Archive for the Interviews P-T Category

10 Questions for Bernice Steinbaum

Posted in Interviews P-T on September 27, 2011 by artoutmiami

Bernice Steinbaum

By Jose Fresco

AOM: It’s always fun to know someone’s roots- where did you grow up, what were your influences, where did you attend University and what was your major?

BS: At a very early age, I met Joseph Cornell. I was a “latch key” kid whose mother worked and therefore was not there after my day at school. I spent every afternoon in the library. I met Joseph Cornell who, after many months, invited me to his studio (I did not know what a studio meant). He asked me to talk about what I saw and that day was the day I became an art dealer. I majored in Art History and Art Education.

AOM: Tell me about the Steinbaum Gallery in NY. How did you fall into the business, fond memories, who you were representing back then?

BS: I got into business because I had resigned from my teaching position and I was driving my family crazy. They found me cleaning the shower stall with a toothbrush and I would wake them up at 6:00 o’clock AM to make their beds. My husband implored me to find a job. Art was the one thing I knew.
In NY, I represented, among others, Faith Ringgold, Miriam Schapiro, and Jaune-Quick-to-See-Smith. One of my fondest memories was the day that I found out that Ringgold and Schapiro has won Guggenheim awards. I asked both women to come to the gallery and as a surprise, I tied a huge pink ribbon around the building. I met them at the door with Dom Perignon. I also represented three McArthur Genius award winners- Pepon Osorio, Deborah Willis, and Amalia Mesa-Baines.

AOM: Can I put you on the spot and ask if you have any favorites?
BS: All 25.

AOM: Bernice Steinbaum Gallery is one of the cornerstones of the Wynwood district. That was a pretty risque move considering the neighborhood back then. How did you know?

BS: If you build it, they will come. We are now some 76 galleries.

AOM: You seem to have the Midas touch in picking your artist to showcase. How do you know when they have that “it” factor?

BS: Intellect and risk-taking on the artist’s part and gut reaction on my part. I believe that each of my artists will be part of the canon of Art History. I too will have my place because I represented them i.e. Peggy Guggenheim and Leo Castelli.

AOM: Speaking of Wynwood, Second Saturdays has become a social phenomenon that’s taken on a life of its own. What is the good and bad of it? Will it ever mellow out like the Gables Walk?

BS: The good part of Second Saturdays in Wynwood is that Wynwood becomes a destination. Some of our visitors have been fearful about the neighborhood. Others, who are dining in the “hood” see the numbers of people walking around and realize that there must be something to see. Now that most of us serve non-alcoholic drinks, we don’t get people who regard our gallery as an ersatz saloon.

AOM: What is your view on the state of public funding for art. Is there a crisis. Should public monies be used?

BS: What would you expect a dealer to say? (That’s why I’m the baddest)

AOM: Your current show with Karen Rifas and Aurora Molina, among others is spectacular. Tell us a bit about the show?

BS: I am very interested in artists who use detritus.

Karen Rifas, who is best known as the “leaf lady”, recycles southern oak leaves into geometric installations, that the rest of us throw away. In her current exhibition she uses various colored cord to create unique geometric patterns, forms and spaces. She uses color in order to question our sense of perspective, while her geometrically arranged cord installations invigorate space with movement and illusion. Straight lines appear to be curved, often the cords vibrate while the colors intensify. Rifas’ site specific installations of nylon cord, stainless steal, or stitched leaves enable her to create volume with a spare amount of material.

Molina also uses detritus. In the current exhibition title A Critique of Established Attitudes Towards Aging & Beauty, she recycles women’s pantyhose. Her soft sculpture figures, though, belligerent or ill-behaved, like children they demand our attention. These figures appeal to our social consciousness. Some figures have motion sensors while others have sound devices. Molina makes us know through movement and sound that elders are still alive and still have a lot to say.

AOM: What’s special for Art Basel? What’s next for Bernice?

BS: The gallery will feature Peter Sarkisian who has done small table top video sculptures. His work is featured in the Whitney and the SF MoMA to mention a few public institutions. Our booth will be a surprise. We are not at liberty to discuss it at this time. Come see us at Art Miami booth # 32. We are the host gallery and serve mimosas, coffee, and croissants every morning to other dealers, press, art schools and everyone that comes in. We also have the cleanest potties.

AOM: Bernice, what do you think, President Obama- boxers or briefs?

BS: In his effort to deal with divisive Republicans he wears briefs that are one size smaller than appropriate to unite both parties.

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10 Questions For Anne Tschida

Posted in Interviews P-T on August 22, 2011 by artoutmiami
Anne Tschida and Her Luft Baloon

By Jose Fresco

AOM:  Anne, you are one of the most prolific art writers in Miami. How, when, and where did you get your start. What’s your Alma Mater?

AT:I was the editor of my high school newspaper, after writing for it since I was 14 years old. So I always knew writing was the essence of me. I then went on to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago, where I wrote about substantial issues like the Viking re-inactment of the landing in Nova Scotia….but really, it was great.

AOM:The big question: art critic or art writer?

AT:Absolutely art writer — I like to tell the stories behind what will make people attracted to art, or anything else for that matter. I am not part of academic criticism, that others do better than me.

AOM:You’ve lived in some amazing places around the world. Can you recount some of them and how these experiences have added to your career?

AT:Right after college in Chicago, I moved to Hong Kong to work first for a British glossy magazine, a version of the English Tattler. That was super fun, and introduced me to the British and Chinese culture of Hong Kong, East meets West in that most neon of outlandish cities the world has known. After some time in other Southeast Asian spots, I moved to Berlin a year after the Wall came down (some say, “after the Wall fell,” — it didn’t FALL, people knocked it down!). The artistic explosion there was unparalleled — creative types from both Eastern and Western Europe flocked there. One old Soviet complex, with its walls crumbled revealing the interiors, was filled with art studios and in the courtyard, littered with debris from the Old East, bands played all the time. You could ride by on a tram or a bus and see those studios and hear the music day and night.

AOM: Can you name a few artists that have truly inspired you? Do you have a favorite style? Who should we be keeping an eye on?

AT: That’s always a hard one. From pre-Contemporary, as may be guessed, I was very influenced by German Expressionism, in visual arts and film and literature, from the Bauhaus to the work produced between the World Wars. And as cliche as it is, Caravaggio, especially viewed in a church in Rome, is breathtaking. More recently, the Young British Artists stuff was eye-opening back when, Damien Hirst and Chris Ofili,. etc.  And whether you like the style or not, the show from Ryan Trecartin currently showing at MOCA is something to watch — his is a vision and voice that is making a big splash.

AOM: State and Federal funding has all but been withdrawn for the public arts sector, NPR decimated by Congress. Were these drastic cuts really necessary or are we witnessing the repercussions of political posturing?

AT: The arts always need to be funded on some level, as much of it can’t be a free-market-based enterprise. It expresses the soul of a culture. Scientific and medical research can’t be sustained, either, without some government support — that’s what great societies are made of.  All of us become ugly in the end without such nourishment.

AOM: What role does public art play in a community, a city, for society?

AT:How many people think Italian cities are beautiful, infusing you with an inner spark, making them the most touristed places on earth? It’s not by accident that they are so — Italians have more often than not spent time and money on making their buildings, their outdoor spaces,  sculptures and decorations, something pleasing, to ease the everyday drudgery. That certainly can not be said for some of the dreadful Soviet, Chinese, and yes, American cities that decided beauty was something frivolous. To live in such places can be deadening.

AOM:Kenny Scharf described Graffiti art as reaching “hi-style”, a point of reconsideration as a serious art form- your thoughts?

AT: Miami has very much become a center of street art. Wynwood is covered with many different types and versions of it, and it is legitimate and enlivening. Some of the graffiti or street art has moved inside now, and that’s all okay too. Nothing should be static — styles move on, grow and morph, as it should.

AOM: You are a real Baselite. What shows do you look forward to each year?

AT: The main convention center, to see what mainstream is up to. The the major satellites, like Pulse and NADA and Scope; always something worthwhile in any of those. And what used to happen more often, and still occasionally does, the odd show that pops up in a rented space, way out there and way worth seeing.

AOM: Has Miami reached its pinnacle?

AT: No.

AOM:What’s next for The Tschida?

AT: Hmm, to see more of those beautiful cities that enliven and brighten  the soul……

10 Questions for Kenny Scharf

Posted in Interviews P-T on May 21, 2011 by artoutmiami

Kenny Scharf

By Jose Fresco

AOM: Kenny, first time I put graffiti and art in the same sentence was back in the New York glory days of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Harring, and yourself during the 80’s. And there was that famous New Yorker article on Taki 183 in 1971, but when would you pinpoint when graffiti art started to be taken seriously by the art world?

KS: I’m not sure that graffiti is taken seriously by the art world but the first time I became aware of graffiti’s potential for art statement was either tagging with Basquiat back in 78 or maybe the Times Square show of 81.

AOM: Who and what are your biggest influences?

KS: I love so much art! I was very inspired by the pop artists like Warhol, and Rosenquist, the surrealists like Tanguy and Dali> abstract Expressionists like Pollock. I also love the medieval fantastical work of Bosch and Bruegel as well.

AOM: You and Miami have a long time love affair. What keeps bringing you back? When will we see you again?

KS: I lived in Miami in the 90s I always love the sea the most! Lately I’m here every year for the art fair.

AOM: What was it like collaborating with the likes of Futura, Shepard Fairy, and Swoon on the Wynwood Walls?

KS: Futura and I have had a long history together we showed together at Fun Gallery in the early 80s and also shared the Tony Shafrazi Gallery for a joint show in 82. As far as the Wynwood Walls, it was cool having all the artists working at the same time but as far as collaborating it was really more like a group show where everyone has their own spot. Nice hearing Lenny’s music and smoking his joints.

AOM: Your piece Bowery Boogie on Houston (NYC) got bombed pretty badly again. Do you consider this an insult or homage?

KS: the wall on Houston has been cleared of all tagging for a while. I don’t like it. Who likes having their art tagged on? It wasn’t out of love or respect it was more angry, jealous and ugly.

AOM: What is “Wild style”?

KS: Wild style is the culmination of graffiti taken to a new level of sophistication and artfulness. It is high style in the extreme!

AOM: Your recent show at LA’s MOCA was a huge success, loved the black light installations- reminds me of your early SoBe days. Does anything in particular stand out about the experience?

KS: I am happy and proud to be a part of such an amazing show. The level of talent is amazing!

AOM: Have we reached a highpoint in Graffiti art ? Is there still more to look out for?

KS: I think we are at a high point in the stylistic excess of graffiti but I definitely think there is more to come. There is so much youth and energy surrounding it its impossible for it not to keep expanding!

AOM: Who should we keep an eye out for as a rising star?

KS: I really don’t know but I did see so much amazing art at MOCA of people I wasn’t familiar with. I liked the Cholo L.A. section a lot with Mr Cartoon.

AOM: What’s your brand of spray paint?

KS: I used to use only Krylon but they ruined it so I have to say the Montana gold makes painting pretty easy and the colors are great.

AOM: Hey, thanks for being part of Art Out Miami and one of the true Godfathers of Graffiti Art.

KS: You’re welcome.