“While it’s true that, as Tolstoy observed, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, and everyone on planet Earth, vale of tears that it is, is certainly entitled to the specificity of his or her suffering, one nonetheless likes to think that literature has the power to render comprehensible different kinds of unhappiness. If it can’t do that, what’s it good for?” -Elif Batuman, The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them
How do you define happiness? Or unhappiness, for that matter? When did it become de rigueur for humans to seek, throughout our brief time on the planet, some form of happiness at all times? Is this even attainable in a meaningful way? Perhaps, but is it as important as we give it credit for being? More and more, there are those beginning to question whether happiness perhaps isn’t the right goal for a human life. That is not to say we should not pursue those things that bring us joy, but perhaps the emphasis on always being happy, wondering if we are happy enough is serving the opposite purpose.
Danny Sobor joined us during the winter to discuss his show, Icons, which ran from February 14 to March 28 at Tchotchke Gallery. For this show, Sobor was compelled to create images that were simpler than some of his other work. Sobor draws significant inspiration from Eberhard Havekost, a painter whose work, he says, “makes his stomach drop.” To hear more about Sobor’s work, listen to the complete interview.
Alex Griffin spoke to us a few months ago about his show, Afterglow, which ran from January 10 to February 17 at Nancy Margolis Gallery. The title speaks to twilight, and much of the work is made at that time of day. For the last year or so, Griffin found he could not get creative until the daylight faded. Many of the pieces themselves depict this time of day. To learn more, listen to the complete interview.
A few words to keep in your pocket
What, other than happiness, might we pursue in the course of our sojourn on the planet?
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 is here.
Books to Read
What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Praxis user Tara Tavi read Culture Strike: Art and Museums in an Age of Protest by Laura Raicovich.
McColl Center invites artists to apply for residency at their internationally acclaimed program. This catalyst for artistic growth encourages big thinking and risk-taking. Those selected receive private housing and studio space as well as curatorial guidance, marketing and PR support and a generous stipend. To learn more and to apply, visit the website. The next deadline for applications is May 26.
Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists, most recently Making it in the Art World.