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From the Executive Director: Katharina Grosse Contends with the History of Painting

Theaster Gates concludes our 2016 Chicago episode with a powerful statement. “When art is present, things are better,” he says, “even in the toughest circumstances.” I’ve found myself having to return to this sentiment time and time again over the last three years.

Though August typically tends to be a quiet month throughout the art community, the world at large has already encountered a deluge of tough circumstances in just one weekend alone this month. It is in these times especially that I cannot ignore the importance of surrounding ourselves with art.

Visit your local museums and galleries—spend time with your favorite works of art. Seek out the work of an artist with whom you are unfamiliar. Watch videos, listen to podcasts, and consume all the media on the great artists from throughout history. Be it contemporary or from generations past, art can remind us that with every difficult situation comes the opportunity to emerge with positive change.

What are your go-to art experiences during challenging moments? Please share your stories with me at [email protected].

Thanks to all who responded to last month’s prompt about finding inspiration in nature. Sean C. from Brooklyn, riffing off of Olafur Eliasson’s statements on nature, shared that seeing imagery of flowers in urban spaces “makes us think about our relationship to the environment around us and the presence (or lack) of nature within it.” I’ve certainly experienced this same feeling while traversing the neighborhoods of our great city. Excellent point, Sean.

And just in time to round out your nature-inspired summer reading lists, reader Carole P. H. recommended Richard Powers’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Overstory. It’s a very welcome recommendation, Carole.

I am very excited about the artist stories that we have been diligently readying for our fall programming season. That wave of films will kick off in September with a double premiere of films featuring Marcel Dzama‘s collaborations. Until September!

Tina Kukielski
Executive Director and Chief Curator
August 7, 2019

Katharina Grosse contends with the history of painting

While compiling artist interviews for our 2018 publication, Being an Artist, we took the opportunity to comb through our archives to unearth previously-unpublished materials. In one such interview, excerpted below, Katharina Grosse muses upon the spiritual qualities of art making.

I find it fascinating that as an artist, especially as a painter, I do something that is not being processed through the media or through a machine but that is directly traceable to me as the author. I have the responsibility of what is seen and can make decisions based on that responsibility.

I’ve become dubious about the idea that art might only have relevance if it touches upon the political impact that we have, as individuals, on society. I find that art is often misused. There are so many ways that we interact, which might have more than political impact. I believe there are many reasons why we are here that may be of a spiritual nature. I just like to see something totally amazing in painting; that’s why I do this.

Read the full interview.

A waterfront screening in Brooklyn

Outdoor screenings are a staple of the summertime, which is why I’m so glad that we are finally participating in one. And such a magical one, at that.

On Tuesday the 13th, our Extended Play film featuring Alex Da Corte will be paired with the 1982 Jim Henson- and Frank Oz- directed classic, The Dark Crystal. We’re thrilled to partner with the free summer movie series, Red Hook Flicks, to bring these films to the Brooklyn waterfront.

The event starts at 8:30 p.m. this Tuesday and is free and open to the public. Hope to see you there.

Watch these films, then visit the shows

Seeking a starting point for your art exploration? In our weekly collaboration with artnet News, we’ve gathered some highlights for you, including: an environmentally-minded survey of work by Olafur Eliasson at the Tate Modern in London (also recently shared on our Instagram feed, among other highlights from the Tate Modern); and a simultaneous dual presentation of Rashid Johnson‘s The Hikers at the Aspen Art Museum and Museo Tamayo in Mexico City.

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