Tuesday, September 6, 2016

For Thursday, Sept 08


By next class, bring contact info for your three potential artist interviewees, and at least five questions you intend to ask your artist (you might use the same five questions regardless of who you end up interviewing, but you also might have some questions that are specifically tailored to each potential artist. You will only need to conduct one interview for the purposes of this class, but as I said before, please have two fallback options).


Your interview subject should be someone who is doing something you'd like to be doing, after you're out of school -- or perhaps simply someone whose work interests you on some level. You will be interviewing them about how they do their work -- not in terms of art technique (although if that interests you, that could be part of the interview), but how they've arranged their life so they can do work that is meaningful to them. Maybe they're not making their own artwork full time, but they've made space in their lives to feel their artistic impulses somehow.

How have they, logistically, made it work for them to do the sort of work that they're doing? How has their career progressed and developed?

Come to class with at least five potential questions to ask them. If you want to make an initial contact with them before now and then, that would probably be smart, but don't schedule the interview itself until after we've had a chance to develop interview questions further, in Wednesday's class. I'd recommend saying you'd like an interview of about 20 or 30 minutes. You can frame it like this:

"I am taking a class called Professional Practices, and part of the aim of the class is to think about how, practically, we will pursue art-making after we graduate from school. One of the projects is to interview an artist about their career -- how it has progressed, and how they have managed to balance their work and their life. The Professor has asked us to gather information about the practical, logistical and business side of art practice. I know that some artists are reluctant to get into the details of that aspect of their work, but if you would be available for a 20 to 30 minute interview on that topic, I'd be very grateful." Obviously you can make it more specific to your target interviewee.


I am going to have you do a "close reading" of two interviews with artists, one this week (due Thursday 9/8), and one next week (due Thursday 9/15). Find two artists whose work has something in common (in terms of themes or style) with your current work. One artist should be a living, contemporary artist, and one should be a dead artist (a 20th century or earlier artist would be ideal). Look up a substantial interview with each artist, print out or copy the interview, and mark up the interview using the following format. You will probably have to add a page or two of commentary to expand on some of these elements. I have no preference whether you do the close reading of the contemporary artist or the dead artist first.

UNDERLINE what you think are the main, most interesting quotes in the article, and in a brief sentence for each, explain why you think those quotes are particularly interesting.

ASTERISK any words or names you don't know, and look them up, providing definitions/brief bios.

MAKE A VOCABULARY LIST of what you think are the key terms and concepts the artist is talking about.

SUMMARIZE the world view of the artist, as it appears in the interview. What is the artist's work "about?" What sorts of historical, social, political, formal, and aesthetic ideas does the artist's work engage?

There are two purposes for this assignment – one, to give you potential avenues for talking about your work by example, and two, to potentially broaden your set of contemporary and historical art references when talking about your work. In one form or another, the work you're making now is in conversation with artworks and aesthetic questions that may be decades or centuries old – hopefully this exercise will help you position yourself in that conversation in the most articulate way possible.

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