Cecily Brown Discusses Style, Insecurities, and Knowing When a Painting Is Finished

by Nicole Rodríguez Woods
Berlin, September 2015: The boisterous commotion of a packed opening dimmed to a murmur as the door to the back office slid closed, leaving Cecily Brown and me a brief escape from her current Berlin solo exhibition at Contemporary Fine Arts. Both jetlagged, having departed JFK only 24 hours earlier, we were grateful for the momentary calm. Often pigeonholed as what the artist herself facetiously refers to as some type of “fifth generation Abstract Expressionist,” London-born New York-based painter Cecily Brown’s work is defined by the visible physicality of her stroke, the f... [more]
Posted by Nicole Rodríguez Woods on 9/29/15

Innovating Tradition: Faig Ahmed Talks Carpets and Community from His Baku Studio

by Danna Lorch
Faig Ahmed shares his Baku studio with what he refers to as his “Tribe,” a group of young artists who split materials, bookshelves, and even food, in a communal setting. In 2011, the painter Aida Mahmudova and a group of local artists including Ahmed, founded YARAT as a platform for contemporary art in Azerbaijan. Along with a 2,000-square-meter flagship space neighboring the recently built European Games stadium, and the social enterprise space YAY Gallery, YARAT offers both established and emerging artists like Ahmed studio spaces in a turquoise block, hidden up a hill in a less d... [more]
Posted by Danna Lorch on 8/17/15

The Conceptual Entrepreneur: Martine Syms in Conversation

by Rachel Elizabeth Jones
Officially, Martine Syms is an LA-based conceptual entrepreneur, and one whose concepts have already proliferated quite far given her young career. Perhaps her participation in the Walker Art Center's Intangibles pop-up shop offers the most literal evidence to back this title: customers can purchase a voicemail recording by Syms's fictional band Maya Angelou for $10. In many ways, though, Syms defies categorization and moves fluidly among formats and mediums in the service of examining, and giving shape to, the moving-target structures that both form and contain contemporary memory, with pa... [more]
Posted by Rachel Elizabeth Jones on 8/3/15

Random International: Art & Technology's Magical Realists

by Joel Kuennen
Random International is an arts collective founded by Florian Ortkrass, Hannes Koch, and Stuart Wood currently based in London. They exploded onto the international art stage in 2012 with their extremely popular Rain Room, a work that was supremely Instagrammable, but also illucidated the magical realism that the marriage of art and technology can produce. After extremely successful installations at the Barbican in London and MoMA PS1, Rain Room is set to occupy LACMA in November 2015. We got the chance to chat with Random International this Spring after a lecture they gave at Le Laboratoire in... [more]
Posted by Joel Kuennen on 7/14/15

From the Salvage Yard to the Shopping Mall: Rachel Higgins' Logistical Aesthetics

by Natalie Hegert
New York City, June 2015: I remember despising the revamped, restyled strip malls that proliferated in the late 1990s, replacing dilapidated 1960s-era kitsch elegance with chunky stucco postmodern monotony in various shades of taupe, terracotta, and teal. These non-places had names conjured from corporate boardrooms—“The Shoppes at Villa Terraces,” “Sycamore Plaza Town Centre” and the like—a nomenclature almost offensive in its disavowal of history and specificity in favor of a generic, anesthetic appeal. Years later, as these shopping centers have fallen i... [more]
Posted by Natalie Hegert on 6/30/15

Laure Prouvost Talks Art School, Getting By, and Taking Film Beyond the Screen

by Guy Parker
Oberhausen, May 2015: The world of experimental and avant-garde film and video is relatively intimate, its natives comparatively few. A visit to Oberhausen Kurzfilmtage, Europe’s premiere short and experimental film platform, is a step into that world; it's a place populated once a year by an international cadre with a passion for moving image's oldest and most cutting edge format. Where else can you can you drink in a late night bar confident in the knowledge that any of the other 100+ patrons could list the complete works of Stan Brakhage? The festival is a place where friends meet up... [more]
Posted by Guy Parker on 6/1/15

Interview: Frances Stark on Art and Hip Hop

by Nadja Sayej
Over a cappuccino in the lobby of Hotel Savoia Jolanda in Venice, Frances Stark sat in a flower-print sun dress with spaghetti straps. It was the preview week of the 56th Venice Biennale and familiar faces came in and out of the hotel. She greeted friends with a warm smile, while showing pictures of her 12-year-old son on her iPhone. Upon first glance, L.A.-based Stark could pass for any other suburban mom—but sit down with her for a coffee and you’ll believe the opposite. As the winner of this year’s Absolut Art Award, she just won a cash prize of $137,000 to produce and exhibi... [more]
Posted by Nadja Sayej on 5/19/15

"The Other Side of the Fair": In Conversation with Samara Golden

by Christina Catherine Martinez
Samara Golden draws you in and shuts you out. Sewing, stuffing, and cutting materials of personal industriousness—fabrics, pantyhose, found thriftwares, cosmetology heads—the props in her motley sets splay out against all manner of reflective surfaces, situating some version of you inside her bendy armatures of time, place, and movie-inflected memory. M.C. Escher meets Miami Vice, the campy slickness melting into your own face as seen in a broken mirror, a slab of reflective polystyrene, or live video loop that nestles your image among the ranks of friends and acquaintances lined up as... [more]
Posted by Christina Catherine Martinez on 5/12/15

Sean Lynch on Researching Rumors and His Venice Biennale Presentation

by Natalie Hegert
Venice is a city of many hidden stories: the labors of conquests buried in damp passageways, the dreams of crusaders and merchants obscured behind masks, forgotten stories in moldering letters, in dark-browed statues guarding doorways, and treasures of spice and silk sunk deep in the Venetian Lagoon. But there are hidden stories everywhere on God’s good green earth, not just in cities steeped in literature and teeming with ghosts. Sean Lynch finds such stories, researching rumors and urban legends, unearthing long-lost connections between disparate lives and objects and histories. Representin... [more]
Posted by Natalie Hegert on 4/27/15

Interview with Hito Steyerl: "The medium is an information filter"

by Edo Dijksterhuis
Amsterdam, April 2015: “If you want to know what art looks like in 2014, go and see Hito Steyerl’s satirical video installations,” Ben Luke of the Evening Standard wrote last year when reviewing Steyerl’s show at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. And right he is. Few artists have the Zeitgeist by the balls the way the German artist does. Her video works deal with technological evolution, the production and reproduction of images, and the power relations involved—subjects right at the heart of today’s visual culture. She explores these themes in writing and... [more]
Posted by Edo Dijksterhuis on 4/7/15