Ben Luke talks to Allison Katz about her influences in the realms of literature, music and, of course, art, and the cultural experiences that have shaped her life and work. Born in Montreal in 1980, Katz is an artist who probes the complexities of painting, drawing on diverse imagery, a range of painterly techniques and distinctive forms of display to create environments that are by turns delightful and perplexing, but always enthralling. The longer you spend in the company of Katz’s work, the more the associations, the playful connections, and the fundamental rigour of her thinking emerge. In this conversation, she discusses the influence of being a life model at a young age, and making numerous “portraits” of a painting of a woman by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. She reflects on paintings by Edgar Degas and Andrea del Verrocchio, among others, discusses how the poet and translator Richard Howard helped her read poetry and see that frivolity could be serious, and expresses wonder at British radio programmes, including sporting commentary. And she answers the questions we ask all our guests, including the ultimate one: what is art for?
Allison Katz: Artery, Camden Art Centre, London, until 13 March. That exhibition originated in a slightly different form at Nottingham Contemporary, and a catalogue accompanying the two versions of the show will be published in early 2023. An exhibition of Katz’s posters is at Canada House, London, until 26 March. Her paintings are in The Milk of Dreams, the central exhibition at the Venice Biennale, 23 April-27 November. She has a solo exhibition at Luhring Augustine, New York, in September.
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