Nick Ravich, director of production for Art21 in New York, talks about:
His approach as both a producer and a director of Art21 artist docs, which are produced in both shorter form as well as longer form on their most well-known platform, Art in the 21st Century, which is broadcast on PBS; the variation in artists’ approaches and responses to being subjects of Art21, and how inevitably they’re often made to be vulnerable, at the least by having a camera on them in their studio for an entire day (if not more); how Art21 survives as an institution, particularly with all of the other video-about-contemporary-art platforms that have sprung up since they launched; the affirmative dynamic Art21 has towards its artists, and how the process of choosing artists works (the artists almost always say yes); a bizarre experience he had with the photographer Kay Grannan when they were on a shoot and staying at a Las Vegas motel off the strip; and Nick launches into an insightful analysis of the differences between podcasts and video in terms of to what extent someone (artists in particular) will open up.
Simon Leung, Los Angeles-based artist and head of UC Irvine’s MFA program, talks about:
His 25-year relationship with Warren Niesłuchowski and Simon’s film, “War after War,” which is about Warren’s nomadic life; Warren’s background as a child of holocaust refugees, thru his experience of May ’68 in Paris, being part of the experimental theater world, becoming a war deserter, to the realities of his moving from place to place and city to city, relying on the kindness of friends and acquaintances who host him; Simon’s circuitous route to becoming a professor, without getting an MFA; what he himself advocates for undergrads who are thinking about grad school; how he compares his status as a UC professor to being a Roman senator, in the sense of his feeling of security amongst the crowd; and his performance piece “Actions!,” which performed at MoMA and then re-performed with a new script at the Hammer Museum (Actions! Adjuncts!), both forms of worker’s theater borne out of Simon’s identification with the museum workers’ strike, and whose scripts came out of his conversations with them.