… but who doesn’t? I refer in particular, though, to when your interpretations of art or artworks end up being validated by the artists themselves (though, if they’re not, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong–or that they’re right).
Today’s case has to do with Fred Wilson, a favorite of mine whose work I have presented and written on before. Last year, for a Curating Contemporary Art course, I began an essay on his work with an analysis of a video segment for Art21, the PBS series that looks at contemporary art.
Here’s what I wrote about the first few minutes of the video, which take place in Wilson’s studio:
The room in his studio where he arranges the objects is a white-walled, naturally-lit, cavernous warehouse space. He moves between this immaculate room and another room, just as high-ceilinged but not as well-lit, cluttered with ladders, portfolios, and artwork wrapped in cardboard and furniture blankets. He repeatedly returns to this room to retrieve objects from a wall of sturdy wooden shelving that houses his collection, resembling a museum storeroom. This analogy is key: Wilson’s studio, reflective as it is of his practice within museums, is itself set up like a museum. The mess of packing materials and the inactive collection occupies the storeroom; the curator/artist brings objects out of storage to be exhibited in the clean, bright, white room – the proverbial white cube of the exhibition space.
It is clear in this case that Wilson’s studio is meant to resemble the museums in which he does his projects; thus his studio becomes a staging area, where he can simulate an arrangement of objects as it will appear in a gallery or museum.
This supposition was based solely on my viewing of the video and my foreknowledge about Wilson’s practice. Here’s what was written in an article in the November 2012 issue of ARTNews:
Wilson bought his studio, formerly a garage, in 2001 and renovated it to look very much like a Chelsea gallery, with a facade of frosted windows, pristine white walls, and a poured-cement floor. “I wanted it to be this way because this is my gallery,” says Wilson, whose interventions in museum collections are often site-specific…
Entering his backroom storage unit is like walking into a combined history museum and thrift shop…
Quite similar, no? I’m realizing this may be coming off as bragging; I do not mean it to be. I only mean to convey that as someone who analyzes art for a living, it is satisfying and reassuring to find that what amount to educated guesses have some basis in reality; not only does Fred Wilson’s studio resemble a gallery, he renovated it to be so.
I experienced a similar feeling at a lecture by Allan McCollum, another artist I wrote extensively about in my undergraduate years. His lecture was a a sort of career survey, as my paper had been. Much of my analysis was based solely on my observations of his projects, as many of them had not been written about by other critics or historians. And much of what he said in the lecture bore out my analyses.
I guess I might have found myself in the right field, huh? I of course have my doubts at times. But lately, though work has been stressful and busy, I am finding that I am loving every single thing I am doing there, and I would be happy to keep doing it for quite awhile longer.