Jon Imber’s latest paintings capture the energy and vitality of the botanic cosmos.
In the last ten years, Jon Imber’s paintings have taken on a new dynamism, a freshness, and a remarkable proliferation of color. To see paintings like Lantern in the Snow, Stonington Harbor, and Spring Totems together is to witness the thrill of a master rising to a challenge, letting it open and change him. These paintings display the selflessness of mastery: the cultivated willingness to step out of the way and hold an image as it develops, joyfully and calmly.
Word Choice features original works of fiction and poetry. Read three stories by James Yeh with art by Dominic Fortunato, selected by Peter Moysaenko and Daniel Moysaenko.
I’m giving my parents the tour. My tiny bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen. My mother is walking around the living room, examining the cheap furniture, peering out the grime-covered window that overlooks a poorly lit alley between my building and the building across from it. Her face looks worried.
Jem, she says. Your apartment make your mother want to cry.
Aw, it’s not that bad, I say.
My father sits down on the couch and begins flipping through the old magazines crowded on the coffee table. He goes from cover to cover without really looking at anything, then tosses it back in the pile.
Chelsea Knight on performing motherhood and marriage in her new video The Breath We Took and why “write what you know” is limiting advice.
I first met Chelsea Knight last year at the cheekily-named Bushwick Basel during the Bushwick Open Studios weekend. She was one of the featured artists, and I was an intern helping to man the booth. During the sweltering hours we spent together last June, I was impressed by Chelsea’s political savvy, feminist views and highly original video art. So impressed, in fact, that almost a year later I asked her to be my first interview as BOMBlog’s Art Editor. We sat down in her Liberty Plaza studio to discuss her newest work, The Breath We Took (showing through June 1 at Aspect Ratio Projects in Chicago). It is a partially fictional yet deeply personal documentary featuring four generations of Knight women (both real and imagined), and explores the ways in which we perform motherhood, marriage, and confront femininity.
Sophie Buonomo Where was the original idea for this piece and for performing motherhood?
Chelsea Knight Good question. I always work with people who are authentic to their given field. I’m not interested in direct documentary, I’m interested in the way people perform their lives, professions and emotional selves. Performance is not necessarily a construction but there is a frame for it, there’s a front. Things don’t flow from humans 100 percent naturally all the time. I wanted to make a piece that was partially documentary and partially fiction to talk about that—because non-actors are so much more convincing than actors with certain subject matter. Sometimes you need an actor if you’re remaking another work—I remade Antigone last year—and we needed actors for that.
But generally I like extracting specific kinds of truths from people based on their actual experience. But I want to undercut it with these notions of performance by adding in literally overproduced or theatrical or fictional elements.
Paper Clip is a weekly compilation of online articles, artifacts and other—old, new, and sometimes BOMB-related.
Milka Djordjevich on repetition, transformation, and abstracting everyday movement.
Milka Djordjevich has always been somewhat of a shooting star to me. Our paths have crossed many times over the years, with overlapping circles of friends, collaborators, and colleagues. I witnessed her finesse as a curator at the Movement Research Spring Festival 2008: Somewhere Out There, when I made a brief visit as a guest teacher and artist. I remember that over a dinner during the festival, Milka turned to her then fellow curator, Chris Peck, and started a conversation with him about how dance and music could be composed at the same time by both the choreographer and composer. That conversation was the seed for what became An Evening with Djordjevich and Peck at The Chocolate Factory Theater in 2009. Hearing of the continuing success of their project, as their collaboration took them to the Whitney Biennial in 2010, Milka stayed on my radar.
It wasn’t until January of 2012 that we met again, this time at the Movement Research office. She was there, along with Lydia Bell, to hand off the annual cycle of the co-editorial position of Critical Correspondence to me. At the meeting we briefly discussed her move to California, and I exchanged some reflections with her on the experience of living and making work in other cities and communities. It seemed like this was what we were fated to do, to work in tandem without ever seeing of one another exactly what brought us to New York in the first place—being artists and performers.
I was ecstatic that finally, in 2013, five years since meeting Milka and knowing, albeit remotely, of her conceptual and relentless work, I was going to get to see her perform. I felt extra lucky that I would see her perform a solo. Kinetic Makeover, which premiered at the Chocolate Factory Theater this April, was a trance-inducing, morphing, highly-driven performance that left me stunned. I immediately felt the need to ask her questions, artist-to-artist, and probe further into her choreographic process. How was she able to carry out one gesture past the point of exhaustion until it became something else? What does it mean when a dance is made to become a collection of images? How can a body be an object, but not be objectified? We sat down together for a lengthy discussion of her relationship to her body, her previous dance training, and the evolution of repetition toward a greater consciousness of and possibility for performance.
Marissa Perel I thought of your solo as one continuous piece—how did you come to make decisions about the transitions from one set of movement phrases to another?
Lauri Stallings discusses her dance company gloATL and why it’s crucial to export contemporary art from Atlanta.
If you live in Atlanta, chances are you’ve encountered the work of Lauri Stallings. There aren’t many contemporary choreographers, or many cities, one could say this about—a testament to the complicated, synergistic, multi-platform relationship that Stallings has with Atlanta.
Stallings first began choreographing work late in her career as a dancer with Ballet BC and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. After a three-year stint as choreographer-in-residence at the Atlanta Ballet, Stallings remained in Atlanta where she founded the company gloATL in 2009. Through the company’s numerous public performances, Stallings has sought to engage the city in all of its aspects—its most central, trafficked and familiar places as well as its tucked away, odd, and hidden pockets. Whether in a busy shopping mall, an empty public pool, the High Museum’s central plaza, or an odd drainage gulley of Piedmont Park, Stallings’ work utilizes an intriguing gestural and visual language that encompasses everything from the erotic and the absurd to the grotesque and the unabashedly beautiful, drawing in an ever-widening circle of viewers, participants, and collaborators.
Andrew Alexander How does new work begin for you? I imagine it’s somewhat different each time, but is there some way to generalize?
Lauri Stallings There’s something that I sort of allow to happen. I guess the best word would be ‘intuition.’ Surprisingly, it’s a mindful one: It’s mental. I’m not saying I’m always aware of it, but it is something that happens. I never know when, but it is prior to getting in the studio, the literal process of generating material as a choreographer. The consistent thing is: I’m always surprised at what comes to me first. That’s what can’t be generalized. But intuition is the one thing I don’t second-guess, and I think that comes from my parents. They kept telling us over and over again, “All you have are your instincts.” I’m very grateful they kept telling me that.
Katie Peyton on the satisfying artifacts of truth in Kristopher Jansma’s The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards.
When asked if we want to know the truth about something, most of us would say yes. We consider the truth to be the morally superior choice and the choice of the strong. Information, after all, is power. We want things represented accurately, researched thoroughly, precisely described.
But what does it mean to seek the truth? To describe something fully, with the closest possible accuracy, or to aim for a digestible reality without too many confusing details—more of a single bite? Does our conditioning render it impossible to experience the same thing twice? And what about those who believe the truth cannot reached by verisimilitude, who strive continually to create something new in order to obliquely approach what really happened?
When I graduated college, those questions were on my mind as my father delivered his parting advice. Like many fathers before him, he quoted Polonius in Hamlet: “To thine own self be true.” But my father was an engineer, not an English major. He believed in a less heady version of reality. A builder with a mathematical mind, he did not invert word order or say things that were vague or archaic. Did my father really just quote Shakespeare?
I think he meant, “Remember where you come from.” It was funny because at the time, I was in the process of moving as far away from home as possible. I didn’t really know much about New York, but I knew one thing I liked: it was not located in the state of Georgia. Going away, I was hoping to find a better version of myself. Perhaps I was already out there somewhere, twinned and perfected on the corner of 5th and Bowery, a parallel life waiting to be lived.
When I picked up The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, Kristopher Jansma’s debut novel, I was hooked by the introduction, which takes place in an airport and concludes with these words:
Each of these stories are true, but only somewhere else.
Word Choice features original works of fiction and poetry. Read a poem by Ben Mirov with art by Bruce Mackay, selected by Daniel Moysaenko.
The View from My Cube Looks Out on Endless Static
They have begun collecting the most serious writers of
They put them in cube after cube to bolster their
I’m like that too. I use my mouth to talk about the cube.
I bleed money. I bleed a stream of money. My crystal lies.
My static and my lies.
They have begun collecting the most serious writers of
They have begun to use their mouths to make some
I do that too, I’ll tell you right now, I spend most of my
time in the cube.
I don’t care, I bleed money. A steady stream of money
from my mouth.
The idea of money makes me high, you know what
And if it turned out some other way than you expected, I
suggest you make some money.
I suggest you make a sound and make some money.
I suggest you find a way to push your money through your
Gavin Turk on impersonating Elvis, Ford transit vans, and the problems of careful consumption.
The neighborhood around Gavin Turk’s East London studio is exactly what naysayers said the 2012 Olympics would bring. In the shadow of the still-resonating stadium, this semi-circular road is littered with barbed wire and discarded McDonald’s wrappers; empty warehouses and the cold, sign-less facades that seem more like a ’70s J.G. Ballard paperback cover than 2013 London.
Such juxtapositions are manna to Turk, one of the original “YBAs” (“Young British Artists”) who came to dominate Brit-art in the 1990s. In a career spanning more than 20 years, a fact commemorated in his new monograph, The Years, and current show at Ben Brown Fine Arts in London, Turk has created an entire language for questioning authenticity and preconception. Placing his own likeness at the heart of iconic images such as Andy Warhol’s silk screens (of Elvis, Sid Vicious, and others), Turk twists and shucks at the layers of seeing we live with in today’s age of image ubiquity. And perhaps more importantly, through a process of creating and then painting bronzes, Gavin Turk builds high-art sculptures that act as “fake” readymades, calling into question every assumption we have about viewing objects—from McDonald’s wrappers, to the glittering stadiums that tower above them.
Justin Hopper One of the themes you’ve worked with recently is the idea of the automobile. In your recent show at David Nolan Gallery, the work was all about cars: A sculpture of an exhaust pipe, precisely made to look like a readymade; images of car exhaust plumes; and work continuing use of the English cultural phenomenon of the ‘white van.’
Gavin Turk The automobile is an extension of a person. If at some point our architecture starts to talk about interior/exterior buildings—places that we use for habitats—they’re then interconnected with road systems. [Those] road systems then have machines on them, which are kind of these “human machines”. And what I want to do is try to go to the end of the vehicle—when vehicles are finished, but also when the exhaust combustion is finished. The exhaust pipe [piece] is a metaphor for the general exhaustion and the end of something. When an old exhaust pipe has a hole in it, when it becomes no good, people try to discard them on the side of the street, they really become these useless things.
Simultaneously, I look at this thing and think, Here’s a pipe, a transportation system, it’s a place where something goes from one place to another, in that way it’s a metaphor for the automobile. It has to do with breathing; it has to do with lungs; it has to do with inside and outside. It has to do with this transfer. It puts me in mind of the way that air from the outside world gets into your lungs and enters into your body and your bloodstream. So, actually, the oxygen in the air gets extracted out of the air and somehow is in your body. At some point your body. . . there’s no true “inside.”