BANKSY // JAMIAN JULIANO-VILLANI // ROBERT WILLIAMS // STUART DAVIS
BANKSY // JAMIAN JULIANO-VILLANI // ROBERT WILLIAMS // STUART DAVIS // JASON RHOADES
MAY 2017, n196
MAY 2017, n196
Every Image Tells a Story. Tell Yours.
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Take Classes in San Francisco or Online School of Photography Student photograph Goldengate Lookout by Matt Oâ€™Brien
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YOUR ART HERE?
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Art by Jamian Juliano-Villani, Untitled, Acrylic on canvas, 48” x 40”, 2015
ISSUE 196 / MAY 2017
ADAM FEIBELMAN CUTS A BEAUTIFUL MESS SPOON’S NEW ALBUM, TRACK BY TRACK 3SIXTEEN, NIXON, MONTANA COLORS
ARI MARCOPOULOS FOR ADIDAS
CHASING HISTORY WITH LETTERFORM ARCHIVE COMFY SWAG WITH SHEILA RASHID GRAPHITE GOODNESS FROM RYAN TRAVIS CHRISTIAN POW! WOW! IN HONOLULU
MARK MOTHERSBAUGH AT NYU
ROBERT WILLIAMS AT FORT WAYNE MUSEUM OF ART
104 CODY HOYT
THE LONG VIEW
SIEBEN ON LIFE
THERE IS BEAUTY IN THE STRUGGLE
SHOE, CARL BARKS, AND 100 MASTERPIECES
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NYC AND LOS ANGELES BANKSY’S THE WALLED OFF HOTEL
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JUXTAPOZ ISSN #1077-8411 MAY 2017 VOLUME 24, NUMBER 05 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: email@example.com. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org juxtapoz.com
Cover art by Jamian Juliano-Villani Mixed Up Moods Acrylic on canvas 20” x 20” 2014
E D I TO R ’ S L E T T E R
ISSUE NO 196 ONE OF MY FAVORITE EXHIBITIONS FROM LAST YEAR was Stuart Davis’s In Full Swing at the Whitney Museum in NYC (and luckily, for both the magazine and the West Coast, the show travels to the de Young Museum in San Francisco in April—read more on page 86). I had walked to the Whitney to see Danny Lyon’s exquisite photography exhibition, and on the recommendation of artist Paul Wackers, who advised taking a lot of time to savor Stuart Davis, I saw what a brilliant show it was. The colors, composition, subject matter... I could go on and on, but even though I was a huge fan of Davis before, seeing such a large body of work in one room was illuminating, as well as an eye-opening reminder of how inﬂuential Davis has been on artists we cover today. Another reason to bring this up is that museums, or for that matter, any creative institution, where experts and historians try and connect the intricacies of our not-sodistant past to our current culture, face what is perhaps one of the biggest challenges in this country’s history. The current presidential administration, at the time of our publication, is threatening to cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Described on its site, the NEA was established by Congress in 1965 as, “the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations and develop their creative capacities.” American history, whether it be jazz, theater, or the Federal Art Project, has a rich tradition of cultivating the arts, and that support and investment has allowed American arts culture to foster goodwill around the world and, most importantly, ﬂourish at home. Remember, it’s not just museums. It’s classical music concerts, art programs for kids in urban areas, dance, public art, playhouses… the list goes on. The NEA is not a major drain on the government, but is being treated as such. Rather, it’s an investment where jobs are at stake, as well as the culture that many of us seek and support each month. If the NEA is eliminated, shows like Stuart Davis’s In Full Swing would ﬁnd it nearly impossible to travel from coast to coast. (The NEA has funded over 344.1 million dollars for museums since 1971, supporting public programming in museums, including lectures, speaker series, and workshops.) Of course, there are always the independent organizations and underground art scenes that can self-fund and carry the torch, like Banksy’s The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, but in 2017, all the arts need the support of each other to sustain both a culture of creativity, and one that will thrive. To be honest, Juxtapoz succeeds when everyone is connected. There’s a reason why museums, history books, and ﬁlms dedicate themselves to the history of the arts. It’s why the National Endowment for
location TITLE Medium Date
the Arts was established in the ﬁrst place! Eras are deﬁned and buoyed by creative culture, but the unnecessary elimination of the NEA threatens the structure of our artistic past and the future that we should be making. Administrations from both parties have supported the NEA for over 50 years, and if that funding implodes, we’ll all have more than potholes to ﬁll. Enjoy #196.
above Stuart Davis Owh! in San Pao Oil on canvas 52 3/16” × 42” 1951 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Add Fuel (PT) Alice Pasquini (IT) Fintan Magee (AU) Herakut (DE) Isaac Cordal (ES) Jaune (BE) Julien de Casabianca (FR) M-City (PL) Martin Whatson (NO) Nipper (NO) Robert Montgomery (UK)
NuaRt PlUS Fri 14, Sat 15, Sun 16 April
Film premieres, guided tours, artist talks, panel debates, workshops for kids & more.
opENiNg & guidEd tours Sat 15 April from 12·00 The Green, AB11 6AD
I HAVE BEEN REALLY LUCKY WHEN IT COMES TO studio space in San Francisco. I have loved every spot I worked in, from illegal basements of apartment buildings to a warehouse fully set up as a concert hall, to a more traditional art studio building with 360 degree views of SF from the roof! Unfortunately, these spaces in such a densely populated place get eaten up by market forces, and in the last couple of years, I have had to move four times but been lucky again to have landed in a great place. A building like this used to be pretty common but is now a rare gem, in this case, a scrappy old building that used to manufacture kids’ furniture. The train rails are still there in the backyard area, which gives a little extra space if you need to really spread out or work outside with toxic stuff. Every space is occupied by an artist or creative of some sort. You become really closely knit with these people because everyone is similarly trudging a path through the jungle of art.
My studio is something like the middle of my brain, when I am here, which is every day, moving from one thing to another. I have a pattern piece or a commission going, and when I get tired of working on one thing, I can just turn to something else for a while. For the next show coming up, I am working with a lot of new materials, so the studio is also a laboratory, a place where you can fail miserably, then have all the right things at arm's length to do it right the next time. When I'm not here, I’m thinking about what will happen when I’m back. I love Monday mornings. Currently, the studio looks like a wild boar and a hoarder have been ﬁghting in here for a month, and I wouldn't have it any other way. —Adam Eli Feibelman
Read our interview with Adam Fiebelman on page 96.
Photo by Alex Nicholson
to making an album? And when you ﬁrst saw Christine’s work, did you envision album art? Britt Daniel: Maybe for the last four to ﬁve months we were working on the record, anytime I would see either a piece of art or direction in a piece of art that had me thinking, I would take a picture and save it to this large ﬁle of images. Christine is a friend, but I wasn’t actually familiar with her paintings until I got on her Instagram. Then I saw the skull images she made, which was probably last summer. I can’t say that I immediately thought, “This is going to be the record cover,” but I thought it was amazing and put it aside with other things I collected. When I came back to all the images sometime later and started to think about the title of the record, Hot Thoughts, I looked at the skull image again and felt like it was perfect. It’s an amazing image because it’s grotesque in some ways but beautiful, and I hadn’t quite seen anything like it before. I have seen a lot of skull art, but nothing like this. Skull art is fascinating because it’s one of those subjects that has been approached throughout art history. Cézanne did a great skull. But this is a unique piece in that it wasn’t intended as a cover but sort of takes on a new life in context with the music. BD: The actual image for the cover was done by Christine beforehand without knowing about the album, but I happened to ﬁnd it, and once we decided on the cover, we asked if she could make up an image for each track on the record. That original painting was an amazing, happy accident.
SOME HOT THOUGHTS
SPOON’S BRITT DANIEL ON THE ART OF THEIR NEW RECORD above Hot Thoughts Album cover artwork 2017
THE LAST TIME SPOON FRONTMAN BRITT DANIEL SAT down with Juxtapoz to discuss album cover art, he explained that his process involved “thinking about what the album artwork will look like the whole way through while making the record, but not really getting a chance to focus on it until we’re done with the music.” The band’s newest record, Hot Thoughts, was a little different. When gathering imagery while recording, Daniel came across watercolor skull paintings on his friend Christine Marlene’s Instagram account and added them to his growing inspiration ﬁle. With the record complete, this image captured the band’s mood and sparked a collaboration with Marlene and Spoon that accompanied each album track. We got together with Daniel and Marlene to discuss skull history, getting back into a groove, and happy accidents. Evan Pricco: This question never gets old, especially when talking art and music, and speciﬁcally, album cover artwork. Can you describe the journey from writing music
Christine Marlene: This is a new experience for me. Even though I had worked with musicians in the past, I had not in this sort of way. I actually hadn’t painted in a long time. I work well with a structure, so getting an assignment was good for me. Once you knew this artwork was going to be the cover, and then were assigned to make art for each track, did it make sense after hearing the album as a whole to use the skull as the centerpiece? CM: Yeah, it made sense. That skull image is pretty “Rorschach” in the sense that it inherently attaches to to anything, this idea of a colorful interior of a human being. But for each track’s art, I listened to the music and got to know it, which allowed the imagery to be a presence in the music. Britt gave me some imagery and notes about where he felt he was coming from, so I had all these ideas and inspiration before the project really took off. There is a lot of history of bands working closely with artists. Off the top of my head, I can think of Stanley Donwood with Radiohead, or Storm Thorgerson sitting in the studio with Pink Floyd while they recorded. But where did the idea of creating speciﬁc art for each track come from? That feels unique, especially now in the social media world where you can easily pair imagery with tracks more individually.
BD: Now that I think about it, I knew that we would have several singles on the album, and I told Christine and asked her to make up some art for each speciﬁc track. We just thought it would be cool to have unique art for each track, and if Christine was up for it, we would ﬁnd some way to use it. Have you made a plan on how you will use the imagery, maybe on tour as part of the live show? Or will it just exist in the digital realm as part of the Hot Thoughts promotion? BD: Well, we did make a nice set of postcards [laugher from Christine and Britt], each song represented by a painting on
a postcard. And, of course, T-shirts, posters, and sort of this unlimited use to express the album visually. I like them as a group, though. That’s why the postcards are nice.
clockwise (from top left) Artwork for tracks Do I Have To Talk You Into It, Pink Up, Can I Sit Next to You, and Hot Thoughts
Christine, since commenting earlier that you hadn’t painted in a while, have the assignments revitalized your output? CM: Yeah, like we said earlier, it was both a happy accident that sort of led to me wanting to paint again. I had been working on my own business and had put it aside. Painting became this cold pool where you occasionally would dip your toes but not want to fully jump in. And I got back into it. Those ﬁrst couple paintings were so challenging, and you
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start thinking, “I’m not an artist anymore!” But then I kept at it, and it was like working out this old muscle, and I got right back into it. Now I have my whole studio rocking again. So, thanks, Britt. BD: I remember that was the case. With the ﬁrst few, you were struggling, and it took a while, but then you got on this roll where everything you sent me was amazing. And then you were posting work to Instagram, so I kept writing, “Wait, can we have that one?!”
Britt, while in the studio, or after writing a song, you can lob ideas back between you and the other members of the band or the producer. But Christine, since you paint alone in your studio, there’s no bouncing of ideas in the process. BD: Maybe it’s a lonelier process for a painter? Maybe I should paint? I need a hobby.
The same thing happens to me when writing songs. I get intimidated by the process when I have taken time off, feeling like I won’t be able to ﬁnd the inspiration again—which is how I always feel, and it’s not rational. But then, after getting back into it for a bit, you start remembering how.
Christine’s art for this album is great because it stands out in the Spoon visual catalog. You have always made really smart choices, like Eggleston’s photo on Transference, for one, but the covers tend to be epically subdued. This one has a bold, bright messiness. BD: I feel like this album is colorful in ways we haven’t been colorful before, and goes into directions we haven’t gone before. It doesn’t sound unrecognizable at all, but I love the work we did.
CM: Exactly, like a language that, if abandoned, you worry about getting back. But if you just get back to speaking it, it all returns.
Spoon’s Hot Thoughts is out now on Matador Records.
above Artwork for the track, Shotgun
THINGS WE ARE AFTER
AT ARM’S LENGTH
NIXON x BONES BRIGADE WATCH COLLECTION The legendary Bones Brigade skate team from Powell-Peralta is once again making good time, dialing in with their second watch collection release by timepiece purveyors Nixon. The new collection blazes six variations of the best selling Time Teller Nixon model featuring Bones Brigade graphics for skate legends Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen, Steve Caballero, Lance Mountain, Tommy Guerrero and Mike McGill. Each watch features custom casebacks and cranial packaging, sold individually or as a collector’s gift set. We think you need all six. nixon.com
3SIXTEEN AZTEC POPOVER SHIRTS It’s ﬁnally that time of year when ﬂowers bloom and blue skies shimmer. For some, that could mean a quiet read in the home garden, and for others, that means spring break. For both activities, you will look and feel better doing them in a 3sixteen Aztec Popover shirt. With fabric woven in Japan and sewn in the USA, you can recreate and relax in quality style. Or, as 3sixteen’s Andrew Chen explains, “The buttons are made of real coconut shell for a proper vacation vibe.” Agreed. 3sixteen.com
MADMAXXX BY MONTANA COLORS When our friends at Montana Colors are excited about a new release, we know every artist will be equally stoked about getting their hands on a new spray paint. Introducing MADMAXXX, the widest spray available from Montana, specially designed for ﬁlling in large surface areas. As Montana told us, “This is also useful for doing gigantic typographic letters!” So whether graffiti is your game (ahem, legally sanctioned graffiti, of course) or if you need to ﬁnish off a big mural, or just want to write your name gigantically in the living room, get maximum potential out of your spray paint. MADMAXXX is available in fastdrying “Chrome” and Black 2G “SilverKiller.” sprayplanet.com
PIONEERS AND PROGRESS
ARI’S BEEN THERE, SEEN THAT, AND DOCUMENTED IT. What is it, exactly? It’s skate and street culture, emblematic fashion iconography and music, and a subversive American experience rarely caught with such elegance and command. It’s all art, really. In 2010, when Ari Marcopoulos’s mid-career survey, Within Arms Reach, opened at the UC Berkeley Art Museum, it was absolutely clear that this was how subcultures and their emerging identity as major movements in American history should look: gritty but poetic, alive, yet perfectly captured in time. From the Beastie Boys to Supreme, Matthew Barney to Jay Z, Ari was documenting our collective memory. Ari’s unique vision for skateboard photography is part of this spring’s capsule collection with adidas Skateboarding. “I have always been fascinated by people who become a tribe, so to speak, by their shared obsession,” Ari explains when describing his affinity for skateboarding culture. When asked what made his early days shooting skate scenes at landmark NYC spots like Brooklyn Banks, scenes that have helped shape a special history, Ari notes, “I felt in the moment it was special, but not in a historical way. It was just a special place, and I was able to do portraits of a wide array of people.” As a pivotal ﬁgure in transforming skate culture into a fashion mainstay, Ari’s perspective of the transformation is crucial. “The fashion world is voracious, ready to take on anything in their unending hunger to try something new,” he says. “It was only logical that something that takes so much passion and dedication to do well would become something bigger than it originally was.” For the adidas collaboration, Ari returned to his roots in NYC. “We went around with the team, cruised around NYC, interpreting the city and its architecture to express their talent and myself observing and using my talent to just chill and document. It was a great time, really bridging generations, with Mark Gonzales there, but also Tyshawn Jones, and then bumping into Frankie Spears, I was able to capture iconic images that were really not planned. And that spontaneity is the beauty of skating and its community.” —Evan Pricco
The Ari Marcopoulos x adidas Capsule Collection is in stores now. arimarcopoulos.net adidas.com
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previous spread Nestor Judkins and Jersey Barrier Wallie right Kevin Lowry, high kick opposite Tyshawn Jones on a Citi Bike
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above Mark Gonzales and Kevin Lowry
right Frankie Spears statue drop
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THE LETTERFORM ARCHIVE
FOR THE RECORD
THE LETTERFORM ARCHIVE DESCRIBES ITSELF AS “a nonproﬁt center for inspiration, education, and community in the letter arts.” That may sound simple enough, but take a step back and think about how much letter arts literally envelop the history of language and human communication. From style guides for Coca-Cola, book design in the sixteenth century, or the hand-written origins of some of the world’s most famed fonts, the Letterform Archive collects, preserves, and tells the story of the importance and fascination with letters across multiple centuries and every continent. We sat down with Letterform Archive’s Stephen Coles (author of the inﬂuential The Anatomy of Type and publisher of Typographica.org) to discuss the acquisition of the world’s letter history, who uses their resources, and the conundrum of “handmade.” Evan Pricco: When visiting the Archive, we saw just the tip of your iceberg of a collection. There is so much there, so much history, as well as current research abounding on the topic of typography and the history of letters. Knowing how overwhelming this must be, what do you consider to be the primary function of the Letterform Archive? Stephen Coles: Our goal is to document and preserve written communication and use that record as a source for education and inspiration for anyone who works with letters.
Photography by Alex Nicholson right Spieghel der Schrijfkonste Jan van den Velde 1605
This mission does sound daunting, but it’s also exciting. The Archive is designed to be a living collection, evolving with the way letters are made and used as technology and tastes change. This means we are concerned not only with the history of visual art, but also its present and future. While that historical scope is broad, our narrow focus on typography and lettering allows us to be more targeted than a museum or library that encompasses every sort of art or design. You mentioned receiving donations of some fairly substantial and important type and letter collections, things that designers and enthusiasts would consider craveworthy. What have been some breakthrough acquisitions for the Archive? Last fall, the Archive acquired over 200 wood type prints from Jack Stauffacher, the legendary San Francisco printertypographer. This unique series represents Stauffacher’s experimental side, with mismatched wooden letters providing, simultaneously, a semantic constraint and a material freedom. The prints will be reproduced in a facsimile edition, which demonstrates how acquisitions are leading to books in Letterform Archive’s nascent publishing program. Also, last year we received an important donation from Emigre, pioneers of digital type design. It includes archival
material in various media, such as a complete run of Emigre catalogs, development ﬁles for original Emigre typefaces, and audiotapes of unedited interviews with Emigre magazine designers and contributors that offer an oral history of the design community, as well as printed sheets, posters, ephemera, and paste-ups. Other recent additions include the archives of Ross F. George, founder of the inﬂuential Speedball pen company, and Aaron Marcus, a seminal ﬁgure in computer graphics. Students, researchers, and just plain curious visitors from around the world come see the collection. What has been the impetus, and what are some of the reasons that people come to seek you out? Are they looking to make their own fonts? Are they designers learning the history of smart design? Tech people looking for inspiration, or are they just history buffs? The range of visitors is remarkable, and you just covered some good examples of who we’re seeing come through our doors. Graphic designers, type designers, web developers, artists,
historians, and writers all seem to ﬁnd something that connects to their speciﬁc work or interests, whether it’s through visits to the collection, or attending our workshops and lectures. Dutch inﬂuence and history seems to be prominent in the history of letters, right? What other countries are a wellspring and draw interest? Since the sixteenth century, the Dutch have been linchpins in the history of printing and typography. That story is well told by the Tholenaar Collection at the Archive. Later, the country sprouted multiple pioneers in Modernist design, such as Piet Zwart of whom we have a large collection. The Dutch inﬂuence continues today, and it’s often joked that there are more type designers per square meter in the Netherlands than any other country.
above (clockwise from top left) Development artwork for Speedball Text Book plates Ross F. George Psychedelic posters ﬂat ﬁle Corporate Identity Guide Apple Computers, Inc. 1985
Our collection also reﬂects other historical design epicenters like the UK, Germany, Switzerland, France, Central Europe and Russia, and, of course, the US. More recently, we’ve been actively seeking out work from the Eastern world and Latin America.
As documented on this tour, there was obviously a time in our history where everything was handmade, fonts were made by hand, ginger ale labels were painted by hand, all demonstrating a ﬁne art quality to the history of letters. We often talk about the “maker” revolution that we are seeing in America, an attempt to revive this history as much as possible. You showed us the brilliant work of someone like Russell Maret, for example. Seeing his books and work is like going back in time. I imagine these types of innovations and movements keep the Archive excited about the future. The concept of “handmade” is a ﬂexible one. From my own perspective, letters always come from humans. They did before the computer, and still do today—it’s just about the tools we use, whether it’s a handheld pen, or a handwritten Python script. But it’s true that analog objects do inspire a lot of interest among our visitors. Being in the heart of San Francisco’s tech boom produces regular group visits from companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, and dozens of startups. Those who work on screens all day are energized by seeing stuff made of paper, ink, and lead. Yet, it’s not just about eye candy and nostalgia; it’s fulﬁlling to hear how these designers and coders can relate seemingly unconnected artifacts to their own work. As you continue to grow in both collection and inﬂuence, what do you hope the future holds for the Letterform Archive? We are on the heels of launching our publishing program
with a comprehensive monograph of W.A. Dwiggins, the man who coined the term graphic design. The book by Bruce Kennett will launch on Kickstarter in the next couple of weeks. Several other books are in the pipeline. Each draws from our collection and features our state-of-the-art photography and reproduction. Digitization of the collection is also core to our mission, and we spent a lot of time perfecting the way we capture each book and poster so they are as lifelike as possible. The results of this photography will appear in a searchable online gallery on our new website to be launched very soon. What's one piece of letter history that you have your eye on? Our next challenge involves documenting and preserving the history of digital typography and type design. Most typefaces today are produced on a screen, from vector sketches to font generation. If we’re going to house and display type as it exists today and in the future, we have to ﬁnd ways to archive the development of this work that is often purely digital. We’re learning from and collaborating with other institutions, like the Internet Archive, who have similar goals.
above (from left) Typo Bilder Buch Printed on paper towels Romano Hänni 2012 Letterform Archive bookshelf
LAGUNA COLLEGE OF ART + DESIGN
DRAWING + PAINTING LCAD’s Fine Arts department offers students carefully crafted curricula that provide the most efﬁcient learning experiences in representational drawing, painting and sculpture. LCAD is one of only a few fully accredited institutions committed to developing highly skilled representational ﬁgurative artists that graduate prepared to enter the competitive arts markets. Our alumni have earned acceptance at competitive graduate programs, have excelled in the gallery market, have secured private and public commissions, and have gained employment in museum and curatorial art ﬁelds and as art educators
NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS
BFA Animation Creative Writing 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 Illustration in Entertainment Design MFA Art of Game Design Creative Writing Drawing Painting POST-BACC CERTIFICATE Drawing + Painting
lcad.edu Photo: by michaelchiphoto.format.com.
MINORS Animation Art History Creative Writing Drawing + Painting Graphic Design + Digital Media Illustration Sculpture
FA S H I O N
ON THAT COMFY SWAG
below Sheila Rashid in Aaliyah T-Shirt and Diamond-cut olive denim Photo by DeSean Mills 2017
BEYONCÉ SNUCK UP ON CHANCE THE RAPPER ON AN MTV red carpet, causing a cute moment that went viral, but what stood out more than the pop icon lovefest were Chance’s dapper khaki overalls. Soon after, he performed in a red pair on SNL’s holiday episode, and I knew I had to ﬁnd the designer behind them, Sheila Rashid, who mixes streetwear with luxe fabrics and clean aesthetics. A young Chicago creative on the come-up, her style is impeccable and she’s got that golden touch.
Kristin Farr: You posted a selﬁe with Anna Wintour this week! How did that go down? Sheila Rashid: I was on a panel discussion for a Vogue event, and everyone was mingling afterwards, and of course they were gathering around Anna. We were just talking, it was good vibes. Luckily, Deray, a really great activist, introduced me to Anna. After we spoke, I noticed somebody else was about to take a picture with her, and she seemed ﬁne with it, so I had my phone and I was ready. The ﬁrst picture didn’t come out right, and she knew it too, so we did a second one. She was cool. What was the Vogue event? It was a panel discussion on diversity in the fashion industry. Apparently it’s the ﬁrst one they’ve done speciﬁcally on that topic. It was just a good, open discussion on inclusion and basically, the blatant issue that is colorism, and how to move forward and be better ﬁve years from now. It was about being open to all perspectives, no matter what. Fashion and art can be activism, and your work is art. I started out painting T-shirts ten years ago, and I’m into graphics, so I’m merging streetwear with high fashion, and in my way, it is activism because of what I may put on a T-shirt that expresses the whole look. It’s always gonna be a way to rebel and be expressive. Activism is always something I’ll think about because of the time we’re in. Speaking of self-expression, I noticed on IG that you made your own custom pants for the Vogue event. Not even a handful of times have I done that. My ﬂight was Sunday morning, and the Friday before, I was making something to wear, but I didn’t really like the ﬁt. I didn’t think it was powerful enough, or made a big enough statement, so I basically worked all through Friday and Saturday afternoon. I’ve used the same diamond-cut seam design on pants before, but I never made myself a pair. I knew they had to be green because that’s the color. Why is green the color? According to Pantone’s color of the year. I knew you’d see it all over the runways, and when you start paying attention, you do see it everywhere. It’s a beautiful color, that dark green, and you can’t go wrong. I wanted to just master it. Does your new collection have green? Yes. That deep green. Are you still doing all the sewing for your collections and custom orders? As of now, yes. Having the option to expand is great, and someone else executing my designs will be good, as long as it’s perfect. I do want to keep it exclusive, but when I eventually have a fashion show in New York, I will need
help. I’m already building a team. I know I want to expand, but I don’t want to move too fast. What’s your ideal location for a New York runway show? I deﬁnitely always wanted to do a show somewhere with really dope architecture, like in front of One World Trade Center or someplace like that. When’s your next show in Chicago and will it be a fall collection? In August. I want to keep it simple and not follow any fashion calendar. I love August. It’s the month I was born, it’s summer, it’s the perfect timing and right before Fashion Week. I usually make fall stuff because I’m from Chicago, but I still work with T-shirts.
Since the collection is unisex, is it hard to decide whether to use male or female models? Girls are just cuter. I think it’s also a reﬂection of my femininity. I love to see models in my work, they look so good, and I prefer draping on female models for sure. I just prefer women. The overalls are your signature. How many colors have you made them in, and do you make a lot of custom pairs? So many—red wool, khaki, burgundy, black, indigo, selvedge, Carhartt material, like a mustard tan… The custom work is pretty much my bread and butter. I’m always busy and I’m just grateful for what I have.
Your birthday is really 8/8/88? So, eight must be your lucky number? It’s deﬁnitely symbolic. It’s an inﬁnity symbol as well, and I just love that it could mean so many things. On top of that, in Chinese culture, eight is the luckiest number.
Overalls have staying power. They’re almost always in style. Why is that? I feel like people will always be wearing overalls. They have the workwear history, and that durability aspect, so I feel like they’re something that’ll be around forever. Although I have no clue what’s gonna be happening a hundred years from now.
What’s the new collection looking like so far? Deﬁnitely neutral, a lot of overalls and denim, hoodies, just a mixture of things I would wear, and I want my whole collection to drape well. I’ll have women models and a couple guys. It’s unisex, so it’ll be an androgynous feel with pieces you can wear every day.
What’s the last pair of shoes you bought? Some Yeezy boots that I never thought I would have. I was in a store in New York looking for black shoes, and it just so happened that they had one black pair of the boots left in my size, the sample pair, so I had to get them.
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What do you think of Kanye’s clothes? Man, I like his clothes because they’re simple… the pricing is another story, but I do like his aesthetic for sure. Comfy swag, that’s really what it is. He’s just on some comﬁness because that’s how he dresses, in jogging pants and sweatshirts.
overalls from me for a while, and the timing just worked out with the VMAs, SNL and the Billboard Awards. He’s my homie, we know the same people. Being in Chicago, that’s just what it is.
Any particular garment that you’re wearing a lot lately? I really like this oversized coat that I’m wearing because it’s comfortable, lightweight and warm, and I’m wearing some denim jeans that my friend made.
The overalls went so viral after these red carpet appearances. There was even a meme of Super Mario-style cartoon Chance in the overalls. Remember when Pharell wore that big hat to the Grammy’s? Your overalls were the Pharell hat of this year. That’s real.
Let’s talk about Beyoncé sneaking up on Chance on the VMAs red carpet—that’s when I ﬁrst saw your overalls. Then he wore the red pair on SNL, and I noticed your leather patch on the back pocket. That’s the ﬁrst and only red pair I’ve made. His stylist, who’s local to Chicago as well, asked if I had a red pair since it was the Christmas episode. It was a snowy Sunday, and she needed them by Monday. I hopped the train to the fabric store and they had this perfect 100% gabardine wool in red. They looked so good on TV because the fabric laid perfectly with no wrinkles. That was another one of those times where I made something really quickly in the moment because I got inspired.
Are there any changes you want to see in the fashion industry that you try to push forward? I just want to see fashion keep going strong. I want people to keep expressing themselves. I like to see what people are doing. Personally, I deﬁnitely want to have the opportunity to get a CFDA award, and to see what other kinds of opportunities I can reach. I’m just doing my own thing, and I want fashion to keep doing its thing, and I want people to just let the art talk. I’m just expressing myself through my art, and that’s what fashion should always be about.
We’re all from Chicago, It’s a small scene, so we pretty much know each other from parties. Chance wanted some
above (from left) Chance the Rapper in custom gabardine wool overalls SNL holiday episode 2016 Coco and Breezy modeling pink and indigo denim overalls 2015 Photo by Jassieuo previous page top left Carhartt overalls 2016 top right Diamond-cut denim 2017 lower right Red gabardine wool Overalls 2017
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RYAN TRAVIS CHRISTIAN
THROWING THE BIRDS SOME SHADE above Stepped On Graphite on paper 10” x 7” 2017
“GRAPHITE IS GREAT,” RYAN TRAVIS CHRISTIAN EXULTS on the eve of his new solo exhibition, This Shit is For the Birdies, at Western Exhibitions in the artist’s hometown of Chicago. Christian has long been a central ﬁgure in the contemporary art scene as both a proliﬁc artist and canny curator, not to mention his massive, irreverent, traveling Ducks group show that included 99 artists painting, well, ducks and ﬁne, feathered duckery. Deﬁnitely time to talk about birds, Chicago, and, yes, graphite. Evan Pricco: In arriving at the name for your new show, This Shit is For the Birdies, obviously "for the birds" is slang for something useless. I can't help but think of the world climate... or am I so off? Ryan Travis Christian: I've always understood "for the birds"
to mean not worth one's time. So, for this show, as I've been expanding my cast of characters—many of whom are birds— and ﬁnding them in current socially relevant and ridiculous situations that allude to our reality, I ﬁgured the title to be appropriate. So yeah, you get the gist. What I love about this work is that you are going all over the place—humor, politics, abstract, optical illusions, text work, but all done in your signature graphite style. I also feel that your work is exactly what I imagine a witty Steamboat Willie animator wanted to be making instead of, well, Steamboat Willie. What drew you to graphite in the ﬁrst place? When did you ﬁnd that you had a voice and command with graphite? I’ve always enjoyed the simplicity of a pencil and eraser.
Also, it's roughly the cheapest medium there is unless you are one of those "making art out of garbage" artists. I've always used a pencil to draw but something clicked with me in the Fall of 2007 and I've run with it ever since. I know graphite. Graphite is great. Everyone loves it. Graphite has done a really great job. Having done work in color, at various times, but primarily in black and white, was there a moment where it just felt right to keep your drawings in black and white? Did you feel like you could more effectively convey a message that way, or a style that you could only attain going with these graphite drawings? My drawings started off in black and white. Sure, I'll mess around with color from time to time, but it always feels like I'm cheating on myself. It's just not for me. I really enjoy the simplicity of black and white, of pencil and paper. It has a big range if your need it, or you can just keep the stark contrast that it naturally lends itself. As far as getting
a message across goes, beats me! Even if I had or have a message, I'm not going to come right out and proclaim it. The style just sort of develops on its own naturally as I continue to make work and insert or remove content and tamper with different techniques. In particular, do you work on multiple pieces at once? Or are you more inclined to go piece-by-piece? Yeah, I usually work on a few pieces at the same time. I like to hop to and fro. I might discover something on one piece that is better suited for another. Sometimes I just need to sit with a work to ﬁgure out a resolution, and will work on something else until I ﬁgure it out. A lot of the new small drawings have been made in a single day while I slowly work on other larger things.
above (from left) Really Gay Graphite on paper 7” x 10” 2017 I Hate This Game Graphite on paper 7” x 10” 2017
I think Chicago is America's hidden art gem, because even though it’s a big city, the art scene doesn't get the international shine as naturally as NYC or LA. What has
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Chicago meant to you and your work, and who are some sleeper artists in Chicago that the world is missing? I feel the same way. It's a shame. A lot of artists ﬂee to one coast or another in the pursuit of commercial success, which, of course, there is nothing wrong with. But it is, in fact, a second city when it comes to the greater art world. It has an amazing do-it-yourself aesthetic, which I admire. I've always loved Chicago. It's more affordable, more friendly, more manageable and much cleaner than the other cities you've mentioned, plus I've forged many fond memories and wonderful friendships here, which ﬁnd their way into the work. Lots of slept-on artists here! Ben Stone, Deb Sokolow, Scott Wolniak, Geoffrey Todd Smith, Jessica Labatte, Adam Scott, Mike Rea, David Leggett…
year on the black-and-white palette. As one of our favorite artists working in that scheme, who are some of the other black-and-white artists you admire? Gary Larson, Raymond Pettibon, Robyn O'Neil, Tomoo Gokita, Joyce Pensato, Basil Wolverton, Robert Crumb, Ub Iwerks, Jeff Ladouceur, Bridget Riley, Max Fletcher, Banks Violette. I'm also really attracted to black-andwhite drawings by artists I admire who also work in color like George Condo, Peter Saul, Ben Jones, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Tomma Abts, Jose Lerma, Philip Guston, Eric Yahnker, Joseph Hart, Kerry James Marshall... I could go on and on.
You are one of my favorite curators, as you have stepped into that role a few times with such eclectic and wideranging choices. We are working on a project later this
This Shit is for the Birdies will be on display at Western Exhibitions in
Chicago through April 8, 2017.
above Run! You Handsome Coward Graphite on paper 10” x 7” 2017
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POW! WOW! HAWAII KICKS OFF THE 2017 MURAL FESTIVAL SEASON THINK HAWAII, AND IT’S OH-SO-EASY TO IMAGINE being far away from reality, enjoying the ﬁner elements of a schedule not measured in time, but broken into activities done at a pace generally reserved for the retired. While most of the country shivers in winter chill at the beginning of the year, Hawaii is somewhere between summer and summer, making it the place to be in early February, even for a Californian. And ﬁnding yourself in Honolulu around that time, you’ll be immersed in the Paciﬁc as well as a sea of amazing art being created by some of the world’s best muralists. What started seven years ago as an opportunity to bring artists together to beautify a boring, beige skyline, has turned into a mammoth annual festival called POW! WOW! with over 100 international and local artists reimagining the scenery and participating in colorful events throughout the week. Photography by Mike Stalter below Laniakea Beach on North Shore
“POW! WOW! started as a small endeavor with a quest to beautify our hometown and bring people together through art,” says POW! WOW! co-founder, Jasper Wong. ”It aimed
to break down the barriers in typical art institutions and take art to the people by creating large-scale, open-air galleries. It started off as a project with twelve artists and one mural in the Kaka'ako neighborhood. We now have over a hundred murals in the community with over 60 artists involved in each annual festival.” In the interest of maintaining stamina during vacation, you need a plan to eat well. Within just a few blocks of Lana Lane Studios, ground zero for all things POW! WOW! are some highly recommended eateries we had to check out for ourselves, starting with a solid breakfast before embarking on the festival's treasure map directing the art activities in Kaka’ako. It’s hard to beat the loaded avocado toast at Arvo, and hard to explain because, yes, you might be able to make something similar yourself. But likely not the same, nor as Instagram-able. While tooling around the neighborhood with Jesse Cory from 1xRUN, he couldn’t stop talking about this wild local dish called Loco Moco, especially interesting when you recognize the direct Spanish translation for Loco Moco is “crazy
booger.” Eventually ﬁnding ourselves at the Highway Inn for lunch, I went for the Smokin’ Loco, their variation of the rice, hamburger patty, fried egg and gravy meal. Over the course of the week, we ventured out further to take in more amazing food, based on the insights of the festival organizers and artists. Goofy Cafe, named after the surf/skate stance of right foot forward, is near the Modern Hotel on the Waikiki oceanfront. Their menu’s traceability report indicates the farms and islands of all their ingredients. The Rainbow Drive-In, also known simply as Rainbows, is deﬁnitely a hole-in-the-wall, bargain lunch spot, popular for over 50 years, and it’s just like the ones we’re familiar with from whatever town we grew up in for all of the same reasons—good food, great ambience, and good people. Seating is fairly limited, but you’re in Hawaii. Get your food to go and eat on the beach. If the poke bowl trend hasn’t yet caught on wherever you live, you’re in for a treat. Pronounced “poh-keh” and simply meaning “chunk,” poke is a super healthy and delicious cubed seafood salad. While you’ll ﬁnd entire sections of every grocery store on the islands dedicated to it,
sometimes it’s best to have someone else prepare things for you, especially if you’re a ﬁrst-timer. I tried Pa’ina Cafe, close to where all of the art was happening, and will vouch for the Paina Bowl (spicy ahi tuna). Enough about the food, though. While the city of Honolulu is reminiscent of many coastal metro areas around the world, the island of Oahu offers so much to explore just minutes outside of the beach fronts and strip malls of Waikiki.
clockwise (from top left) Kevin Lyons Mr. Jago Rainbow Drive-In Arvo Cafe
One of the most recognizable features on Oahu is nearby Diamond Head State Monument. Just a short drive east of Waikiki is this beautiful crater with gorgeous views of the island if you’re willing to sweat it out and hike to the top. For family time, we rented a car and decided to do the full loop of the island and take in as much as possible. Just northwest of the city is the Pearl Harbor Historic Memorial site, a somber but stunning reminder of the fragility of the islands and the events that took place December 7, 1941. Heading north on H-2, drive directly past the Dole Plantation, obviously famous for its pineapples. You probably weren’t aware that it holds the Guinness World Record for the Largest Permanent Hedge Maze in the world. Yes, we tried it. Yes, we got lost. I blame the kids.
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Continuing in that direction, diverse landscapes give way to abrupt, jagged mountains straight out of Jurassic Park, where all of those postcard photos and surf spots you’ve seen on TV over the years come into focus. At Laniakea Beach, it’s even possible to witness giant sea turtles hang out along the beach and slowly work their way out to the water, catch a wave, and just straight up disappear into the distance. A little further along the coast unfolds the popular Waimea Valley area. The world famous Banzai Pipeline is along this stretch of beach and had we been here just one week earlier, we would have caught the annual Volcom Pipe Pro surf contest. At the northern tip of Oahu is the famous Turtle Beach Resort. While it may look like only guests can get to the beach, there’s a rule in Hawaii that the shore has to be accessible to anyone, so turn into the resort and make your way to a breathtaking stretch of coastline. Once you turn the corner and start heading down the eastern side of this island, things get really remote and the realization that there really is a rural, country aspect to the island creates a whole new experience.
The Polynesian Cultural Center was an awesome day trip later in the week. It’s a themed destination aimed at highlighting the histories and cultures of the Polynesian island nations. We took in a luau and show called HaBreath of Life, which was beyond spectacular. A few miles from there, several types of group tours are available at Kualoa Ranch, including movie sets, jungle expeditions, secret islands, and ziplining. In just under a week, we saw everything from a thriving metropolis, alive with all styles of amazing mural art to the most secluded, lush, natural landscapes that won’t soon be forgotten. If getting to Hawaii is on your bucket list, there are so many things to do that you’ll probably want to keep notes on your ﬁrst visit for your inevitable second time around. —Mike Stalter
Special thanks to Jasper, Kamea, Amy and Jeffrey at POW! WOW! for having us as part of the festival. Additional thanks to Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Modern Honolulu, Olukai, Montana Cans and all of the other sponsors for supporting the art scene.
clockwise from top left Diamond Head State Monument Michelle Tanguay Telmo Miel
MARK MOTHERSBAUGH’S “MYOPIA”
NYU’S GREY ART GALLERY CONTINUES ITS ROLL EVER SO RARELY, THE INCESSANT TYRANNY OF redundancy and cliché that suffocates popular music gets disrupted by something truly creative: music made by people who are just too weird and original to sound like anything else. Such was certainly the case when a bunch of art schoolers, steeped in post-structuralism and the aftermath of the slaughter of fellow students at Kent State University in Ohio, got together in the early ’70s to share their outré obsessions and iconoclastic ideas in a band. Born of cold war anxieties, teenage angst, social anger and a heavy dose of art, Devo was an impossible combination of esoteric intellectualism and ridiculous stupidity, a testament to the collapse of industrialism and the American dream written like the Futurist manifesto as intoned by one of those really crazy street people. If Devo, short for a complex and absurd theory on deevolution, was America’s quintessential art band, its lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh has always been far more of an artist than the rock star that fate cast upon him. Consistently with Mothersbaugh, there has been the sense that, far from some hobby pursuit, for him, art-making has been the most acute aesthetic tool, something beyond the decades-long chores of a band, closer to and more articulate than his
soundtrack work as a solo artist of quirky-banal “Muzik” recordings, a legendary career in soundtracks for video games, kid shows like Rugrats and Pee Wee’s Playhouse and movies—most notably for Wes Anderson’s ﬁlms. NYU’s Grey Art Gallery in New York City, a campus museum that continues to be one of the most inventive curatorial programs of its kind in the country, with shows about the Mission School and the brilliant Inventing Downtown to note, plays host now to Mothersbaugh. Myopia puts the curious visual marginalia of this bespectacled star front and center. From the whimsically eccentric drawings Mark would send out as postcards while on tour, through numerous sustained bodies of work he’s taken time to produce over the years, his uncanny admixture of the mundane and mutant has circled around a kind of carnie freak show Americana in which our vision of consensus normalcy is a funhouse mirror for our psychic deformation, a great society on the verge of some atavistic regression. —Carlo McCormick
Mark Mothersbaugh’s Myopia at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery will be on view from April 25–July 15, 2017.
above Mark Mothersbaugh 1964–Monument to the Conquerors of Space Inkjet on paper 65.12” x 43” 2012 Courtesy of the artist
Uncanny Worlds David Cheifetz | Solo Exhibition
Protector • 30 x 36 • Oil
Seawall Samsara • 36 x 24 • Oil
Host • 9 x 12 • Oil
Genesis Ex Tempore • 36 x 36 • Oil
May 5th – May 27th 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, May 5th 6-9 pm
1261 Delaware | Denver, CO 80204 | 303.571.1261 | 888-626-1261 | gallery1261.com
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SLANG AESTHETICS CAPTURES FORT WAYNE above Purple as an Inexplicable Poetic Force Oil on canvas 30” x 36” 2015 opposite Brenda and Fluffy’s First Caveat on the Road to Damnation Oil on canvas 20” x 24” 2016
IF WE TOLD YOU THAT THE PATRIARCH, THE OUTLAW, the Maverick was settin’ foot in Fort Wayne, Indiana, would you be thinking Jeff Bridges… Sam Elliott? Nah, it’s Robert Williams and his SLANG Aesthetics with a body of new work, as prismatic and provoking as his incisive text. Check it out, as explained in his own words. Purple as an Inexplicable Poetic Force Robert Williams: It is not my intention to take every color in the color wheel and extol metaphysical signiﬁcance to each hue. Nor is it justiﬁable to invoke the laws of physics with regards to scientiﬁc observations of the prismatic spectrum. However, colors do have personalities. Ultraviolet does solicit emotion, while red creates agitation, green offers pastoral repose, blue suggests lonely reﬂection and yellow evokes surprise. Violet, on the other hand, goes a couple emotions further. Like metaphorically rubbing sugar in one’s
eyes, purple can be nauseatingly sappy. On the other hand, mauves and violets used in moderation with contrasting color, can be powerful and dramatic. As a test of memory for the artist, I have brought back a persisting visual obsession I’ve pondered for 45 years—the images of a sultry young girl I chanced across the summer of 1970. Not as a sexual ﬁxation, but as a point of Freudian reference for the color mauve, now a wispy ghost faintly imprinted on the walls of my libido, just like a long-ago smudged ﬁngerprint on a brothel bedpost. Once, just a gossamer specter dressed in lavender, not either a doting grandmother or simply deceased. Brenda and Fluffy’s First Caveat on the Road to Damnation If this painting was a parable, we would be witnessing a soon-to-occur young girl’s encounter with the devil and his
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tested abilities to corrupt the incorruptible. Or, if it was a symbolic metaphor, this would represent the turning point in everyone’s life when one sees dangerous signs that suggest reversing one’s course. But, unfortunately, there is a more fundamental intention to this picture. As with many of these paintings, for the art observer, the innocent participant, in this case, the school girl, is the vicarious entrée point to the work. Consequently, any aberrations or anomalies detected would place the moral realization at the hands of the onlooker. All inequities aside, the artists declares his action in creating this work as indeterminately uncritiqueable and wishes the observer to respect his lyrical subjectivity (artistic license). His poetic responsibility is in how long he can deepen the art patron investigatively engaged. Accepting further culpability for this work would be asking for more than this painting narratively offers. Fast Food Purgatory The painting reveals a child’s liberated spirit gravitating to his most desired passions in life—double cheese half-pounder with spicy fries and super soda. In ghostly form, the young
fellow hangs in middle ground between damnation and hereafter—waiting for judgment of the worthiness of his soul. The levitating apparition of the burger combo hides insidious instigators, a pack of demonic proﬂigates, satanic cretins laying in wait to sway the innocent child’s weaknesses. Implications here are far more extenuated. Obviously, fast food is not itself antisocial, and his age would indicate the deceased could not have spent a lifetime eating greasy foods long enough to kill him. Seen from an ecumenical level, the connotation that burgers and fries are not permitted through the portals of kingdom-come makes heaven rather uninviting. This oil painting’s excessive melodrama creates a false pathos. Graphically, the strong, simple emblematic composition of this work gives credence to the notion that even an anemic poodle barking at the moon can sometimes be mistaken for a baying wolf.
Robert Williams: SLANG Aesthetics! and the accompanying Juxtapozed group show will be on display at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in collaboration with Thinkspace Gallery from April 22, 2017–July 23, 2017.
above Fast Food Purgatory Oil on canvas 30” x 36” 2015
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APRIL 1—29, 2017 OPENING RECEP TION: SATURDAY, APRIL 1, 6 — 8 PM
8 8 8 N E WA R K AV EN U E | J ER S E Y C I T Y, N J 073 0 6 | J O N AT H A N L E V IN EPR O J EC T S .CO M
JAMIAN JULIANO-VILLANI VERY VERY VISCERAL INTERVIEW BY KRISTIN FARR // PORTRAIT BY BRYAN DERBALLA
below Is there room for Bruce? Acrylic on canvas 36” x 48” 2016 opposite Stone Love Acrylic on canvas 24” x 30” 2015
“BEING CONSCIOUS OF FUCKING UP ASSASSINATES creativity,” declares Jamian Juliano-Villani, a powerful force who charges into unknown territory. Her painting process is maniacal, she’s hungry for data, voraciously reading, watching and absorbing stimulation, then ﬁltering it through her mind and hand and into dynamic paintings that provoke weird feelings and intriguing confusion. Backed by the bright light of a projector, she beams countless layers of imagery onto the canvas to render a storiﬁed collage of information. Through an obsessive absorption of visual culture, she has gained an encyclopedic knowledge of obscure, provocative facts that inform her work—her own world of ﬁction inspired by truth. Her work is unusual, her place in our future history is already carved out, and she’s about to get crunk.
Kristin Farr: What are some fascinating facts you’ve learned or obsessed about in your search for source material? Jamian Juliano-Villani: I just recently watched E.T. again. Turns out Steven Spielberg built the set ten feet above the ground so the actor playing E.T. was never seen by the other child actors, which means they actually thought that E.T. was a real alien, and Spielberg speciﬁcally ﬁlmed the movie in chronological order to get a genuine emotional response from the child actors. Also, insanely, the actor that plays E.T. was, in reality, a 12-year-old born without legs who would perfect E.T.'s waddle since he was experienced with walking on his hands. It blows my mind that the person inside the E.T. costume was a handicapped child that was never seen but looked at other children through a small hole in a claustrophobic costume. That emotionally trumps the movie times ten. That is truly shocking. Did any movie scar you for life as a child? Candyman. Chills just hearing that name. What kind of teenager were you? I was kind of a dork, didn't have many friends. I was in between being cool and a dork, if that makes sense. I also have a twin, so I would just hang out with her. I went through a bunch of phases: cheerleading captain, fake punk, emo phase and preppy phase. AKA, I'm ﬂexible. What was your ﬁrst job? Gymnastics instructor at the YMCA. Tell me about your big show coming up this fall. What’ll be in it? The show in the fall is at my gallery, JTT, in New York. I'm thinking of doing another ASMR [autonomous sensory meridian response] jukebox hybrid, an ice cream bar, some customized Tiffany lamps and a bunch of paintings. Still ﬁguring this out, obviously. Are you traveling anytime soon? Yeah. Just got back from London for a talk at the Royal Academy, going to Milan for my show, Sincerely, Tony at Massimo de Carlo, then to Greece this summer for a show in Hydra. If your paintings had a slogan what should it be? I'm sorry. Is it true that you wouldn’t want to live with your own work? Yeah! Hell no! I spend hours an inch from the canvas stressing about these things. Why would I want to hang a book report above my bed? Are you ritualistic about studio time? Not really. I just go in when I have an idea I'm excited about. I'm not super private about my studio space, so I have
JAMIAN JULIANO-VILLANI JUXTAPOZ.COM
friends come in and out all the time. It’s kind of nice to have people chip in for ideas. The more voices, the better.
below Boars Head, a Gateway, My Pinecone Acrylic on canvas 73” x 50” 2016
Those hoodies make me anxious. What kind of tropes, stereotypes or situations are you most interested in questioning? All of them.
What other creative shit are you into besides painting? I'm a part of a collaborative performance project called George de George which started as a joke to make fun of bullshit NY cool-kid fashion. It jumps off from Fluxus and it calls for me and my partners to ﬁght over ideas. We make stuff in order to compete and piss each other off that can turn into, hopefully, something unique. We don’t think about this in terms of good or bad, but we just try to make something genuine within our own shitty means.
Some artists are reluctant to admit Disney is an inﬂuence, but you are not shy to say you don’t like Disney animation. Why do feel that way besides the obvious corporate pig stuff? I think there are way more unique animation studios that ethically, visually and politically do different stuff. Disney is Wonderbread compared to other studios like Halas and Bachelor.
We did a fashion show at Serpentine in London this summer. Since I'm not a designer, and neither are the other members, Brian, Billy and Tyson, who are all working artists, we thought it would be ideal to collaborate on clothes, something none of us knows how to do. I ﬁgured if no one knows what they're doing, how could you fuck it up? The clothing we made is unwearable and all about action... cargo pants with actual purses sewn on, cropped bubble jackets with a nalgene bottle as a zipper, hoodies that have alarm sensors so you are forced to not remove it in public, etc.
Your no-bullshit approach to art talk is basically what our magazine is founded on. How do you handle pretentiousness in the art scene? I try not to think about it at all. The pretentiousness is a small part of what the art world is made of. Market, social hierarchies and the elite are all bullshit, but being around creative and interesting people who are pushing the limits is really inspiring. I just try not to get lost in all the hype of art. It’s stupid, so I'm not going to compromise myself to maintain face. I'm not afraid of being embarrassed.
What’s the last thing you painted? A monarch butterﬂy. Do you always work with the projector? Or is it part projection, part freestyle? I usually work with the projector. It’s faster for me and allows for a strange adaptation of painting that I wouldn’t come to myself—think Picabia type of layers. Of course, I do things freehand as well, or from a computer printout, and I look and paint, look and paint. I did a painting of a Morandi painting (I embedded it into a copy of an Ed Paschke painting I did), and I was trying to do the Morandi in the dark, with the projector. I realized how dumb this was halfway through, because Morandi is all about light, and I realized i was doing a bad, posterized version of the original. When is appropriation good, and when is it bad? I always think it’s good. Tell me why you hate feminism, because all it means is believing in equality. Stupidly, for my ﬁrst interview a few years ago, I said, "fuck feminism.” When I said that, I was trying to avoid being put in the front of a feminist agenda, especially one that wasn't my own. Many artists who happen to be women have had to do this in the past. I am also a white, upper-middle-class woman. I live in New York and have the privilege of working full-time as an artist. I know the struggles I’ve had as a woman, but I also know the privilege I have had as a white woman. That's what I meant. However, I hate being deﬁned by my gender, and maybe that’s what pushed me to say what I said. I'm a petite woman with a crass, Jersey way of speaking. That either rubs people the wrong way, or draws people to me, but I wonder if that’s because women aren't supposed to act this way. By normative standards, my attitude is antithetical to my gender. It's stupid. I want to just be a person in the world. But I will admit, being a woman has its perks! What are some current random ideas you’ve had lately that might become parts of paintings? When I was in middle school, I went to the confederate general Robert E. Lee’s house by Arlington Cemetery. When he surrendered to the Union, his house was preserved. There are literally toys on the ﬂoor and shit on the kitchen table. I want to do a painting of someone barging into his house, with Robert E. Lee caught off guard, saying, "What the fuck?" Maybe in my brain that sounds more exciting than it does on paper. It sounds pretty good on paper. How do you make yourself get into that important uncomfortable space as an artist? Drinking and a bunch of bad ideas with friends, and lots of lists that get edited down over long periods of time. Sometimes an idea on one of my lists is not as good as I thought it was. Once I stop caring about what could be a good idea/painting is when things get more interesting. Being conscious of fucking up assassinates creativity.
How do you know when a painting is successful? I used to think I couldn't tell, but now I can. I think it has to do with the attitude I have towards it, like if nothing seems gratuitous or decorative, and the painting feels like it just happened naturally and on its own.
above Odexa Acrylic on canvas 30” x 48” 2015
What’s the last best song you listened to? For some odd reason, I have been listening to crunk constantly for the past couple weeks in the studio. I think
JAMIAN JULIANO-VILLANI JUXTAPOZ.COM
left (clockwise from top left) Substance Free Acrylic on canvas 40” x 48” 2015
To Live And Die In Passaic Acrylic on canvas 40” x 48” 2016
The Whirlpool of Grief Acrylic on canvas 73” x 50” 2015
above Penny’s Change Acrylic on canvas 113” x 113” 2015
JAMIAN JULIANO-VILLANI JUXTAPOZ.COM
above Chunga’s Revenge Acrylic on canvas 56” x 48” 2016
because some of it is totally mindless, but it gets you hyped. It’s actually really good. Can you handle communicating with people who have no sense of humor? I can, but it makes me incredibly uncomfortable. The people I enjoy being around are able to laugh at themselves. If you can't, it means you have some serious ego issues. I was reading about Howard Stern's interview style and his ability to get people to open up. He is incredibly self-deprecating, which makes other people feel comfortable opening up, too. It may seem manipulative, and it probably is, but it leads to a much more candid interaction, which is better to me than some superﬁcial bullshit session.
You have just revealed my own subconscious approach to relating to people. What makes you feel the most content in life? Making a painting I like or doing my laundry. What old movies have you watched lately? I just rewatched this italian movie Dillinger is Dead from 1969, directed by Marco Ferreri. I usually can't deal with subtitles, but this movie has, like, ten words of dialogue. It's about this industrial designer who gets home from work, and his wife has a migraine, so the dinner she made is kind of gross. She goes to bed and he smokes some weed, makes something to eat, kind of goes through his drawers and shit. It actually feels like it's being ﬁlmed in real time. He's cleaning out the pantry and ﬁnds a gun
wrapped in the obituary of John Dillinger. I won't give away anything else. What’s your favorite recent GIF or internet thing? My friend Billy showed me a totally amazing clip from So You Think You Can Dance, season 13 episode 9. It's the ﬁrst dance group on that episode, 15 children dressed up as toys dancing to this crazy hip hop/dance track called "Ain't Playin' Wit’ Ya.” It’s incredible. I was inspired and repulsed. It probably took them months to get it right. Do the titles just come to you? Like what is your painting, Penny’s Change, about? Penny's Change is actually about childhood, if you can believe it. I was thinking about birthday cakes, and when you
get one that has smeared icing text, and how symbolic that can be to the person whose birthday it is, especially a child. I got a cake made that said, “Happy Birthday, Jamian, we love you very much, love Mom and Dad." Then I took a cab, and drove around with it, and the icing got smeared. That's what's on the sand. The mouth on the ﬁgure in the bubble jacket is actually based on my teeth, which were terrible... I am literally one of the "before and after" pictures on my dentist’s website.
above After Midnight Acrylic on canvas 40” × 40” 2013
Let’s end this with another shocking fact. No one knows how eels spawn.
JAMIAN JULIANO-VILLANI JUXTAPOZ.COM
MERRY MELANCHOLY INTERVIEW AND PORTRAIT BY SASHA BOGOJEV
WEDISH ARTIST JOAKIM OJANEN HAS created an entire universe packed with a diverse army of endearingly gloomy characters. His own Les Misérables, if you will. Over the past couple of years, these oddballs and their pet companions, sculpted in ceramic and painted in oils, quietly enjoy a pensive sadness while keeping their native cool. The life of these mavericks isn't an exciting one, but they are content— they hang out alone or in squads, occasionally read a book, draw, play, or have a cheeky beer or cigarette. So mundane, yet so lovable, they are cheery monuments to melancholy and its quirky beauty. Sasha Bogojev: Why are ceramics your weapon of choice, and did you work with them from the start? Joakim Ojanen: I actually started out studying illustration, mostly drawing and doing silkscreens, stuff like that. During second year, a friend and I were trying to ﬁnd a hobby, so we went to this ceramics studio that was open to everyone, and we just started to play around. At ﬁrst we made vases and stuff, but slowly the drawings I was doing at the time ended up in ceramic form, which was the base for my ﬁrst small characters. Was it difficult to learn how to work with ceramics? Yeah, I had a really hard time in the beginning. Sometimes everything would just fall ﬂat, but after working with the material for a while, I began to learn. I started to understand the rules, ﬁguring out what was working or not, and learned to ﬁre things the right way and avoid accidents in the kiln. This doesn't sound like a formal education in ceramics... No, not at all. At this studio, there were people we could ask a few things, but we basically learned ourselves. And when did you start painting canvases? It was around the same time that I started working with ceramics that I started to paint, but I also never got any education in painting really. So you only formally studied illustration. Do you still illustrate at all? Ha ha, no.
opposite (clockwise from top left) Controlla 1 Oil on canvas 12.6” x 16.5” 2016 Untitled Portrait (SWE) 10 Oil on canvas 61” x 70.8” 2016 Controlla 2 Oil on canvas 12.6” x 16.5” 2016 Untitled Portrait 12 Oil on canvas 39” x45” 2016
What is it about ceramics that you like so much? I tried a couple of other materials before ceramics, but never found anything that was as direct; the way you are able to really get your ﬁngers in it, you don't have to cast anything. Ceramics are pretty basic. You have the clay, you do something, let it dry and then ﬁre it. I think I like that. It's a really direct approach because you build something up with your hands instead of carving it out or something like that. Yeah, your work, both the paintings and sculptures, have this recognizable, rugged feel, either in the line work or the surface ﬁnish. Is there a reason why you prefer that?
I think because I work with really solid shapes, I need to have something that collides with that. If the lines or surfaces were really smooth, I don't think the work would be as interesting. I need something that works against really clean shapes. Do you work exclusively in ceramics or have you tried other techniques? Last summer I did a small bronze edition with Case Studyo in Belgium, and after that I did a few stainless steel casts with Richard Heller’s gallery, which were shown in Miami. More of those are being made right now in LA, so we'll see how they will turn out. And what do you use when painting? I always paint with oils. I want the colors to still be wet when I add the second layer, so they mix up a bit. I tried working with acrylics, but that just didn't work for me. There is something about it that makes it really stiff, not alive enough. The colors you're using are very recognizable. How do you pick those, and do you have any color preferences? When I started out, it was all black-and-white illustrations, but once I started doing silkscreens, I started working more with colors. They are quite creamy, candy-ish, but I don't have any purpose for them. It's just the colors I personally like. For the paintings, I usually pick three colors that I ﬁgure will work well together and start mapping them out and combining. I have a few that I use more often, but I always mix them myself. Would you say you're a sculptor or painter, and how do you work between the two? Over the last year, I've been sculpting a bit more, but I need both of them. It's really good for me to take a break from one material and work with another one. When I get stuck with something, a change of material helps me to get through the hard times. But I see myself as an artist that works both with sculptures and paintings. Your body of work is pretty much all ﬁgurative. Is there a certain reason for that? I don't know. I’ve always been interested in characters. Ever since I can remember, I was drawing my family with the house, and from there I moved on to comics. I would either copy them or make my own, so it all ﬁts my background in creative expression. Are they all part of the same world, or do they each have separate stories? I think they belong all in the same world. Sometime I do small groups that form a squad or something, but they are all part of the same universe that I've been working with for a few years. Do they relate between paintings and sculptures? Yeah, they can relate. Sometimes I try to paint the sculptures or vice versa, but they don't really come off the same.
JOAKIM OJANEN JUXTAPOZ.COM
What inﬂuences your work? Are they based on real people or comics, or something else? They are something that has been evolving for a long time. They deﬁnitely have their start somewhere in the comic world, but nowadays I don't read that many comics, which is a shame. I just don't have that much interest in them any longer, but I did keep the aesthetics of them with me. So, would you say they are based on comics? Well, I had a period in my early twenties when I was really into character design, doing animation and stuff like that. Then I was doing graffiti for a while, so I think all these different forms of expression have typical aesthetics that are close to each other, and they are all part of my visual language. Was the graffiti a brief whim or was it an important part of your life? It was really important because I picked it up from my twin older brothers who were doing it when I was eight or so. I started doing my own walls when I was around fourteen, and I kept it as my main interest for the next ten years. Was that your gateway to the art world? Yes, because I didn't have any other cultural inﬂuences around me, so this was the main source, and illustration came after it.
right Dog Carrier Glazed Stoneware 15” length 2016
Were you doing the characters back then as well? Not really because there was always someone else that was better at it. Characters were so tricky, and I was sketching them so much. But it took me many years before I could draw a character that I thought looked slightly OK. I wanted to do the graffiti characters, but couldn't do it. It made me practice and make my own, and I just kept on making them. Later, I worked for a production company and was the only one who couldn't make characters, which is the main thing I'm doing nowadays. Do you get attached to your work? Yes. It's more than just working with it, but when it's taking shape, I can almost talk to it. When I'm about to ﬁnish, that is when the relation is strongest. Once it's ﬁnished, it's there, but like a friend you haven't talked to in a while. I still like him and can remember the moments we had together, but that's the past now. So it's quite easy for me to leave works because we already had these nice moments together. They are usually dressed like common people, wearing shirts with logos, shorts and hats. How do you chose those elements? Many times I use clothes I have myself. Sometimes, when I go to secondhand stores, I'm looking for stuff that would
look cool on them. I try to collect clothes or take photos or just remember them, because that is something I always struggle with when painting sculptures or making a painting. I always end up with the shirt as the last thing to paint because it can be really tricky for me. I want to get that part right, so it's always a struggle "what to wear" [laughs]. Your characters are mainly urban city kids. How does that relate to your childhood? I've been thinking about the age of my characters, and I really can't set an age on them. They could be ﬁve years old or thirty at the same time. I think they are somewhere in that span, based on my own life, so I'll just keep them expanding. Do other things from your surroundings inﬂuence your work, or is it mostly things from your head? A lot of the work is not relevant to what's going on at the moment, but it's more about memories from my life. It's not a certain happening, but more of a glimpse of something I have in my memory. Like the clothes or other little details like that. Do you want your work to be funny, narrative, or just plain interesting? I deﬁnitely like the comic aspect of my work, but I also want characters to have a lot of feelings that aren't easy to show. I want to make them vulnerable somehow. I want both sides
of tragic and comic to be present, and in balance. And not just sad or happy, but layers of different feelings. They can seem quite melancholic or dispirited. What inﬂuences that? The Scandinavian weather and surroundings, and the whole depression thing it’s known for? I think so, deﬁnitely. There is deﬁnitely a lot of melancholy in Sweden and I’ve always felt that it can be a nice thing. It's not really sadness, but more a way of living somehow. When I was younger, in my teenage years, I embraced it a lot. So that is deﬁnitely something you can see in my work.
above Fruit Carriers (Apple Carrier, Banana Carrier) Glazed Stoneware 14.5” tall 2016
They have lot of surrealistic, exaggerated features. How do those come to life? Do you build a character around them, or do you "mess up" a normal character? For the sculptures, I do the shape of the head ﬁrst and then try different features. I build it part-by-part and usually try to do something that is unexpected and create a personality that I haven't seen before. After all these years, I have all these tools in my toolbox, different noses, eyes, and mouths, which I try to mix, as well as create new ones to put in the toolbox. From there, they tend to get more crazy, like ears that can function like arms or long ﬂoppy cheeks. I think it’s a need to evolve and a need to do something new at the same time. When I'm in the studio, I'm usually alone, so I need to keep it interesting.
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left Installation view from What a time to be alive :( Friends from the Past Glazed Stoneware 32â€? tall Richard Heller Gallery Santa Monica 2016
JOAKIM OJANEN JUXTAPOZ.COM
The work feels very playful. Do you think that’s because of your cheerful approach to creating it? I think I need that part because otherwise I would be bored and the work would probably be much more boring to look at. I think a lot of the playfulness and feelings are a reﬂection of the process of making them. Do you ever make female characters? Yeah. I made a few. How come there is such disproportion there? That's a good question. I think it's just because I see most of them like self portraits. I try to make females every now and then, but they are not a homerun every time. Your ﬁgures have pets... Yes, mostly dogs, but there are human characters that have dog parts on them too. They can be a bit happier or stupider than their human friends. Do you have a dog? I don't, but I'm thinking of getting one. The problem is that I travel a lot, so maybe in a few years. Did you have any aspirations to show around the world when you started working? There is one part when I'm in the studio, working, just doing the thing that I love to do, and not thinking about the business part of it. But then I'm also really interested in art and other artists, so I try to go to shows, do studio visits, it's like a hobby of mine. I really like that part, so somewhere in between, there might be a, "Yeah, it would be nice to show with these guys." And speaking of other artists, did you ever collaborate? Not really. I tried doing some collaborations in the past, but I don't like to compromise [laughs]. I do like showing with other people in group shows where you can see some similarities and stuff. But, in general, I think I'm a bad collaborator. Do you have any other passion or interest beside art? That is the problem. When I try to ﬁnd a hobby, it becomes the thing that I do. What does your work routine look like? I try to get started on something. Once I've started, I'll ﬁnd something in it that will keep me going, so there will be results from it. I try to go to the studio every day and just make stuff. I have a really hard time sketching things out because I need to feel the material in order to ﬁnd something in it. It's a lot of trying. Does that get frustrating? Yeah, sometimes it would be nice to have a ﬁnished sketch. For paintings, I actually do a small sketch as a base, but I never settle on colors before I start. That would be really boring to have everything predetermined. I guess it's also a way for me to keep things interesting for myself. Do you have any bigger career goals or plans? I'm working on a big group of sculptures for the children’s
hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, which will be ﬁnished in 2020. They're going to be a bit larger, so the biggest one will be around six meters tall. They're going to be installed outside of the hospital so kids can play and climb on them. I'm looking forward to that because I've been already working on it for a year and a half. I'm also interested in exploring other materials more.
above Dog With Green Hat Oil on Canvas 12.6” x 16.5” 2016 opposite Crate (Installation) Crate, glazed stoneware and bronze 65” tall 2016
What about shows? I just had a show in Paris, and will be showing with Ruttkowski;68 in Cologne, Germany in December, and will be in couple of group shows in between.
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AN APPRECIATION INTERVIEW BY GREGG GIBBS
WHERE TO BEGIN EXPLAINING THE WORK OF LA-BASED ARTIST Jason Rhoades? The immersive installations are wildly chaotic, crammed with a deluge of debris that resembles the aftermath of a ransacking, resulting in a conﬂuence of space and scale. His room-sized sculptures comprise an array of disparate elements such as clusters of dime-store dream catchers, mounds of woven Mexican rugs, tangled strands of electrical cords, constellations of neon words strung together, car parts and machine gears, smoke machines, labyrinths of brushed metal tubes, towers of plastic paint buckets and hardware, stacks of cowboy hats, and hookah pipes… more objects than one can count or visually absorb, all organized with a scattered logic of his own design. An awe-inspiring new exhibition of Rhoades’s work recently opened to much acclaim at Hauser, Wirth and Schimmel in LA. Occupying over 28,000 square feet of space, it brings together six major installations created over a lifetime that was tragically cut short by his untimely death at the age of 41. The esteemed curator and former partner of the gallery, Paul Schimmel, gave me a personal tour through the massive enclave of work by the renowned artist and explained the signiﬁcance of the display. JASON RHOADES JUXTAPOZ.COM
Photography by Fredrik Nilsen Installation views from Jason Rhoades. Installations, 1994 – 2006 Hauser Wirth & Schimmel 2017 previous spread The Black Pussy... and the Pagan Idol Workshop 2005 Mixed media Dimensions variable © The Estate of Jason Rhoades Courtesy the estate, Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner and lender
Gregg Gibbs: How did you end up putting this show together? Did you work with Rhoades previously? Paul Schimmel: I knew Jason from the time he was a student at UCLA and was studying with the conceptualist artist Richard Jackson. I met him during the installation of my show Helter Skelter at MOCA, when he was helping put together Jackson’s room of clocks. It’s a show that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. It’s my understanding that the work is not for sale. As a commercial gallery, how do you justify this curatorial presentation? First of all, the gallery has worked with Jason since the beginning. From the get-go, this space in Los Angeles was really conceived to do museum-scale exhibitions to bring together both loans and institutionalized work, in addition to functioning commercially. In my interactions with Jason, I was always impressed by his intellect and thought process—the way he navigated his ideas. It seems like they all relate to this concept where one thought leads to another idea, and a chain is started, though the last idea doesn’t necessarily relate to the ﬁrst.
What’s the underlying theme to these works conceptually? I think he lived in his head and his heart. Jason was extraordinarily intelligent. He was seriously interested in the logic about how things relate to one another. But he also saw some kind of magical, spiritual connection. He would literally look for some unfathomable connection and draw it out. How one thing leads to the next is an organic process with a lot of artists. For him, the studio was always a boy’s playroom to tinker in, or a science lab for exploration, or a library to conduct research. His roots are in the 4H events at county fairs, selling stuff and showing animals. His work was about breaking down hierarchical thoughts about society and political ideas about sexuality. He was also interested in the difference between decorative art and ﬁne art, in addition to an extraordinary interest in the commodity of objects. Jason was a shopper. His work is obsessive almost to the point of stockpiling. He was possessed by a compulsion to accumulate. In this show, I think there is one piece that reﬂects how Jason thinks, and that is the centerpiece of the show called “The Creation Myth.” It is more organic in that it has to do with
Jason’s mind and body. The theme of the human body is the armature. He used the structure of temples, of cabarets as institutions. You also have Black Pussy/London, which was similar in ways to a series of performances he conducted in LA. Those works are separated and meant to go their own way. One installation is Tijuana/Tangiers, which consists primarily of chandeliers ﬁlled with neon above an ordered collection of trinkets. All of these serve a form and function. At the entrance to this exhibition is his ﬁrst major installation titled Swedish Erotica and Fiero Parts, which was originally shown at Rosamund Felsen gallery in LA. The exterior of the building happened to be painted bright yellow, which, in turn, inﬂuenced the color palette for the piece. Can you explain the multi-layered meanings behind this odd gathering of objects? The dominant organizing principle is the color. Initially, you can see that all of these disparate objects, which are made out of all sorts of informal components, like craft materials rather than fabricated materials, are held together by this yellow color, which, indeed, was based on the color of the strategically located gallery on Santa Monica Boulevard. I suspect that his reason to use yellow
was a way to take over the entire building. He’s making the architecture of this former Hollywood studio space an extension of the piece by co-opting it. But what is also clear as we stand at the beginning of the exhibition laid out similarly to the show in 1994, is that he included many dispersive elements, such as pottery that he made in high school, which could be seen as juvenilia memorabilia, and objects covered in yellow legal pad paper, the color he had inherited from the gallery. Within that same logic, he used the fact that Marilyn Monroe had shot the famous photo on the cover of the ﬁrst Playboy magazine in that space. His mother was of Swedish descent and she appears posing in photos much like Monroe. So he used these things to tie into other ideas that sprang from that. He parked a yellow Pontiac Fiero outside to designate the space as his personal garage. The logic being that it was some kind of artistic manipulation, which ended with this result.
above (from left) The Creation Myth 1998 Mixed media Dimensions variable © The Estate of Jason Rhoades Courtesy Friedrich Christian Flick Collection im Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin Swedish Erotica and Fiero Parts 1994 Mixed media Dimensions variable © The Estate of Jason Rhoades Courtesy the estate Hauser & Wirth, Private Collection Switzerland and lenders
Doesn’t it also tie into the classic early porn ﬁlm, I Am Curious Yellow? Yes, Swedish erotica and the types of pornography ﬁlms that were being made in the Valley were part of the concept. He also brought in the inﬂuence of an Ikea store in Burbank that
JASON RHOADES JUXTAPOZ.COM
makes up the structure of the installation. So there is this dirty subject matter contrasting with this kind of cleanliness of the Swedish Ikea superstore and also Jason’s obsession with cleaning. Messy as much of all this might look, it’s based on the themed rooms you ﬁnd in the store, whether it’s the living room, the bedroom or the dining room. It’s the mess of the imagination meeting the mess of the studio and he tries to bring order to it. Wasn’t this installation broken up and sold in sections? Jason looked at the impossibility of selling it all to one person and made these rational divisions based on functions of an Ikea store layout, breaking it up into individual islands. It did sell very well, which was quite surprising for a young artist’s ﬁrst exhibition. MOCA and LACMA, along with important collectors, acquired the work. It was originally meant to be distributed in parts, but, like cells, they’ve come back together for this show, so they are home together again. His ﬁrst show was spectacularly successful and catapulted him to both national and international recognition. In many respects, he matured the quickest of the younger generation of artists. He was heavily inﬂuenced by the previous LA generation, like Mike Kelley, Chris Burden, Paul McCarthy and Charles Ray, and his career exploded internationally concurrent with that generation. So he was the youngest of that previous generation and the oldest of the new generation. Immediately, he was commissioned by important institutions to produce bigger shows.
opposite My Brother / Brancuzi 1995 Mixed media Dimensions variable © The Estate of Jason Rhoades Courtesy Private Collection Switzerland
Tell me about his next important piece, My Brother Brancusi, which was included in the 1995 Whitney Biennial. It was very important to him to have his own room with no other artist in it, to know exactly the amount of space he had to create a ﬂoor plan. He made it large enough that the ﬁre marshal would allow people to go through, but small enough that it was ﬁlled to look expansive and compressed. The room contains an accumulation of sculptural objects that sit on a rug deﬁning what is permissible, and on the walls, images of the two key elements of the concept: his brother’s bedroom and Brancusi’s studio in Paris. He discovered this overlapping sensibility between the two. His brother becomes Brancusi in the history of sculpture. He chose arguably the most signiﬁcant sculptor of twentiethcentury Modernism, who had a huge impact on American art in an irreverent way. This work draws from the history of assemblage, installation art, and Fluxus. Jason engaged the audience with the creation of a doughnut factory, in a sense an homage to his brother, whose great ambition was to make a fortune with a doughnut business. So his brother’s desire becomes an endless column, as a reference to the classic Brancusi sculpture. Jason included his own obsession with the Home Depot aesthetic using homemade vehicles of transportation, such as motorbikes made out of dollies with lawnmower engines. He used to drive them around and make racing sculptures, which embody perpetual machines.
“THERE IS THIS DIRTY SUBJECT MATTER CONTRASTING WITH THIS KIND OF CLEANLINESS OF THE SWEDISH IKEA SUPERSTORE AND ALSO JASON’S OBSESSION WITH CLEANING.” Wasn’t he a natural tinkerer who utilized lots of hardware store items from industrial catalogues? Was it related to a utilitarian American work ethic? As a young man, he would be ﬁxing things all the time in his suburban home. He would take apart video games, build things, always tinkering and constructing. One of his teachers at UCLA was Chris Burden, who liked to build and construct things, but more from an engineering standpoint. Jason’s goal is more poetic and intuitive—less about structure and more about form. The doughnut maker is a central part of the piece. Tell me about these mounds of little doughnuts—did you have to fabricate them again? The original piece was created over twenty years ago. As you know, conservators are very concerned about preserving the longevity of artwork. What’s really scary is we thought we’d have to ﬁre up the doughnut maker again and make a new batch, but oddly enough—this may be shocking—these are the originals. The doughnuts have so much MSG in the recipe that they have survived in better shape than other elements of the work. Which is something to think about in the stuff we eat and what it does to our digestive system. What strikes me is the unifying element of color. It’s almost painterly. Both the red and the yellow in the ﬁrst installations could be considered painterly. That’s not the case as you see his career going forward. Armatures take over the unifying structure that colors had in the early work. You later have the shelving and metal pipes and the hanging chandeliers with the neon, each repeated again and again in a similar fashion. The neon brings multiple colors to the scene.
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When you assemble a show that is so busy, does everything have its place, or is it somewhat random? The average viewer might consider this just a haphazard bunch of clutter. Did the artist have a deﬁned layout for everything? That is a great question in regard to The Creation Myth, which has several stacked tables with wires all over the place, hundreds of magazines and bric-a-brac, piles of shredded faxes, things that really reﬂect the end of the analog age moving into the digital era. There’s a volcano blowhole that emits a smoke ring every minute, much like an exploding anal oriﬁce. There are also so-called brain objects that represent the mind, such as trains of thought represented by a toy train circling an array of surveillance cameras transmitting to monitors. All of it is about the mind and body of the artist creating works of art, sort of the process by its own making. Literally thousands of objects have been painstakingly entered into a database and catalogued, each having a very speciﬁc location with a speciﬁc meaning that makes connections. His assistants, who worked on it, originally helped to make playbooks that are used to recreate the installation. This particular work, which has traveled around the world, was donated by a collector to the Berlin Museum. It is one of the most complex pieces that Jason made. People look at it and think it could go anywhere. Not so. It’s such a visceral experience in person, sort of a sloppy intellectualism playing with the realms of the high and low. Is that what he was attempting to accomplish? He captured a kind of organic and intuitive unconscious
right Tijuanatanjierchandelier 2006 Mixed media Dimensions variable © The Estate of Jason Rhoades Courtesy the estate, Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner and lender
approach to art making, but in fact he was very rigorous in the conceptual links that he made between thousands of discrete visual and auditory information. I don’t think he saw his work like what the assemblagist artist Alan Kaprow did with his happenings—something that somebody else could recreate. It wasn’t open-ended, it was ﬁxed in that respect. Right from the beginning, from Swedish Erotica until the end, he always had these very deliberate road maps for the development of the work, and even more carefully mapped out its dissemination in subsequent locations. What’s the meaning of the huge room ﬁlled with brightly colored neon sculptures hanging above patterned carpets? I’m reminded of the work of Bruce Nauman and other artists who work with neon, like Dan Flavin’s ﬂuorescent tubes and the LA Light and Space movement. But this is different, like he’s drawing with neon signs. Most famous is Nauman with the use of words and reversal language in neon. Most light and space artists used daylight or artiﬁcial lights, but these are like bar signs straight from the street, kind of like going back to the reason neon normally functions as commercial signage. So Jason has taken from a large database of words referring to woman’s genitals in a multitude of languages, and he’s turned them into colorful signs that are at once rendered abstract. This piece can best be experienced as one would worship in a temple. It’s called My Medea/My Ermitage, as in the Hermitage museum in Russia. It is both a mosque and a museum. To experience this, you take off your shoes, sit on the carpets and take
it all in. It is the only piece in the show that you could call viewer friendly because you can get a lot of people in here. This installation has a lot of space to sit down and gaze at the neon. The other rooms in the show have limited access. Only a few people are allowed in those spaces because of the density of the work. You have to watch yourself carefully. We had almost 6,000 visitors for the opening day. Only a third of them made it into the exhibition. I think Jason would have been overwhelmed by the turnout and response. Is part of the reason for that popularity because he never showed in LA after his ﬁrst exhibition? Why is it that he never had a gallery or museum show here again—even though this is where he lived? His last show was here, but it wasn’t really a traditional art show. It was in a warehouse where he was self-representing by holding cabaret/soirée events called Black Pussy. I think he could have shown anywhere here if he wanted. But the truth is, because of the kind of representation that he had in New York with David Zwirner, and Hauser and Wirth in Europe, there were more opportunities on the East Coast and in Europe than in LA. Those opportunities had more to do with the complex realization of the installations. In his
case, he was able to get institutions and collectors to pay for it, allowing him to make new work on his terms, which is what most artists like to do. His work, in an ongoing way, was a practice to keep what he called “the machine” going. He saw himself as a worker and believed that the body inside the machine could regenerate itself.
above My Madinah. In pursuit of my ermitage... 2004 Mixed media Dimensions variable © The Estate of Jason Rhoades Courtesy the estate, Hauser & Wirth and David Zwirner
I do think in a funny way that what was so hard in doing a show with Jason here in Los Angeles was that he wanted a different kind of space. I think he liked being a stranger in his own hometown, not having to sleep where he worked. He lived a studio life here with artist friends, but when he was on the road, he got to hang out with collectors and museum people. He still had a big following here and was very inﬂuential.
As I shook Paul’s hand after our tour and interview, grateful to this visionary curator for sharing his time with me, little did I realize that the next day he would part ways with the gallery bearing his name, another surprise in the inherently unpredictable world of art. Jason Rhoades. Installations. continues at Hauser, Wirth & Schimmel in Los Angeles through May 21, 2017.
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IN FULL SWING INTERVIEW BY GWYNNED VITELLO
STUART DAVIS DROPPED OUT OF ORANGE HIGH SCHOOL in 1908 during freshman year—and his parents supported the decision! While studying at the Henri Art School in New York City, he discovered Heeley’s saloon, where counter food was free for the price of a drink. The red-light districts in nearby Newark and Hoboken introduced him to jazz, which he considered, “an integral part of my mood and attitude toward things.” During that time, he also joined the staff of the art and literary magazine, The Masses, where he reveled in the connections of words, images and social theory. One of the ﬁrst artists to incorporate the humor and visual immediacy of advertising, his work is the big picture. Stuart Davis: In Full Swing cruises from the Whitney Museum to San Francisco’s de Young where Emma Acker, Assistant Curator for American Art, describes him in full surround-sound.
right (from left) Lucky Strike Oil on canvas 33 1/4” x 18” 1921 The Museum of Modern Art New York Gift of the American Tobacco Company, Inc. Odol Oil on cardboard 24” x 18” 1924 The Museum of Modern Art New York Mary Sisler Bequest (by exchange) and purchase
Gwynned Vitello: When I look at Stuart Davis’s paintings I feel like his work should be better known. It is, to me, immediately captivating—and so approachable! Emma Acker: I completely agree. Davis’s goal was to create art that was formally and conceptually groundbreaking, but also accessible—and reﬂective of the world around him. He wanted to break down barriers between “high” and “low” culture, and he did—paving the way for later developments in American art such as Pop. He is truly a giant of twentiethcentury art, who fused high modernism with popular culture and created vibrant, jazzy compositions that telegraphed the excitement and energy of his times. I am also blown away by how proliﬁc a writer he was, both regarding bodies of work, as well as the role of the artists, especially since he left high school before graduating. But his father’s friends were newspaper illustrators, so he was immersed in words and visual art from an early age. Writing is one of Davis’s great—and probably lesser-known—
contributions to American modernism. He left hundreds of notebooks and journals ﬁlled with his sketches, artistic theories and ruminations about art and its relationship to society. Both his parents were artists. They met at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts as students, and they really strongly encouraged his interest from an early age. His father was the art editor for the Philadelphia Press, and he had a stable of quick sketch artists working for him as illustrators. Among them were those known as the “Philadelphia Four” who were later associated with the group known as the “Eight” and the Ashcan school of painting. They were all mentors to the young Davis, and they all drew inspiration from the charismatic leader of the Ashcan school, Robert Henri, whom they followed to New York in the ﬁrst decade of the twentieth century. Were those artists part of the school of Ashcan realism? Actually, it would help if you would describe that style of art and its inﬂuence on Davis.
After moving with his family to New Jersey, Davis dropped out of high school following his freshman year and enrolled in Henri’s art school in New York. Henri’s teaching methods were revolutionary. Unlike the conservative academic schools of the day, which adhered to strict, classical notions of beauty, Henri emphasized freedom of expression. He wanted his students to get out into the streets of New York and capture its gritty energies, in neighborhoods like the lower East Side, the Bowery and Chinatown. He favored a really loose, bravura paint handling and a focus on everyday subjects in order to catch the vitality of the metropolis. His idea that “art cannot be separated from life” was inﬂuential for Davis, who later moved to a more structured, abstracted style inﬂuenced by European modernism but still sought to maintain a connection to life in his art. Davis included in his work recognizable imagery and words that were drawn from experience in the modern world. Since they didn’t have agents or the internet, were American artists of that time primarily dependent on patrons? How was the ﬁrst Armory show conceived, and what was the result of its debut in 1913 for Davis and other artists? Artists of the period were dependent on private patronage to a certain extent, but there wasn’t necessarily a lot of it going around. Davis had dealers who exhibited and tried to sell his art, but the stock market crash of 1929 resulted in plummeting sales and he hit rock bottom in 1934. He recounted an anecdote that really illustrates his desperation at the time when he visited the wealthy art collector Baroness Hilla von Rebay, who went on to found what is now the Guggenheim. She wanted to buy one of his watercolors, but hated representational art, so asked him to “ﬁx” the things about his work that weren’t abstract. Insulted, this really ﬂew in the face of everything he believed about his practice but admitted he would have, “crawled on my hands and knees, if necessary, because I needed the money.” Needless to say, this experience really turned him off private patronage. Like most artists during the Depression, David turned to collective action as a means to gain some kind of economic security, and he was a really passionate and tireless advocate on behalf of artists’ rights and freedom of expression. The 1913 Armory was the ﬁrst large-scale exhibition in the United States to introduce Americans to vanguard European art styles, such as Cubism and Fauvism. For Davis, seeing what were, to him, really radical works by artists like Picasso, Matisse and Van Gogh caused a seismic shift in his artistic direction. He said, “I sensed an objective order in their work which I felt was lacking in my own. I resolved I would deﬁnitely have to become a ‘modern artist.’ What I got out of Cubism was that you could think about space as freely as you could about color.” In his subsequent works, he used the ﬂat planes of color and form characteristic of European modernism to abstract from his everyday American subjects. What affect did moving to New York and traveling to Paris have on his artwork? Besides the early inﬂuence of Ashcan
realist Robert Henri, which other artists inﬂuenced his work and how? Davis described the 13 months he spent in Paris as among the most inﬂuential artistic events of his life. He lived in Montparnasse amidst a lively circle of expatriate American writers and artists—so many Americans lived there during the period that one critic referred to it as, “the capital of America.” It was certainly the capital of the art world, and
above For Internal Use Only Oil on canvas 45” x 28” 1944-45 Reynolda House Museum of American Art Winston-Salem, North Carolina An affiliate of Wake Forest University Gift of Barbara B. Millhouse
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opposite (clockwise from top left) Blips and Ifs Oil on canvas 71 1/8” x 53 1/8” 1963-64 Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth Acquisition in memory of John de Menil Trustee, Amon Carter Museum Salt Shaker Oil on canvas 49 7/8” x 32” 1931 The Museum of Modern Art, New York Gift of Edith Gregor Halpert 1954 House and Street Oil on canvas 26 1/8” × 42 1/8” 1931 Whitney Museum of American Art New York
Davis beneﬁted from his further exposure to European modernism while living there. He found Paris to be so interesting that he wanted to paint it “as it was,” but his Parisian scenes are, in fact, quite radical, fusing a traditional landscape structure with a more abstract layer of texture, color and pattern. Another positive effect of Davis’s time in Paris was that it liberated him from the idea that American artists were inferior to their European counterparts, and he returned to New York with a renewed sense of conﬁdence and purpose. He embraced the brash kinetic energy and “impersonal dynamics” of the city and sought to reﬂect them in his work. He also tried to capture the sense of the simultaneity that modern innovations like the movies and radio had engendered by juxtaposing multiple views of a scene or scenes within a single work.
and Purism with the ﬂat, bold, hard-edged typography and style of American advertising. He deﬁnitely felt that these forms reﬂected modern American culture, and it was his goal to communicate that shared, lived national experience.
An artist who was a formative inﬂuence on Davis was the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, and the painting For Internal Use Only, which he began the year he died, is a kind of homage to him. Like Davis, Mondrian was a jazz enthusiast, and For Internal Use Only contains references to the popular piano playing style that Mondrian loved and immortalized in his Broadway Boogie Woogie. While formal elements such as the grid format, vibrant palette and ﬂoating black square at the upper left refer to the neoplastic style that Mondrian pioneered, Davis adds his own twist, basing many of the shapes in the composition on the side-by-side frames of a Popeye comic strip that he turned vertically.
Describe his egg-beater pictures and what he was trying to achieve. Davis’s series of egg-beater still lifes (four paintings and a series of studies and drawings) are among the most radical and pioneering works of his career. They were critically acclaimed when he made them, and have subsequently been recognized as one of the ﬁrst truly original artistic contributions of an American modernist. He made them between 1927–28 while working in a small, cramped studio—he needed to focus on a simple subject, so he, “nailed an electric fan, a rubber glove and an egg-beater to a table and used it as his exclusive subject matter for a year. The abstract kick was from comparing himself to “Monet with his haystacks,” so he spent this year-long period producing a series of compositions that focused on the abstract, formal properties of his subjects. While elements of the objects like the blades or handle of the egg-beater are recognizable, they are rendered as a series of ﬂat, geometric planes set at angles to one another. As the series progressed, the space surrounding the forms of the objects began to assume a kind of room-like quality, sometimes with the shallow spaces we might associate with a stage set. This was another of Davis’s great contributions to American Cubism—fusing a still life within an architectural interior.
How did his early visits to saloons and blues and jazz clubs inﬂuence his work? Davis said, “For me, I had jazz all my life. I almost breathed it like the air.” He began frequenting dive bars in New Jersey in the 1910s where, “for the cost of a ﬁve-cent beer,” he could listen to popular Tin Pan Alley tunes, ragtime and the blues. This passion for listening to live jazz continued throughout his life, encompassing the eras of New Orleansstyle hot jazz, swing or big band and bebop. Davis felt that jazz was the “great American art expression,” with “the same quality of art found in the best modern painting.” He evoked a sense of the dynamic energy and syncopated rhythms of jazz in his own abstractions and his practice, beginning around 1939. Revisiting and reworking his own earlier compositions shared with jazz a sense of riffing—as he said, “it’s the same thing as when a musician takes a sequence of notes and make many variations on them.” Then it’s not surprising that he was attracted to the bold and immediate style of advertising. How did Davis develop that appreciation, and was it, in part, due to his egalitarian bent? In addition to the fact that advertising was a ubiquitous fact of modern life—and the 1920s was arguably its “golden age,” Davis had a personal connection to the world of commerce because his Dad has a short-lived stint as an entrepreneur, inventing a laxative gum called Gumﬂax that never got off the ground but may have stimulated Davis’s early interest in consumer packaging. He was a pioneer in merging the visual languages of European modernism such as Cubism
In general, Davis’s desire to elevate the objects and imagery of American popular and commercial culture to the realm of ﬁne art was shared by many of his artistic contemporaries— Dadaists like Duchamp and Man Ray, and Precisionists like Charles Demuth and Georgia O’Keefe, to name a few. In the wake of WWI, as the US became increasingly economically, politically and culturally preeminent, and transformed from rural to industrial, artists in the country wanted to celebrate uniquely American subjects in the their work—to capture what O’Keefe famously termed, “the great American thing.”
As someone deeply attuned to his surroundings, how would you characterize his depiction of nature? Nature is a springboard for many of Davis’s abstract compositions. A surprisingly larger number are based on sketches or paintings he made while summering in the ﬁshing community of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Just as he did with his still lifes and city scenes, Davis abstracted from his impressions of nature, evoking the interplay of sun, sea and sand that he may have initially experienced in stylized, Cubistic terms. But, fundamentally, Davis wanted to go beyond the Cubist preoccupation with visible phenomena in his work, and also represent his emotions, memories and sensory experiences of a scene. When did he introduce words into his painting, and how did he explain their purpose? Davis was fascinated by the relationship between text and image from a young age, incorporating words into his work
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“APPRECIATION OF ART IS SIMPLY A MATTER OF DESIRE FOR ORDER AS A RELIEF FROM THE APPARENT AND POSSIBLE CHAOS OF EVERYDAY AFFAIRS.” –STUART DAVIS
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Previous spread (left) Rapt at Rappaport’s Oil on canvas 52” x 40” 1951-52 Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Smithsonian Institution Washington, DC Previous spread (right) The Paris Bit Oil on canvas 46 1/8” × 60 1/16” 1959 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Purchase with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art right (from top) Egg Beater No. 2 Oil on canvas 29 1/4” x 36 1/4” 1928 Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth Visa Oil on canvas 40” x 52” 1951 The Museum of Modern Art, New York Gift of Mrs. Gertrud A. Mellon
as early as the teens when he worked in a social realist style. He was even commissioned in 1921 to create a mural of his friend’s soda fountain in New Jersey, and he used a variety of different colors, fonts and languages, including Sanskrit, to write out the items on the menus on the walls of the store! Davis related to words on a formal level as shapes, but also used them to “introduce the human element” into his art. Jazz lingo, product logos, advertising typography, street signs, etc. all made their way into his work and evoked the modern American scene. Beginning in 1950, words became dominant compositional motifs of Davis’s artwork. Some derived from artistic theories he wrote about in his journals, but others referred to objects in the real world, such as the word “Champion” in his Little Giants series, which he saw on the cover of a matchbook advertising Champion spark plugs. I was about to say that his use of color is the most striking element of his method, but his use of line and space seem equally important. And maybe his theory of looking at the entirety of a picture is most emblematic of his body of work? He inherited an appreciation for drawing from the illustrators who worked for his dad at the Philadelphia Press, and from Henri, who encouraged his students to sketch life they saw on the streets of New York. As a skilled draughtsman, his
drawings often served as the basis for later paintings. But he was so fascinated by color, particularly its ability to create spatial dynamics, which he described as “color-space-logic.” The really vivid color forms he used in his later works project out into the viewer's space with an evocative quality that is very evocative of jazz.
above The Mellow Pad 1945-51 Oil on canvas 26 1/4” x 42 1/8” Brooklyn Museum Bequest of Edith and Milton Lowenthal
Although Davis’s paintings contain many components like brightly colored shapes, texts and diagrammatic lines, they ultimately resolve into cohesive animated compositions that, “help keep the eye of the beholder alive,” as he put it. “The amazing continuity” is a phrase Davis incorporated into his painting Visa, and I think it perfectly encapsulates the crux of the exhibition’s thesis—the interconnectedness in his work of art and life, abstraction and representation, text and image, past and present. In the show, we will hang works from different periods in Davis’s career that relate to one another side by side, highlighting these continuities, which are pretty amazing!
Stuart Davis: In Full Swing will be on view at the de Young Museum in San Francisco April 1–August 6, 2017.
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ADAM ELI FEIBELMAN
PERSONAL PROVENANCE INTERVIEW AND PORTRAIT BY ALEX NICHOLSON WALKING INTO ADAM FEIBELMAN’S STUDIO IS WALKING into a mess, a good mess, in that satisfying, artist-at-work kind of way. Surrounded by projects in various states of completion, scattered and stacked on every available surface, I was careful to avoid toppling the very large vase precariously ﬁlled to the brim with used X-Acto blades. On one visit, a bicycle wheel sat on a ladder in front of an old projector as Adam demonstrated how the shadows moved through the different patterns he cuts out. A few weeks later, I strolled in to ﬁnd him making a silicone replica of the leg of the Hungarian camerawoman caught on ﬁlm, tripping and kicking ﬂeeing Syrian refugees. “The idea for a piece will come up, and for the most part, I’m able to execute it then and there,” he tells me. “I think it’s why I naturally gravitated towards art, but it took some time to ﬁgure out which ideas were worth pursuing.” While the stencil work is what Adam is most known for, his practice continually evolves in order to realize each new idea. The last time I stopped by, he took me through all the work for his upcoming exhibition, explaining how each piece inspires or was inspired by another. Personal Provenance, Adam’s ﬁrst “straight-up conceptual show,” will address various topics related to migration, asking viewers to consider their own family’s journeys as they make their way through the space. Alex Nicholson: What was your house like growing up? Were your parents creative people? Adam Feibelman: My dad is a scientist and my mom was a fundraiser for a nonproﬁt. I would say that it was creative in that my parents are both stimulated by art, had art around and made a point of making sure my sister and I went to
museums a lot. I think I caught on pretty early that my imagination and hands were connected. And my dad being a scientist, that’s actually a pretty creative thing. What kind of science? Physicist, surface science, which is the study of how molecules move on surfaces of materials. It can be applied to all kinds of things from waterprooﬁng to friction and adhesives. My parents met in an opera group. They're very well-rounded people, I would say. They've got their hands in everything. Do you recall the ﬁrst moment, beyond coloring and making things as a kid, where you thought, "Oh, I think want to spend my life doing this." You know, I don't know if I had that realization until I was way older. Actually, when I was a kid, I said I wanted to be a cartoonist or an architect. Well, that's pretty close. Yeah, for sure. But as I progressed through the Albuquerque Public Schools, I didn't really see a future in either one of those, even though I had been kind of making artwork since I was a kid. My parents were really good at making sure I was in art classes. When I was really young, I wanted to draw Garﬁeld and Calvin and Hobbes. There's stuff at my parents' house they still have that I made when I was eight years old that I would own now as contemporary artwork [laughs]. One of them was a foam core replica of breakfast. It was a placemat with a napkin, a fork, a knife and a plate with eggs and bacon and toast on it. The placemat had a pattern, and they still have it. When I see it, I think, “Wow, whatever little kid made this was pretty
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good!” It wasn't until nearly failing in high school that my mom suggested maybe I should think about going to art school. That ended up being the way to go. Did you get into graffiti in high school or in art school? In high school I was much more into graffiti. That's when the stenciling came in? I would say, in high school, I was more of the character guy. I could do faces much better than I could do letters. But then again, Albuquerque had kind of a gnarly gang-associated graffiti world and there was a lot of machismo bullshit going around. When I had the opportunity to leave, I decided I would leave all of that behind as well, because I had nothing to prove. I still have nothing to prove... I think. Maybe I do. Maybe I'm proving it right now. I was ﬁrst exposed to stenciling in high school. I forget who it was who had cut a stencil of a troll leaning against a tree. I thought it was really great. That's the ﬁrst time I cut stencils, I was kind of trying to copy this other dude. Then I went off to art school and got steeped in all kinds of traditional techniques, painting, and then mostly printmaking. Then, when school was wrapping up, I realized that I wouldn't have a print shop to work in anymore, and that was one of the things that I knew how to do best. But I also knew how to fade and use spray paint and mix colors, and I knew how to do color separations from studying printmaking. I'd been studying some woodblock printing so when I couldn't do the woodblocks anymore, I started cutting them out of paper. Then I started wanting more from the single layer paper cuts. That's when I started adding colors and making new friends who were into cutting stencils and learning from each other. There's an old website called Stencil Revolution. I remember that site! I spent some time on it back in the day. Yeah, there was a community of people on there pushing each other forward. Then I started thinking about the stencils themselves as the artwork, rather than the actual paintings. What triggered that? It was a realization that the direction I saw street art and graffiti going was too simplistic because my interests were someplace else. I feel like street art was trying to make a point to a big population, whereas I wanted to talk to myself and have a one-on-one conversation with people. There's more of a process of discovery, seeing how far you can push your own personal limitations, how long you can stick with something, and how focus can inﬂuence that. I made this conscious effort to turn my stuff a little bit more experimental. Going back to the discussion about my dad, it comes from the desire to always have wanted to work in some sort of science. What speciﬁcally did you want to experiment with? I ﬁnd that there are a lot of different starting points when it comes to my artwork. Throughout the process, there are jumping off places and tangents that I could follow. At the very start, the single layer pieces eventually evolved into the intense patterns. When making the printmaking-style work, although designed to end up making my paintings, people
opposite Magic Carpet Hand-cut window screen 9’ x 6’ 2017
above (from top) Sterna Paradisaea Cut paper assemblage 59” x 39” 2017
Detail of Sterna Paradisaea Detail of Magic Carpet
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would look at them and ask why I was having photographs digitally printed on wood. I realized that I needed to expose the process more and not simply discard the byproducts, actually use the tools themselves as a frame for what I was trying to do. So I started making the sewn paper assemblages that have now morphed to where the paper stencils can exist in a much more simplistic way. And there are tangents that shoot off from there. I now can experiment with the different materials and papers. I'll use different materials to make stencils, but then those materials echo back into the work and reignite my desire to make the paintings. It's this self-sufficient cycle of stuff, of process. Now it's pressing into more conceptual things where, instead of wanting to discuss things on a personal level or on a one-onone basis with a viewer, I want to talk about bigger issues.
below 5041 Too Many Cut Window Screen 29” x 7” 2017
Who do you ﬁnd yourself most often trying to communicate with? Each one of the styles has a different impetus. The patterns are me trying to be as precise as possible and are kind of an experiment. The cityscapes and paper assemblages would be trying to communicate a very personal take on my environment and the times we live in. A lot of effective art over the centuries has been people who document their times. I wanted to do that for a while, documenting changes that happen within the city. All cities change, they ebb and ﬂow. Things get torn down. Things get built back up. Documenting that is important to me, but now I feel like talking about something else, so I'm learning new modes of communication. I need to add my voice to bigger, broader social issues that are going on in the world. And that has come from doing three years of commissions. When you're
dealing with other people’s ideas, you really have to take into consideration a broader understanding of what you're trying to get across—the absolute necessity of getting the piece of artwork to that point where it's communicating a pretty heavy idea to a broader audience. Speaking of broader issues, your upcoming exhibition at Guerrero Gallery will focus on migration and immigration. Tell me about some of that work. One of the pieces I’m making for the show is 100,000 planes on a 12-foot square canvas. I wanted to talk about the non-existence of borders. Another piece is a replica of the world's most expensive rug. The rug, which sold in 2013 for 34 million, has traveled around through time and space, collected and curated and kept safe for all these generations. It has been able to jump borders without any of the problems that a person would have. In fact, it's been desired and hugged more closely, while actual living human beings coming from the Middle East, speciﬁcally Syria, are shunned and kept at an arm's length. They are treated as valueless, and borders are impassable. For the planes, when people are walking around in their everyday life, they don't consider the magic of this web of ability to travel around the world in its true scale. When you think about ﬂying, you think about it in a very modular sense. You're in this airplane with 230 other people. You were just at an airport where there were thousands of other people ﬂying out in other directions, but really, you're only thinking about it on your scale. I wanted to make this painting that encompasses the enormity of the magic carpet that gives us all the capability of ﬂying at any given moment, this web of human achievement where every day there are 102,465 ﬂights in the world. If you
can gather the money, you can get on any one of those ﬂights. What happens when you get on the other side of a border is a totally different situation, but for the most part, as Americans, we can travel wherever we want. Every year, there's six billion people who travel by airplane. I wanted this pattern and piece to show that scale to an individual viewer. When I stand next to it, I feel dumbfounded by how many planes there are in that piece. That's different from my other work, because it really is talking about the numbers as a very speciﬁc idea rather than an emotional response. Most immigrants who are here illegally don't come here by crossing over a border; they ﬂy here and overstay their visas. All the people who are hell-bent against immigration have completely forgotten how their families got here. It's not necessarily taking a political standpoint in this show, but just asking people to reconsider their own journeys. 102,465 is a lot of planes to cut out. Mathematically, the only way to get the maximum amount of
planes into two square inches is this pattern, which, as it turns out, references all kinds of stuff from the Alhambra to Mexican tile work. I'm working with my buddy Andrew to make 2-foot square stencils that have 4,000 planes in each one because despite the impossibility of cutting out 100,000 planes, it's not about the process in this piece, it’s an infographic. I want people to feel the magnitude of the network that humanity has built around the world. There's something like 700,000 people in the air at any given time. The idea that there are all these people living in the sky is fucking crazy.
Above (top) Detail of World Wide Web Enamel on wood 12’ x 12’ 2017 Above (two below) World Wide Web Stencil set assemblage 24” x 24” 2017
Insane. And what affect does that many planes in the air have on the planet? Then there's the whole climate change aspect to it, right? They’re implanting pollution directly into a layer of earth where we don't need pollution. There's going to be another piece in the show that is actually sitting up on top of one of my shelves. It's just a black piece of paper with a stencil on it that
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says “waterlogged.” It's been gathering dust for nine months, so when you take the stencil off, it'll just say “waterlogged” in dust. As climate change really takes effect, big cities on the coasts will be forced to vacate while elsewhere others will be ﬂeeing drought. This piece is to get people thinking about those scenarios, and the movement of people. The climate refugees. 200 million people are going to try to move around the Earth and Trump thinks a little fucking wall is going to keep that many people out. He's fucking out of his mind. The process of those two pieces has also been different. Why is the rug cut out of screen rather than paper? I've been looking at screen for a long time because, back in the day, I would use it for spray-painting to do little shades and whatnot. And then I was using it to create patterns and became interested in the idea of moirés. As I was deciding what I was going to cut the rug out of, I thought, "How do I change this rug in a way that takes the ultimate value out of it?" How do I take an image and completely empty it so it's just the image, rather than an actual functional rug. That's where I landed on screen. Working with screen is so tough though, so hard, such a nightmare to cut. You’ve been doing a lot of these freestyle pattern pieces lately. Where did those come from? When I was younger, and this goes back to school days, I was diagnosed with a really speciﬁc type of dyslexia called scotopic sensitivity. It’s basically just a sensitivity to contrast, to light and dark. When you're reading a page in black and white, the light in the room and the contrast between the pattern of the letters and the whiteness of the page, and even
right Sun Sansom Cut Paper Assemblage 2017
some of the pattern of the letters coming through on the back of the page, make letters vibrate. So, just like most dyslexics, I will read the same sentence over and over again. How that applies to the pretty intense patterns that I make is that it's almost a game to play with my own dyslexia. I start out and I like to try to keep it as precise, uniform and square as possible. I’ll play with the vibrations in my eyes as much as I can to really activate it. About four or ﬁve inches into the piece, all of a sudden, the vibrations start making everything wonky. It's basically playing with my learning disability. They're like maps of my dyslexia. Nothing is perfect. The only things that are perfect in this world are made by computers. I ﬁnd that the patterns have a lot of relationship with the dynamics of nature, or when the fetus is formed, the DNA is instructing speciﬁc cells to replicate in a very speciﬁc way. All it takes is one little nudge and all of a sudden, that one little nudge has grown into something else. That's why we have different shapes of trees. That's why no snowﬂake is alike. The same with humanity. This is why each one of us is special in our own little way, our cells splitting at their instructed place. No matter what I do, I'll never be able to cut the same pattern twice. I'm fascinated by that idea. As I'm working on them and getting into them more, a lot of times I'm thinking about the other projects I have going on as well. The great thing about the paper cutting process is that you have the luxury of time to ﬁgure out problems conceptually that can then be turned into practice, a solid vision of how to get through. Then, as you're applying that process to the next thing you're working on, something else is developing for
other work. Again, it's just like a big cycle of... trash. That's why the studio is such a chaotic mess. You need that time, that boredom, for ideas to grow. The most luxurious thing in this entire world, or the most expensive thing in this whole world, is time. I don't know if that's a famous quote, or if I said that, but that's the real thing. If you can have that luxury of time, and the will to make something, that's the most expensive thing in the world. How does something, like the piece with the dots representing the ideal size of a village, evolve from a thought into a piece of art? Plato had this theory that the perfect size for a town or village was 5,040. It’s a magical number that's divisible by all the numbers between one and ten. He came up with this idea that in order for ten people to be satiated with water, they would need one fountain, one baker, one blacksmith, etc. He separated them into these perfect little squares of people. Some of the ﬁrst urban planners were reading Plato to decide on how they should design a city, and apparently some of the most perfect cities in the world are in Serbia built on Platonian ideas. The name of the piece is called 5,041 Too Many. That's the one little fucker on the other side of the wall trying to get in. How could you come up with this super idealistic idea of manufacturing a civilization that's going to be this perfect number and not take into consideration that there's going to be a lot of other people who might want in, you know? This piece was kind of an accident; I was just doing it as a doodle.
stale, something happens that pushes it forward six notches, and I can't help but be back into it. The art studio practice has to be like a tree. It has to have roots that are constantly growing, it has to have a trunk with healthy bark and branches that are strong, and it has to be producing its fruit and seeds. I think the conceptual stuff is the tree, and it has ﬁnally grown to the point where the fruit is ripe, and we're about to see what that fruit tastes like. The ecosystem has to be running on all cylinders because if it weren't for the stencil work, the pattern pieces and the multilayer things, I would never be at the place that I am right now. Never.
above Permutation Bridge 30”x22” 2016
The other day, I read an interview with Richard Serra, who was saying to just close your eyes and keep doing your own thing. Don't pay attention to what's going on in the art world, do your own thing. I feel like that is super good advice. That is good advice, or at least comforting advice. It’s something you want to hear. Success is such a weird thing. I thought I had ﬁgured it out the other day. I had cast these bones in resin after being told that it was impossible, and one of them turned out. I thought, "That's success in art. Not listening to all the fucking bullshit going on and doing the best you can.” If there is a point where you're pretty happy, that's the pinnacle of success in art. If I sell those two pieces, they're gone; I'm not going to feel success. I will take my money and pay my rent and eat some food and then forget that those days even existed.
Personal Provenance is on view at Guerrero Gallery in San Francisco
Every time I’ve come by your studio, you have an entirely new idea you’re running with. Yeah, every time something seems like it's getting a little bit
through May 6th, 2017. adam5100.com
ADAM ELI FEIBELMAN JUXTAPOZ.COM
CODY HOYT THE LONG VIEW INTERVIEW BY AUSTIN McMANUS // PORTRAIT BY NATHAN PERKEL
TWO YEARS AGO I TOOK MY FIRST CERAMICS CLASS since high school, going into it with the conﬁdence of a trained professional. So sure of being a natural, I thought that in little time I would be building fascinating sculptures that would woo and impress my peers. Wrong, so very wrong. Begrudgingly, I admitted failure. It turns out clay is an exceptionally unforgiving material, and without a tireless devotion, you will only be left with pots to be hidden from your friends. A few years ago, Cody Hoyt abruptly redirected his practice from illustration to clay. Seeing what he is creating, one would think he had been honing this craft his entire life. It turns out that Hoyt is a natural. The pots, sculptures, vessels, however Hoyt’s creations may be described, are immediately recognizable. They stand on their own: each as unique as the next. The vigorous forms, shapes and designs demand attention and reﬂection. Above all, the inlaying techniques he employs are hypnotic. Most recently, Hoyt has been going bigger, much bigger. The scale of this newer work has introduced exciting new elements to both his practice and product. Along with the recent requirement of a few extra sets of hands to construct the work, there is also that referenced uncertainty when working with clay. “I’ve loosened up a bit about my expectations in what I’m trying to achieve. A major aspect of making and ﬁring ceramics is that it’s unpredictable,” Hoyt explains when asked about his newer endeavors in large-scale pieces. “I’m trying to be more aware of this by embracing anomaly in the work. The best moments happen during the collision between the ultimately chaotic elements of ceramics and my attempt to assert control and order over it.” Austin McManus: You’ve kind of darted all around this country from Florida to Massachusetts, to California, and now, to New York. How has living in New York informed
your work, and what do you enjoy most? There seems to be a fairly large community of ceramicists there these days. Cody Hoyt: New York is so loaded with history and culture. I feel like I’ve grown socially and intellectually just by being here. There’s a high concentration of artists living and working here, and an equally large and crucial network of support for the arts. I probably don’t need to list the differences between living in New York and Los Angeles. In general, though, the pace of life here keeps a ﬁre lit under my ass and helps me to be aware that urgency belongs in the creative act. To avoid the millions of distractions of living there, do you just lock yourself in the studio for days on end? I miss out on cool things all the time. There’s just no way to do everything. The silver lining is that New York is perpetually amazing. There's something happening whenever I have a minute to let myself out of the cage. What’s the longest stint you have spent without taking a break? The problem with offering the world something with a vaguely intangible value is that there are very few times when work feels complete. I’ll take a day off when deadlines are a distant reality. After that, the closest I get to days off is starting late or cutting out early. Leaving early always feels good. If I were to get a glimpse of “A Day in the Life” of Cody Hoyt, what would it look like? Nothing fancy. When I’m in deadline, freak-out mode, it goes down like this: I usually wake up around 9:00 or 10:00 and eat a quick breakfast. Drink tea, pace around and plan my day. I’ll pack a few meals and snacks, eat a second breakfast and leave the house. It’s a 20-minute walk or a 10-minute bike ride to my studio. Sometimes I’ll head into the city ﬁrst to pick up supplies or look at art. Then I hole up in the studio
opposite Installation shot Fossil Record Patrick Parrish Gallery, NYC Photo by Clemens Kois left Installation view You Complete Me Courtesy Andrew Rafacz Gallery Chicago
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for eight or ten hours. I eat a lot of food and drink a lot of coffee. I head home when exhausted, or when it’s time to stop, often around 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. I usually spend the last couple hours of my day on the internet at home in the dark discovering music or reading movie synopses with tea or Scotch, or both. Your work has progressed so much in just the last few years. It’s very revealing that you thoroughly enjoy what you are creating. What excites you most about the kind of work you make now? I’m way into how adversarial it is, like any good relationship. It’s physically challenging. It rewards me periodically, seemingly on its own terms. Ceramics are so unpredictable. When something goes in the kiln, I have to almost entirely relinquish control. I have to wait for results because clay has to dry. Usually it pays out rewards over a few days at a time. Sometimes there are weeks or months of waiting before things can be touched or even looked at, let alone ﬁnished. It’s brutal. Your entire process is analog. I really love that. Do you have any interest in constructing designs on the computer for your sculptures in the future?
I think about this a lot, because a scanner and Photoshop were integral to my earlier practice, and I’ve evolved steadily away from that over the last few years. I see the possibilities available to artists who are using new technologies and I think it’s inspiring, and in turn, I question my limited practice. The main drawback to analog is that it’s slow and laborious, but the beneﬁt is that it has distilled my work to a point where my touch and thought process is evident in all the details. There are so many vital, long, meticulous steps on the way to the ﬁnal product in your craft. Do you enjoy each stage equally, or are there some you favor? I get excited about what I’m making during the materialization of ideas. I crave progress. Some steps are monotonous and joyless, like mixing pigment up into the white clay to give it color. That’s fun to do exactly once. Some steps are a relief to pull off, like getting the walls of a large piece up and secured. There are a few really satisfying steps, like wet-sanding ﬁred work through multiple grades, and then the biggest psychological mind-fuck of all time is looking into a recently cooled kiln for the ﬁrst time. It’s like an abusive relationship. It's either happiness or brutality, sometimes both, and you never know which is coming.
Do you ever just smash a sculpture to pieces because the end result from the kiln wasn’t to your liking? When I took ceramic classes that was basically my go-to method for 90% of the stuff I made. Not really. I’ve never been into destroying things I’ve made and not liked. There’s always that moment six months or three years later when you pull out an old piece you never ﬁnished because you hated it and say, “This is cool. What was I thinking?” Granted, with my ceramics, there is an element of implied craft that can indicate failure or success, and I’m receptive to that, but I wouldn’t be making ceramics in the ﬁrst place if I wasn’t willing to accept something different than what I set out to make. Also, the work that’s too broken to love is already too broken to smash. Did you ever go near the wheel or was it straight to slab building from the get-go?
I’ve messed around with throwing pottery, but the wheel is just a tool I don’t need to use. It makes a good lathe, though.
opposite and above Studio views Courtesy of the artist
There are some connections to your earlier illustration work that I can see in the current sculptures, but it’s deﬁnitely a whole different person now. Looking back, how do you feel about that work? I do still feel a harmony with my earlier work. I’m still that artist. On one hand, it doesn’t help me to look back very far because I was young and that work wasn’t fully developed. I was searching. There are moments I really enjoy in some drawings made in the last ten years. When recent stuff is right next to the older stuff, it all makes sense together. There’s a visible through-line. Let’s say I’m still after the same things, but I’ve been alive longer, and I’ve been more focused the last few years.
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previous spread Fossil Record Patrick Parrish Gallery, NYC Photo by Clemens Kois above and opposite Studio and detail shots Courtesy of the artist
By far, my favorite artist who used ceramics with sculpture was Ken Price, who I know inﬂuenced you at some point as well. He employed all sorts of experimental techniques, from sanding down layers to using commercial materials like car paint. I’m curious if you have explored many unconventional techniques or plan to do so in the future. Unconventional for me means working backwards—coming up with an idea for a piece and then working out how to make it, and then working out how to make it better. This is the main beneﬁt of being self-taught, that your creative choices don’t come out of an accumulation of knowledge and technique. I think of my output with ceramics as a contained body of work, and so I appreciate the parameters that are set by sticking within the conventional ceramic medium, meaning clay and glaze. When you step
too far outside, the work no longer derives power from the speciﬁcity of that context. You’re in open ocean and choices are unlimited. Even though I kind of shrug off the canon of the studio ceramics movement, I believe that the work I’m making is more successful when viewed in relation to it. For a while there, your vessels were stylishly used as homes for various succulents and cacti. Now it would appear that they have graduated in price and preciousness. Did you consider that as a potential hindrance in being taken seriously or for gallery exhibitions? You know, not being branded or categorized as, “the guy who makes incredible plant pots.” The basic answer is that when I ﬁrst picked up the medium, I had no idea what I wanted to do with it, I just wanted
a distraction. I began making faceted objects almost immediately with no real goal in mind. I got super wrapped up with inventing and problem solving with this new material, but it wasn’t clear to me how it had any relation to my studio practice. There was about a year where I felt I should look at ceramics from an entrepreneurial vantage and rethink my role as a studio artist being my primary vocation. Here’s what happened, though. I made a couple of technical breakthroughs and ﬁgured out how to make the work a little bit larger. Once the scale changed slightly, it occurred to me that the ceramics weren’t as “separate” as I thought. It felt OK to say “sculpture” instead of “planter.” There’s never going to be a distinct delineation between art, craft and design so there’s no point in stressing about where your own work lands. How long does it typically take to prepare the materials, construct, ﬁre, glaze, etc. Basically, how long from start to ﬁnish does it take to make a piece? More than a month for large work, but most of that time is waiting. It takes a day or two to prep materials and set up for a new piece. Maybe another two or three days to assemble the constituent parts and put the whole thing together. While it’s drying, I babysit to control the level of humidity and rate of drying. The slower the better. Once all of the moisture has evaporated evenly, it’s considered bone dry, and I can go in and edit a little bit, like deﬁne angles and sand the surface. Then it spends about 48 hours in the kiln. Once it’s cool enough to handle, I’ll spend an afternoon sanding and dressing the surface again, using various grades of diamond pads made for sanding masonry. At your last exhibition, Fossil Record, at Patrick Parish, you created much larger work than you have in the past. What were some of the challenges with scaling up, and how many pieces ended up breaking when all was said and done? Everything is heavy. Wet clay is heavy. Sheetrock is heavy. Making the work and putting it together requires a few sets of hands, so feeling comfortable enough to bring in help and delegate was a big step for me. The physics of making ceramics on a large scale change a bit, so the way to build something around 14-inches high might not be the way to build something that’s 28 feet. I’ve loosened up a bit about my expectations in what I’m trying to achieve. A major aspect of making and ﬁring ceramics is that it’s unpredictable. I’m trying to be more aware of this by embracing anomaly in the work. The best moments happen during the collision between the ultimately chaotic elements of ceramics and my attempt to assert control and order. What have been the most rewarding and challenging aspects of choosing a life pursuing the arts? Responsibility. When is the last time you saw a piece of artwork that truly moved or inspired you? I was recently in Columbus, Indiana. There is a stunning amount of modern architecture in the town, and I was able
to spend a few days exploring some of the buildings by Eero and Eliel Saarinen, Harry Wiese and IM Pei. Everything was deserted enough for me to have a sense of solitude and personal connection to the place. The monumental and the sacred aspect of the spaces, mostly empty churches and a library, were vastly inspiring. What other profession do you believe you would be good at if art was not an option? I’ve always been excited about music. I believe if I spent the same amount of time making music as I do in the studio, something substantial would come of it.
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E V EN T S
WHERE WE’RE HEADED Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush @ Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina Through July 16, 2017 // nasher.duke.edu
Seeing Nina Chanel Abney’s work in person for the ﬁrst time makes an indelible impression. Just ask Marshall Price, the Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern Contemporary at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, who remembers the impact. “I discovered Nina’s work at the 2008 exhibition 30 Americans at the Rubell Family Collection in Miami,” Price says. “It made an impression on me then, which is signiﬁcant as the show was comprised of many luminaries and Nina was one of the youngest artists included. The way in which she confronted social issues in her work was what stuck with me.” Abney will be hosted at the Nasher with her ﬁrst solo museum exhibition, Royal Flush, a 10-year survey of nearly 30 of the artist’s paintings, watercolors and collages. Surveying the work over this period of time demonstrates Abney’s continued fusion of art and politics springing to life on canvas. “While her style has evolved over the last decade, her commitment to addressing loaded topics and controversial issues has remained constant,” Price notes. “She has developed a mature vocabulary that combines the visual language of modernism and the digital and media age with insightful and sometimes biting commentary.”
Delta: A Friendly Takeover @ MIMA, Brussels Through May 28, 2017 // mimamuseum.eu
The Brussels upstart museum MIMA plays host to A Friendly Takeover, the mid-career retrospective of Amsterdam's Boris Tellegen. In the public eye since his teenage work as DELTA made him one of Europe's early masters of graffiti, Tellegen's show spans nearly 35 years of output. From early sketches (many recently reproduced in his brilliant book, 8697) to giant site-speciﬁc sculptures, the three-ﬂoor MIMA show encourages visitors to climb, walk through, and explore Tellegen's brilliant spacial mind. A ground-ﬂoor room is nearly ﬁlled by an all-white sculpture reading EGO on one side and NIL on another. Venture through to view vitrines containing thirty years of drawings, sculptures, his collection of robots, and a sketch that DONDI himself traded DELTA when the Amsterdam youngster was only fourteen. In the cathedral-like top ﬂoor, a titan-sized white totem ﬁgure lies on his back, looking up at the sky through the glassy cupola, his legs extending out the museum windows while we mortals get free range to climb all over and peer inside wherever we can.
Iconic: Black Panther Art Exhibition @ Gregorio Escalante Gallery, Los Angeles April 8–May 14, 2017 // gregorioescalante.com
It’s been common wisdom that to know where you are going, you must ﬁrst understand from where you came. Over 50 years ago, the Black Panther Party sought an equal future for oppressed communities in the United States and the world, establishing a platform based on the implicit history and marginalization of being black in America. A catalyst for nationwide change in the 1960s, the Panthers empowered their community by creating free food programs, clinics, community newspapers, and neighborhood patrols against police brutality. The Sepia Collective, in association with Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha, is proud to present, ICONIC: Black Panther, a celebration of the iconic legacy of the Black Panther Party in American history. The exhibition will feature artworks from over 50 local and internationally recognized artists including Emory Douglas, Dr. Samella Lewis, Fab 5 Freddy, Shepard Fairey, Richard Duardo and Lili Bernard.
Of Dogs and Other People: The Art of Roy De Forest @ Oakland Museum of California April 29–August 20, 2017 // museumca.org
Besides the obvious appeal of the show’s title to dog lovers, Roy De Forest’s work is revered because of his use of texture, rich color, and whimsical scenery. The dogs are just one part of De Forest’s trippy oeuvre, which displays a sensibility connected to horror vaccui (the fear of empty space). Though he disliked labels, he was a leader in the Bay Area Funk movement of the ’60s, and his rich compositions require leisurely periods of visual engagement, a feast for the imagination. He made the kind of work that reveals something new each time it is viewed. Known for their unique programming of art exhibitions, the Oakland Museum has arranged gallery tours led by dog trainers and sea captains. On the 10th anniversary of his departure from Earth, De Forest would likely enjoy these divergent docents, having deemed himself an “obscure visual constructor of mechanical delights.”
Monet: The Early Years @ Legion of Honor, San Francisco Through May 29, 2017 // legionofhonor.famsf.org
You can learn a lot about famous artists by looking at the early work and drawing a trajectory to their most iconic masterworks. For example, the ﬁrst ﬁlms of Stanley Kubrick hinted at themes of warfare and sexuality that would later be explored, and Pink Floyd’s recent box set, The Early Years 1965-1972, showed a budding ambition even in their teens. French Impressionist painter Claude Monet may be most well-known for his Water Lily series depicting the garden in Giverny, France, but his earliest works show that his command of texture and color were already unmatched in those formative years. A collection of 60 paintings from 1858 to 1872, Monet: The Early Years, is currently on view at The Legion of Honor in San Francisco—the ﬁrst pre-Impressionist Monet collection of this magnitude to be exhibited in the US. Beyond the lush landscapes that come to mind when you think of this OG painter, get an up-close view of his early adventures in ﬁgurative painting.
S I EB EN O N L I FE
A CELEBRATION OF PARTICIPATION
THERE IS BEAUTY IN THE STRUGGLE MY FRIENDS ADAM YOUNG AND WILL GAYNOR RECENTLY opened a show in Austin, TX, at MASS Gallery, titled Rural Kingdoms. In addition to their own work, they collaborated on an immersive rustic cabin installation. During the opening, the structure was ﬁlled with screaming children, doing their best to dismantle the interior of the art piece. Rather than policing the situation, the two artists embraced the fact that their structure was bringing so much genuine stoke to the kids in attendance and let the youth rage. During the run of the show, Adam and Will were asked to participate in a community engagement event. This typically means doing a lecture about the work in the show. However, rather than simply addressing the audience, they invited the public to come and make art themselves. Wood, paint, and brushes were provided, a bandsaw was placed on site, and kids and adults showed up and made painted cutouts of anything they dreamed up. For most in attendance, this was the ﬁrst time they'd visited a gallery and were given
the opportunity to actually participate and make work themselves instead of being passive observers. A lot of galleries struggle, just trying to ﬁgure out how to get people through their doors, let alone how to actually make a genuine connection with their audience. This show, to me, was an excellent reminder that the best way to activate a viewer is to allow them to take part in events you're hosting. Less "don't touch" and more "join in" might be the answer. I think art, like most things in life, is more enjoyable when you can interact instead of just being asked silently appreciate from afar. In all honesty, my kids were some of the rascals tearing the shit out of the art shack at Adam and Will's opening, so maybe I'm just looking for redemption or excuses. Sorry. Being a parent is hard. —Michael Sieben
above Rural Kingdom Installation Photo by Sandy Carson
WHAT WE ARE READING THREE PATHS AROUND THE WORLD
SHOE IS MY MIDDLE NAME: WRITTEN PAINTINGS AND PAINTED WORDS BY NIELS SHOE MEULMAN
THE LOST CROWN OF GENGHIS KHAN BY CARL BARKS
ART IN DETAIL: 100 MASTERPIECES BY SUSIE HODGES
For anyone who has followed graffiti and street art over the past few decades, there is no question that Niels Shoe Meulman has been part of such learned history. From his early graff days in Amsterdam in the 1980s, to his international exhibition career, to his pioneering “Calligraffiti” movement, Muelman is, in spirit, a foundational ﬁgure demonstrating why these art forms have devotees around the world. His newest monograph, Shoe Is My Middle Name: Written Paintings and Painted Words, focuses on multiple iterations of his career, from paper to street pieces, canvas to installation work. With essays from esteemed writers, critics, and fellow artists, Shoe Is My Middle Name is an encompassing collection of thoughts on the artist that put him in historical perspective, especially given the rarity of an artist in such an emerging and counterculture activity lasting the length of the movement itself. Shoe sums it up in a funny anecdote about his career in a personal essay by noting, “To get up, you need to get out. And when you go out, you meet interesting people from interesting places. And then you vandalize these places together with interesting people. This is how it’s done.” Almost 40 years in, this is a good template to follow. —Evan Pricco
How to resist The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan, where “… terra-ﬁed that an earthquake might swallow his money bin, Scrooge digs down, only to discover the Terries and Fermies—the quirky little quake makers who live in the bowels below!” Knowing about Carl Barks’s life makes thumbing through the 232 pages of his “Duck Tales” even more riveting. Born on a farm where family scraped through to make a living, and later working as wood-cutter, mule-driver, cowboy and chicken-farmer, the self-taught (except for four correspondence classes) artist viewed life as Every Man, incarnated in the exasperated and exasperating Donald, whom he ﬁrst drew at Disney. His own creations, the Greek Chorus of nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, commented on the funny and frustrating aspects of life, and his Scrooge McDuck embodies the prize and peril of fortune. Barks drew over 500 stories starring Donald, where he concocted funny plots, played out in brilliant colors and peppy poses. This newest edition from Fantagraphics takes readers to the Himalayas, another of the exotic locales favored by the country boy known by his fans as The Duck Man and crowned by cartoonist Will Eisner as, “The Hans Christian Andersen of comic books.” —Gwynned Vitello
At ﬁrst, I expected a book full of close-ups of painted surfaces, but what laid within was a fascinating docent tour of some of the salient points of 100 well-known masterpieces. In a book organized by centuries, Susie Hodge has chosen singular examples by renowned master artists throughout time to dissect, zooming into rectangular sections highlighted from each composition. A large reproduction of the painting analyzed is accompanied by a short biography followed by a succinct few pages discussing elements of the painting. Certainly an accomplished writer, Hodges gives an enjoyable, fresh take on some of my own favorite artists’ lives. And she pointed out aspects that I had missed visiting the paintings I had enjoyed in museums. All in all, it’s a nice book to sit down and enjoy, as well as a great educational tool and format for discourse on a work of art. —David Molesky
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P O P L I FE
NEW YORK CITY UP & DOWN, JACOB LEWIS GALLERY, JONATHAN LeVINE GALLERY
UP & DOWN
JACOB LEWIS GALLERY
1 | Always the life of the party, snappiest dresser and old friend Takashi Murakami gives a big hello at a Kaikai Kiki Gallery party at NYC’s Up & Down.
2 | From gallery walls to mural walls, How and Nosm exude a peaceful presence. They were in perfect form at the opening of their new solo show, Inﬁnite Moments at Jacob Lewis Gallery.
JONATHAN LeVINE GALLERY 3 | Jonathan LeVine Gallery celebrated their move to New Jersey with a party at their old Chelsea space. Jonathan and Carlo McCormick hosted one last night in NYC.
4 | Former Jonathan LeVine gallery star Malena Seldin and husband, artist Scott Albrecht came back to hang out. 5 | NYC-legend-turned-Northern-Californiastalwart Doze Green catches up with Mr. LeVine. 6 | And it’s always nice to see the Cotton Candy Machine family, Sean Leonard and Tara McPherson.
All photography by Joe Russo
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LESSONS IN PERSPECTIVE Scott Albrecht april 28th - may 20th
P O P L I FE
NEW YORK CITY AND LOS ANGELES SPRING BREAK, VOLTA, CONVERSE AND LA ART BOOK FAIR
NEW YORK CITY 1 | Over at the Volta Show, Hashimoto Contemporary/Spoke Art’s Ken Harman, gallerist Joshua Liner, and photographer Daniel “Halopigg” Weintraub take in the sites and sights. 2 | Making the rounds at the NYC fairs, we ran into artist Christina Graham and Juxtapoz Superﬂat artist Rebecca Morgan at Spring Break in Times Square.
3 | At the Converse ﬂagship in Soho, artist Grotesk and Carhartt WIP’s Brian Barbaruolo celebrate Grotesk’s special in-store installation.
LA ART BOOK FAIR 4 | Back to the other coast, Juxtapoz and 1xRUN collaborated at Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair. First up, Kristen Liu Wong took centerstage with a print… and a special thong release.
5 | Good friend Pursue was the Saturday guest, and he brought a guest. 6 | Maybe we worked Luke Chueh too hard? But we swear, he had a good time…
All photography by Mike Stalter (1–3) and Jesse Cory (4–6)
PER S PEC T I V E
left Banksy The Walled Off Hotel Bethlehem, West Bank 2017 Images courtesy of walledoffhotel.com
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