Ring The Alarm: Dan Witz MiniMail
07 April, 2009
Dan Witz woonde al in New York toen de enige erkenning voor kunstenaars die de straat als canvas gebruikten, bestond uit kaakcrunchende klappen door de knuppels van New York's finest.
Deze gast weet what up. Dat kun je vanaf donderdag zien in de gallerie van Sid Lee. Maar je mag pas kijken als je m'n interviewtje gelezen hebt.
Did you read a book during your flight to Amsterdam?
"I caught up on back issues of The New Yorker, my main culture connection. Bedside reading these days is art critic Peter Schjeldahl’s “Let’s See”, a collection of writings on art from the New Yorker."
Are you an avid online reader? Or is it just print for you?
"I follow the Wooster Collective blog. It’s like a daily tonic: it keeps me energized and connected to what’s going on in street art - especially internationally."
You once said that you like it when paintings have a certain ambivalent quality which makes them live a bit longer in your brain when you see them in a museum. Is that a condition for you to consider something as art?
"Not at all. For me art can be many things and found many places. As a painter I paint the type of paintings I’d want to see. Duration is one of those ineffable miracles about old master paintings that I’d like to manifest in my own stuff."
There's a lot of incomprehension between scenes: platforms like Juxtapoz look down upon highbrow art and the traditional art scene doesn't know what to make of people who create Spongebob paintings. Bit tiresome isn't it?
"Not really for me. I keep a heavy filter on what aesthetic battles I get involved in. The type of work I make takes a tremendous amount of energy and focus; anything that supports it makes it through the filter, anything distracting gets rejected. It’s kind of brutal and I’m sure I’m missing out on a lot, but that’s the way it’s got to be."
"As far as the aesthetic turf wars, I’ve cycled through enough art trends by now to understand that everything’s always changing and that this current bubble the urban artists are enjoying will soon be over. Being in fashion, by definition, means it will go out of fashion."
I've been told that current New York doesn't compare to the period you first lived there. Too clean and gentrified. But what's still good about it?
"Utter despair and hopelessness for the human condition isn’t staring you in the face everday like it used to be. To survive here you don’t need to have such a hard shell as back then."
"And generally the hipsters seem healthier and less angry than when I was a kid. Granted, the rage and chaos was artistically productive, but in the end that kind of world is a bad dog—it will bite you if you get too close—and I don’t really miss it."
What's your latest NYC discovery?
"I've lived here for the last 30 years and it’s only recently I became interested in the waterways surrounding us. Lately I’ve been out exploring (on an old wooden boat I’ve been restoring) and it’s amazing how many strange and forgotten things I’ve seen from the water."
When are you truly happy and at peace?
"Never. My life is a constant emergency."