“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.”
Many of us share our time on this planet with animals. These companions offer comfort, company, a refuge from the travails of the wider world. And yet our relationship with animals is complex. We humans tend to believe our status sits high above the rest of earth’s living beings. And so we take without giving, soothing our consciences that this is how it has been ordained, that the planet’s treasures have been set down merely for our use. But what if we stepped back, re-examined our relationship with those things that fall outside the human realm, which indeed is much of the planet whether we care to admit it or not. Would we, perhaps, discover that our position is not nearly as privileged as we have been led to believe?
Kathryn Spence sat down with us to discuss, among other things, her fall 2022 show, Kathryn Spence at P. Bibeau. The space itself suited the work in the exhibition, small object pieces that relate to each other that Spence had been working on for the last two years. This theme of the objects she creates relating to each other is a common one in her work, and Spence explains that the relationship between is as important as the objects themselves, which, in turn, makes the space an important part of the overall installation. To hear more about this, including how native plants influence her work, listen to the complete interview.
Paul Pfeiffer just closed a show, Red Green Blue, at Paula Cooper Gallery. In 2019, Pfeiffer facilitated a live performance of the Red Coat Marching band, who perform during football season in Georgia. He had been filming them for years previously when the opportunity arose to bring them to NYC to perform live in Amazing Grace/RGB at the Apollo Theater. This recent exhibition saw the band return for the opening and features single-channel video of close-up footage of band members and directors as they play live during football games. To hear more about this and Pfeiffer’s other work, listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket
It is time for humanity to begin the hard work of rearranging our perception of place in the world.
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. Two books about the importance of native species this week – one comes recommended by Kathryn Spence, Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard by Doug Tallamy. Additionally, and especially for those in the western U.S., SUBURBITAT: A guide to restoring nature where we live, work and play by Jim Tolstrup.
Applications for the 2023-2024 Fine Arts Work Center Writing and Visual Arts Fellowship are currently open. A total of 20 selected artists will receive seven-month fellowship with a monthly stipend. For more information and to apply, visit the website. Deadline for applications is February 1.
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.