Conversations about Art follows threads such as: Art and Uncertainty, Art and Happiness, and Art and Spirituality, in conversations between Heidi Zuckerman, a globally recognized contemporary art museum director, author, and speaker, and artists, curators, collectors, athletes, actors, musicians, politicians and CEOs. An inspiring storyteller and trusted conversation partner, Zuckerman connects people to art, artists, and ideas to make their lives better!
98. Sandra Jackson-Dumont
Sandra Jackson-Dumont is the Director and CEO of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Tasked with leading the institution through its opening and beyond, she comes to the museum from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where she has served as the Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education and Public Programs since 2014. Throughout her career, Jackson-Dumont has developed programming around museum collections and special exhibitions to engage a broad range of audiences. She also served for eight years as the deputy director for education and public programs and adjunct curator in modern and contemporary art at the Seattle Art Museum. Prior to that, Jackson-Dumont held positions at the Studio Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.
She and Zuckerman discuss misbehaving, seeing God, being in and of the world, museums as social spaces, going where you want to be, ambiguity, what’s missing from the syllabus of work, an integrated life, and for us by us!
97. Moshe Safdie
Moshe Safdie is an architect, urban planner, educator, theorist, and author. In 1964 he established his own firm to realize Habitat ’67, an adaptation of his undergraduate thesis and a turning point in modern architecture. Embracing a comprehensive and humane design philosophy, Safdie is committed to architecture that is informed by the geographic, social, and cultural elements that define a place; and that responds to human needs and aspirations. Over a celebrated 50-year career, Safdie has explored the essential principles of socially responsible design with a distinct visual language. His wide range of completed projects include cultural, educational, and civic institutions; neighborhoods and public parks; housing; mixed-use urban centers and airports; and master plans for existing communities and entirely new cities. Safdie’s projects can be found in North and South America, and throughout Asia. Recent projects of note include the Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore, the Albert Einstein Education and Research Center in Brazil, as well as residences in Colombo, Quito, and China that build on and expand his original vision for Habitat ’67, presenting a new vision for urban living rooted in the rediscover of the interdependence between nature and society. Safdie’s new memoir, “If Walls Could Speak,” will be released this fall.
He and Zuckerman discuss starting a firm, abstract memorials, how sites generate design, the role of light in art museums, iconic buildings, the drama of the end, and having conviction!
KAWS engages audiences beyond the museums and galleries in which he regularly exhibits. His prolific body of work straddles the worlds of art and design to include paintings, murals, graphic and product design, street art, and large-scale sculptures. Over the last two decades KAWS’ work shows formal agility, underlying wit, irreverence, and affection for our times. His refined graphic language revitalizes figuration with both big, bold gestures and playful intricacies. KAWS often appropriates and draws inspiration from pop culture animations, forming a unique artistic vocabulary across mediums. Admired for his larger-than-life sculptures and hardedge paintings that emphasize line and color, KAWS’ cast of hybrid cartoon characters are the strongest examples of his exploration of humanity. As seen in his collaborations with global brands, KAWS’ imagery possesses a sophisticated humor and reveals a thoughtful interplay with consumer products.
He and I discuss how works of art can exist in the public realm, his start, who his characters are and what they mean to him, what it feels like to see your work in the local grocery store, how he spends his time in the studio and who visits him there, and what he cares about and why!
95. Jérôme Sans
Jérôme Sans began his career in the early 1980s as one of the first independent curators in Europe. His mission has been to rethink contemporary art exhibition making through an engagement with emerging artists. He is the former director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, co-founder of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and creator, and former creative director and editor-in-chief of the French cultural magazine L’Officiel Art, former artistic director of Rives de Saône-River Movie, former co-artistic director to the Grand Paris Express project, France's largest urban redefinition through culture initiative since Haussmann, among many other accomplishments and appointments. He recently joined LAGO/ALGO, a cultural hub that blends Contemporary Art and modernist architecture in Mexico City, as artistic director.
He and Zuckerman discuss why art matters, institution building and how to make people feel welcome, what we’ve forgotten how to do in the last few years, and what he tells doubters!
94. Marianne Boesky
Marianne Boesky established her eponymous gallery in New York in 1996. Since its inception, the gallery has represented and supported the work of emerging and established contemporary artists of all media and genres. In its first decade, the gallery was instrumental in launching the careers of major artists including Barnaby Furnas, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Sarah Sze, and Lisa Yuskavage. The gallery currently represents many significant international artists, including Ghada Amer, Jennifer Bartlett, Sanford Biggers, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Donald Moffett, and Frank Stella. Boesky relocated her flagship gallery from SoHo to Chelsea in 2001, and in 2016, the gallery expanded its flagship location to include its adjacent space on West 24th Street. In 2017, Boesky opened a location in Aspen, Colorado; she has organized temporary exhibition spaces in Europe and in cities across the United States.
She and Zuckerman discuss family legacy, audacity, learning from artists, bank loans, consiglieres, vision, looking at everything, being a mom in the artworld, mentoring, and not rushing!
93. Hebru Brantley
Hebru Brantley was born and raised in Chicago. A product of the 80's, Brantley's early inspiration to create visual art derived from the cinematic Blaxploitation and science fiction depicted in the previous decade. His affinity for mythological comic book heroes, Japanimation, and graffiti has strongly influenced his work, and eventually, he began fusing elements of urban society with pop culture. From that, he developed his own unique approach to visual art, layering youthful expression with human emotion, history, and the complexities and challenges of urban life. Brantley creates his work spontaneously and uses an array of mediums such as wood, found objects, spray paint, coffee and tea. He has designed and illustrated for media production and clothing companies and transitioned from graffiti to canvas.
He and Zuckerman discuss heroes, why it’s harder to access art than music or film, hope, Chance The Rapper, incantation, Adidas and acceptance!