Monday, July 26, 2010

Thornton's "In the Studio"

OK, a bit pressed for time today, so I'll acknowledge I'm no journalist and could have/should have spent the time finding out, who, what, when, where, why here, but didn't. It doesn't seem to be that difficult to sort out though (and I have heard a bit about this through the grapevine).

Sarah Thornton has a piece up at the Economist (who end up archiving stories behind a subscription firewall, so don't wait too long to read it) described as "In the Studio : The artist at work : A new series." I'm not sure whether it comes out weekly, monthly (more?), but if the first one on Francis Alÿs is any indication, I'd say Thornton's exceptional ability to see through to the most vital (and hence most interesting) aspects of the art world will make this a must-read series of portraits. Here's but a snippet from the series's premier:
What kind of an artist is he? The question seems to surprise Mr Alÿs, who hums and claims not to have given it much thought. “A partera,” he finally says, as distant church bells chime over the whirr of a free-standing fan. “What do you call a partera in English? A midwife.” The metaphor is unexpected. It's a shift from the cliché of the artwork as the artist's own offspring. “Yes, I am just the one on the side!” he laughs. “Some artists may be inventors but I'm more of a 'catalyser'.”

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5 Comments:

Blogger Pam Farrell said...

Great piece...nicely documented profile. I've admired Alys's performance work for a long time and find this article highlights the work in a most accessible but intelligent way. Looking forward to more of this series.

7/26/2010 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

I haven't read the article yet, but responding to Alys's comment about being a midwife, I'd say that the artist is mother, midwife and child. Artists get diminished in so many ways. We are not just conduits. If only metaphorically, our blood, sweat and guts are in what we produce.

7/26/2010 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger annell said...

I liked reading about this artist. Thank you for this post.

7/26/2010 01:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Gam said...

link held through without any paywall.


Curious if Cuauhtémoc Medina role is to supply the rationale for the artist or to be his devils advocate in forcing him to be more lucid in his argumentation. Is his a PR marketing role or a discursive ear to keep real with?


Looks like an interesting series. They should send a videographer with her on her interviews.

7/26/2010 03:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Call it Monday pessimism, but I rather dislike the paragraph you quoted from that article. I don't find the midwife metaphor to be much of a shift from the 'artwork as the artist's own offspring' metaphor, but rather just as much of a cliche-- Especially when it is coupled with the distant chime of church bells (does that metaphor actually need any added spiritual drama???).
Further, I don't think a midwife is a 'catalyser' at all (catalyser of what??). But then, nor do I think of a mother as a 'creator', at least in the classical sense of the word.
On the upside, most midwives I have known have mad skills, are observant, and have a good sense of when to do nothing (most importantly), and when to jump in. So if that's what he meant by midwife, I can live with it, just not with the church bells.
-Saskia

7/26/2010 04:13:00 PM  

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