07 November 2010

Betsy Medvedovsky

1. Where and how would you display your work in an ideal situation?
I want for my work to be handled and interacted with. I want people to play with the things I make, to finger the magazines I put out, to want to own them as objects. Posters are fun too, in that they make people stop and gape, which I always like; sometimes in design communities they even get stolen, which is the biggest compliment.

2. If expository writing is good at elucidating and proving a point and
descriptive geometry gives us the tools by which to map objects in space
in relation to one another, what kind of an apparatus does art afford us?
What does art do best?
If I use "art" specifically, to mean, art like in museums: I will be frank and say, I'm not sure, which is probably why I'm not an artist. At its standard best, art makes me laugh; in the extreme rare case, I am moved by it, but for whatever reason, I can't express, that's extremely rare. I guess I think art lets us express some sort of
general mood in a way not confined by language. I find language tough. It's fun to talk, but ultimately I don't think it gets at the gist of the things I'm saying. Which is probably why I gesticulate so so much when impassioned.

If I use art broadly to mean any sort of creative work, i.e. for me, design, I'd probably still stay with that idea: design lets us express ideas in ways that are not confined by language. So, there is an idea, but how can it be expressed not in a paragraph, but in a magazine, a website, an object, an experience? The great designers of Experimental Jetset say that they "turn ideas into objects." I cannot get away from that definition, really. Perhaps this can be extended to say that traditional, non-designed art turns moods or sensations into objects.

3. What can you expect from your audience/fans/viewing public? What would you
like them to know about your work?
Honestly, I don't want to expect anything from them. I know in my experience that a certain kind of viewer likes my things better--people who are more educated, perhaps, or more bored with straightforwardness and like a certain sort of decoding work. But for me: the brunt is on me, whether in art or design, to communicate. The greats--they made amazing work that communicated with people no matter the baggage they brought to the table. The form was that great, that engaging, that the content shone through.

4. Marcel Duchamp said - "Enough with retinal art!" What is your reaction as an artist to this statement?
That I must run to the dictionary!

But actually, I probably agree with him. More and more the sort of art I enjoy is experiential. I go to museums not so much to see the paintings or objects on display but really for the experience of being in a designed, (more or less) non-commercial environment. I almost always don't like anything in museums--but I still go, because I enjoy that theatricality. (And it's nice to know what one is talking about before launching into an anti-art screed.) Dance and performance art installation art are probably my favorites right now, because they are inherently are temporal, give you that experience, that theatricality. I love theatricality of any sort, no matter how created. But also, why I love temporal arts: _That's_ when you know something is sincere: when it is beautiful and then gone.

5. Do you think that there is still room for art movements in today's
pluralistic climate?
There's always room. One makes room. Or I don't know enough art history to weigh in.

6. What is one question you wished we had asked you about your art? Please
feel free to answer it.
What are the inspirations of your life?

Lame question, huh? I used to think so, but I've gotten really into this stuff during a couple of problematic projects and the general increasing realization that I'm my own worst stumbling block.

Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit talks about creativity as work in a concrete way and yet is quite soulful about it. I really do go back to this book quite frequently. Natalia Ilyin's Chasing the Perfect makes an argument against modernism that one may or may not be interested in (hint: I am) but interweaves art on a personal and a historical level quite effectively, coming to the conclusion that one should do design out of love, not out of fear. Nothing groundbreaking, I guess, but it's a point I try to come back to, and she makes the case quite poignantly.

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