with them, going on bike rides, photographing them extensively, and making audio recordings. There was a living-in-the-fast-lane aspect to this, but again, it was about finding a new subject and a new way of making pictures. From his own bike, just in parallel, shooting literally on the fly, all the elements are in perfect harmony as he captures this guy’s head between the pillars of the bridge and the hair streaming. It’s one of those perfect shots. And he was not just making a picture out of nowhere. He’d been thinking about it for a considerable amount of time, and he nailed it. The Destruction of Manhattan, where he chronicles the razing of neighborhoods to make way for the first

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World Trade Center, seems like a detour from his humancentered subjects. An important way to think of this is the fact that Danny is a New Yorker and a very passionate student of history. He loves American history and was in and out of New York at that time. His project about the architectural transformation of lower Manhattan is an important set of pictures, and again, a new way of working. With a 4x5 camera mounted on a tripod, it’s a much slower way of working, much more deliberate and exacting, independent and solitary. But Danny can’t live without contact with people, and he befriended many workers who allowed him access to buildings that would have been otherwise off limits. Subsequent photo journeys brought him to rural China and Haiti, as well as much of South America, and now he’s settled in New Mexico where he lives in the adobe house he built himself. We try to convey his rootedness in New Mexico through his relationship with people like Eddie Rivera, an undocumented worker who comes across the border every spring. Danny takes care of him, pays him, and he goes

back and returns again. Danny has really connected with the Latino and Native American communities, and that, really, is the catalyst for him to explore the Americas in a much broader way. One of Danny’s movies, Willy, is a focus of the exhibition. It’s about this young guy who has some mental illness problems and gets involved in some petty crime. He goes in and out of the judicial system and ends up, not just a victim, but another statistic of the poor and disenfranchised who don’t have access to physical and mental health care.

above Heat Exhaustion Ramsey Unit, Texas 1968 Collection of the artist

The notion of commitment to the subject is really the biggest thread in Danny’s work. It’s the formula he has followed his entire life: you have to be committed to the subject and what you’re doing with your time for it to make a difference.

Danny Lyon: Message to the Future opens at San Francisco’s de Young Museum on November 5, 2016 and is on view through April 30, 2017.


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SOMETIMES YOU ASK ALL THE WRONG QUESTIONS and you get what you deserve. I misunderstood Alex Gardner’s paintings, and in an effort to explain them, he mentioned considering the meaning of life, which is exactly what most painters are striving for. Art is a way to filter the chaos and represent whatever visual story means something to us in an effort to navigate the inevitable and overexposed existentialism of new generations. What is left to say when we don’t even know why we’re here? As intended, I discovered some meaning in life by getting lost in trying to comprehend the positions, plants and people found in Alex Gardner’s paintings. As he says, his work “exists to stimulate.” Kristin Farr: Tell me why you paint figures the way you do. Alex Gardner: A few years back, an old white dude asked me candidly, "Do you draw black figures because you yourself are dark?" And I thought to myself, "Bitch, I'm #lightskin." Who are these people you’re painting, or who do they represent? Cue "Everyday People" by Sly & the Family Stone. Are they the same people every time? I've never met the same person twice. What kind of power dynamics are you exploring, or is it really something else you’re getting at? I'm interested in the entire spectrum of human emotion. I like the romanticization of life. I'm also an extreme realist and borderline pessimistic. Do you use models? Yeah. Do your own friendships and relationships influence your paintings? Everyone I encounter ends up in my paintings. No one is safe. What kind of technical elements do you wrestle with the most? It's more MMA than wrestling. I'm in the studio trying to land a clean left jab and finish the painting with a rear naked choke.

opposite (from top left) Chair #1 47.5” x 47.5” Acrylic on canvas 2016 At the piazza, platonically 30” x 24” Acrylic on linen 2016 Chair #3 47.5” x47.5” Acrylic on canvas 2016 Second marriage going better than the first 20” x 16” Acrylic on canvas 2016

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Do you focus more on formal aesthetics, a narrative, or a feeling? I consider all three when making a painting. What’s the most frequent comment you get about your work? I don't really pay attention to what people say about it. What have you been painting this year? A lot of figures and a couple plants. Did you go to art school? What kind of work did you make when you were younger? I went to a state university. Man’s on a budget. I'm out here debt free. Like most kids, I did a lot of stream-

of-consciousness drawing growing up. It was always figurative though. What words do you use to describe your work? I describe it as people and positioning. I don't like to describe my work. I don't want to sound overly profound but I sure as hell don't want to generalize what I do either. What do you like about painting murals? I just painted my first mural in Portland. There are two things I like about painting outdoors: the premature aging caused by prolonged sun exposure and the unsolicited but riveting monologues that passersby recite throughout the day. Do you go by Alex G or is that just how you sign your work sometimes? I go by Alex Gardner because it was the name forced upon me at birth. I used to sign work Alex G or AG because I didn't want to take up too much space. Now I just sign the backside of the canvas. What is the significance of color for you? Colors create a visceral reaction, don't they? Usually. Do you feel like the impact or your intention varies with the scale of your paintings? Does size really matter? The results of our survey will surprise you. Click to find out how women really feel about this age-old question. You are very mysterious. What kind of info do people need? Get all my details on my online dating profiles. Next question… Reggie Watts bought one of your pieces? Did you meet him? Do you have other famous collectors? Yeah. He is cool as hell. However cool you think he is, he's ten times cooler than that. I think a couple famous people have my work but I'm hoping to sell a painting to Putin before he dies. Is the use of basic white clothing in your paintings an effort to keep things timeless? Why not paint the figures naked? Are you suggesting I free the nipple? Always. I’m wondering about the postures and positions of your figures. Are they supporting or stepping on each other? It's both, isn’t it? Depends on the work. I know I’m not the first to bring up Kerry James Marshall in relation to your work, so please forgive me, but he uses a similarly pitch-black skin tone in his figures and says it’s because he wants to emphasize the black figure in art that is still shamefully rare in museums and galleries. Do you have any similar intentions? Kerry's work is overtly about the Black American experience. Does anyone really think that my work is as


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above Triangle #2 48” x 64” Oil on canvas 2016

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right Untitled 30” x 24” Acrylic on wood 2015


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well? My thoughts on race, institutionalized racism, my biracial upbringing and how these things have affected the way I choose to depict figures can't be summarized in a couple of sentences. We have plenty of room for more sentences. My figures have no facial features as indicators. Hair texture is suspect, wouldn't you say? What black person do you know who is that black? The white viewer wants to connect but can't get past the skin tone and feels a bit alienated. Am I deliberately trying to estrange? My mom is Japanese, by the way. It's multifaceted. You’ve said that you want to express the idea that “life’s not that bad.” The scariest part about life is the idea that it is meaningless. We're all racing the clock trying to implement our own meaning and purpose. This idea of meaninglessness is also extremely liberating, though. If reincarnation is real, who or what do you think you would’ve been in a past life? How far can the soul travel during transmigration? You think I could die and wake up as a cephalopod on a distant planet? Top three worst animals to be: 1. Whale Barnacle, 2. Chicken, 3. Human. Top three best animals to be: 1. Dolphin, 2. Dolphin, 3. Dolphin. Always be a dolphin. What movies and music have shaped you the most? I think what shaped me as a person the most was the fourteen-year-long raft ride through the whitewater rapids of trauma known as childhood. What are your thoughts on abstract and conceptual art? I'm definitely partial to figure painting, but if it's good, it's good. I'll tell you what though, I don't care how deep the concept is— if it looks like shit, I'm not into it. Perhaps I'm superficial. Do you still live in your studio? What’s that like? It's definitely suboptimal for hosting dinner parties. Luckily, my live space and easel haven't shared the same room in a while. What’s something important to you that seems unimportant to other people? I know a terrifying amount of people who don't floss everyday. What parts of the paintings do you obsess over most? The whole process is pretty obsessive. I don't know any artists that aren't obsessive. What are your most and least favorite places to travel? Don't go to Berlin. Who are some artists you like, or whose work motivates you to paint harder? My favorite painter right now is Jordan Kasey. Hey, Jordan, please notice me. As far as motivation, nothing gets me going more than simply looking at paintings in real life. I love to see how different painters treat the edges of their canvas.

I like to look at the different types of strokes, the amount of paint that's being applied, and the order in which colors were laid. I try to reverse-engineer the painting and reenact the process in my head. Is painting spiritual and/or meditative? It's definitely meditative.

above Untitled 16” x 12” Acrylic on wood 2015 opposite Triangle 48” x 36” Acrylic on wood 2015

What shows do you have coming up through the rest of the year? It's all probably and maybe. What does paradise look like in your mind? I don't know, but for sure Rihanna is there.


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A PROPER LOGO SPEAKS A UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE. Designer, tradesman, and self-proclaimed collector-of-stuff, Aaron Draplin has made a career solving puzzles of visual communication and promoting fundamental principles of graphic design over convoluted bells and whistles. His work is bold, reflecting a respect for refinement and certainty. In recent years, Draplin’s accolades have afforded him the opportunity to tour the country speaking to young designers, sharing tricks and tips, and championing unsung heroes of the branding world. We recently spoke about growing up skateboarding, pushing letters around on paper, and finding a good place to take notes. Aesop Rock: I wanted to talk about compiling the work for your new book, Pretty Much Everything. Aaron Draplin: When you get that call, it’s kinda scary. I called John Gall right back and was like, “Should I do this?” In my travels, I’ve been lucky to meet a lot of people who are gunning for a book. They're preparing for it and expect it. Which is kind of weird. I asked John, point blank, “Do you think I'm ready?” And when he said, “We’re calling it a midcareer survey,” you're kind of like, okay, that sounds doable. To me, it's like you're at the end of your career or rope and then they make a book, and hopefully, people liked the work along the way, and you get to celebrate all this shit. I was just nervous. John coaxed me into it in his own mellow way. He said, “People are asking, and I've been watching you, and you’ve done so much work, and it’ll be great. Let's do it.” And that's all it took. But that same, cynical approach to all of my work almost could have tanked the whole thing because, you know, some people will never make a book and still make the coolest shit and be totally okay with having it hidden away. You know what I mean? How far back did you go? What kind of emotions get stirred up when digging through the archives? I got teary-eyed a bunch of times! Getting this thing going, I simply gave them a laundry list: What about this? What about that? And before you know it, I went all the way back to being born and what things influenced me as a kid. How do you distill all those years into a single spread? It was more powerful for me to show how I was emulating Jim Phillips then to show you a bunch of wonky shit. That’s how I got my legs, by riffing on the the masters I looked up to. That’s great for learning, but you quickly realize you have to figure out how to make your own stuff. The next thing you see are my own sketches, drawings and junk drawer contents. I don't know if you grew up skateboarding, but there was this little packaging card from Grind King, which were a certain kind of truck hardware back in the day—it was just a little, tiny piece of paper I saved. I had them on my deck, and it was important to me to show that this is the kind of junk I was kicking around in 1988 and 1989. Or how I’d make my own little Tech Deck fingerboards and cheat sheets. I loved showing that bullshit in the book. It's just really a way to say, "If any kid's interested, this is what my world looked liked when I was 16.” above Cover and book spread from Draplin Design Co: Pretty Much Everything Published by Abrams 2016

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And then you start working your way through your life, pageby-page in the book, showing when I went out West, where you see me only allowed to do analog stuff because I didn't

have any money. I was looking to the Coops and Koziks—my heroes from the rock poster world. I couldn't afford screen printing, much less knew what it was, but I could draw. Then, getting a computer when I was in Alaska, that’s when everything changed. To go through all this old stuff again, it was an intense, fun process. And I’m finally organized! I’ve kept journals since I was thirteen. Making the books, I got to go and reread a bunch of that painful stuff. That changed when I was about 23 or 24 because I started blogging. Writing shit down wasn't necessarily for someone to read, it was just for keeping track of shit, you know? To go back and look at those things and just go, “Oh… my… God! It’s all here!” You know what I was concerned about when I was 14? It was sketching out how I was going to do the grip tape art on my Jeff Grosso deck! Did anyone even write that down thirty years ago? So it's been really cool to go back,

crack that big egg of your past and just let it drip all over everything now. I’m so thankful I kept it all and, of course, it informed how I work now. The biggest takeaway from going back and looking at the time when I was a kid was that I am so fucking thankful for skateboarding. And snowboarding. And punk rock. And counterculture artists. And let's just say, for “thinking for yourself.” That stuff opened all the doors to weirdo culture, to the cool shit.

above Assorted logo designs

That was the first time I noticed that a cool logo or board graphic could actually have an effect on me. Right. It was the culture of… like, your chest becomes this weird little billboard! And, for me, in a conservative high school, it was daring to be able to say, "Fuck you. I like the Dead Kennedys." That was different than wearing, I don't know, what was cool then? I don't even remember what was cool in 1990? Swatch T-shirts? Rugby shirts and shit? I


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below Field Notes Workshop Companion box set 2015

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remember the shit worn by my scumbag buddies; one guy had the Crass T-shirt, one guy had Santa Cruz, and I had a Butthole Surfers T-shirt. These were statements. What I loved so much was that by supporting some crusty little skateboard brand, it was like they were us, and we knew it, which seemed so big because we were in Michigan, in the middle of nowhere. But it was ours. The jocks and the turds with cool trucks and the good looks and stuff, they had none of that shit. They had footballs and Bud Light. We had art, freedom and expression, and it wasn't about who was the fastest and the coolest and the bestest—it was about fucking hanging with your buddies and finding and inventing our own version of the world.

I feel like a lot of young people are keen on learning how to draw and express themselves through artwork, but for some reason, it might be a more difficult task to get somebody excited about logos and things of that nature. It might even be tough for some of the younger generation to grasp that there's actually an art to it, not just some mathematical equation used to sell things. I'm wondering if you can remember what is was that showed you there was an entire world to dive into within the realm of arranging letters and such. It was right out of high school. I mean, it really was fear of failure that got me going. Where I'm from in Northern Michigan, it's economically rough. It’s always been rough. You don't know that you don't have anything until you start to meet kids from California who are decked out with the latest bullshit and use cool words. We knew we had to escape. I’ve had a job since I was 13 years old, and that's just part of being a Midwesterner—my high school pizza job! When I was starting, people would talk about graphic design like it was something almost… soulless, like you were compromising something. I thought that was bullshit. To me, it was like, I get to be artistic and make a living? Done. Done, done, done. It was pragmatic, and when you get into it, just

a week in, you realize it’s just architecture. You're solving problems and pushing things around on the page. You have to plan, think, and communicate, and there was something about putting these pieces together on a screen or drawing these things up that really grabbed me. I just loved the whole process. I’ve always been the kind of kid who loved to make his own stuff. My dad was a woodworker and my mom made beautiful woven baskets, so we always had projects around the house. We were raised around the idea of taking matters into your own hands. And as soon as I could, I did that with graphic design. When it comes to the process of getting a client and creating a logo for a company, has it become a bit of a routine yet? Or does each one feel like a totally different thing? Sometimes, sure. But that’s such a cynical thing to admit. The answer I am so lucky to give is always this: making logos is pretty damn cool. I haven't been making logos in the last seven months. In November of last year, I was finishing up a couple projects, and had to sort of cut it off. I've been working for years, but with the book coming, I said, “Fuck it, in 2016, I'm just going to focus on the book, traveling, promoting and enjoying the whole process, and doing a little bit of work for bands and buddies.” And on January 5th, I got a fuckin’ call from the managers of Metallica! Of course, I said, “I will fucking take the job not matter what!” It was for a logo for their fan club. The day they called me, I was 15 years old again, so excited. That’s one of my favorite bands of all time. I started sketching right away. I started thinking. I looked at references. And here’s the biggest metal band of all time, and I’m using the same tricks I've taught myself. I just love the process. I love making this shit. You sketch, you have meetings, you talk, you listen, you look at what they want to be.

left Fire! Fire! Fire! Lighter below Jitters About Man... Or Astro-Man Vinyl 2012

For me it's like a funnel, and you plop a bunch of stuff into it, and one refined thing pops out. I sketch a bunch of stuff that comes to mind, or feels right, or is a reaction to what they shouldn't do, or didn't do, or might wanna do. Then things start to feel like, “Ah, that could work on its own in a little Twitter avatar, or that would be great as an embroidery, or awesome on a T-shirt.” I would never show a client anything that I didn't think had legs, and I would never show anything and say, "That's fucking ready to go, like now!" I hand it to them and I say, “Hey, we're working together here. This is gonna twist and turn, and I just showed you 27 things.” What if you like number 2 and 17? Let's fucking Frankenstein ’em together. See, this is the thing that designers love to complain about. That same old lament of, “Oh my god, they took our work and they wanna change it!” Well, it's like, who the fuck taught that person that you're even allowed to have that sense of entitlement? Yes, we’re human, and we wanna complain about things, blah, blah, blah. But who is paying the fucking paycheck? They are. So that means you need to deliver. This shit is a trade. Are there ever times where you find yourself at a complete impasse with a client? Yes and no. Let's just say this much: It's like, first of all, I'm real clear with clients. This is yours and if you want me to go right, I will go right, and in the worst case, I'll sort of


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opposite Thick Lines Poster Series Edition of 150 (each) 18” x 24” left Pretty Much Everything Up To October 15, 2015 Poster Edition of 1,500 (second editon) 24” x 36”


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above from left Dinosaur Jr 30th Anniversary Shows Poster Bowery Ballroom, NYC 2015 Thick Lines Bernie For The Art of a Political Revolution exhibition 2016

let them hang themselves. It depends. There's different categories. If it's my asshole buddy, I can tell him, “I’m not even gonna show you the other shit. This is the best one.” That's different when there's 20 grand on the line. With two hundred bucks, it's different. When it's a paying client and they're hiring you, I'm really clear to say, "I'm gonna show you a lot of stuff. You're gonna guide me, and I'm gonna guide you. I will put my best foot forward and tell you, ‘This is the one that feels pretty good,'" but there's all these funny little things that can go wrong. It's psychology. If you tell them “go with A”, they're gonna say they really like B. So you roll with that. They are the ones who have to wake up with the thing! It’s my job to keep them on course, and show them the successful things they have to go with. Let's say you're sought out by someone who has a lot of money but whose moral compass may not align with yours 100%. Would you ever say no, or can you separate it all in your mind? I'll tell you right now, it's a source of pride and a source, even, of dumbassery on my part. I said no to ten grand from Camel cigarettes one time! My grandma died from cigs. My buddies can't stop. I tried them when I was 12 and my

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fingertips smelled like a fucking ashtray. Scared me to death. I said no then, when they called to recruit me. I'm proud of that. I've said no to sports energy drinks. As a man of size who loves a cold Coke, I know I clearly have to kick that shit. Hell, I had one this morning. It was delicious! Do you have any favorite letters or ones that you hate? When someone comes to you and says, this is my company’s name and it has three O’s... The quick answer would be this: anything symmetrical is totally cool, like U, M, A or V. Geometry is on your side right away. When you look back, say 50 years, some of the greatest logos? They worked in a circle. They worked in a square. They worked in a triangle. They were symmetrical. If they weren't symmetrical, they still looked like these really beautiful, pleasing shapes, which would be housed in circles, squares and triangles. When I have to do something with a J or a K, yes, it's a little trickier, as you're working with the negative space. But here's the thing: there's also opportunities to tuck something in there. So there's a lot of ways to look at this stuff. N is tough because you have the asymmetrical quality, but there are ways to do it. The first thing I would look at with an N is to say, “Okay, how

does that shit work in a square?” And that's what will start to guide you. An L can be tricky because they’ve got all that big, open space. If someone comes in and says, “We’re starting a company and we want a cool M,” I’ll know exactly how to attack that fucker. The tough part is when someone comes to you with a name that is an ugly-ass set of letters, and you're just like, “Oof!” But, that's my job. There’s so much around me that you can look at and say, “Fuck, that person built that logo really, really beautifully.” I collect that shit. You don’t have to be a big branding agency to make good logos. You can just be a good puzzle solver. And there's something really cool about that. I freak out about that shit and I take notes and learn from my favorite designers’ decisions and moves. Is Field Notes the one product you've done that has completely taken on a life of its own, and are you always searching for the next thing that could match that? Yes, yes, of course. Field Notes has blown up so big! But that’s enough! This whole thing started because I couldn’t find simple memo books that I could stomach. So I made my own. And when you make it from that perspective, there’s no plan. Then you give it to a buddy and he says,

“We’ve got something here!” Then what? That buddy was Jim Coudal. And he understood how to take it to the next level instantly and organically. My favorite part of Field Notes? They're $9.95. Hell, if you park your car in the city, it's 20 bucks. When I pay for a cab back from the airport, it's fucking 22 bucks. Field notes are $9.95. They don’t break the bank. We’re told we could sell them for more. We’re in these stores that sell jeans for $500, [sighs] both here in Portland and in New York City, and everywhere else. But we’re also in stores where people are just starting out. It might be an art store, record store, book store… and our Field Notes are still $9.95. They can make a profit on them, and we make our little profit. And the kid who bought them—I'm a bit biased, of course—got a really nice piece of design, and a really fun product. The best part? It works! And it's made in America. It just wins on every single level. And it's ours, man. It's ours. Not someone smarter than us. Well, Jim is way smarter than me!

above from left Surly San Francisco From the Things We Love City/State series Portland, Oregon From the Things We Love City/State series


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INTERVIEW BY EVAN PRICCO // PORTRAIT BY JO BASSETT WE ALL GO THROUGH LIFE WITH OUR DAILY ROUTINES. I’m not here to tell you to snap out of it or be guided by major philosophical thoughts in everything you do because I’m sure Sartre and de Beauvoir spaced out on the way to the grocery store. But think about that awkward feeling when, all of sudden, you think you are on candid camera. In the midst of a lackadaisical act of walking to the corner store, hypnotically going through the motions of passive shopping, you grab a felt candy bar and try to buy it from British artist Lucy Sparrow. Yes, it’s made of felt. This has happened, and you are now part of the installation. In creating bodies of work that consist of 4,000-plus items made entirely of felt, whether a corner or gun store, or a full sex shop, Lucy Sparrow’s constructed experiences have the ability to reimagine the routine. I understand how one could accidentally take a felt candy bar to the cashier to buy a snack, and I also get that not everyone thinks art exists in this context. With her successful installations in London, Basel, Montreal, upcoming solo show at Lawrence Alkin Gallery, and recent Kickstarter campaign to launch a felt corner shop for NYC in 2017, Sparrow has built a career with this unexpected material, all the while keeping a studio practice in a way comparable to a fine art painter. Lucy and I met at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery in London to visit a Jeff Koons exhibition, which seemed quite appropriate given her love of sculpture. But something else made meeting in this place so perfect. Surrounded by the enhanced realignment of everyday objects from Koons, or the pharmaceutical brightness of Damien Hirst’s restaurant, there is this feeling of displacement among the familiar, something that Lucy Sparrow does so well. The routine gets dissected.

Evan Pricco: You told me something about a felt sandwich bar for SCOPE Miami Beach this year. Lucy Sparrow: I'm doing a whole installation, dressing it up like a Subway. A felt Subway. It's just an installation. It's not selling. It's pure installation, so people can come in and interact with it. You can buy things, but I just don't think people will be into that as much as they will be into looking at it. It's going to have this vibe of, "No, we can't serve you right now. We've got a million orders for bagels for Art Basel. We're very, very busy. We've got no more gherkins." Is somebody going to be answering questions for you? No. I think I should just shrug and say things like, “I'm afraid I don't have the authority to answer that. I'm just here for the sandwiches. I'm only here chopping the luncheon meat.” It'll be Lucy's Deli, so people will actually come to get sandwiches, and it's like, "Fuck you, they're not real." When we had our newsstand at Scope a couple years ago, people definitely asked if we had cigarettes. You're like, "Seriously? It's a damn art installation. You're at an art fair." They're so in the zone. That's the best thing. Not only are they going there because it's like a supermarket for art; they're there to be catered to. We're not there to cater to them. We're there to take the piss out of them. What’s going into your solo show at Lawrence Alkin in London in November? It's a show called Shoplifting, and it's sort of influenced from my times working in shops and seeing what items got nicked, stolen. It's a mix of one-off pieces and cabinets, but all the cabinets have themes. The new release for the show is going to be a “shoplifting” cabinet, full of things like antiaging cream, razor blades, vodka, batteries: all the things people tend to put down their trousers and steal from shops.


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So, the universal things people steal that aren't glamorous at all. Exactly. The show is going to be super bright, not quite as heavenly or kitsch as the other shows I've done. It's going to be a bit more gritty, a bit more down to earth, and a bit more like, "Why is this happening?" Lots of cameras everywhere and security barriers making sure you don't leave or nick something like felt batteries. We're almost ten minutes into this conversation, but we should address clearly that you make everything out of felt. Yes. Absolutely everything. Okay, work with me here: if you were an Olympic athlete, what would you be? The only things I'm interested in are the diving and the gymnastics. I'm not interested in anything else. I'd definitely be a gymnast, without a doubt, or synchronized swimmer, but I actually can't swim. I'd die. So, gymnast.

below Best of British Felt, acrylic and thread Cabinet Size: 30” x 24” x 5”

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The reason I ask is because what you do is a mix of repetition and perseverance. After you come up with a really good idea, it's this continual act of making similar, or the same objects, over and over, and it's also about your relentlessness in doing it for a really long time. It's a multihour-a-day activity. Oh my God, yes.

Explain how you create all this work. What’s really interesting is your persistence, quite like the act of painting or gymnastics. It 100% is. I went to an opening the other day, and someone asked, "Do you make all your stuff for a specific destination?" I said, "Always." There's never any stuff that I make that hasn't got a destination in mind. You start off, and everything is planned five to ten years in advance. It's so mapped out. When it comes to crunch time, hours in the day are divided up to... I know it's not what people want to hear, but it's anal. You do have to be super, super organized, and everything is planned right down to the smallest detail, when it's going to be made, how it's going to be presented. Because you're dealing with a material that's already in people's mind, not necessarily a classic art material. It's not paint, even though I use paint, but I think people are going to be a lot more ready to criticize, so I've got to get it spot on. Is felt forgiving, or is it a difficult material to work with? Maybe not to other people, but I think it’s really forgiving because I've been using it for so long. I don't know if you know much about sewing but it's not like making clothes. It's the easiest fabric to work with. That's why they give it to kids to make stuff, because it's so, so easy. You can glue it.

But felt is also a material that’s not associated with the kinds of things you're making. When you first started your art career, there had to be a moment you said, "Okay, I'm going to introduce felt to the fine art world." To be honest, and I know this sounds crazy, but I never thought, or ever dreamed possible, that the fine art world would accept what I was making. I already had it in my mind that people would dismiss it as silly and childlike, and knew that I had a massive stumbling block to get over. When it was accepted quite early on, I was like, "Oh wow, shit just got real. I need to do this in a very, very careful way." I never thought that it would be accepted, but now that it is, I'm just like, "Oh my God, I've got this huge responsibility on my hands. Not only am I carrying this subject, I'm carrying this material into realms where it hasn't been before. I've got to present it in a way that continues to be challenging and lives up to the massive history of painting.” That's a huge responsibility. There are plenty of art critics out there who still won't accept that if you don't do the art yourself, you're not a real artist. I've been told a couple of times I'm not a real artist, and it's like, who the hell is? I think the fact is that sewing is the equivalent of trying to do cooking as art, because it's got a function, because it makes everyday things like clothes. It's a craft, almost like manual labor, which makes it so difficult to pass off as

anything that is technical or difficult. It actually is really quite hard to sew, although the thought is, "It's easy. People do it all the time." I feel we should introduce your past installations to our American audience. Was the Cornershop in London the first big project? How did it go from you working in this form to aiming to do an entire store? I had been doing group shows, so my pieces were getting seen. I'd made a couple of felt porn mags, all single items, one-off originals, stuff that didn't really have any meaning behind it. I just had an idea and I'm like, "That will be cool made out of felt. I'll make that, and I'll put it into this group show." No grand plan. I wasn't selling a great deal. I wasn't getting anywhere.

above Til Death Do Us Part Felt, acrylic and thread Cabinet Size: 30” x 24” x 5” below Crisco Felt, acrylic and thread

It occurred to me that in order to get people to sit up and listen, you need to do something that people cannot ignore. I thought, "What is the most eye-catching and voluminous thing you could do? So you shock people with the amount and quality of work, and the idea, no?" In


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other words, you create a spectacle, and that was what the Cornershop was. A normal neighborhood store, where every object was made of felt. I didn't realize how much of a spectacle it would be. One funny anecdote you told me about kind of goes back to people asking for soda at our newsstand. You had people coming into the store who, out of the unthinking routines of their own lives, would walk in, try to buy something, and not even realize it was an art show. Or that the objects were made of felt! That was the one thing that surprised me that was so wonderful about Cornershop, that it took on an entirely different meaning and life of its own that was so unprecedented. It was the power of a design product. It doesn't even need to be the same size, and someone will think it's real. Nothing of what I make looks that realistic. If you put them next to each other, it doesn't. If you make it in mass and put it in the right setting, people are so sleepwalking in their own lives that they don't see the difference, and that was what was so wonderful coming out of Cornershop. I never expected that. It’s also the power of branding. Huge, absolutely huge power of branding. On a very basic level, it was almost like a big joke, like a big practical joke played on commuters and people who are not paying attention, but actually ended up coming out as a stark realization of what’s incredibly true. Everyone is sleepwalking. Were people in that mode and then realized, "Oh shit," and bought something anyway? Yes. There were quite a few people who came in, looked around, walked out, and then came back in again and were like, "What the fuck?" There were a few people that were really, really angry as well. They thought that it was a hidden camera thing and the joke was really on them. Yeah, I guess it was, in a way. I'm trying not to ask this question, because it is the question you get in every interview: how many items go into something like this? People love to know numbers. I just get it out in the open. "Welcome to the Cornershop. There's 4,000 items in here. I made them all by myself. It took eight months. Next question, please." I'm more interested in the actual act of time, that perseverance and practice idea we talked about earlier. I also get, “Where did you buy your felt?”

left Madame Roxy’s Erotic Emporium Installation view All objects felt, acrylic and thread London, England 2015 Photo by Ed Brandon


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That's was next question. No, seriously, your next big project was the Sex Shop in London’s Soho, so by the time you moved onto this, you had made a name for yourself. I assume that kind of performance project had to be a little bit different? It did. I was a lot more aware of what I was doing. For about a year after, the Cornershop people were like, "Are you going to sell some more food? Are you going to make some more tins of soup?" I think it was really important to get away and be like, "No, fuck your tins of soup. You're getting dildos.” I want to be someone who creates installations and moments in time, and these weird capsules of life Did you tell me that there is recycled material in felt? Yeah, bits and pieces. It depends what stuff you get. I get acrylic, which is more plastic-based stuff, rather than wool. Actually, that's a really funny thing. With the Cornershop, I got a lot of real craft nerds coming in who were asking, "Do you make your own wool?" If you don't, they proper look down at you, like, "Oh, I make my own wool." You're like, "Fucking don't give a shit. Where's your fucking shop?" There's this weird hierarchy, exactly the same as there is in the street art world, the art world, anything like that. It's just in tiny minute sections of whatever you're doing.

right and opposite Madame Roxy’s Erotic Emporium Installation views and details All objects felt, acrylic and thread London, England 2015 Photos by Ed Brandon

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There's a craft mafia? Oh my God, yes. I read one review of Cornershop and they were like, "I went there, and to be honest, I was very disappointed with the tidiness of the stitching." I was like, "You are here for the wrong reasons." It's overcoming that sanctity about craft which, to be honest, I don't give a shit about... What I do is art and will never be anything else. Whether it's tidy or not... You wouldn't go up to van Gogh and be like, "You could have done it neater." You know what's interesting in this is the expectation of what you should be doing because so much craftwork is about looking like it wasn't actually created by a hand. Whereas you're trying to actually show that it was made by hand. They're like, "Big stitches, it's not very tidy." I'm not making a wedding dress. With any kind of craft, especially sewing, to be neat is to be the best, and it's the optimum thing that you're aiming for. It's like you're pissing them off and you're confusing the art world. No one really knows where you sit. For some reason, you get grouped in some street art thing. I don't know where that came from. Okay, back from the tangent: Having the Sex Shop in the middle of London, in SoHo, changes the audience a little bit. Huge. I told you the place next door was an actual brothel upstairs, and quite often they'd come into the doorway of the felt sex shop. You could always tell where they wanted to

be because, for some reason, they'd be wearing a raincoat and carrying a plastic bag. Those were the people that were going to go and see the prostitutes: raincoat, plastic bag. The girls working there came down to see the sex shop and they really loved it. That was as much of an accolade than anyone else coming in there, really. There was this girl who came in and said, "I'm looking for a vibrator." Totally serious. I was like, "Right." She was like, "Is it in the boxes?" I'm like, "Yeah, try and open the box." The box doesn't open, it's not real. She's there trying to pull apart the felt. I'm like, "Seriously? Are you on drugs? At what point did you not realize that everything in here is a cuddly toy?" After a couple of days, you were able to divide the people that you knew were there for the installation, and the people that were not. In London, you could stumble into the Sex Shop, but when you recently did the Sex Shop in Montreal at Station 16 Gallery, there was no stumbling upon it because it was in a gallery. It completely changes the experience when you visit the work in a gallery, as opposed to your own installation. It serves what you're talking about in the fact that you are doing art. For every pop up, there’s an experiential installation that takes time, and, when it's in the gallery, it reminds people that the process is fine art. Yes. I think it's really important I do both. Primarily, the most important thing will always be the installations, and that is the root of everything I've always done, and that will never stop—offering people a different view. They might not actually come to the installation, because it is quite imposing, and quite often they don't last more than a week. The Cornershop was a real rarity in it lasting for a month. The Gun Shop and the Sex Shop only lasted ten days. The New York convenience store in 2017, hopefully, fingers crossed, will be three weeks. You clearly use your material of choice. What else do you personally like? I like so much more about sculpture than paintings. I hadn’t realized this, but when I went to a print fair, the only single thing that I liked there were these prints by Michael Craig Martin. I realized that his were prints of everyday objects, and so I like things. I don't get on very well with abstract stuff. It's not that I don't get it. I'm not stupid. I totally understand abstract stuff, and it's got its place, it absolutely does, but it doesn't resonate with me. I don't feel any kind of connection. Sculpture, I think, is entirely different because it feels... I don't know, it's got more of a presence and I think it's more challenging. You know when you go into any kind of gallery, sculpture obviously doesn't sell as well as paintings, because people wonder, "How am I going to show it on my wall? How am I going to transport it from my shopping bag to my wall?" Sculpture is hard.

in a public space, and this rarely happens with a painting outside of a museum. I think that's it. The only thing that I liked were the drawings of things, and anything else I hated. I was like, "Wow, okay, I guess really, really, really do like objects. I like things."

Lucy Sparrow will open Shoplifting at Lawrence Alkin Gallery in London on November 11, 2016.

There's something about the way that sculptures exist in daily life, where often there is a communal viewing process


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WHAT’S MOST STRIKING ABOUT THE WORK OF ARTIST Henry Taylor is how uniquely he captures the look and feel of the inner city—the place where he grew up and still lives. His compelling portraits, scenes of neighborhood gatherings or family get-togethers, consist of limber figures, in lively colors, occupying freewheeling compositions. Most are based on vintage photographs, news clippings or historical African American events. Like some kind of visual jazz, they riff of a naive sensibility, but a refined use of paint application. His idiosyncratic sculptures and installations sometimes include unconventional urban materials: found litter from the street, discarded household items, even dead trees planted in dirt covering the gallery floor. His work cuts on an edge. I recently visited Taylor at his spacious studio, which sits smack-dab in the middle of downtown LA. The space was filled with an overwhelming variety of materials and halffinished acrylic paintings stacked against the walls. He was in final preparations for an upcoming exhibition at Blum & Poe gallery that includes new paintings, a mixed-media installation, and a room-sized video projection. It quickly became obvious from his answers to my questions that Taylor isn’t prone to self-examination about the meaning behind his output. Although many have described his work as political, he doesn’t have time to get caught up in that discussion. Late into the night, when the streets are eerily still, he hunkers down and gets to the task at hand. Gregg Gibbs: Can you tell me a little about your background? Where did you grow up? Henry Taylor: I was born in Ventura, California and grew up nearby in Oxnard. I’m 58 years old, the youngest of eight kids. My Dad is from east Texas; his father got shot and killed when he was ten. I had two brothers who went to Nam. One got shot on his birthday and died seven years later. One became a tunnel rat in Tennessee. I’ve seen my Dad fight the police. That was the first time I’d ever seen that. My brother jumped through a window to save him. One brother was a founder of the Panthers. I was trying to get into the political groups when I was younger, but they threw me out ’cause they thought I was a clown. How did you start painting? I started painting back in junior high school. In 1984, I started taking painting classes with a painter named James Jarvaise at Oxnard College for about six years on and off, but pretty consistently. I was working in the mental ward at a state hospital, but Jarvais suggested I transfer to CalArts. He was a painter—not well known—but was in a major exhibition called 16 Americans with artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Nevelson, and Jasper Johns at MOMA in New York. I didn’t know he was in that show until he was 90 years old. He fell off into obscurity. Jarvaise was significant to me because he changed my life. Can you name some of your other influences? That changes so frequently. When you’re young, you maybe like the Beatles—then you grow up. I could say Picasso one day and somebody else the next. Somebody brings

something to you and you like it. Sometimes I re-look at stuff that I didn’t know I liked until I looked at it again. I’m influenced by life. When I look at a painting, it’s not like I’m looking for a style. I’m just looking. It’s like when I’m playing Miles Davis. I’m not looking to imitate him. I’m just listening and not thinking about it. Sometimes I revisit things. I didn’t play Curtis Mayfield for ten years then somehow I started playing him. Like, why do you like a certain thing, who knows? I don’t get caught up in that. One day I’m walking down skid row and this guy is cutting up paper—he might make me want to make an abstract painting more than anybody else. You don’t know how someone gets inspired… it just happens, bro.

All images courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo above Untitled Acrylic on canvas 16” x 20” 2016 opposite That’s My Baby Sister Acrylic on canvas 77” x 93.5” 2011

Do you listen to music when you paint? If so, is there any particular sound that inspires you? All kinds. Reggae, ska, rap, classical, you name it. Depends on my mood. I try to be open to a lot of things. Every painting is so different. I don’t have a formula. Sometimes I work with photographs, other times it’s intuitive. I like to paint to music.


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It may enter into an image. I do portraits. I like food. I’ll let everything permeate the work. I just try to be me. What you see is what you get.

below Not Alone Acrylic on canvas 76.5” x 115” x 2.5” 2013

You worked at a mental institution while going to art school. How did that experience influence the images you painted? I worked for ten years at Camarillo State Hospital. It was a halfway decent job. I’d pass out medication and be a mediator between the doctor and client. It was a job that had benefits, but it was a transition period. I went to school during the daytime taking classes with Jarvaise, then I’d work the night shift. It was cool for a while until I had to go. I left art school and just stopped working.

Can you tell me about your installation with the dining room you created? What was the meaning of the dirt on the floor? Probably visiting east Texas, where my parents are from. Just thinking about a specific generation, a specific time in the past. Again, it’s what it’s about. The dirt is about where we come from and where we are going. The soil is everything. Cotton depleted the soil, and it’s not growing anything now. It’s about agriculture—we’re an agricultural country—like nature. Thank you. I’m glad you went there. When you go to a gallery, you don’t expect to find dirt. An exhibition space is always clean and antiseptic. Is it your intention to subvert that? It’s no different than a prop, or material, or anything else, you know what I mean? It’s not anything new that will help facilitate my point. Just like an empty lot. Like water— some people have pools, some people have puddles. When you look at a Diebenkorn from above, it’s not the same as that street thing. It’s like everything is whatever you want it to be—all of it, everything you see. If you’re going through a tunnel or crossing the tracks, there’s always going to be a line. Picasso once said that a painting is never finished, it’s abandoned. Is that the same for you? How do you decide when your paintings are done? I don’t decide—you decide. I don’t know anything. Some things sit around. I’ve worked on paintings in the gallery hours before a show has opened. It’s abandoned when I go home. So I don’t know what Picasso is saying there. Sometimes it’s about the freshness, too. A lot of times I look at stuff and can’t tell if it’s done or not. I keep painting until it’s time to stop. I’ve worked on paintings on the gallery wall in every show I’ve had ’cause I can’t tell if I’m sure it’s done. I work on too many things at once. Some artists work on one painting at a time until it’s complete, then begin another. That ain’t me. Some people wear the same clothes every day. Like Agnes Martin, the legendary minimalist painter. She wore the same shit every day ’cause she didn’t want to think about it. There was so much going on in her head that it got in the way. That makes sense to me. I want to put green into everything. I’m tired of everything. I do something and then I can’t even stand to look at it, then smack, I cover it up. I don’t know, I’m just running. Sometimes I’ll cut an image out of the newspaper, it doesn’t have to have meaning. I’m just happy to get a good spot to park in. You know what, sometimes I just hear the same thing and I’m burnt out. Sometimes it takes the fun out of it. Sometimes sex isn’t good sex. How do you curate your shows? Does the work go together thematically? Each painting is like an “at bat.” You swing for the fence. But you can strike out, too. They may work or may not. Sometimes the work is very spontaneous, other times you think you have a strategy, but you want to be open. You also have got to produce.

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When someone says your work reminds them of other artists’ work, do you find that insulting? Of course, I look at a lot of people. I compare other people all the time, but who wants to be put in a box and held down? It’s not even serious. Some dude paints with purple, somebody paints with white. It’s not that big a deal. If you think about it too much, you take the fun out of it. The fun time is when you don’t have crunch time—other times you’ve just got to do it. You’re doing stuff that you like sometimes, or you jump over here, go back to that, you know. The whole process changes. Sometimes I’m thinking about numbers. It’s like you’re a short order cook and you have to feed 20 people. I have a friend who cooks at a prison and he says, “If I don’t get the meals right, they’ll riot.” So it’s up to you to get it right. You may like cooking, but now it’s manufacturing. But some people aren’t like that. They don’t mind putting a stamp on it. You know, I used to make a guitar myself, but now I have some workers over here and they’re making them for me. What do you think about artists like Jeff Koons, who employs other people to make his work? I don’t care what they do. What they do is their business. I went to therapy today and I’m still learning a few things. I’m not trying to be acceptable. You know when people say, “Those guys aren’t musicians, they’re not playing music if they’re rapping.” I know some guys my age who have that same mentality. I don’t have that. Sometimes you look at someone’s shoes and you

say, “Those are ugly.” Then the next day you’ve got the same shoes on. Sometimes you don’t know what’s going to hit you. I remember my son gave me a record and I said, “I hate this.” Then I called him up and said, “I like this album.” I had to listen to it again. I have an opinion, but I don’t know if it’s correct. It’s like having an album that you never play—you just look at it. That’s really all I’m saying, ’cause I don’t want to shut something down. I don’t want anybody telling me, “You’re listening to white-boy music.” I’m just trying to make a point. Do you have a James Brown record?

above Split Acrylic and charcoal on canvas 60” x 72” x 2.5” each 2013

Yeah, I do. I listen to the Hardest Working Man in Show Business. That’s my point. Some people eat Chinese food, some want to eat tacos. I try to vary the menu. I’ll get the fish or I’ll say, “Where’s the hamburger?” A lot of your paintings feel like memory recall, sort of like moments in time rooted in the past. Is that your intention when creating an image? I hear you. They’re like memories of family—each one is different, but certain paintings aren’t about memory. If I find a photograph that gives me a feeling, I’ll paint it. It’s about the composition. They’re not about the street, they’re from the street. I like that Bob Dylan song “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” which probably inspired my first show with dirt in the dining room.


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What are you working on for your upcoming show at Blum & Poe in L.A.? I almost want it to be a surprise and not tell you right now. It’s just about what I see. To be specific, it’s about all the disparities that go on. Here I am on skid row. This side of the street is different from that side of the street. This room is different from that room. It’s about life, that’s what it’s about. Some people say the art world is elitist, that most of the important collectors are part of the one percent. Do you agree? It’s not up to me to get them to start waking up. They can be naive, but that’s not for me to say. I hear it all the time— everyone’s got a banner for something. I’m not talking about

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the art world. I’m talking about the real world. I guess I don’t get interviewed that much. They don’t call me up and ask me how I feel about the latest shooting. I don’t really need to talk about it. Everybody knows what’s going on. It’s not like I need to say anything about it. Don’t think that I don’t care—I’m just not protesting in the street about it. A lot of times I don’t want to pay attention to the political, I just want to paint. We all want to get paid for what we love, whether right or wrong. That’s it, plain and simple. You can quote me on this: tell the truth.

Henry Taylor’s solo exhibition at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles will run through November 5, 2016. -.

A YOUNG FILMMAKER AND HENRY TAYLOR I’ve always been a huge fan of Henry’s work. I recently found an essay that I had written for English class in my freshman year of high school explaining that Henry Taylor “is my favorite artist.” Last summer, a few of my friends and I had the pleasure of spending a day with him at his studio while he painted portraits of each of us. I began to establish a relationship with him. His multiple sides, that came out at different times, fascinated me: one being his wild and crazy side, and the other his deep-thinking and wise side. Watching him paint became very meditative; his technique was very distinct and unique. Henry’s poetic way of speaking intrigued me as well. It made me think deeply about what he was saying and how he was saying it. The way he speaks correlates perfectly with how he paints. When I made the decision to make a film on Henry, I wanted to capture all parts of him, in his purest and rawest form. I shot whatever he happened to be doing in that exact moment, whether it was clipping his nails, talking on the phone, or cleaning his studio. Shooting “a portrait” of him seemed necessary as an opposition, considering the majority of his work contains portraiture. I asked him two simple, yet broad questions, “What is a portrait of Henry Taylor?” and “What is your poetry?” He answered them beautifully. Henry’s “two sides,” as I mentioned before, came out throughout the film. I shot the entirety of the film on a Super 8 camera. I used two rolls of film, which totals about three minutes of footage per roll. It took about a day to shoot the footage,

and the processing and editing took about a week and a half to finalize. The film was originally going to be silent, but I thought that adding audio from Henry would ultimately complement it. (The audio was recorded externally since Super 8 is not able to pick up sound.) I hand-developed each roll of film, as well as edited by hand using a film splicer. Aside from creating a digitized transfer file and recording the audio, I used no digital technology whatsoever—everything was done by hand. The film was premiered on a vintage Super 8 projector as well. I am a photographer as well as a filmmaker. I shoot everything on film. I enjoy the longer process that comes along with shooting analog. I enjoy experimenting with film, using techniques such as cross-processing, where a slide film is developed using negative film chemicals. I have also found that developing photos at a lower-grade processing place such as CVS gives a visually appealing texture and feel to the photo. Paolo Davanzo and Lisa Marr of the Echo Park Film Center were my mentors during the process of making A Portrait of Henry Taylor. Both of them guided me throughout the steps of creating the film. —August Blum

A Portrait of Henry Taylor, directed by August Blum, can be viewed at

above Installation view 2013 Blum & Poe Los Angeles right Portrait by Lucas Celler


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MIKE CARNEY FREEZE FRAMES A TWIN CITY All photos by Mike Carney above Mural by Eduardo Kobra

MINNEAPOLIS, THE CITY WHERE YOUR COUSIN VISITED a few years back and had a fantastic time, specifically the upper Midwest, is considered a fly-over city for coast-tocoast flights from New York to Los Angeles. With the eyes of the country often elsewhere, our distinctiveness is selfmade and self-propelling. A city known for thunderous winters, residents understand the cold, we embrace the cold. We are the cold. Just as winter is always coming, so is the great thaw of spring. By the time April rolls around, Minnesotans feel as though they have earned their right to be outside, which explains why Minneapolis is considered one of the best cities in the country for cyclists. Even though the average MN rider only uses their bike for five months out of the year, they use them with fervor when they do, commuting to work, bar hopping or riding around the Mississippi River fronts and chain of lakes. Minneapolis, aptly named “The City of Lakes,” has 13 of the well over 10,000 bodies of water

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that the state heralds as its own. Lake life in the city isn’t for boating, but for leisure activities such as hanging out in the sun and hanging out in the sun some more. We get it while we can. If exploring the water is of interest, rent a paddleboard or canoe and jump from lake to lake through the easily traversed waterways that connect them. For dry land travel, grab one of the city’s rentable bikes at countless locations to find great beaches at Lake Nokomis or Cedar Lake. You can even meet your future spouse at one of the many beaches on Lake Calhoun, just as I did many moons ago. Walking around, you won’t find eighteenth-century colonial architecture, but a modern metropolitan area, originally inhabited by Dakota Sioux, built with hardworking local labor starting in the late nineteenth century. Long hours and explosive conditions, literally, in the saw and flour mills eventually birthed household names like General Mills, Gold Medal Flour and Pillsbury.

We have our music stars in Bob Dylan and the late great Purple One. However, the music scene has been created in a way to boast local talent that doesn’t necessarily rely on the national spotlight to make it happen. The people support their artists. The nation’s largest independent hip hop record label, Rhymesayers Entertainment, calls Minneapolis home, boasting such names as Atmosphere (MPLS), Brother Ali (MPLS) and MF Doom (NY). Wander into Fifth Element, the Rhymesayers record store in Uptown, for all things hip hop. A must-not-miss show would be P.O.S. In addition to his solo career, he is crewed up as one of five rappers in Doomtree. They are known for throwing legendary shows as individuals and more so as a squad. The city has embraced them as their own rap golden children. Show up hungry to any of their shows at the fabled First Avenue Mainroom, or one of the outrageously numbered block parties or festivals during the summer months, and they will be sure to feed you exactly what you’ve been deprived.

If you’re hankering for some actual sustenance, the first stop is Nicollet Ave. South between 24th and 29 th. The fiveblock strip is known as Eat Street for reasons that need no explanation. Start at Glam Doll Donuts for breakfast, move on to Harry Singh’s for Caribbean Jerk or anything from Quang’s for lunch, enjoy a duck breast and an old fashioned from Eat Street Social Club for dinner, and say “what’s up” to the revenge of Montezuma after you hammer out a late night burrito from Little Tijuana’s. For other bites, the beef Stromboli from Slice of New York or a bahn mi at Lu’s Sandwiches should do the trick. For a full-blown dinner experience, hop over to the North Loop to find The Bachelor Farmer with their ice-cube-toned, picnic blanket awnings and the newly awarded, James Beard Foundation, Best Chef-Midwest. It opened as a Nordic-style restaurant, and has since transitioned itself into serving Minnesota food that pulls from its Scandinavian roots without being bound to tradition. Haven’t had Minnesota cuisine before? One hint: they don’t serve lutefisk. At last, weigh in on the age-old


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battle of the first and best Juicy Lucy in town—a cheesestuffed burger whose history of origins and dominance will vary depending on who you ask. POTUS was recently seen casting a vote for Matt’s Bar. Thanks Obama, I concur. The charm of Minneapolis continues as you begin to traverse the vast networks of art in the city. Starting on the Southside, pop in to the Weinstein Gallery to see what the 20-year gallery veterans have hanging. As you begin to make your way north, stop into the great artist-run space, White Page Gallery. Once you’ve reached Uptown, SooVac Gallery, Intermedia Arts and the David Petersen Gallery will be worth your time. On to the Walker Art Center and the neighboring Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, you will find the iconic ambassador to Minneapolis’s public art, Spoonbridge and Cherry made by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. If you can’t get there in person, grab any “Visit Minneapolis” pamphlet—almost surely it will be on the cover. Head through downtown with a pit stop at Gamut Gallery and then across the river until you’ve reached the North East Arts District. This neighborhood is home to a major circuit of buildings that house studios for a large portion of the city’s artists. Check the calendar and you might get

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to wander around during their well-attended open studio events. If you’re there on off times, the neighborhood is full of taprooms, all pouring beer better than the next. Able, Fair State, Indeed and BauHaus breweries barely scratch the surface of what you will find. While you’re in the area, the staple, Rogue Buddha Gallery, will cater to your darker fancies. Continuing East on Broadway, to the outskirts of the Arts District, you’ll stumble upon Public Functionary, a space that opened with the help of a large crowdfunding initiative. It embodies the ethos that makes the Minneapolis art scene what it is. It flirts with the image of an adorned white-wall commercial gallery, giving both emerging and established, local and national artists a venue to show, yet it maintains warmth and widespread appeal with persistent programming to activate the local community and often underrepresented art forms and artists. While Minneapolis is a tough place for artists to make livable wages through the sales of their works alone, I respect PF for fostering the careers of artists in so many ways beyond the transaction of a price tag. —Mike Carney




TAKING THINGS INTO YOUR OWN HANDS THE FIRST ART SHOW I PARTICIPATED IN WAS IN MY backyard. I'm not kidding. My buddy, Lee Brooks, and I built a bunch of free-standing walls behind my house and hosted an art show. This was in Austin in the early 2000s, and there weren't any local galleries that had any interest in showing our work. So, rather than complain about it, we took matters into our own hands, showing our own art alongside our friends' stuff. And guess what? People actually showed up and made purchases. We later hosted a second backyard art show and the turnout was even better, and we sold even more work. We used that experience to open a gallery in downtown Austin, but that's a tale for a different time. This story is about taking things into your own hands. Do you make art? Have you always wanted to be in a show but you don't know how to approach a gallery? Or perhaps you've been plagued by rejection? Well, guess what? You don't actually need anybody's permission to throw an art

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show. All you need is the motivation and determination to do so: build walls in your backyard, empty out your garage and hang some stuff up, clear out your living room and call it a gallery, rent a room at a community center for a night, find a forgotten/neglected alleyway, hang up stuff behind an abandoned Walmart—there are no rules. When people talk about wanting to participate in “the art world,” I totally get it. But if the door isn't opening for you, why not just participate in your own art world? Who knows? Maybe you find out that it's more fun to hang out in your backyard than in a white box. At the very least, you're being proactive instead of sitting around waiting for somebody to take a chance on you. Take a chance on yourself. If you think you're worth it, you probably are. —Michael Sieben

above Flier for my first art show

glenn barr in v isible worl d

ma sak atsu sa shie e x ternal effec t

o c tober 15 — november 12, 2016 opening recep tion: satur daY, o c tober 15, 6 — 8 pm

529 w e s t 20t h s t r ee t | ne w Yo r k , n Y 10 011 | j o n at h a nl e v ineg a l l er m





When I was in college, I got kicked out of my living situation in the heart of a very difficult academic semester. Unhinged and stressed like never before, the only thing that got me through it was watching The Royal Tenenbaums every day for 30 consecutive days. I’m going to bet that if you are of a certain age, a Wes Anderson film has touched your life as well. Through the whimsy and lovingly detailed minutiae, Wes Anderson is the master of making the modern fairy tale. A few years ago, Spoke Art channeled the cult-like following of Wes Anderson films into a tribute art show, Bad Dads, which became a series of shows (and now a book) showcasing contemporary artists’ interpretations and dedications to the characters and themes in Anderson’s canon. From odes to Dudley’s World or fine art paintings of the Lobby Boy, each artist captures the spirit of the films, while expanding on the Andersonian Universe. Even Wes notes in the Bad Dads book introduction, “I have, on more than on occasion, turned to an artist represented/discovered in this series of exhibitions to make pictures for use in my own ongoing movies.” It’s like being inspired by the inspiration you inspired in others… the circle of life. —EP

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Saying Walker Evans is your favorite photographer is like telling the world Michael Jordan is your favorite basketball player. Where’s the debate? But like Jordan, sometimes you need to look back at the highlights for confirmation to make sure your impression is based in reality, and Walker Evans: Depth of Field is not only an affirmation, but an illumination of how Walker Evans is, in fact, the godfather of modern American Photography. Essays, interview and context share the same space as decades of Walker’s photography, from Depression-era portraits in the South, to the streets of Havana, even extending into his portrait work in the 1970s. The power of a great portrait and street photographer is their ability to elevate the subject with almost surreal gravitas, to make you feel that you are in the midst of imperfect perfection. Walker Evans could do this with a building, a person, a street sign. His ability to take a brilliant photo is nearly unmatched. Organized by the Josef Albers Museum Quadrat Bottrop in Germany and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, the exhibition, Walker Evans: Depth of Field, will run at the Vancouver Art Gallery in BC from October 29, 2016 to January 22, 2017. —EP


Tom Sachs is an artist of labor. His installations are about the construction of things and not so much the thing you are looking at, and he’s very serious about the process and time it takes to make something work. His brilliant Space Program and Boombox Retrospective turns non-art into must-see art. The same goes for the great Tea Ceremony exhibition Sachs created at the Noguchi Museum in Queens, New York, as well as the companion Tea Ceremony Manual that reads more like NASA’s Standards Manual than a guide to peacefully drinking tea at your home with friends and family. Each step to properly appreciating tea, which is illustrated in over 280 pages, is broken down with the precision of operating a particle collider at Stanford’s National Accelerator Laboratory. And if tea and particle physics don’t mix, I don’t know what does. The manual was published by Tom Sachs Studio and the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum with support from Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Nasher Sculpture Center. —EP

Camilla d’Errico 10/29/16 - 11/27/16

Julie Filipenko 12/10/16 - 1/08/17

Haven Gallery 155 Main St., Northport, NY 631.757.0500 . .


Photo by Bryan Derballa @lovebryan Model: Sade

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PSYCHIC LANDSCAPES THERE IS A DUALITY IN DUTCH PAINTER MARTINE Johanna’s artwork that reveals itself between, as the artist puts it, “the visible and nonvisible world.” Warm, vibrant colors pull you in, while cooler ones push you away. Entranced eyes gaze outward, away from the viewer, but invite you to peer inside at a complex assortment of thoughts and emotions, exposing what feels like everything and nothing all at once. As she prepares for her solo exhibition at Spoke Art in San Francisco, Johanna chats with us about feeling as opposed to seeing, momentum, collective memories, and learning the value of the present. Alex Nicholson: What was your earliest creative endeavor? Martine Johanna: I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil. But one particular memory that also helped me develop my own opinions is drawing a unicorn with wings in bible class when I was ten years old. The headmaster, who was also a preacher, took it from me and mounted it on the wall, stating the drawing was blasphemous because God didn't create unicorns. It didn't shake me. I was proud that I had my first exhibition and knew then that one day, I would make it my profession. I'm drawn to the facial expressions in your paintings. What are your subjects thinking? What are they looking at? What drives me to make the choice for these expressions is to somehow communicate internal psychic landscapes or movements in them, which you cannot actually see; you just feel their presence. I’m endlessly fascinated by that internal world, the complexity of thought processes, drive and decision making, the visible and nonvisible world. It might also be a reference of strength and escapism. There are no disconnects present. What inspires your bright color palette? My greatest memories as a kid are filled with colors, like flashbacks into a perfect world. While working, I get obsessed by its opposing effects, how cold colors bring distance and warm colors, closeness. It also affects intuitive associations from our collective memory and instincts. With color, you affect moods and strengthen that which you are trying to convert.

above Between Heaven and Hell Acrylic on Belgium linen 72” x 49” 2016

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In addition to your colorful childhood memories, is any other part of your paintings autobiographical? I think all artist’s work is, in some sense, autobiographical. There is always something mirroring from the inside out— just as I am a female, a dreamer, hypersensitive, introverted outwards and extroverted inwards. What are you exploring in these new paintings for Spoke Art? I have titled the exhibition Dancer because, as life takes

its course, regular things happen, good things happen and the bad is never far away. I am going through some trying times now and after my last solo in Amsterdam, I felt quite overwhelmed. When I was thinking about a concept, I found a solution in the abstraction of movement, like looking for magic in the static and flight in the motion. Dance is one of the oldest forms of communication and storytelling. It consists of purposefully or instinctively selected sequences of motion and conveys or processes emotions without using words. It is a way of storytelling, a social healing ritual, sacred, ceremonial, and it can lead to ecstatic trance states. And the wonderful thing is it has momentum. What has your experience been like in navigating the art world? Has it been difficult? Sometimes, yes. I mean, I keep working no matter what. I am my own toughest critic, and my aims are always just out of reach. But there are a lot of strange politics in the art world. It is often contradictory to what art should have: freedom. Once art is established, it is not that interesting anymore because something that is established can, in

itself, not renew, and it is hard for newcomers to breach the code of conduct. I read Bourdieu’s Distinction, and the art world feels like that—judgments of taste are related to social positions, and those positions and structures that hold them together are mostly also established and hard to become part of. Especially, like many artists, when your talent is making and not necessarily socializing. Fortunately, there are shifts happening that allow room for emerging artists to get more exposure. Because art is a reflection of society, and society has easier access to all levels of art, it is something that the established art world cannot ignore. Because of this, there are many new curators and galleries holding successful pop-up shows and exhibits. Museum exhibitions are becoming more daring and interactive as well. All this makes way for new generations of artists to come. It’s all very exciting.

above (from left) Reverence Acrylic and resin on fine wood panel 15.7” x 11.8” x 1.3” 2016 Axis Acrylic and resin layers on fine wood panel 27.6” x 19.7” x 1.3” 2016

Do you see your work as relating to any current cultural or art movement? Maybe in the revival of figurative art. Some people say my work is hyperreal, but that is absolutely not the case. It’s


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also not Surrealism or Pop art. I don’t know, I rather not be put in a movement, because that leaves so little room for experimentation. Are there particular books or movies that you continue to revisit? I used to revisit Jodorowsky, Dario Argento, and films like Under the Skin, Only Lovers Left Alive, or Hausu. But somehow, over the years, I’ve become a bits-and-pieces information freak, reading everything about anything that I’m drawn to, from Modernist architecture to the history of female mental illness. While I paint, I usually binge-watch or listen to documentaries about all kinds of subjects, most of them on human nature. I do have to watch out that it doesn't negatively affect my mood, though. I spend so many hours in the studio that I can feel estranged from the outside world. So much so that a trip to the supermarket can seem like climbing Mount Everest. Sometimes I listen to music, which is actually far healthier. If you could have a conversation with any artist, dead or living, which would it be? Helen Frankenthaler. She was an abstract expressionist painter known for her color field paintings. Despite the era she was active in, the ’50s and ’60s, as a female and recognized painter, she did not shy away from making her own statements, whether in size, form or boldness. She did not conform to any set image of the female artist. She was eager to learn and looked for her own truth and expression, counteracting any existing stereotype. She would still be considered a rarity today. I would love to ask her where she drew her fearlessness from since the odds were against her. What's the best piece of advice about life or art you've been given? It was from my dad who told me, “Everything will always be okay again.” He died suddenly in 2001. His last words in the ambulance before slipping into a coma were, “Is this really necessary?” I was devastated but have found, through the years, that it is true: if you are aware of the here and now, there are always things to appreciate, even in the hardest times. He was a man that always knew how to draw the sting out of any heartache with his soothing smile and calm, reassuring demeanor. He was obsessed with his work as a technical inventor, which was very inspiring to me. Although I’m a dreamer at heart, I can treat most things very matter-offactly and feel at ease with them… most of the time.

Johanna’s solo exhibition at Spoke Art in San Francisco runs from October 8–October 29, 2016. top left Studio shot by Louis Reith

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bottom left A Terre Acrylic Belgium linen 54” x 47”

TOURIST Ratur + Sckaro October 20 - November 10, 2016





JAMES JARVIS “AMPHORA” VASE BY CASE STUDYO Research shows that “amphora” is derived from the Greek word “ampiphoreus,” meaning “bearer,” which makes it the perfect title for the new, limited edition sculpture/vase by James Jarvis and Belgian object makers, Case Studyo. The “Amphora” collaboration features the iconic cartoon character style that former Juxtapoz cover artist Jarvis is famous for, as well as the playful nature of being an art sculpture and functional porcelain flower vase. We will take two, please. Made in an edition of 100, with custom screen-printed box signed and numbered by the artist.

PERMAPAQUE DUAL POINT MARKERS BY SAKURA Upgrade from those smelly, dried-up markers that fade to these odorless archival ones made by Sakura, purveyors of the gold standard of art pens. Perfect for illustration or typography and complete with dual point tips, they run smoothly over many surfaces, even painted ones, including wood and plastic. Surprise yourself by experimenting with new materials, and if you’re on the hunt for that elusive, solid, opaque fill, these markers will become your newest trick of the trade. You’re welcome.

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U-JAYS ON-EAR HEADPHONES BY JAYS Remember those old T-shirt design that read something like, “Basketball is Life. The Rest Is Just Details?” We are now in the era of “Headphones are Life.” Grammatical stretches aside, we have been taking these lightweight u-JAYS On-ear headphones with us on our world travels, and these are the most comfortable and seamlessly designed (being a Swedish company doesn’t hurt) headphones we have seen. The JAYS brand touts their bass sound, which we agree is top notch, and the three-button remote is a nice feature, too. But let’s be honest… the u-JAYS just look great.










PIVOT ART & CULTURE 1 | In the days leading up to the opening of Juxtapoz x Superflat in Seattle, multiple artists were on location for install and site-specific work. Takashi Murakami and Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor share a mirthful moment as she put the finishing touches on her three massive sculptures in the Lincoln Room.

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2 | During a special public artist talk, Otani Workshop, Kazunori Hamana, and Yuji Ueda, with able assistance from Kaikai Kiki’s Brad Plumb, discussed the unconventional methods they use making traditional and non-traditional Japanese ceramic sculptures. 3 | Trenton Doyle Hancock added storytelling to his repertoire while explaining the history of The Mounds and Vegans.

4 | The David Shrigley Life Model drawing room was a creative and constant interactive hit. 5 | Keeping a good juxtaposition throughout, the crowds enjoyed the artist discussion while gathered around Chinese artist He Xiang Yu’s hyperreal sculpture, The Death of Marat, depicting a “resting” Ai Weiwei. 6 | Aesop Rock provided the opening night tunes and contemplated the setlist at soundcheck.

All photography by Ian Bates











PIVOT ART & CULTURE 1 | ... Like clockwork … Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme stopped by Juxtapoz x Superflat in Seattle and gave Ben Venom some props on his AC/DCreferencing quilt that was on display.

NEW IMAGE ART GALLERY 2 | One of our favorite shows to kick off the Fall 2016 exhibition season was Luke Pelletier’s solo show, If It Floats…, at New Image in Los Angeles. He and

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Kristen Liu-Wong kicked back at the opening.

THINKSPACE GALLERY 3 | Fresh from his artwork gracing the cover of the new Red Hot Chili Peppers’ new LP, The Getaway, Kevin Peterson soloed at Thinkspace with his show, Sovereign.

JONATHAN LEVINE GALLERY 4 | Meanwhile in NYC, Nicomi Nix Turner looked elegantly badass in front of her work in the group show, Cluster.

5 | Seeing that Cluster was a group show about groupings, Gary Taxali came down from Toronto and grouped his work together nicely.

LACMA 6 | LACMA Director Michael Govan, exhibition curator Britt Salvesen, and filmmaker/fine artist Guillermo del Toro were all smiles at the opening of del Toro’s standout museum show, At Home With Monsters.

Photos by Evan Pricco (1) Sam Graham (2—3, 6) and Joe Russo (4—5)








LEHMANN MAUPIN GALLERY 1 | In one of the most talked-about shows of the Fall, Brazilian twins Os Gemeos opened a showstopping exhibition, Silence of the Music, at Lehmann Maupin. 2 | Os Gemeos brought out NYC art stars, as always. FAILE stopped in for some support…

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LACMA 3 | … while Todd “REAS” James and Mare139 caught up and held court. 4 | After DJing the opening, the legendary DJ Qbert gave us a little pose for the b-boy inspired occasion.

5 | The iconic British artist and Hunter S. Thompson visual companion, Ralph Steadman, came out to NYC to kick-off his retrospective at the esteemed Society of Illustrators. He even gave us a…thumbs up? 6 | Sculptor Jud Bergeron, who has been working with Steadman on these elaborate and fantastic sculptures, checks in on the new work.

All photography by Joe Russo






WHEN WE TALK ABOUT STREET ART’S EXPLOSION OVER THE past two decades, my interpretation is that we mean Street Art in the often-illegal, non-gallery form, rooted and influenced by the major precursors of revolutionary art movements from the century before it: Dada, Futurist, Situationist, punk, hip hop and in a more direct way, graffiti. At its core, Street Art changed the way we experience art in daily life, but also how we consume art. When done effectively, it creates nuanced discussion about the use of public space and curation of art, while challenging the gatekeeper mentality of art history. Maybe, most importantly to its future, Street Art fosters creative populism that most contemporary art doesn’t experience. The act of presenting on the streets for all to see was refreshing and inspiring, the energy and rebellion seeping into the way artists began to distribute and make art. BLU, maybe this generation’s most political muralist, began making incredible stop-motion films. Banksy turned his process into monumental press events while still maintaining the wit of good Street Art. Swoon transformed her wheatpastes into delicate and magical installations in museums. Major exhibitions like Beautiful Losers, Art in the Streets and The Bridges of Graffiti elevated parts of the movement with historical heft, and mural festivals around the world emerged as platforms for a new generation of kids who were unlikely to ever set foot in a gallery. Blogs emerged for discussion of the daily happenings in Street Art around the world; magazines and zines were published in every language, social media expedited public dialogue, and academics like the those joining Nuart each year began to contextualize the past, present and future of what was being seen in real time. To be honest, it all seemed that Street Art wasn’t really just “art in the streets” anymore. Maybe it never was just that. It most definitely came to define a particular energy and rebellion; a new way of approaching and making art. But it evolved into something else, something bigger, wider, more visible. It has sort of outgrown itself. And that is why it’s in need of a new label. Post Street Art. Perfect. I find it most appropriate that Martyn Reed, founder of the most venerable of Street Art festivals, a curator and organizer who has continued to nurture the movement and keep it within the historical lineage of the Dadaists, Situationists and Graffiti, has declared it time to re-think this particular genre. Nuart champions such movements of rupture and transformation, placing 100 years of Dada in the same realm of Street Art. Time to reset the dialogue. —Evan Pricco

This text is an excerpt from a longer essay featured in the 2016 Nuart Festival catalog. Nuart runs through October 16, 2016 in Stavanger, Norway. Catch a full recap in an upcoming issue of Juxtapoz.

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Art by Jeff Gillette (who was a featured artist at Nuart Festival, 2016), Disney Castle Landfill: Telephone Poles, Acrylic and collage on canvas, 50” x 31”


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Beer speaks. People mumble. @lagunitasbeer



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Juxtapoz November 2016  

Juxtapoz art & culture magazine

Juxtapoz November 2016  

Juxtapoz art & culture magazine