Bau's current project of hosting screenings of the Art NY video series by Paul Tschinkel is the most interesting thing the collective has done in a very long time. Devoting the month to sampling these video amounts to a conversational point of departure that is informative and entertaining. It's a real service to the audience.I've only made it to one screening thus far, but I'll make sure to take better advantage of the remaining two weekends.
Last Saturday, my viewing of the half hour Basquiat interview was fully informed by the the recent appearance of Joaquin Phoenix on Letterman. Marc H. Miller's interview with Basquiat is the quintessential illustration of an intellectual train wreck, the sole survivor of which was the artist. It was painful and ultimately entertaining within that pain. The interviewer, Marc. H. Miller was very much out of his element, even though as an art historian and curator (with a Ph.D., no less) he ostensibly might have had a clue as to how to get down to the substance behind the artist's work, and enact a conversation with the artist. He didn't. His questioning was reaching, as if in the dark, and ultimately insulting to the artist as he tries to verbally diagram each component within one of Basquiat's paintings. Basquiat rolls with it, and then rolls over Miller, ultimately responding to questions with a mouth full of green beans. Priceless. I felt sympathy for Miller, trying to squeeze out a certain amount of footage, and he was doing his darnedest. Interviewing someone is not easy, even for those in the profession, I'm sure. In fact, through the course of the interview, I realized that the Basquiat/Miller match up had less in common with the Joaquin on Late Night stint than with the video below:
Neither the home schooled kid nor the artist, both fully present for the interactions would conform to the canned form of responses expected by their respective interviewers.
I found another earlier video from 1974, exhibiting Miller's "man on the scene" m.o., also shot by Tschinkel. In this case, his halting, awkward questioning embodies a conceptual charm fitting the topic of the interview, and the varied reactions by his respondents as they discussed their creations of genitalia in clay as part of a participatory workshop organized by Miller and Tschinkel.
Make A Penis And Vagina Out Of Clay from Marc H. Miller on Vimeo.
If I didn't post this video here, you can bet it would have ended up as an Eye Candy Friday feature.
The Art New York videos will continue to be screened through March 8th. Today's schedule will have an additional treat at 7pm with an hour of Punk & New Wave footage of performances caught on tape from 1977-1982 at CBGB, Max's and the Mudd Club. The documentaries scheduled for today are: at 4pm, Cindy Sherman and at 6pm, Chuck Close.