Art lovers in attendance at last night’s conversation with Werner Herzog at the New York Public Library were fortunate enough to hear a little of the backstory behind Herzog’s participation in this year’s Whitney Biennial. The inclusion of the celebrated filmmaker in the exhibition took many art-worlders by surprise when the list of participants was announced in December.
Herzog spoke with “Live from the NYPL” Director Paul Holdengräber for two hours in a free-ranging conversation that, while it mainly covered Herzog’s new documentaries on capital punishment, also included video clips and dramatic readings and touched on peregrine falcons, deciphering Mycenaean linear B script, the importance of reading books and the 2012 Whitney Biennial.
Herzog explained that “of course” he declined the Whitney’s invitation at first — “Museums frighten me,” he said at one point, to a big laugh from the audience — but his wife, Lena, convinced him to accept. He then launched into a discussion of the subject of his installation, 17th-century Dutch artist Hercules Segers. He came upon Segers’s fantastic landscapes, which he described as “a great inspiration, a boldness of vision,” later in life; the discovery was akin to finding a long-lost brother or a kindred spirit.
With the installation, “I wanted to point to the father of all modernity in art,” Herzog said. He then suggested that any interested parties in the audience should stick around after the talk and form a group to head uptown to the Whitney. “Maybe they will stay open for us,” he said, half seeming to mean it.
Herzog mentioned twice that, in the end, he was happy he decided to participate in the exhibition; however, he brought the Whitney portion of the evening to a close by recounting a telling exchange he had with the curators there: “I don’t go to museums because I do not like art,” he apparently told them, to which they responded, “Yes, but you are an artist.”
“I’m not an artist,” Herzog said. “I’m a soldier.”
Werney Herzog spoke on Wednesday, February 29 at the Celeste Bartos Forum of The New York Public Library (42nd Street at Fifth Avenue, Midtown, Manhattan)
The 2012 Whitney Biennial continues at the Whitney Museum (945 Madison Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan) until May 27.
This week, missed signs of previous life on Mars, the appeal of forged art, and why are blue whales singing in lower octaves?
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed forcefully posits multiple parallels between the world Nan Goldin grew up in and the one she fights in today.
The latest episode of this documentary series on PBS explores the meaning of home through handmade objects, hand built homes, and the artists who create them.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very Los Angeles art events this month, including Bob Thompson, Aimee Goguen, Uta Barth, the Transcendental Painting Group, and more.
There is the singular artist and then there is the more exclusive club that has only one member. Harvey belongs to the latter.
Rhode Island School of Design opens registration for its residential summer Pre-College program and year-round online intensive Advanced Program Online.
The artists say the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma must sever ties with Poju Zabludowicz, whose wealth comes in part from Israeli defense contracting.
Vanessa Albury, whose eco-friendly ceramic sculptures help revive filter-feeder populations, is raising funds to complete her first film about the project.
Hrag Vartanian, Hyperallergic’s editor-in-chief, is one of the guest jurors reviewing applications for the two-month residency in Utica, New York.
An archeological exploration of the amphitheater’s sewers and water systems uncovered remnants of meat, vegetables, olives, nuts, and yes, pizza.
At this year’s show, I reflected on the lack of bilingual materials, the absurdity of art-fair gimmick, and the workers who make it all possible.
Hear a band of improvisers led by Rajna Swaminathan and a performance of Morton Feldman’s “For John Cage” in programs inspired by the exhibition, “New York: 1962-1964.”
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very New York art events this month, including art made during the first stock market crash, a homage to feline friends, and the 10-year anniversary of a crucial public art initiative.
Astrid Dick was told that she could not paint stripes because Sean Scully and Frank Stella have done so before her, a patently foolish statement.