Conversations and debates with leading figures from contemporary art, design, music, literature, activism and technology – taking place daily at Frieze Fairs and beyond.
Out in the Open: Sculpture in the Public Realm
Brett Littman, chair of the forthcoming Frieze LIFEWTR Sculpture Prize, talks with two artists renowned for their sculptural work in public spaces, across New York City and beyond, about the particular possibilities and responsibilities created when artists work in the public realm.
Andrew Durbin in conversation with T.J. Wilcox
Andrew Durbin (writer) in conversation with TJ Wilcox (artist)
Aruna D’Souza in conversation with Nico Wheadon and Sable Elyse Smith
Aruna D’Souza writes about modern and contemporary art, intersectional feminisms and other forms of politics, her most recent book “Whitewalling: Art, Race and Protest in 3 Acts” was named one of the best art books of 2018 by the New York Times.
Nico Wheadon is director of public programs and community engagement at the Studio Museum in Harlem, where she designs and delivers adult programs that engage audiences, activate partnerships, and deepen the impact of the Museum’s mission. She is a contributor to The Brooklyn Rail, C& and Artnet, and is currently working on her first manuscript with Rowman & Littlefield. Wheadon is an adjunct professor at Barnard College and Hartford Art School, teaching Freestyle and Displacement in Contemporary Art Practices and Public Art Professional Practices respectively. She has guest-lectured at Pratt Institute, the New School, the Center for Curatorial Leadership, Howard University, and Brown University, where she serves on the advisory board for the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage. Recent speaking engagements include presentations on Rethinking Museum Citizenship at annual conferences for the Museums Association of the Caribbean, MuseumNextNYC, and the Association of African American Museums, with an upcoming presentation slated for 2019 at the American Alliance of Museums Conference. Through her varied practice, Wheadon works alongside artists, cultural partners, and policymakers to deliver an arts- and artist-led collective impact model for social justice. Committed to galvanizing active participation in civic life, her pursuits reflect a deep respect for artists as risk takers that drive culture, democracy, and our collective imagination forward. Wheadon holds an MA in Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship from Goldsmith's College, University of London, a BA in Art-Semiotics from Brown University, and conducts ongoing fieldwork in human geography and participatory design.
Sable Elyse Smith is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and educator based in New York & Richmond Virginia. Using video, sculpture, photography, and text, she points to the carceral, the personal, the political, and the quotidian to speak about a violence that is largely unseen, and potentially imperceptible. Her work has been featured at MoMA Ps1, New Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, JTT, Rachel Uffner Gallery, and Recess Assembly, New York; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Artist Television Access, San Francisco, CA; Birkbeck Cinema in collaboration with the Serpentine Galleries, London. Her writing has been published in Radical Teacher, Studio Magazine and Affidavit and she is currently working on her first book, in addition to publishing numerous artist books. Smith has received awards from Creative Capital, Fine Arts Work Center, the Queens Museum, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Rema Hort Mann Foundation, the Franklin Furnace Fund, and Art Matters. She is currently Assistant Professor of Sculpture & Extended Media at the University of Richmond.
Sheila Heti in conversation with Josephine Decker
Sheila Heti is the author of eight books of fiction and non-fiction, including the novels Ticknor, Motherhood, How Should a Person Be? and the story collection, The Middle Stories. She was named one of “The New Vanguard” by The New York Times book critics; a list of fifteen women writers from around the world who are “shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century.” Her books have been translated into twenty-one languages. Her most recent novel, Motherhood, was chosen by the book critics at the New York Times as one of their top books of 2018, and New York magazine chose it as their top book of the year. Her novel, How Should a Person Be? was named one of the 12 “New Classics of the 21st century” by Vulture. It was a New York Times Notable Book, a best book of the year in The New Yorker, and was cited by Time as “one of the most talked-about books of the year.” Her play, All Our Happy Days are Stupid, had sold-out runs at The Kitchen in New York and Videofag in Toronto. She is currently developing a new play called The Dug Out. She is the former Interviews Editor of The Believer magazine, and has conducted many longform print interviews with writers and artists, including Joan Didion, Elena Ferrante, Agnes Varda, Dave Hickey and John Currin. Her fiction and criticism have appeared in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Bookforum, n+1, Granta, The London Review of Books, and elsewhere.
Part of Time Warner’s 150 incubator, Sundance’s New Frontier Lab and one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film, Josephine Decker has been said to be ushering in a “new grammar of narrative” by The New Yorker. Her newest feature Madeline’s Madeline World Premiered at Sundance 2018 where it was called a “mind-scrambling masterpiece” by Indiewire and a “radical, breathtaking beauty” by The Village Voice. The film was recently nominated for Best Picture and lead Helena Howard for Breakthrough Actor at IFP’s Gotham Awards and just received two Independent Spirit Award nominations as well. Josephine premiered her first two narrative features at the Berlinale Forum 2014 to similarly rave reviews. Josephine is currently in post-production on her fourth narrative feature starring Elisabeth Moss about the writer Shirley Jackson and just directed an episode of HBO’s Room 104. Her documentary, film and music video work has shown at the Museum of the City of New York, on Netflix, PBS and MTV and at hundreds of film festivals around the world.
Daniel Birnbaum in conversation with Sarah Ludy and Rachel Rossin
Daniel Birnbaum is Director of Acute Art, based in London UK. From 2010-18, Birnbaum was the director of the Moderna Museet (Stockholm). Prior to that, he had been the director of the Städelschule in Frankfurt, Germany, where he also oversaw Portikus, the school’s exhibition space. In addition to his work for museums, he has been well known on the biennial circuit: he co-curated the international section of the 2003 Venice Biennale and was the artistic director of the Biennale’s 2009 edition, and he has also co-curated the 2005 and 2007 editions of the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art and the 2008 edition of the Yokohoma Triennale. Birnbaum is also currently an adjunct board member of the Hilma Af Klint Foundation and a contributing editor at Artforum.
Sara Ludy is a multi-media artist interested in exploring the connection between the real and virtual worlds, based in Chicago, USA. Through her work with video, sound, animation, virtual reality, websites, audiovisual performance and sculptures, Sara explores space and structure, as well as how everyday objects can be transformed to take on new meanings. Recent exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Chicago), Berkeley Art Museum (California), Vancouver Art Gallery (Vancouver) and bitforms gallery (New York). She is featured in the LIFEWTR Series 7, Art through Technology, launching at Frieze New York.
Rachel Rossin is an artist based in New York City, USA. Recent and forthcoming exhibitions include Zabludowicz Collection, London; 4a, Hamburg, Germany, and Akron Art Museum, Akron, Ohio, USA.
Simone Leigh and Saidiya Hartman in conversation
Simone Leigh’s practice incorporates sculpture, video, and installation; all are informed by her ongoing exploration of black female subjectivity and ethnography. Her objects often employ materials and forms traditionally associated with African art; her performance-influenced installations create spaces where historical precedent and self-determination comingle. Through her investigations of visual overlaps between cultures, time periods, and geographies, she confronts and examines ideas of the female body, race, beauty, and community.
Leigh was born in 1967 in Chicago, IL. She is a recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Art Grant (2018), Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize (2017), John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2016), and Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2016). Recent projects and exhibitions include Trigger: Gender as a Tool and as a Weapon (2017) at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Psychic Friends Network (2016) at Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, London; The Waiting Room (2016) at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; The Free People’s Medical Clinic (2014) a project commissioned by Creative Time; inHarlem, a public installation presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem at Marcus Garvey Park, New York; and a solo exhibition at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Leigh is the first artist to be commissioned for the High Line Plinth, where she will present a new monumental sculpture starting in April 2019. Leigh’s work will also be featured in Loophole of Retreat, a major exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, New York to commemorate her achievements as the winner of the Hugo Boss Prize 2018, as well as the 2019 Whitney Biennial.
Saidiya Hartman was born and raised in New York City. She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University and her Ph.D. from Yale University. She is the author of Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth Century America (Oxford, 1997) and Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007). She has published articles on slavery, the archive, and the city, including “The Terrible Beauty of the Slum, ”“Venus in Two Acts” and “The Belly of the World.” She has been a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library, a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana, a Whitney Oates Fellow at Princeton University, and a Rockefeller Fellow at Brown University. She will spend the fellowship year completing Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments (forthcoming Norton), which examines the social upheaval and radical transformation of everyday life that took place in the emergent black ghetto in the early decades of the 20th century. The book tells the story of this revolution of intimate life by recreating the experience of young black women who desired an existence qualitatively different than the one that had been scripted for them.
She is a Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.