Visiting Artists Program

1998
Joan Nestle: An Interview

In 1973 Joan Nestle co-founded the Lesbian Herstory Archives, an essential collection of documents, writings, and artifacts of lesbian cultural history. In 1979 she began writing erotic stories and has published two collections of writings: A Restricted Country (1987) and A Fragile Union (1998). She took a controversial stance in opposition to the 1980s feminist anti-pornography movement, thus becoming a fervent pro-sex activist in the “Sex Wars.” Interview by Nina Levitt.

2011

In this interview, Kori Newkirk (b.1970) describes his interest in the space that exists between categories. Hailing from the Bronx, earning a BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and finally settling on Los Angeles as his base of operations, Newkirk has always been motivated by a desire to eschew provincialism. In this conversation, he discusses the idea of regional identity, his complex relationship with the Los Angeles art community, and how his experience as a student at SAIC helped him move beyond the boundaries of a simple material definition of painting.

2019
Newton Harrison: An Interview

Newton Harrison, born 1932, is one of the earliest and best known social practice and environmental artists. He and Helen Mayer Harrison collaborated under the name Harrison Studio for most of their lives, working in a variety of mediums in collaboration with scientists, political activists, and many others to start dialogues about community development and engagement. In conversation with Claire Pentecost, a writer and professor of photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Harrison discusses his expansive career, and offers advice for younger artists working today.

1998
Orlan: An Interview

French performance artist Orlan uses her own body as a sculptural medium. Since 1990, she has worked on La Reincarnation de Sainte-Orlan, a process of plastic surgeries that she “performs,” making elaborate spectacles with surgeons dressed in sci-fi costumes and broadcasting the operations live via satellite to galleries worldwide. By exploring a total transformation of self, Orlan delves into issues of identity and the malleability of the flesh. She lives and works in Paris, exhibiting and performing internationally.

Interview by Shay Degrandis, via translator.

1999
Ingrid Pollard: An Interview

Ingrid Pollard is a photographer living in London. Her photographic works, generally of people and landscape, serve to provide a human context for issues of transmigration and “fleeting” identity. Combining personal photographs with traditional views of the English countryside, Pollard questions as well as reconstructs the concept of “Britishness.” In doing so, Pollard also scrutinizes the location of the “other,” and contrasts actual physical similarity or material likeness of people and places with perceived or socially constructed difference.

2002
Tom Poole: An Interview

Tom Poole is an organizer of many things. Counting arts administrator, media facilitator, and activist among the many titles he has held over the years, Poole currently brings all these capacities to bear as the executive director of the Pittsburgh Community Television (PCTV) station. In his contribution to the On Art and Artist series, Poole discusses his early foray into media activism as a member of the video art collective Black Planet Productions.

2001
Joe Sacco: An Interview

Joe Sacco is a cartoonist who has contributed to a wide range of comic magazines including Drawn and Quarterly, Prime Cuts, Real Stuff, Buzzard, and R. Crumb’s Weirdo; he continues to illustrate the semi-regular Painfully Portland cartoon strip for the Willamette Week. He was a recipient of the prestigious American Book Award in 1996 for his work Palestine (1996), which combines techniques of eyewitness reportage with comic strip storytelling.

2018
Sarah Schulman: An Interview

This interview depicts American writer, activist, and AIDS historian Sarah Schulman (b. 1958), discussing becoming a writer, her novels, and her long-term collaboration with filmmaker James Hubbard on projects devoted to gay liberation and AIDS activism. Born in New York to a Holocaust-surviving family, Schulman grew up in an era where women were not considered important.

2012
Tehching Hsieh: An Interview

At the age of twenty-four, Taiwanese artist Tehching Hsieh (b.1950), moved to New York, where he has created and documented time-specific, conceptual art performances since the 1970s. In this interview, Hsieh discusses his formative years and philosophical moorings. This dialogue includes description of the artist’s early period of painting, his military service in Taiwan, and the cultural atmosphere of a country then undergoing massive political change. Much of the discussion focuses specifically on Hsieh’s understanding of the relationship of art and life, his investment in “free thinking,” and the politics of documentation. For Hsieh, the ability to think freely is art’s bottom line—he believes the essence of his work lies in human communication. To this end, Hsieh insists that his work, though incredibly personal, is not autobiographical, but philosophical.

2014
Rirkrit Tiravaniha: An Interview

Rirkrit Tiravanija’s work explores the social role of the artist, and that role’s ability to create interactive spaces for people to come together. Focusing less on the construction of discrete objects, he maintains a practice predicated on diffuse forms of installation that facilitate the activities like cooking, reading, and general collectivity. The particularly conceptual nature of his work is a central theme in this interview. While in art school, a teacher Tiravanija greatly admired told him to “stop making art” and this was something he took very seriously.

1999
Fred Tomaselli: An Interview

Fred Tomaselli’s mosaics and collages compose patterns and images that suggest ancient global influences. His materials, however, are products of modern consumption, addiction, bodily abuse, and pleasure: pills, nicotine patches, bandages, and the like. The surfaces are coated with a lacquered veneer, making these mundane sources of highs or healing gleam. Interview by James Rondeau. A historical interview originally recorded in 1999 and re-edited in 2007.

2010
Ryan Trecartin: An Interview

In this interview, Los Angeles-based artist and filmmaker Ryan Trecartin (b. 1981) discusses his personal interests and motivations, as well as the larger cultural and philosophical concerns that shape his videos and their reception. Trecartin is known for his construction of non-linear narratives, campy costumes, and excessively visceral characters and environments. One of the most compelling aspects of this interview is his insistence that language and its verbal articulation, rather than the visual, anchor his process. Trecartin identifies the influences of 1990s retro-rave culture, hip-hop videos, and editing software tools on his work. He notes that the accelerated disintegration of high and low culture has played a major part in his growth as an artist.

1999
Jeff Wall: An Interview

Although trained as an art historian, Jeff Wall has been working on his expansive photographic light boxes of staged scenes for more than 25 years. Using back-lit, photographic transparencies typically used for advertising display, Wall subverts their commercial association by filling them with quotidian objects.

1998
David Wilson: An Interview

David Wilson is the founder and curator of the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles. His collection of found and contributed objects provides an astonishing array of materials derived from craft and nature. Interview by Rachel Weiss. A historical interview originally recorded in 1998.

2010
Martha Wilson: An Interview

Feminist performance artist, Martha Wilson (b.1947), is director and founder of the alternative New York art space, Franklin Furnace Gallery, in operation since 1976. In this interview, Wilson discusses her Quaker upbringing, the impetus for her move from Nova Scotia to New York, and the founding of Franklin Furnace, as well as her involvement in the feminist punk band collective Disband.