When I first met Eric Aho in New Hampshire two summers ago, we were sitting in the grass in front of the bakery at Orchard Hill Farm. We bonded over the best bread in the world (really!) made by his former student at the Putney School, and the next day I visited his studio, just across the Vermont border.
In Jenny Dubnau’s Long Island City studio is a vertical mirror with adhesive stenciled letters spelling out the name “Jennifer.”
Considering that I had always thought of Amy Sillman as an abstract painter, I was surprised to encounter, after seeing her mid-career retrospective at the Hessel Museum of Bard College, an oeuvre that was entirely about the body, touch, and the awkwardness of human interaction.
When I arrived at Catherine Murphy’s home in Poughkeepsie, New York, I was led down a long outdoor path to her studio. Murphy was working on a painting of a pie crust; she asked her assistant to put the dough on ice while she spoke with me.
Graham Nickson and I met in his offices at the New York Studio School, where he has been Dean since 1988. There was a pointed severity to our meeting-place, which offered no distractions from the task at hand.
It is hard to imagine a more striking presentation of the life and work of Robert De Niro, Sr. (1922–1993) than the current exhibition of his work at DC Moore Gallery and the documentary, Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro, Sr., which premiered on HBO June 9.
I was surprised when Mark Greenwold gave me his address, because it was, like my own apartment, in “upstate Manhattan,” a far remove from the center of the art world.
Josephine Halvorson and I met on a late winter day when the chill was starting to melt, and talked over omelettes at the window of the Red Cat in Chelsea. It was early on a weekday, the restaurant felt quietly elegant, the light outdoors mellowed by cloud cover. As Halvorson noted, even the potatoes in our omelettes were perfectly soft.
A couple of years ago, I heard Chris Martin give a talk to Columbia MFA students. Rather than the standard artist’s slide lecture, Martin brought along his conga drums and a small band, a girl wearing a metallic dress and carrying a boom box, and a couple of people who tore sheets from a book of Italian Renaissance drawings and handed them to audience members.
A couple of years ago, while we were walking through the de Kooning exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Ryan Cobourn said to me, “Your interviews with artists should be more informal and rambling. You should do them, y’know, over beer.”
To enter the studio of Tine Lundsfryd in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, you climb a dark, narrow staircase lined with paintings, into a light, open space: rooms for living, dining, and working. Each furnishing or decoration that has been allowed to remain in this very minimalist space is perfectly aesthetic, evocative of a trip or a connection to another artist.
I visited Jake Berthot in upstate New York at his home in the woods of the Catskill Mountains. After spending time in his studio, followed by vegetable soup for lunch, we walked outside towards my car. It then occurred to me how Berthot, through body language and the tenor of his conversation, creates spaces for observation, allowing words to linger.