Interview

1971
Attica Interviews

Portable Channel, a community documentary group in Rochester, New York, was one of the first small format video centers to have an ongoing relationship with a PBS affiliate (WXXI). Portapakers interviewed Sinclair Scott, a member of the negotiating team that went into Attica when the prisoners' rebelled at the federal prison in September 1971. Thirty-eight guards were taken hostage after prisoners' demands to improve their conditions were ignored. After a three day stand-off between inmates and authorities, Governor Nelson Rockefeller called in the National Guard.

1991
Julie Ault: What Follows ...

Julie Ault is an artist, curator, and founding member of the artist collective Group Material, which has organized exhibitions on themes such as the U.S.’s involvement in Central America, AIDS, education, and mass consumerism. Her exhibitions question traditional gallery and museum systems by asking “how is culture made and for whom?”

Interview by Michael Crane.

1977
Alice Aycock: An Interview

During her graduate studies at Hunter College, Alice Aycock (b. 1946) began to forge links between personal and more inclusive subject matter and form. In her quest for contemporary monuments, Aycock wrote her Master’s thesis on U.S. highway systems. Aycock’s large environmental sculptures create intense psychological atmospheres. Although she uses primitive rites and architecture as sources, her implementation of contemporary materials removes those specific connotations.

1989
Luis Cruz Azaceta: An Interview

Luis Cruz Azaceta (b.1942) creates paintings and mixed media works which use the recurring theme of the displaced individual. Marked by his own exile from Cuba—he emigrated to the U.S. in 1960, in the wake of Castro’s take-over—the artist realized that home is something he carries with him from place to place. Through his piercing expressionism, Azaceta depicts the frailty of human existence in a world full of social anarchy, historically mandated violence, and natural chaos.

1991
John Baldessari:  Some Stories

This video reveals John Baldessari's thoughts and intentions for his work over the course of his career, providing clues to the understanding of his paintings, books, and photos. What emerges is a portrait of a rebellious artist who attempts to undermine the catagories and dogmas of the art world--with the full realization that in the long run, some catagory or other will be named to label his work.

1979
John Baldessari: An Interview

From his photo-text canvases in the 1960s to his video works in the 1970s to his installations in the 1980s, John Baldessari’s (b.1931) varied work has been seminal in the field of conceptual art. Integrating semiology and mass media imagery, he employed such strategies as appropriation, deconstruction, decontextualization, sequentiality, and text/image juxtaposition. With an ironic wit, Baldessari's work considers the gathering, sorting, and reorganizing of information.

2010
Lynda Barry: An Interview

In this interview, American cartoonist and author Lynda Barry (b. 1956) describes the philosophy of teaching that has inspired and mobilized her art since the 1970s. For Barry, the connection between gesture and thought collide in drawing and expose the therapeutic possibilities of art. Whether teaching undergraduate art students or prison inmates, her goal is to help others develop art making skills as an “external immune system” that will protect and monitor their emotional and mental health.

1976
Jennifer Bartlett: An Interview

Jennifer Bartlett (b. 1941) is a writer and painter who makes large paintings with enamels on fabricated panels. She uses an overall grid structure on which she repeats images in a variety of styles ranging from lyric abstraction to childlike representation.  Near the end of this interview with Kate Horsfield, she reads the chapter “Dreaming” from her book The History of the Universe (1985). “I decided: 1) I didn’t want to stretch a canvas again, 2) I wanted to be able to work on a lot of things at once. I didn’t want to exercise my own taste, which seemed boring and hideous. I wanted something modular, a constant surface."

A historical interview originally recorded in 1976, edited in 2010 with support from the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund.

1992
Between the Frames

"Begun in 1983 and completed in 1992, Between the Frames offers a glimpse into contemporary history that is already past, a portrait of personalities and opinions shaping what and how art reaches a public forum.

1991
Between the Frames, Chapter 5: The Docents

Between the Frames is a series that offers a glimpse into contemporary history that is already past, a portrait of personalities and opinions shaping what and how art reaches a public forum.

1980
Joseph Beuys: An Interview

Joseph Beuys (1921–1986) was born in Kleve, Germany. After serving as a volunteer in the German military, Beuys attended the Dusseldorf Academy of Art to study sculpture, where in 1959 he became a professor. Much of his artwork reflects his attempt to come to terms with his involvement in the war. During the ’60s, Beuys became acquainted with the group Fluxus and artists such as Nam June Paik.

1997
Binary Lives: Steina and Woody Vasulka

In 1964, Steina Vasulka (then Steinunn Bjarnadottir) married Woody Vasulka, a Czech engineer with a background in film. They later moved to New York where, with Andreas Mannik, they founded the Kitchen, a performance space dedicated to new media. The Vasulkas collaborated on a series of video works whose imagery arose primarily through the manipulation of the video signal at the level of the electron beam itself.

1988
Black Celebration

Subtitled A Rebellion against the Commodity, this engaged reading of the urban black riots of the 1960s references Guy Debord’s Situationist text, “The Decline and Fall of the Spectacle-Commodity Economy,” Internationale Situationniste #10 (March 1966). Along with additional commentary adapted from Barbara Kruger and musicians Morrissey and Skinny Puppy, the text posits rioting as a refusal to participate in the logic of capital and an attempt to de-fetishize the commodity through theft and gift.

1975
Louise Bourgeois: An Interview

Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) utilized wood, metal, plaster, and bronze in creating her sculptures. Among the many themes in her work are the house (or lair), the spider and the so-called “toi-et-moi” or “you and me.” These subjects derived from a self-defined problem in Bourgeois’s life, the desire to find and express a means of getting along with other people. For Bourgeois, the relationship of one person to another was all-important, and life had little meaning without it. Louise Bourgeois’s remarkable career spanned both the modern and postmodern eras.

1977
Stan Brakhage: An Interview

A major figure among underground filmmakers, Stan Brakhage (1933-2003) boasted a prolific career that spanned more than 50 years and 300 films. His personal, independent films range in length from nine seconds to several hours, and contemplate such fundamental issues as form, life, and death—most famously in Window Water Baby Moving (1959), Dog Star Man (1961-65), and The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes (1971). His early writings and journals about filmmaking are collected in Metaphors on Vision (1976).