“I can’t stand it to think my life is going so fast and I’m not really living it.”
-Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
Are you living? We all exist, but it can be argued that only some of us truly live. It is far too easy, particularly in our time of virtual interaction and digital life, to move through our time on earth without experiencing much beyond our own mind. Of course, there is nothing wrong with spending time in the digital space, it is an imperative for most of us these days, but there is certainly an argument to be made that one should set aside devices, step out the front door, wander in the world, truly live. Otherwise, we risk letting life go by through the lens of others.
Brittany M. Watkins is based in South Carolina where she is beginning to go out as the pandemic eases. As someone who works from home regardless, Watkins admits that not a lot changed for her during lockdown in terms of work. However, last year Watkins’ father became ill unexpectedly and did not make it. Losing her father, who was her closest person to her in the family, changed her work in that she now examines not only how we navigate the external world, she now includes themes of mortality and how we deal with taking care of others as well as a look at our physical bodies. Shortly after losing her father, Watkins was scheduled to attend residency in Eerie, PA. Knowing that he would have wanted her to go, she attended and was able to set up a tour of blighted buildings taken over by the city. These became the basis for work unlike anything she has ever created. To hear more about this and other aspects of her practice, listen to the complete interview.
Lisa le Feuvre is the Executive Director of Holt/Smithson Foundation. She admits that she believes she has the best job that any curator could possibly have. As the first director of this young foundation, she has spend her time building out the idea of what their overall modus operandi should be. The plan is for the foundation to be actively run for 20 years and then close down. Within that time, they intended to establish and research resources for artists. This amount of time is also significant because it will be exactly 100 years after Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson, the foundation namesakes were born. To learn more about Holt/Smithson Foundation including their current show titled Robert Smithson: Abstract Cartography now on at the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York, listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:
Look up from your screen today and set out to experience the world through your own senses.
Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.
Books to Read
Women’s Studio Workshop invites artists to apply for the 2021-2022 Artists-in-Education residency. This is an opportunity for artists to work with school students while creating their own work in a supportive, immersive environment. For full details and to apply, visit the website. Deadline for applications is August 1.
Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists; Making it in the Art World, New Markets for Artists, The Art World Demystified, Fund Your Dreams Like a Creative Genius, Sell Online Like a Creative Genius, and Succeed with Social Media Like a Creative Genius. His book, Making it in the Art World, is available now with bonus content here.
From 24 June to 20 August 2021, Marian Goodman Gallery and Holt/Smithson Foundation will present the first exhibition of Robert Smithson’s work in the gallery’s New York space. The exhibition, Abstract Cartography, will focus on a crucial five-year period in Smithson’s development: 1966 to 1971, a time when his “inklings of earthworks” began. This careful selection of artworks will trace Smithson’s radical rethinking of what art could be and where it could be found.