Pat Steir 1980: An Interview


1980 | 00:40:00 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Interviews, On Art and Artists, Single Titles

Tags: Blumenthal/Horsfield Interviews, Feminism, Interview, Painting

Pat Steir (b.1938) is an American painter and printmaker, whose work has resisted artworld currents and factions for decades while maintaining enthusiastic critical support. She graduated from Pratt in 1962 and in 1964 was included in the show Drawing at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and had her first solo exhibition at the Terry Dintenfass Gallery, New York. She first came to prominence in the 1970s, when her work concentrated on signs and symbols and was close to minimal and conceptual art. This early and very poetic work was based on an iconography that included isolated brushstrokes, color charts, words, and crossed-out images. Since 1987, abstract waterfall imagery in her paintings has continued her simultaneous engagement with the real and the metaphysical, grounding intellectual investigation in sensuous experience. Steir was a founding board member of Printed Matter bookshop and Heresies magazine, and was on the editorial board of Semiotext magazine.

In this interview with Kate Horsfield, Pat Steir discusses the development of her work, which is characterized by pencil scrawls, words, and squiggled notations that echo, repeat, punctuate, and change. As in her work, Pat Steir persistently moves in and out of the frame, yet her restlessness stands for freedom rather than discontent. “Thinking about what the next idea will be or where it will go is a very narrow consideration,” Steir says. “Art is really about a curiosity and a romance with being alive and... very silent, personal insights about the way that things fit together.”

A historical interview originally recorded in 1980 and re-edited in 2006 with support from the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund. 

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