Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart on Art, Top Gun, and Danh Vo
Although they’ve never met, Xiu Xiu frontman Jamie Stewart says he feels “very bonded” to the father of artist Danh Vo—so much so that he’s agreed to publicly sing a hit song from the film Top Gun in his honor. In conjunction with the opening of 9 Artists, Stewart will perform at the dedication of Tombstone for Phùng Vo (2010), a grave marker Vo created for his still-living father.
Visualizing American Power
Examining US energy production and use for five years, photographer Mitch Epstein became fascinated by a pun: “electrical power came from political power, which came from corporate power—and civic power met up against all that.” Here Epstein talks with Paul Shambroom, whose own photos examine issues from nuclear weapons to oil, about aesthetics, activism, and the work of connecting the dots of American power.
Jim Hodges and the Eros of the Everyday
When she first encountered Jim Hodges’s art—a patchwork of silk billowing in the breeze—Olga Viso was struck by how the piece conjured childhood memories. Nearly two decades later, as co-curator of a survey of Hodges’s work, she reflects on an artistic practice that’s “rooted in modesty, intimacy, and integrity—one that seeks to find the epic in the most mundane as well as the quotidian in the epic.”
St. Paul is spearheading a quiet revolution in public art. A 2009 city ordinance includes artists in the regulations by which the city makes and remakes itself. Here, artists don’t merely make sculptures and murals to adorn the urban landscape; they have a meaningful role in government. As a result, public art is so deeply placed in the workaday services of the city as to be indistinguishable from them.
I Am for an Art: Claes Oldenburg on His 1961 “Ode to Possibilities”
Claes Oldenburg’s most famous piece of writing, I Am For …, isn’t a manifesto. It’s a “slightly satirical ode or paean to the possibilities of using anything in one’s surroundings” to create art.
The Momentary Monument
Ten years after Thomas Hirschhorn pitched his idea for a temporary philosophy center on South Minneapolis’ Lake Street, the Swiss artist’s Gramsci Monument has been realized in the Bronx. Former Walker chief curator Philippe Vergne, now director of the Dia Art Foundation, discusses both projects and the ripple effect he hopes the New York “monument” leaves behind when it closes September 15.
Station to Station: Doug Aitken’s Polyphonic Culture Train
“Human beings need a starting point.” The motto for The Source, Doug Aitken’s video series on creativity’s origins, could easily be the slogan for Station to Station, the art train he’s taking across the US this month. While the trip has its concrete elements—a starting point, an ending point, some really heavy train cars—he sees it as entirely open-ended: whatever happens along the way is anybody’s guess.