Blumenthal/Horsfield Interviews

On Art and Artists: Blumenthal/Horsfield Interviews

The ninety interviews produced by Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield between 1974 and 1988 exhibit a level of intimacy and authenticity that is startling when contrasted to today’s media savvy world. These interviews, recorded on early video equipment, evidence an era when those under the spotlight were less conscious of projecting a perfect and mediated “image”, and more interested in sharing ideas, experiences and histories.  Within these early tapes, Blumenthal and Horsfield’s interviewees thoughtfully answer questions about their lives and work in ways that are both surprising and enlightening, while detailing the artistic choices they make on a day-to-day basis.

These compelling interviews, often shot in black and white, reveal the development of each artist’s trajectory, from first deciding to become an artist, to developing a practice and establishing a career.  Many of the interviews are taped with artists at a fairly early stage in their artistic development; some artists are re-interviewed after a period of several years, accentuating developments in ideas and methodologies.  The productions are small in size, often recorded with only the artist, camera operator and interviewer present, allowing for the development of a remarkably intimate atmosphere, and revealing profound insights into the lives and work of the subjects.

Averaging an hour in length, the interviews are edited from the original footage in order to distil the content to the most important and relevant dialogue.  The camera focuses close-up on the artist, with the interviewer out-of-frame, though their voices can be heard asking questions and seeking clarifications, and occasional cigarette smoke floats across the screen.  This stripped down format ensures that the viewers’ attention is focused on the interviewee, and the dense and often complex descriptions of the creative process that each artist reveals.

The series ended with Lyn Blumenthal’s untimely death in 1988.

 

1978
Michelle Stuart: An Interview

Born in Los Angeles in 1933, Michelle Stuart spearheaded the use of non-traditional materials from nature in the early '70s, and has produced and exhibited her work internationally.

2015
Marcia Tucker 1974: An Interview

In April 1974, Video Data Bank co-founders Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield conducted their first interview, an in-depth conversation with art historian and curator Marcia Tucker. During the remainder of that year, Blumenthal and Horsfield went on to interview four more notable art world women: Joan Mitchell, Lucy Lippard, Agnes Martin and Ree Morton.

1974
Marcia Tucker 1974: An Interview

Marcia Tucker (1940-2006) was a curator, writer and art historian, known for founding the New Museum of Contemporary Art after her dismissal from her curatorial post at the Whitney Museum of American Art, due to creative disagreements.  Tucker served as the visionary director of the New Museum from 1977 to 1999, during which time she organized major exhibitions like The Time of Our Lives (1999), A Labor of Love (1996), and Bad Girls (1994), and edited the series Documentary Sources in Contemporary Art.

1977
Marcia Tucker 1977: An Interview

Marcia Tucker (1940 - 2006) was a curator, writer and art historian, known for founding the New Museum of Contemporary Art after her dismissal from her curatorial post at the Whitney Museum of American Art due to creative disagreements. Tucker served as the visionary director of the New Museum from 1977 to 1999, during which time she organized major exhibitions like The Time of Our Lives (1999), A Labor of Love (1996), and Bad Girls (1994), and edited the series Documentary Sources in Contemporary Art. As a curator,Tucker championed social engagement, exploration and artistic process. She considered the museum a “laboratory” organization where both art and the practices of the institution itself were always in question. After leaving the New Museum, and until her death in 2006, Tucker worked as a freelance art critic, writer, and lecturer.

1981
Jack Tworkov: An Interview

Jack Tworkov (1900-1982) was an important member of the first generation of Abstract Expressionist painters and was, for a number of years, head of the Yale University art program. During the Depression, Tworkov worked for the WPA Federal Art Project, and became friends with artists such as Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, and Mark Rothko; their work was the foundation of the New York School of painting.  Late in his career, his work became more geometric, as the mark and gesture was increasingly determined by isometric grid structures.

1979
Blumenthal/Horsfield, William T. Wiley: An Interview

William T. Wiley (b. 1937) combines a variety of materials (found objects, wood, animal hides, rope, paint) with poetry, puns, hearsay, and legends to present a very complex and enigmatic personal vision. Besides making sculpture, he also does prints, drawings, and paintings. His witty and often ironic work emphasizes both the commonality and impenetrability of everyday life and its contents. Wiley continues to live and work in the San Francisco Bay area.