In each episode of this show from David Zwirner, the gallery pairs artists and creative people to discuss art and their process for making things. Featuring major figures from the worlds of art, architecture, music, and beyond–Jeff Koons to Vija Celmins, Jeremy O. Harris to Hilton Als–in open-ended conversation.
Luc Tuymans and Timothy Snyder
A conversation about the slippery slope from Donald Trump’s lies to the extinction of American democracy—and art’s ability to break through fascist monoliths. The eminent Yale historian Timothy Snyder is the author of On Tyranny, The Road to Unfreedom, and “The American Abyss,” a widely circulated New York Times essay published following the January 6 storming of the Capitol. The essay caught the eye of Luc Tuymans, himself a kind of historian. In the paintings he’s made throughout his career, Tuymans has examined the power of images in not only depicting historical trauma, but also their ability to cover up and reveal things about ourselves.
David Byrne and Marcel Dzama
Two of the most playful, expressive artists we have on their creative process, trying new things, and the art of being a great collaborator. The former lead singer of the Talking Heads, Byrne is an artistic polymath, making stage plays, performances, films, and now even drawings, which he recently showed with Pace. His Broadway hit, American Utopia, also became a streaming hit when Spike Lee turned it into a film for HBO; it was also recently adapted by Byrne into a book with illustrations by Maira Kalman. Marcel Dzama—who has been showing with the gallery for many years, and who has, like Byrne, worked on the stage (most notably with the New York City Ballet)—also just published a new book, an edition of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream full of his beautiful new drawings.
David Byrne is represented by Pace Gallery. American Utopia returns to Broadway in fall 2021; the film can be streamed on HBO Max; and the book is available now.
Marcel Dzama’s illustrated edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is available now. His next exhibition with the gallery opens September 8, 2021 at our 69th Street space.
What Does Figuration Smell Like?
A conversation about the art of scents with the perfumer Frederic Malle. The latest in a storied French fragrance family, Malle—whose grandfather launched Christian Dior’s fragrance line, and whose uncle is the great filmmaker Louis Malle—had ambitions of being an art dealer before he took up the family trade, and his unique brand of of scent-making combines science, psychology, marketing wizardry, and (most importantly) art history.
The 86-year-old legend gets personal about a lifetime translating her singular voice to the world. While the major retrospective of her work currently at the Brooklyn Museum has cemented her reputation, Lorraine O’Grady did not discover herself as an artist until her 40s. Here, she traces her unlikely journey to becoming a conceptual and performance artist with a pioneering Black feminist sensibility—including stints along the way as a rock critic, novelist, and translator.
Guest-hosted by Jarrett Earnest, this episode is the second of three on a topic the critic is deeply invested in: serious artists who are also serious writers.
Lorraine O’Grady: Both/And is on view at the Brooklyn Museum through July 18, 2021. Her new anthology of writings, Writing in Space, 1973–2019, is available here.
How does an artwork change as the person looking at it does? Kate Zambreno, a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow in Nonfiction and the author of the acclaimed 2020 novel Drifts, details the pleasures and discovery of returning to an artist or artwork over and over again—in her case, the likes of Sarah Charlesworth, Chantal Akerman, and Albrecht Durer. She speaks and writes about their lives and work with humor and personal insight born of longtime obsession.
Drifts: A Novel, named a Best Book of the Year by The Paris Review, is out now on paperback. Zambreno’s latest book, To Write as if Already Dead, was published in June 2021.
Simphiwe Ndzube and Zakes Mda
A conversation about the art of telling stories with the South African artist Simphiwe Ndzube, who works between Cape Town and Los Angeles and whose first solo US museum exhibition opens this month at the Denver Art Museum, and the renowned writer Zakes Mda, whose novels are widely read throughout South Africa and beyond. The two dissect their magical realist stories of post-apartheid South Africa and their experiences of America on the page and on canvas—and try to locate the source of their own magic.
This episode is guest-hosted by Kyla McMillan, a director at David Zwirner.
Ndzube’s solo exhibition at the Denver Art Museum, Oracles of the Pink Universe, runs from June 13 to October 10, 2021. Learn more about it here.
Love how Lucas Zwirner is so open and compassionate and unpretentious. He really listens and has the best follow up questions. Great choice of guests too. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
Great, honest back and forth between artists
Wonderful convo. So many topics covered in one hour and an insightful look into (da da daaaa...) NFTs!
The conversations between artists is unique and engaging, whether quotidian exchanges or more cerebral matters. Lucas such a skilled and sensitive interviewer. Let’s clone you.