Reflections on Dinner Without An Agenda with Regine Basha
by Julie Spielman, Galería Perdida

How does making and thinking about art inform the way you live in the world?

This is a hard one actually. Because— making and thinking about art influences every aspect of my life everyday- from the way I see things, to how I interact with others, to how I move in the world, to raising my son. For better or worse, every single move is informed by the criticality, questioning, joy and playfulness that comes out of art making. And now after so many years I can’t imagine otherwise.

The above question was posed by curator Regine Basha on the occasion of a Dinner without Agenda hosted by the Queens Museum’s Artist Services Program. The diverse group of attending artists traveled from as close as down the block to as far as a 2 hour train ride for the occasion. We met at Dosa Delight in the dynamic Jackson Heights neighborhood in Queens.

Regine’s question is a simple yet precise one. It is not “what informs your work” but rather the opposite. How specifically has artmaking changed you? How does it influence you and as a result how does this impact your way of experiencing and being in the world. Some answers seemed to long for a reception within one’s community. For others, being an artist seems to push one to the edges of that community.

For me, I had to really dig and assess where I was as an artist at the time. Setting aside career roadblocks and feelings of insecurity within my field – this question made me really stop and remember just how intertwined my life and my art-life have become. In fact, as I have been doing this for a quite a long time I can safely say that they can no longer be separated. My art-life is my life. And the artists that I have cultivated as friends have by now become my family, my community. I do not have completely rose colored glasses in this regard however. The more that art and life have merged- a sense of criticality, an in-depth sense of making, years of seeing and understanding works which have come and go, the more removed I have become from some people and communities. No value judgement here, but I would assume that a doctor must view his whole life as a doctor and may have a hard time turning off or down the specific information cultivated over years.
I can safely say however, that making and thinking about art has forced me to regularly assess where I am and not to take myself too seriously. In making, I have to continuously renew my sense of experimentation. For better or for worse (better I hope) being a contemporary art maker will perpetually keep me just a little inappropriate, a little irresponsible, a little irreverent and on my best days poignantly and playfully poetic.

-Julie Spielman, Galería Perdida

Image: Jacques Tati, foreground, in “PlayTime” (1967),124 minutes, 70mm, Credit Criterion Collection