- Manal Abu-Shaheen
- Vahap Avşar
- Jesus Benavente and Felipe Castelblanco
- Brian Caverly
- Kerry Downey
- Magali Duzant
- Golnaz Esmaili
- Mohammed Fayaz
- Kate Gilmore
- Jonah Groeneboer
- Bang Geul Han and Minna Pöllänen
- Dave Hardy
- Sylvia Hardy
- Shadi Harouni
- Janks Archive
- Robin Kang
- Kristin Lucas
- Carl Marin
- Eileen Maxson
- Melanie McLain
- Shane Mecklenburger
- Lawrence Mesich
- Freya Powell
- Xiaoshi Vivian Vivian Qin
- Alan Ruiz
- Samita Sinha and Brian Chase
- Barb Smith
- Monika Sziladi
- Alina Tenser
- Trans-Pecos with 8 Ball Community, E.S.P. TV, and Chillin Island
- Mark Tribe
- Sam Vernon
- Max Warsh
- Jennifer Williams
- An Itinerary with Notes
- Exhibition Views
- A Distant Memory Being Recalled (Queens Teens Respond)
- Overhead: A Response to Kerry Downey’s Fishing with Angela
- Sweat, Leaks, Holes: Crossing the Threshold
- PULSE: On Jonah Groeneboer’s The Potential in Waves Colliding
- Interview: Melanie McLain and Alina Tenser
- Personal Space
- Data, the Social Being, and the Social Network
- Responses from Mechanical Turk
- MAPS, DNA, AND SPAM
- Queens Internacional 2016
- Uneven Development: On Beirut and Plein Air
- A Crisis of Context
- Return to Sender
- Interview: Vahap Avşar and Shadi Harouni
- Mining Through History: The Contemporary Practices of Vahap Avşar and Shadi Harouni
- A Conversation with Shadi Harouni's The Lightest of Stones
- Directions to a Gravel Quarry
- Walk This Way
- Interview: Brian Caverly and Barb Smith
- "I drew the one that has the teeth marks..."
- BEAT IT! (Queens Teens respond)
- Lawn Furniture
- In Between Difference, Repetition, and Original Use
- Interview: Dave Hardy and Max Warsh
- Again—and again: on the recent work of Alan Ruiz
- City of Tomorrow
- Noticing This Space
- NO PLACE FOR A MAP
- The History of the World Was with Me That Night
- What You Don't See (Queens Teens Respond)
- Interview: Allison Davis and Sam Vernon
- When You’re Smiling…The Many Faces Behind the Mask
- Interview: Jesus Benavente and Carl Marin
- The Eternal Insult
- Janking Off
- Queens Theatricality
Excerpted from a conversation between Brian Caverly and Barb Smith, participating artists in Queens International 2016
Both of our works ask to be viewed slowly. The more time the viewer gives, the more they'll experience. Do you have a particular narrative in mind that you hope will unfold as someone explores your piece?
There is something about the way I'm working with the materials, the slowness and strangeness of the processes, and the craftsmanship of everything. It creates a remove while drawing you into the details. I'm also very specific in the language that I use with the objects I make, in terms of emotional, psychological, and historical content.
I was interested in the World’s Fair visible storage here. I was listening to people try to explain to their children about the objects in the case. They'd say, "My grandfather had that," or, "My parents had that, and I remember this about it." They were really trying to spark some interest in those objects. It was a very emotional experience for me. I thought a lot about my parents actually, and the American Dream and what the World's Fair represented in terms of that. Especially in the '60s. I wanted to incorporate some of that into the objects I was already making, that hold some sort of significance or a memory for me. I think the anchor point was actually the Memory Foam piece.
Yes, I was wondering if you could describe that and how you made it.
When I was thinking about the World's Fair, I was thinking a lot about wonder. It made me think about a posture of wonder: standing on your tiptoes. From there, I fixed my impression on a folded sheet of resin soaked Memory Foam.
Another thing I was interested in with your piece is the relationship of the parts to the whole. The structure seems very important. Everything that's painted gray—it plays off the idea of the traditional plinth or pedestal, but then it's obviously very formal.
I always start with objects and then at a certain point I break away and start making components for the bottom. This time I was also looking at the architecture of the World's Fair, which is where the curve in the front comes from. I also knew that I wanted the open wedge, which is a Louise Bourgeois reference. There's definitely a lot of specific references to Minimalism in here, at various scales, which I see as a way to play tag with the boys.
That’s interesting because I feel like the decision I made about scale was also dictated by a relationship to the minimalist object; the box relating to the size of the body, commanding a certain presence. It's a model of architecture, but it is not actual architecture.
There is also a really interesting dialog between our pieces with preciousness, and how preciousness is contained, in terms of the internal space of yours and this exposed space of mine.
Yes, they're kind of opposite ways of dealing with that idea. In your case, they had to actually put an extra layer of tape around it to keep people at a distance. How do you feel about that? Did you know they were going to do that?
Initially the conversation had been about stanchions, which I had opposed because I felt like it was antithetical to what the piece is really asking the viewer to experience. There wasn't enough room for those so we ended up going with the tape. Actually, I photographed the piece prior to the tape, but then after the tape was up, I saw the images and realized that the piece looked naked without the tape. I actually quite like it in terms of it applying another permeable boundary in a way.
Yes, and it takes it one step closer to relating to the rest of the room, because it makes the viewer more aware of other things outside of the piece, like that other small square of tape over there.
How do you think about this type of permeable boundary in your piece?
I want people to desire to be in the piece, but then I create this barrier that keeps them out. The viewing perspectives are intentionally limited; to entice the viewer to approach the piece from multiple vantage points. I’m interested in how the experience of sculpture unfolds over time. It's unique to sculpture, and both of our pieces deal with it—this very physical engagement with someone's body and vision. I think your hidden spaces do that. I really like the places where things disappear as you move around it and then they come back into view.
Did you know you'd use that shade of gray beforehand?
I wanted middle gray. I was thinking a lot about a photographic type of looking, which I think goes back to my earlier work, which was actually photography.
Maybe photography is another connection then, because the floor of my piece is a large constructed photograph. It consists of almost 3,000 individual photographs composited together in photoshop.
Oh, my word.
I made it over a period of about 3 months. That was actually the initial impetus for creating the piece. I was thinking about the accumulative activities that happened in the space over a long period of time.
I love the way that you measure space in this piece. Knowing about the photographs is really interesting for that too in terms of the close examination of your floor and the measurement of your space in that way, but also the way that measurement happens when you're looking through windows, especially with the bars. Then you have this contained entity here. It's just layers upon layers of measuring your space, and also my space. I have a childlike wonderment response to it too, because of the miniaturization.
I thought about displaying the door open but I always come back to this idea of the barrier. Ultimately that's what I was striving for; that in-and-out experience of entering the space psychology, but also being kept out. I think that's part of the choice of scale. I'm not a miniaturist. I don't build train models or architectural models, so I wanted it big enough that it had a real physicality to it.
Yeah, and it's nice because it also realigns me to my own studio space. There's a certain compression or something in the piece, and then also in the way it makes me rethink being in my own space where everything is my scale.
Everything is very disorganized, because it's a documentation of a used space, but at the same time it's very arranged. It's not actually a documentation of my space at one point in time, but a compilation. It’s edited to create a psychological feeling, a certain feeling of mystery and emptiness.
How do you think about the transitory or transitional element in the work and a sort of in-betweenness, a quality of liminality? The interior seems like there's a project that either just finished or about to happen, and then the whole thing is contained in this shipping crate, which is also a very transient, moving object that's protecting something. I have this sense the longer I look at it.
That's a really good observation. This was a very transitional piece for me. It was something that I started at a point where I was stuck in the studio. I began this meditative process of slowly photographing the floor and that lead to other observations of the space.
With the crate I was interested in the idea of the crate being both a functional crate, as well as being a representation of a crate. It was constructed to be functional. When it was picked up at the studio the art handlers didn’t even realize the crate was part of the sculpture, and for me that is part of the idea. I hope that becomes reflected in the piece as it accumulates marks and scratches on the surface from being transported and handled. Over the the course of this exhibition it is accumulating marks as viewers touch it.
Yeah, because the system of signs is something that's also really interesting with this piece. Not just the symbols here but also the language. It's totally pragmatic for what it is, but it also has this double meaning because I'm like, "Oh, fragile. Handle with care. Ride flat." Those start to take on other meanings when you look at what's inside. It's funny because I was photographing my piece and I kept seeing the word fragile and I was like, "Oh, that's perfect actually."
The hands with the box. It's all this care. It's not just your caring, making and caring, looking, but then you're asking for this care with the signs and the language around the box. It's like trust. I think a lot about sculpture for me as being about trust, and I also feel that with your piece as well, as having this invitation and openness. Some dialog about trust, I guess, with the viewer.
There's this certain level of trust that has to exist between them and you, or them and the piece that they engage with; and then open themselves up to the discovery of experiencing the piece and having a personal dialogue with the work.
Yeah, and even the art handlers too. It happens on every level.
I still wanted to ask you about the milk crates.
I started this piece in 2011 and it has evolved over the last five years. I had these milk crates in my studio and they operated as a prop to elevate the sculpture while I worked on it. Over time they seem to become part of the work. Recreating the milk crates within the model was a way of visually connecting the inside to the outside.
I think they're interesting because they're not necessarily something that the museum would use to put a crate on while they were opening it, but I think people can understand them in terms of their utilitarian function, similar to maybe the way that the tape has become part of your piece. I also like that the crates are not in any way precious objects. You were talking about preciousness. It's the least precious thing. You find them on the streets all over the city. It's the least precious, and at the same time most useful thing.
With this sculpture I really wanted to explore different ways of making; there are photographs, 3D printed objects, found objects, and many handmade parts. For instance, the miniature milk crates are 3D printed.
I was wondering how you did them.
I modeled them in Google SketchUp. I think by trying to make a copy of an object (either real or in the virtual world), you learn something integral about its form. You said you use SketchUp a lot. I like the idea of that loop of making something (or making a structure that responds to an object) and then taking that into the computer and virtually trying to understand and manipulate it. There's a shift in the computer where you lose your sense of scale; but then when you bring it back into the real world, you reenter that very human sense of scale in a new way.