Have sculpture, will travel. Isak Berbic shares his motivations and aims for nomadic sculpture.
Traditional Jewish stories unfold in Ofri Cnaani’s 360-degree video projections. She discusses her latest piece, The Sota Project, touching upon a contemporary view of women’s roles in an ancient culture.
Samuel Jablon talks to one of the original innovators of theremin music, Eric Ross.
Samuel Jablon and Fernando Orellana reveal the secret to hacking electric toys and discuss the artistic merits of Play-Doh.
I met Fernando Orellana at the Vermont Studio Center about a year ago after catching a glimpse of the manipulated and reprogrammed toys crawling around his studio. I spoke with him about his work and we discussed current projects, new directions, permanence, and the machines or artificial intelligences that create art.
Samuel Jablon Will you tell me about your current projects?
Fernando Orellana My current project is titled Population. It started a couple years ago, in response to our ongoing petroleum wars and a fascination with the automobile. Back then I created a machine I dubbed The Exturder. The machine was programmed with the task of making 429,674 Play-Doh automobiles, which is the estimated number of automobiles the Ford Motor Company made in 1947, the year Henry Ford died. This process continues to this day, though I have only achieved a very small percentage of that goal, somewhere in the range of 9000 to 10000 individual Play-Doh automobiles. As the automobiles were made, I encased them in clear epoxy, which seals the ephemeral Play-Doh automobile into the distant future.
“Poems are living things. Please dance with them.” Poet Bob Holman talks to Samuel Jablon about Picasso, Kathmandu, and reading poetry as wrestling match/lovemaking session.
I first met Bob Holman in a workshop I took with him at Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program. The workshop ended with our class at a gas station in Boulder, Colorado singing, reading, and mobbing people with poetry. We protested high gas prices and handed out poetry bucks (counterfeit bills with poetry printed on them) to everyone filling up their tank. Since then I have seen Bob in and around New York. This interview explores his new book Picasso in Barcelona, orality, and the current state of poetry.
Samuel Jablon Could you tell me about your new book, and any inspirations that brought it about?
Bob Holman Picasso in Barcelona is a direct response to the talent and testosterone unleashed in Picasso’s earliest work, on view at Museu Picasso in Barcelona. He was born in Malaga but became a painter in Barcelona. At 14 he painted his first piece—on top of a painting of his father’s.
Sculptor and installation artist John von Bergen pulls the emotional and cerebral trigger. Samuel Jablon speaks with him here re: site-transience, urban claustrophobia, and the so-called “honesty of materiality.”
Samuel Jablon engages artist Aaron Sheppard in a discussion about his new work the cake in the room, Alice in Wonderland, Jesus, and Miss Havisham.
This conversation began when I met Aaron Sheppard at an opening in Chelsea, and ended months later. In person as well as over email, we explored transformations and transitions from Jesus to Marie Antoinette for Aaron’s performance/dinner party, cake in the room part of the tisch im raum (table in the room) series at the Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna, Austria. Aaron’s performance, which occurred in mid-July, highlighted stereotypes in physical appearance and explored the humanity hidden in the transitions between transformations. As Aaron went to Vienna and I left for Beijing, our conversation transitioned to a cross-continental dialogue, but ultimately wrapped it up much closer to home, both transformed by our travels, chatting over a beer back in New York.
Samuel Jablon Could you tell me about your performance in Vienna?
Aaron Sheppard tisch im raum (table in the room) is an ongoing project/tradition for Kunsthalle Exnergasse which involves presenting an artist’s work to 50 dinner guests seated at one long dinner table placed inside the gallery. Discussion of the art occurs around the table with the artist either before or after the work has been viewed, food and wine have been consumed. Always a one night event, the table and work remain on display for the duration if the exhibit, accompanied by video and audio of the dinner and discussion.
Samuel Jablon speaks with artist Heather Morgan about scandalous women, female identity, and the “peculiar kind of intensity” that informs her work.
I met Heather Morgan three years ago while I was looking for a studio, and was lucky enough to share a space with her for two years. I was drawn to her paintings of glamorous, charismatic women, though they sometimes left me feeling uneasy. Curious to learn more about her work, and why she does what she does, I asked her to do an interview. Our conversation touches on paint, performance, getting obliterated, and switching identity at will.
Samuel Jablon Why scandalously-dressed women up to no good?
Heather Morgan Why so many women? The question answers itself: women are interesting! The performance of the female gender is fascinating. It’s a performance I myself engage in, and consequently have a lot to say about. The characters I depict tend to be iconic, fringe sorts: their flaws and eccentricities are more readily on display. Their decadence and salaciousness belies their struggle—their acute self-awareness and their individual longings. As the old song goes, if that’s all there is, let’s start dancing.
Samuel Jablon sits down with legendary god of space, redefiner of public, and Bronx-born extraordinare, Vito Acconci.
Samuel Jablon talks to sculptor Diane Al-Hadid about her monumental structures and their relationship to gravity, black holes, and “being our heads.”
The sculptural work of Diana Al-Hadid is imposing in mass, yet fragile in its construction. Her monumental towers, conglomerations of material, seem to mimic ecosystems in their precarious construction. Al-Hadid’s work references both architecture and particle physics in an attempt to make sense of the accumulations of stuff that somehow organizes itself into structures.
I met Diana on her lunch break in her Brooklyn studio, where she gave me a tour of work in progress. Female figures floated upwards towards the studio ceiling supported by a half finished pedestal of sorts, while another piece was just taking form wrapping its wire frame. We talked about good Turkish food, old studio buildings, and finally her work.
Check out Diana’s art at the Marianne Boesky Gallery, July 7 through August 5. This group show will include Diana Al-Hadid, Mark Tansey, and Mathias Kessler.
Samuel Jablon Could you talk about your work, and your starting points?
Diana Al-Hadid The starting points for my work vary from piece to piece, sometimes it’s a small fact I have learned by accident or by research. Sometimes, I start by trying to address something I noticed I have been avoiding, like filling a gap or a blind-spot of sorts. Generally, I will have learned something (an experiment with a material for example) from the previous piece that becomes the catalyst for the following work.
Painting fast and slow: Chuck Webster gives us a peek inside his studio.
I met with Chuck Webster in his studio last week to talk about painting, and his process of painting. We covered content, context, object, and material, and the unique transformation that happens between material and painting.
Samuel Jablon Are you taking risks with these paintings?
Chuck Webster I am working both fast and slow. I am trying to combine what I was doing in paintings five years ago with what I was doing in the spring. I want to make things that have a long history, and then have marks that are instant and spontaneous. It is as though something has been polished and given a patina of history, and then renewed—worked and worked, and then finished quickly—as though I am making a long, long preparation for a few moments of free, innocent play. (A small debt to Philip Guston’s words acknowledged here.)
SJ When does one of your paintings have an authentic quality, when do you know it’s your work?
CW I put about four or five things in each painting, and two or three of them do not live to see the end. The work becomes authentic when those irrelevant things cancel themselves out and the work has only what it really needs. It sheds off a false skin to become what it really is.