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The Universe and Other Dog Stars: An "Interview" with Dana DeGiulio
by Courtney R. Thompson

Chicago, Jun 2012: I have been reading a lot of artist interviews as of late. The construction of call and response can be meaningful, but more often than not, I am drawn to the intangible. I read Italian art critic Achille Bonito Olivia’s Encyclopaedia of the Word: artist dialogues, 1968-2008. Reading his interviews with endless artists in succession was exhausting and revealed the idiosyncrasies of time and place. Most conversations were mere pages, and I thoroughly enjoyed Google’s inability to clarify the obscure references to particular artworks, exhibitions, and publications mentioned in passing.

I also came across a book in a series titled Between Artists. My particular book detailed a visual conversation briefly annotated over email between John Baldessari and Barbara Bloom. I think I’ve flipped through it about thirty times. On the surface it’s an exchange about chairs. Questions are posed through images and while there are threads that address visits to each other’s exhibitions; “art-making” and “art-process” are rarely discussed, at least through text. It inspired me to rethink how artists use images to quote, annotate, and develop their ideas.

After considering these two varied approaches I wondered if there was a way to pose a more chaotic conversation. One that might reveal how artists’ interviews have operated and if there was an opportunity to have a conversation with an artist that wasn’t so formulaic. I timidly broached the subject with Dana DeGiulio. With no exception she is one of the biggest thinkers I know. I am actually afraid to go to her studio. I am convinced I would stand wholly unprepared for articulating what she does—which for the sake of understated gravity I will reduce to painting, teaching, and writing. She is also incredibly generous with her words and her time. I thank her for indulging me in this “artist interview.”

Online platforms enable the ability to inundate and annotate at the same time. There is a freedom in this: to pose a question through image, video, or to have one word open up to a massive tome. However, there are glitches. Content can be removed, or replaced. Links are broken, or more rapidly, inaccessible for copyright law that has not evolved out of its analog state. I like to embrace this inconsistency; it reminds me to consider manufactured histories and how the origin of the word and/or image cannot be trusted, and that sometimes it’s enough to see its confounded meaning sputter and unfold.

So here it is: questions about the universe and other dog stars with Dana DeGiulio.

From the artist's studio.

Courtney R. Thompson: Proposition one:

Toward a shakable understanding of the universe, or is it just a suspicion of the speed of representation?

Dana DeGiulio: Yes.

CRT: Proposition two:

as per attachment                                                                  

and then perhaps



(by Dana DeGiulio)?

DDG: No.

CRT: Proposition three:

Wolf Vostell once told Italian art critic Achille Bonito Olivia that Charlie Chaplin was Happenings and Buster Keaton Conceptual art. Can painting for you have this structure of classification, and if so, who is painting for you?

Dana DeGiulio, untitled (from series Heavenly Father I'm A Soldier), 2012, oil, ink, spraypaint on paper, 24 x 18"; Courtesy of the artist

DDG: Yes.

CRT: Proposition four:

In the group exhibition “Just Pathetic” Ralph Rugoff claimed that to turn away from ambition is a position. Yet isn’t it still one that operates within a considered structure?

Does this imply that every dog has her day, or can there be a lone wolf?

DDG:  Yes.

CRT: Proposition(s) five: Choices, tactics, and/or alternatives, or the pithy potential of images to quote(s)

Her (Ree Morton)


“Not thinking, planning, scheming is a discipline. Not caring or striving is a discipline … Defeated you will stand at the door of your house and welcome the unknown, putting behind you all that is known. Defeated, having no place to go you will perhaps wait and be overtaken. As in the night. To penetrate the night is one thing. But to be penetrated by the night that is to be overtaken.” -- Agnes Martin 

DDG: Yes.

CRT: Incidentally, what is it with those bell jars? Is self-preservation a tactic to keep things in or out, or is it just suffocation on display?

DDG: 8 inches.

Courtney Thompson

ArtSlant would like to thank Dana DeGiulio for her assistance in making this interview possible.

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