Walker Art Center

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Query: Abigail Child

Abigail Child is a New York-based artist whose work in montage and sound/image relationships pushes the envelope of film and video with its humor and ephemeral beauty. Child’s The Future Is Behind You will be screened during the Women with Vision festival as part of Experiments: A Series of Short Films. Her films Cake and Steak and Dark Dark are featured in the Walker’s Lecture Room throughout the month of March. Child recently took time to answer some of life’s most—and possibly least—pressing questions.

What is one of the most unexpected influences on your art?

Feynman diagrams and the movement of elementary particles (microscopic atomic constituents).

When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?

Working on a construction in 9th grade art class, lost track of time’s passage, didn’t look up at the clock for hours. That euphoria—lostness, largeness— was decisive.

What artist (musical, performing, visual) turned your world upside down as a teenager?

MAD magazine when I was eight, the Beatles at Shea Stadium, and Bob Dylan at Newport when Joan Baez introduced him.

What’s your favorite place to people-watch?

Penn Station, New York City—the transition space where the glass walls frame and multiply reflections of both waiting and passage.

What’s your most vivid memory from childhood?

The sound of the Coast Guard calling out a rescue at sea erupting from my family’s television set: “crossed signals” on a sunny day in Jersey.

What three items can always be found in your refrigerator?

Mustard, 16mm film, chocolate.

What artists are you watching?

Jennifer Reeves’ recent horror film; Carla Harryman’s poetic prose Baby; Jane and Louise Wilson’s videos; Fred Warden’s Here combining Hollywood Crusades with Méliès; Justin Faunce’s paintings and their fabulously ordered chaos.

What is your favorite euphemism?

“Nice, very nice.”