“All great and precious things are lonely.” -John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men
The pandemic cracked open a universe of solitude. Once busy, vibrant social lives folded in on themselves for many, leaving vast tracts of time unscheduled, unshared. For some, this was nothing but a temporary pause, but for others, this enforced alone time gave rise to re-evaluations, an examination of what it is that truly matters. For some, being alone has proven an epiphany. Of course, humans at heart are social creatures, and one eventually must seek out some connection. But perhaps this time has been an unforeseen lesson in slowing down, in taking stock, in asking ourselves what – and who – truly enriches our time.
Carl Berg spoke to us from L.A. in early June. When we initially reached out to him for an interview request, he was in Europe where he became strange for part of the pandemic. Now returned home, he is involved in multiple projects. A curator and gallery director, Berg has a new gallery space called PRJCTLA, which he describes as an alternative space. Though the gallery was open during the pandemic, it was forced to remain inactive. Now the space is open by appointment to view exhibitions. Among the artists in a recent exhibition was Berg’s 97-year-old father-in-law who still makes art. The gallery spreads out the event over six hours to open shows, allowing ten people per hour in the large space to maintain appropriate social distancing. Berg has future shows in the works but wasn’t able to speak about some of them yet as he was awaiting commitment from the artists involved. To hear more about PRJCT L.A. and more, listen to the complete interview.
Ward Shelley returned to speak with us having joined us last on Christmas Eve 2020. During our previous conversation, we discussed relationships during the pandemic, particularly for artists. For Shelley, the world before and after the pandemic are vastly different. At the age of 70, he undertook a re-evaluation of his life. Now at age 71, he is either semi-retired or on a break, a point on which he isn’t entirely sure just yet. For some of Shelley’s friends, the idea that his life no longer revolves around his practice is unthinkable. But for him, this is an important and welcome change. His most recent show was in September of 2020 and since then he has been on hiatus. To hear more about this new chapter, listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:
There is beauty in being alone – perhaps even in occasional loneliness.
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
What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Two titles recommended by Praxis users: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthoney Doerr & Heaven’s Breath: A Natural History of the Wind by Lyall Watson.
Artists up to the age of 40 are invited to apply for Styria Artist in Residence scholarships. The Styrian state government, on behalf of the Cultural Counselor Mag. Christopher Drexler, will award scholarships in 2022 to international artists of all disciplines and theories. Those who wish to work with the Styrian art and culture scene are encouraged to apply. For more information and to apply, visit the website. Deadline for applications is August 10.
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.