Turner Prize shocker: what next? Plus, Teresita Fernndez in Miami


The newspaper put coasties brought to you in association with bonhams auctioneers since seventeen ninety three to find out more visit bottoms dot com. Hello and welcome to the art newspaper. Cursed I'm Ben. Luke thanks thanks for joining us a bit later. We'll hear from the artists Tarazi to Fernandez. Who Show are the Perez Art Museum in Miami is one of the highlights? The huge number of exhibitions and events programmed to coincide with this is art Basel in Miami Beach Art Fan but I the turn of price on Monday. It was announced that this is shortlisted artists. Lawrence Abba Hamden Helen Kabq Oscar Morillo. Anti Shawny had requested that the jewelry consider awarding the price to them as a collective the jury unanimously decided to honor that request and so for the first time in its thirty five year history. The prize was awarded not one winner but to all four shortlisted artists his letter that the artists wrote to the jury after after a number of discussions. We've come to a collective view that we'd like to be considered together for this year's award we therefore writing to request that you as a jury might consider awarding the prize to the four of us collectively collectively and not to any of US individually. We hope that you will both understand an honor the position we arrived at this year. You selected a group of artists to perhaps more than ever before in the prices history or engaged in forms of social or participatory practice. Most specifically each of us makes art about social and political issues and context. We believe of great the importance and urgency the politics deal with differ greatly and for us. It would feel problematic if they were pitted against each other. With the implication that one was more important significant Komo worthy of attention than the others. None of us had met each other prior to the Turner Prize however on our initial meeting in Margate we quickly realized the underlying shared ethos that runs across so otherwise very different practices at this time of political crisis in Britain much of the world when they've already signed much that divides an isolates people in communities. We feel strongly motivated to use the occasion of the prize to make collective statement in the name of commonality multiplicity and solidarity in art as in society in interview since being awarded the prize. The artistic confirmed that they had planned this intervention almost as soon as they met and it was presented to the tate trustees before being formally presented to the jury and indeed. They were hints at their plans in interviews. We did with scam. Rio and Helen. Camac on the art newspaper cost early this year. Let's say what they say. I his Oscar. Your the term prices is complicated situation. I am obviously clear on it. Initially by the jury who took time looking at my work unto warranted to grant it it being to be part of these these selection of of foreign credible artists. And I think that already is AH price. I actually have zero k beyond now doing a brilliant show contemporary and his Helen's it a few weeks later the other three artists and I have been having discussions about how important it is that we consider the idea of a group. Show the idea that there's something collegiate that's happening. We've been talking about the relationships. CBS between our work. Because fundamentally the idea that we're in competition which with each other for a prize is really because there aren't enough opportunities for the autism in the UK and that's the that's the thing that's really frustrating about it is that we shouldn't be in competition. No artists should have to be in competition with each other because we work in very different ways and actually there should be enough space for everybody to be working and thinking and progressing and having conversations in a way that it's not about trying to be the best or trying to behead or seen more fully than the next person but unfortunately when opportunities opportunities are quite lacking. That's what happens. And so the way that we've been thinking about and talking about it is is is trying to somehow interrupt the under in a different way now at the ceremony itself at ten contemporary in Margate the political background to the Artis request was fleshed. Out even more in Helen chemic- speech. Here's an excerpt from that speech. We believe when grouped together such practices become incompatible with the competition format whose tendency is to divide and individualized the contention issues in our work would undermine our individual artistic efforts to show a world entangled the issues we still with our as inseparable as this climate chaos is from capitalism. We each seek to use art to push the edges of issues. Mapping the bleed of one into another across time across sexualities. He's across the realm of the real and the imagined and through walls and borders. The Turner Prize is given to a British artist or artist working in Britain this year as it has often done in the past the price sought to expand what it means to be British. We find this significant in an era marked by the rise of the right and then Renewal Fascism in an nearest conservatives hostile environment that has paradoxically made each of us and many of our friends and family again increasingly unwelcome in Britain and and this is supported by an environment of normalized racism and ideologically driven brutality of austerity the privatization of social services and healthcare destruction of education a corrupt media and the prioritization of corporate interests above all else isolation exclusion of the weapons of this hostile environment. And it is the Knicks. We seek to stand against by making the symbolic gesture of cohesion in nine days. We have the chance to turn gesture into action to vote. For the collective benefit of our shed futures none of us had met each other prior to the Turner Prize Nomination Baton Racial Meeting in Margate. We quickly not realize the shared ethos that runs across our otherwise very different practices. So what does this mean for the future of the prize. I'm joined boy. Louisa Buck the Contemporary Contemporary Art correspondent for the newspaper who is a member of the Turner Prize jury in Two Thousand Five Louisa. I'd let each a sort of imagine you're back in two thousand and five when you're on the Turner Prize is jury and you'll sitting in the boardroom looking out over the Thames and incomes somebody from the tight with a letter from the artists requesting rather than giving the price to one of them. You would all four of them. What do you think you damn well gobsmacked and quite flawed because obviously the whole purpose of the turn uh of do slept the shortlist of four to select a winner? But I have to say that I turned down. Judging the Turner Prize twice because the shortlisted artists weren't given any money for the exhibition in any kind of recognition of being on the shortlist. It was only when actually they all got something for being shortlisted. I then loftily agreed to do it. So it fits with my ethos but it would have been very disconcerting. Certainly yes but the pilot prize is punishing for artists and the one past. The Post is not very friendly towards judging many different art forms of aren't thoughts on that able to assess in the same sort of way but to be honest to my mind when I was judging the town of prize it was more important. Mm for me to get a really strong shortlist of four nominees really artists who who'd made interesting valuable contributions over the last year and they're exhibitions that to me. Was the key thing to get a really strong for artists. I could hold my head up and be really proud of that shortlist and then who won over and above that to my mind was considerably less important potent. I think that's why I mean one thing that is probably not very well understood. Is that demands. The Turner Prize at she places on artists. Can you say something about what kind of experience they yeah have women. So I think it's mellowed out because everyone's become more media savvy and we live in a kind of society of spectacle in a way that you know fifteen twenty years ago. We didn't put certain. Certainly you know in its heyday. The Turner Prize was absolutely punishing artists sponsored by Channel Four. Who made a short film about the to? The artist had to become trail by camera crew in studios in interviewed about male sound. Very sort of normal and so what to us but actually autism often very private people their studios sanctuary. And it's a real ordeal. Then you get the whole blaze of publicity and in the past to gain. The Turner Prize used to arrive and caught it. I would argue a great deal of controversy. They wanted people to be discussing arguing king and saying what's all this rubbish. Contemporary explain. Explain we don't like it and the artist would take the brunt of that and it was very very punishing them as they beforehand for instance. They they would've had reviews in say freeze magazine and an art magazines out monthly and things may have been critical but when they entered the Turner Prize arena suddenly. Got One more pers us. No and two more voluminous. And also by non specially so people you would get people saying this season. Rei Tool for instant. Yeah you get a lot of tabloid flag and lots of personal attacks. Some just general kind of putting face above the parapet. You suddenly became this kind of weird celebrities an autism. Some artists loved him and Grayson Perry absolutely thrived Wolfgang. Tillman's wins who's very kind of even-tempered passionate person thrived as well. He was fine with it. But you know other artists found it really really punishing quite often. Actually artists have well. Let's not publicized to much declined to accept the nomination a tool Sarah Lucas Julian. opie Kenneth when Evans all decided for various reasons and I would argue mainly the kind slammed the slaughter publicity fast aspect decided not to actually take the nomination. I think there was that that was interesting about this series. Of course the artists had had that option. Didn't they but why do you think it's differently. See why do you think if they had problems with the idea of being in competition with other artists. Why didn't they then say say from the off? Well actually no Adriano being complicated because of course the other side of the coin is that you know you get a great deal of exposure. Your Work Lobby. It'll tape cups. You'll solo show at tate or whatever other venues hosting Turner Prize you know with a great deal of high profile it ups your market value it ups your general general kind of currency and leverage as an artist and crucially in this case as an individual. Because you know you are speaking on live television the awards ceremony. You can say what you. There's not much they can. Do you know throwing you off the stage. So actually you have an extraordinary amount of leverage in a limited amount of time and I think that was very significant for these particular artists. tis In this time. I wonder woman. Also Tajani's came on this podcast sometime ago and talked very eloquently. I think about about the fact that she was showing doing very widely but actually was struggling to make ends meet and there's this perception again of of successful artists being successful financially. And actually for for tie I would've felt I would. I would imagine it would have been very difficult for her to say no because it does even even. If she hadn't won the prize she would have at least had a five thousand pound fee. And as you say her the with greater exposure in there for potentially been able to so more more work and make make ends meet a little bit better. I mean isn't endorsement. In even though it's not the great sort of weathervane yardstick used to be Actually it's all calm down publicity-wise as well to great extent. Because I think you know. Generally contemporaries achieved its aim. The Turner Prize has has put contemporary out into the cultural mainstream. People shocked and appalled at something isn't either a marble sculpture or painting on canvas. If they'll from quite short that'd be we'll do book paintings on campus in the tender price. So there is that sense has been has succeeded in that in that in that way is now one prize among many. We've all funding an all sponsorship ship and autism ability to live and work in central London central central parts of cities or be able to work and support themselves at all being so limited. Now as you say. Any kind of funding is gratefully received. Prizes have become a sort of weird alternative revenue stream. I think the Hamlin the woods which is much kind to artists the war because because he was an artist a lump sum just by being them. They haven't got to do anything for it. But you know it's helped lots of artists to actually continue functioning as artists. So yes I think the awesome didn't want to turn it down because isn't endorsement it. Also it slightly. This is all the other Turner Prize shortlist. If you turn it down it sort of looks. It's like you're in some way morally higher than them or on some kind of high ethical plan so yes they did take the the nomination but then as we subsequently discovered you he decided to something rather radical with it. Now we heard from Oscar and Helen in a couple of quakes rarely a focus and we subsequently read in a Guardian interview that this was planned over a long period. The no it wasn't something that came to them very recently right from the start. It seems they had this mutual idea that they were. They found the competitive aspect of distasteful. Taste food. I think it's really interesting. None of them had met before they became Turner. Shortly wasn't they've been cooking up this dog plot. You know as a sort of an idea to subvert the Turner China Prize Way Way Way back when but as you say. It wasn't a last minute decision. Either they had decided back in the summer as we discovered from this interview. And I think people is. Is this the end of the tunnel process as we know obviously the artists have in effect stage very soon genteel polite but bloodless coup. They've taken it over. I mean they've they've said to the jurors we're going to tell you to appoint as the winner and it's all of us and we're a collective and it's a fatal compli now. I would argue that. They did this. It's not necessarily to subvert the Turner Prize at sort of rebellious peevish autistic gesture against prize. That is as you said problematic for artists because I think they felt it was. It was quite a complex thing on the one hand all of their practice. It's very very different. Each mark. Different art works. I mean it ties. Shani's voluptuous optimus performances with many of texts proposing post patriarchal world Oscar Morello's many many investigations here with these figures it talking about global economy workforce's the kind of subjugation of that. And then you go ahead and looking back into the into the women's role in in in in the in the in the protests in Northern Ireland and the way in which women paid a role within that specifically benedict aveline and then of course orange labral Hamdan talking about about the way in which oral histories all experiences can be used in a kind of forensic way to to to investigate human rights and the extensive prisoners. I mean I'm going on a bit because it's rich multilayered work. But they are all raising very complex and really important sociopolitical issues. I think they felt because they work was so dependent. Predicated about these issues. You couldn't sort of privilege one over the other and go okay. You know feminism here over human rights over shared histories over. This would have been a kind of anomalous weird thing for them to do so. It's got a awful lot to do. I think about that practices artists. How they oh? How shared collective ethos that was appropriate for this kind of gesture? I think for me that I found that slightly. Tricky because lost your shortlist with I think similarly politically and socially engaged in the sense that you had Well districts take just take the winner Charlotte process work. He's very poetic and in some ways enigmatic but of absolutely central to it is your identity as a queer woman and I think this is in a way the jury last. He was able to make the decision. Yes you know all four these artists. We shortlisted them. They all of their work has merit but Charlotte's were in this particular. A year has been the strongest now in a way again all the artists sort of raw the restricting the respect that the jury Rican show to the artists by making this decision by taking that judgment away from them. Does it some somehow. It's sort of disrespectful to the jury. Themselves is really problematic. You could the Olarte his personal. All art is political. All artists dared to the artists heart. And therefore you know on the one hand none of them can be privileged over the other because it's apples impasse different kinds of expression as I banged on about different kinds of art forms. In this shortlist they are very multifarious but I think what was key here also the key ingredient. It was the dynamic between the artists themselves. You know last year shortlist. These artists didn't reach that consensus agreement. Yes yes of course. The same principals could apply. That was a lot of the work had political engagement and was grappling with with big issues. But the difference. Is this here. The artists themselves I felt between each other dynamic between them. The combination was his key element where they reach this agreement among sales and I would argue. That was a kind of unique strange confluence influence of a perfect storm. If you like of people coming together personalities interest I mean. Their incomes are very different Oscar winners incredibly successful in the international Yeah well tie Shawnee as we said has publicly said she struggled to make ends meet but they will have big ambition as artists. But I think in this case they will thought actually amongst each other they would feel awkward with dynamic between them if one of them actually was privileged over the in terms of what they did but yes they did undermine the Jerry because they said that the jury. We're not going to buy buy what you what we're going to tell you what you should do. One of the things that they've said is about the particular divisive moment that we're living in and it seems to me. This became particularly you. Were at the ceremony today and I think it really became clear in in the speech that they'd written that Helen read out which very very specifically addressed certain issues which was sort of generally alluded to in the letter. So for instance the rise of the right the rise of fascism the brutality of austerity in Britain so very specific issues and and it seems to me. The fact that we've got an election is now a week away. It seems to me that you know why that might be the this'll tipping point that. Hey we are in a very very particular an moment which is yes just social division across society but also you know a a an election that is seen as a once in a generation moment. Do you think that that particular heightened feeling I think absent that the other key element you have the nature of the artworks themselves. You have the dynamic between the artist and then absolutely crucial. You have this moment where we're just before general election as you say this kind of generation ration- defining election. I mean everybody before. The prize was announced at the dinner was talking about the status quo. The political situation. This election what we're going to do. How futile we all felt how how impulsively bleak the situation seemed? I mean. Of course you know. You've got the old liberal elite there in droves but there was very much that sense talking about the current status quo. You wouldn't let me talk about all that stuff it at a price Washington. You might have bit but this is really the conversation so then when the statement was when the result was announced and saying you know they wanted to make us show of solidarity of communality in these divided times you know. Oh Wow this is what we've just been talking about out. Someone actually doing something they making gesture. Of course it's a symbolic gesture. Of course it's just an off. Price is not going to save the NHL stop institutional racism or austerity but there was a sense of them actually standing up and being counted so when Helen actually did read out this joint statement that they made about joint acceptance there. Was this absolutely literally trenchant. Disavowal of government policy the specifics of as as you said austerity of racism divisiveness. Everyone was everyone was absolutely enthralled by it because it was it was felt somebody was actually. They were actually doing something. Congress about the terrible situation and with they even mentioned the election coming up. I mean they weren't party politically what they said. They were a party political but they didn't make any obvious statement but of course they will but decks Tories out necklaces and vote Labour stickers. So so you know now that colors fatty firmly to the most and they could use another reason why they what we wanted to accept the nomination. They didn't know back in June. That was going to be the selection but there was a sense I think also of using using the platform the public platform national news on the BBC to be able to stand up and you know we are artists. We are people we live in this world and we care. I think what the most interesting thing now is what effect this has on future prices because easy. Just this very very heightened moment and then can Cam Newton Cam the prize return to next year. I think it's so depends on what's happening next year. Who shortlisted I mean? We've said the prize isn't this great big benchmark that it used to be isn't the lightning rod for all people all kind of prejudices and concerns and and debate around on contemporary art that it used to be contemporary has ended the cultural mainstream. It's not this. Seething mass of controversy but on the other hand is still the big op top prize in the UK. There's no doubt about it because it does have this first-past-the-post element I mean. There's not forget in the past. You know artist Jala Martin spits. It's hard prize. Money between the four winners in two thousand twenty sixteen I think and that's not forget. Also it was given to an architectural collective assembles. There has already been insensitive communality and collectively nibbling away at the Turner Prize Anyway. And there's no doubt that you know in the future it may well have other elements along those lines. But I really do think that you know it depends on the dynamic between the artis shortlisted who shortlisted what. The situation is at the time I mean off to the year after Helen Martin Split her prize money for ways. Charlotte project stood up and was very happy to receive her check for being the prize winner and nobody thought. ooh That's rampant individualist. How dare she'd be a good testicle when jolly good she deserved it? You know so I think it really will vary that. According to so many different aspects of of the circumstances the artists Dynamic I think the prize is still got some legs. But they're just not such speed important ones. This now is an option of course and it may be that other groups of artists in the past. I've had similar conversations but just never never thought it would be possible to make this kind of intervention but now is an intervention on the table noticed the in the interview afterwards on the BBC news program which as you say was live on TV TV. Tie Shawny said it's up to the artists next year and the NEC again sort of it does make it rather difficult for an artist to a certain degree to into to then stand up and accept the prize on their own next year in an in a way that I think is a slightly different to just dividing the prize. Money it's to say `I as an artist feel feel happy accepting this prize above the other three artists in a way these these this year's artists of kind of set a grounding which which which makes diff- more difficult pickled than it was before to simply get up and say yes. I deserve this. I'm really delighted to win the Spurs. That's true I mean. Gauntlett has been thrown down and is challenged manage the prize new set. And you saw the whites of the take. Curator's this off to the results have been announced and indeed annex focus and director of tape Britain knew there was. There's definite free solve unease about of course public. There will very supportive about it. He's the jury so he accepted the excitement. The couldn't really refuse very difficult. And and I I agree. It is complicated. It is a gaudence. Being thrown. Down is a challenge. I mean I think they will still hold a ton of prime next year. Let's see I think very interesting interesting another. It's another challenge for the artists. Really you know they've already got face the publicity having some major show very short notice that they are shortlisted things and indeed. Yeah the prospect of a large chunk of prize money no bad thing but it is another pressure to put on them as to how to respond to that challenge. It's been done but I still would argue. It's very dependent on the kind word that was being produced. I mean all is for artists. were making very political work. It's very collective work participation rework. It wasn't one person on their own in the studio wrestling with a canvas. You know was a different kind of communality to it and is a very we live. In strange times it is a particularly uneasy. Phibro brawl anxious making time. And I think if they haven't responded to that someone discount jolly good. Thank you very much not made any reference in this speech. That would seem quite weird as as well so I think we really do have to wait and see. I suppose that one option for the tate would be to than our institute the set of rules which say you you know. Artists can own only must be awarded to one artist but the program as if they do that. They're in some way disrespecting this year's hottest of dumb this you you know then. They're denying this kind of collectively that we've we've been admiring on this on this podcast today. So there's lots of ways in which the hands are tied basically does present the tate with a with a series a tricky decisions. Tonight is very complicated. Now because as you say if they'd still this rule it looks like they've devalued. What happened here when everybody's been saying how marvelous it is? And how all of the judges said they felt honored to to be able to comply with requests in the shortlisted artists. But I still think that off the record tate will be very firmly saying next year. The shortlisted autism. We want to give one artist this prize. We don't want to have any more of this kind of Malarkey. Thank you very much because it does undermine the ethos of the prize fries but then maybe maybe then artists will refuse to take part. Maybe it really could spell the death-knell of televised. I think it's a shame. Aim if there isn't some kind of assessment every year of taking the pulse of what's going on what for very subjective individuals because that's what the jury is feel the most interesting getting off shows of the year before it's a way to give artists money. It's a way to give us exposure. It's a way to show. Maybe they just have to have it as a foreshore is prize. Maybe maybe getting rid of the prize. I mean I always felt it was problematic hence me behold lofty. You're not doing it until something felt some money for for putting on the show and so maybe the time has come not to get rid of the prize but just to choose. Four artists who they feel of autism made the most significant contribution that would be the way to do it. Let the artists judge the format of the prize dictate the format of the prize. And let these these four artists produce that in the future. Mind boggles about what happens next year. When we're hurtling towards another no deal brexit and Donald Trump wins his second took anyway Louisa? Thank you very much for joining. You can reduce its comment on this story at the art newspaper Dot Com and you can listen to those full interviews with Helen Cameras and Maria both in June two thousand nineteen wherever you get your put coasts. The turn of prize exhibition continues at Turner Contemporary in Margate until the twelfth of January twenty twenty and admission is free. We'll be back talking to Tarazi. See to Fernandez. After this. The multitalented French avoca poet painter writer and filmmaker Jean Cocteau upto was in his late sixty s when he had ceramics to his creative bow producing first pieces in nine hundred fifty seven three himself into this new passion who such energy that within a a year he held a Solo Exhibition of ceramic works in Paris before his death in nineteen sixty three. He created three hundred pieces selection of which comes to buns prints multiple sale in December bonham's head of Princeton Multiples Lucia show. Santa Fe said this is the largest and most representative collection cocteau ceramics ever seen auction throughout his life. The artist I just off the classical myths and legends inspiration. This influence is very evident in his ceramic pieces. Were rendered with a clean graphic lines. There was such an important part of his artistic artist. Expression more about the story visit bombs dot com. Welcome back now. The Miami Artists Teresita Fernandez has returned home for her. I Mitt Korea survey which is being shown at the Perez Art Museum. In Miami this large galaxy addition reaches more than fifty sculptures installations. Drawings Wall pieces made by Fernandez over the past Twenty Years Editor in the Americas. Helen stoneless visited Fernandez in her New York. Studio to discuss the show. So this is your first full museum retrospective and it's also a return to Miami for you not just as the city that you were born in but where you got your start as an artist you got your BFA at the Florida International University and you got some of your first shows in Miami. Do you think you could talk a little bit about that. What it was like kind of coming coming up in Miami as a young artist yes so just just to clarify? Though I've lived in New York for over twenty years years which a lot of people don't know sometimes they think that just because I'm from Miami. I've lived there but I've actually lived in and worked in Brooklyn New York for since nineteen ninety seven but I did go to undergraduate school in Miami before going into a lot of other places and doing graduate school in Virginia and then traveling sort of all over the world but Miami was The place that I moved back to Right after graduate school. And where I I started sort of working on my own outside of school context ext so yeah. It is a return for me. And it's It's really important that my first mid career retrospective is in my my hometown. Because so much of my work really is about place. And about sort of unraveling relationship to place so it was was loaded in lots of ways personally as well to be able to conceptualize it within that framework and it also seems. Is it like a city that really encapsulates a lot of the themes that you explore in your work. This idea of landscape this idea of the American landscape and scape and how that's changed shouldn't what's going on not just naturally but politically and socially. Yeah absolutely I mean. Miami is an immigrant city. It's a it's it's a city built on the Labor of immigrant people and Black and Brown people so my family happens to be from Cuba. They came right after the revolution. But certainly Miami which is very young town as well was was very much built on the Labor of Bahamians and end Haitians and Cubans and so this sort of very expansive sense of a Caribbean presence in the city. That goes back a very a long way and the viewer the audience becomes a really integral part of your work very often especially in these large-scale installations it's really about experiencing in in the middle of the work yes absolutely in fact Early on when my work in the very early days when my work looked more architectural architectural people would often ask me questions about my relationship to architecture or whether I was an architect or whether I had studied architecture and I didn't I was very much a sculptor. Oh conceptual artists. Who had whose practice was rooted in sculpture? But I always said that my connection to the architectural had to do with with human scale it had to do with that immersive component of US viewers sort of being immersed in in in the spatial context and negotiating that and traversing. That and one of these early immersive installations borrowed landscape deep from one thousand nine hundred eighty eight. That was part of your work that you created out of your artist residency at art pays in San Antonio that's going to be in the current show right yes sir. Borrowed landscape was created in at art based at the residency in one thousand. Nine hundred ninety It's actually the last last place I was in my travels before moving to New York and taking up residence here. Permanently and the piece consists us of these five sculptural volumes made out of fabric and wood and drawing and artificial light and they are references to seventeenth century formal gardens as well as Japanese traditional garden techniques that have to do with this little accuse and idea of unraveling space by tracing the geometric patterns with your moving body which is essentially what you do. When you're you're moving through one of those shaped par terre hedges versus I of all living comb so that pieces of the exhibition and I hadn't seen it for twenty years so it was sort of a a a delightful moment to be able to pull it out of storage and install it again? That's that's great. Can you talk a little bit about what it's like revisiting. Some of those early works as an artist. I mean how you re approach them and how have they changed in your eyes you know. Yeah so so the the show there are over fifty pieces in the show and they come from different periods of time from the last twenty years And yet it's it's a kind of exercise and Mining One's past and in some cases I was pleasantly surprised and really found works folks that are included in the show that that felt very fresh demand. That felt very connected to the work that I'm doing now especially conceptually And I was. I was also surprised just to see how how well some of them had had held up and I'm not talking about their physical conditions. But they're kind of sort of laser focus on specific themes that are still really important to me now. And how. As a young artist I was was very much Unraveling these notions of the viewer navigating and way finding on all of these different levels. That are physical immersive like you mentioned before but also metaphorical and poetic and and that have a whole lot to do with imagining projecting oneself into different scenarios and spaces. Do you think audiences have become a bit more Tuned to that kind of work. Did you find your work being experienced in a different way twenty years ago than it is now. Do you think people are more used to these kinds of immersive. Works where you're walking into them as part of the experience and they see more of that or there was a lot of installation happening than to In this in this particular iteration of the exhibition what I've done is I've basically created a views the landscape of the gallery. It's a very series of been gallery spaces almost as a kind of landscape that you're traversing a journey that you're moving through through through the spaces and so what I've done is I've taken a lot of old works arranged. Sort of bye bye bye. I period of time but also by by themes such as you know subterranean nocturnal radiance A different sorts of visual cues and I've arranged them so that they're kind of installations made out of a lot of different individual works So they've never been seen in that way so you might walk into a room and walk underneath a piece. That suspended over your head. Had called Vertigo Vertigo ensue. And then you might look down onto another work. That's a mirror on the floor that you reflected in but that also reflects flex everything around it and so the shadows and the reflection of one works bill into the work next to it so all of the works together are kind of creating their own installation installation as well. Just the the exhibition in itself is kind of a greater work of art exhibition is like it's like a series of containers. And so you know. The first container is actually the city as a reference and it's it's like concentric containers And then there's a museum within that city and it's a very particular museum in a very very particular city and so each of the galleries are then like a subsequent container and within that there are Installations that are their very own kind of rooms that you walk into That are Dark or for that sort of shift your attention. Can we talk. About some of your more recent works the kind of burned Charcoal based installations. That are kind of about contemporary American society. And how what those came out of. I've seen seen some burn drawings based on landscapes in Puerto Rico. Is that right. And then you have these massive maps of the US maps of the world that are made out of charcoal kind of wall pieces sculptural wall pieces that map out the world. What was the kind of starting point for those kinds of works? And how did they develop into these massive massive maps well. It's interesting that you think of that. Work as more contemporary or more related to contemporary issues. Because that is true but only because because they connect to historical issues and so a lot of my work really deals with uncovering the kind of erasure at that exists around ideals of place in landscape and using materials that very directly speak to the violence embedded in the colonial colonial landscape. And in what we think of In these prescribed settings like even the Word Word America or the Americas and how in the United States America's always used in the singular. But you know in the rest of the Western Hemisphere word that is used plural as the Americas and so these sort of a preconceived notions that we have often from a point of view of American exceptionalism awesome as well of not even understanding where we are because what things get named and how borders get a Shifted and controlled are all about who who the winners are and who has power. And who has the ability to control that so the whole all series are made with charcoal and with images of fire are both a reference to indigenous techniques of slash burn which were used three throughout the Americas to keep the land sustainable and to keep agricultural cycles healthy and and viable and also a metaphor for place and landscape as also inherently violent because the physical earth and the materials used in these pieces whether they're gold referring into colonization or charcoal which is basically burn trees They very much point to a kind of social. Burning as as well a kind of these embers of of a social political aftermath and repercussion of all of that ongoing trajectory of centuries of abuse on the landscape but also off on a press people's it's very powerful work to see you in person and we see some kind of examples of not the same works but similar works in your studio and I I think another interesting element of your public art installations you've talked about. Creating public are not just because of that scale of working in that at scale but also the opportunity to work in a public space and what it means to work in a public space you were previously part of the US Commission of fine fine arts which is kind of involved in this design and artistic vision of American designs for memorials. Auriol's coins a national identity for art. But that I don't currently have an artist on their commission anymore. Your your tenure kind ended in two thousand sixteen. Is that right I was on the Commission of Fine Arts. I was appointed by Barak Obama And I was on it for a few years And the Commission of Fine Arts is is a is an entity a commission of six people The the change in rotate and they basically advise a congress and the president on matters of design so things things that happened on the National Mall any monuments that kind of thing And so it was it was a great responsibility and honor to have been appointed to that. And certainly certainly I am a big champion of of what can happen in the public sphere and the public realm when it's when that's done responsibly. which is one of the reasons why I'm so interested in creating public art and engaging with the public because if begs you know oh always the question of what public you know and so there there's always The public is this the public station mark. Sorry is this very mutable. Uh thing and I'm this very much connects to these these. These ideas that that I'm interested in exploring erasure and so place and the landscape are more often about what you don't see what you do see so for example. We are sitting Karen my studio in Brooklyn on land. Stolen the not land as well as the rest of the art world in the city and these sort of like Peeling back the layers of where you are Are really important. And so when I do something in the public realm when they make a big public outdoor peace Fatima Ghana that I did in Madison Square Park in two thousand fifteen For me it's it's a it's an enormous opportunity to A not disappear right to really take up space in this very visible way but also you know in the case of Ghana it was it was smid of these overhead mirrors that That covered all of the walkways in the park and it was really a way of doubling and creating kind of portrait of the Urban Camille and of who really does make up that public and so for example. When we were doing the programming everybody kept talking about the public and and I was very curious about this because the public is also the people that don't get named and so that part for example sits in the flat iron district strict surrounded by all of these expensive condos and Italy and all these different expensive restaurants but at lunchtime the people who use the the park are all the people who work in the back of the kitchen in those places and they somehow weren't counting as the public and so I created a lot of the programming around it which is an important part of what I do when I do public art? For example I had a series of bilingual poetry readings I did a collaboration with Stephen Patrol new which basically invited The public you know skill. They're unskilled to participate the pay in a kind of choreographed. A musical dance kind of I don't even know what to call so it was really like a kind of performance piece in the space. I also did a collaboration with India. Selye who and basically recreated in in the peace underneath Fatima Ghana The other way is which in colonial times in Cuba was the only day that enslaved Africans could perform and sing and dance a religious dances basically publicly and so again there was this sort of re scripting of what constitutes public space and that event for example which to the public kind of looked like a sort of festival with you. Know drumming coming and Lyrics that were composed for it and dancing was actually a religious event was actually a religious festival festival. Kind of rooted in Afro Critic. African religion and so that was sort of invisible to some public but really visible to other public so that idea of who constitutes the public and what is seen them. What isn't is something that's at at the core of what I do so whenever I create a public art work there are two things happening simultaneously? There's the physical artwork that gets built. Which is the thing you see in point two and get photographed and then there's a kind of social structure that I'm creating underneath that usually gets implemented in the programming and then in how the context around the physical structure is owned with full agency? So that the deliberateness of the concepts is Kept in tact. There's been a lot of discussion lately. Not just about art in the public sphere but more permanently what gets memorialized and what gets monumental is through our in a very deliberate way and we've been seeing a lot of movement to memorialize long overlooked people. Long overlooked groups long overlooked figures that have been very important to American history but until now have not been included in the monument making. They haven't they haven't been involved in that. Is that something that you're interested in. Do you think you would see your work. Being able to design a monument to historical figures out. Something you'd WanNa be involved in Absolutely yes I think. Actually that I mean I've I've I've certainly designed Permanent structures that are monuments. They don't always have to be figurative in order to commemorate an event or person even Certainly when we see things like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial there. There's nothing figurative there and yet it's one of the most powerful memorials that we have so I absolutely see see myself engaging in that kind of monument making or memorial making Because I think it's really important at the moment I'm I'm making a permanent peace of for the rooftop of Bam here in Brooklyn and I also have a permanent peace. That's about the length of a city block. DOC called Seattle cloud cover which is permanently installed and part of the infrastructure at the Seattle Art Museums Olympic sculpture. Park I'll suggest I Finished a permanent peace in New Orleans in the best of Sculpture Garden And it's Avista sixty feet long and definitely very permanent so I think what's interesting and important about monumentally and you know even memorials regardless of what their to is that sense of permanence and so for a long time the visibility you and the permanence. The thing that doesn't get embraced has has been defined by whoever sort board of Can connect to the cannon and to You know quite frankly to white supremacy. You know those are. Those are the monuments that have the most visibility ability in this country. And so I think that there's there's really a important raw responsibility to shift these narratives because those those public monuments that take up space that are cast in bronze that are permanent. That are not going anywhere for hundreds of years. Are What an and how people learn about history and for those of us in the art world where sometimes a little bit in the bubble but the way that public monuments are supposed to work as the people who may not know anything about art art history can look at them and understand something and so I think that This this a push for monuments where people of Color can see themselves is incredibly important because if you are a four year old child on a school trip and you look up and you only see people that don't look like you be commemorated. It's very hard to imagine That that that you can be in a position of power one day but it's also a very effective way to raise the violence. Silence that colonization has created and that is our shared reality regardless of you. Know what what What you identify with personally great? Well thank you so much terrorists. And it's been wonderful. Speaking with you create thank you the terrorist Fernandez elemental is at the art museum. Miami until the ninth of February Twenty Twenty Twenty and at the Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona from the twenty first of March until the twenty sixth of July. And that's all for this week. You can read all the news from Miami in the daily papers. If you're at the fair itself South on our website at the newspaper come or on at for which he can find in the APP store you can subscribe to the newspaper of the art newspaper Dot Com where you can find the subscription to sue you while you're there. You can also subscribe for free to our daily newsletter and our monthly newsletter. Good art market. I do subscribe to the podcast if you haven't already and if you've enjoyed it please leave a rating or review on Apple podcasts. It helps others to find us the art newspaper. PODCAST is produced by Judy and housekeeper. Dawson and David Clack and David is also the editor Sir. Thanks to Louisa and Teresita and thank you for listening. Join US next week. 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