How many people does it take for art to work?

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It seemed strange to publish this story, which appears in the print version of issue 18 of GARAGE, about family, community and coworkers as living in quarantine has changed the way we interact with the world. (For the most part, those shoots couldn’t happen today.) We asked the artists to let us know where they are in quarantine, what their version of the community looks like now, and how quarantine has been. changed their process though at all. Their answers are below.

Tschabalala Self (right) poses with her partner, Mike Mosby, at her family’s home in Harlem, minutes from her New Haven studio.

Tschabalala Self
“When I’m in New Haven, I just work in my space, it’s a pretty lonely experience,” explains painter Tschabalala Self. She adds, “I don’t have a huge social life. I have my family, my four siblings, my boyfriend. She chose to have her photograph taken with him. After graduating from the Master of Fine Arts program at Yale in 2015, she saw her classmates gradually move from New Haven to cities that are more traditional artist-run centers – Brooklyn, Berlin, Los Angeles, etc. But Self decided to stay. , and eventually began to occupy the studios of his neighboring friends when they left. She now has enough space to make the increasingly ambitious collage canvases she’s known for, some of which will be on display this year at Eva Presenhuber’s New York outpost on Great Jones Street. (It’s not too bad a ride to Self – the gallery is just over two hours by train from New Haven.) She is also close to her merchants, with whom she often goes to various vernissages and exhibitions. As the demand for Self’s work continues to grow – his pieces have sold for nearly $ 500,000 at auction – this travel program will only increase.

“I am currently in quarantine in the Hudson Valley. My vision of the community is the same: I just look forward to the day and hour when I can once again have space within my community. My 40s have been very humiliating and I am even more grateful to my loved ones. I think everyone will remember who contacted them during this time. My 40s made me work slower and without a set goal in mind, which was liberating in some ways. The uncertainty and destruction caused by the virus has given me food for thought and inspires me to work harder to bring meaningful images to the world. “—April 23, 2020

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When an artist’s muses occupy the inaccessible rungs of fame, as in the case of painter Sam McKinniss, who poses alone in his studio, the subjects themselves can be his closest collaborators.

Sam McKinniss
At first, painter Sam McKinniss wanted to be photographed with a friend – “the guy I go to happy hour with most days of the week after work,” he said. “This is the angle of the community.” But after some thought, he decided to go it alone. And that makes sense, given that most of the 35-year-old subjects are iconic figures and moments so famous that they have a singular hold on our imaginations: Whitney Houston mid-belt, Prince on the gigantic motorcycle in Purple rain, Princess Diana desperate on a yacht in Portofino, and Joan Didion, her slender hands clasped. Most famous, he painted singer Lorde for the cover of her 2017 album, Melodrama, capturing her as she lay languidly in bed, artificial light streaming down her face. Most often, he paints from images he finds on Google. It is here, in this alchemy process, that the works transform into something much more than fan worship. The vaporous paints do not reproduce a celebrity so much as the idea of a celebrity, stained by the passage of time and altered by the weak prejudices of the spectator.

“I’m in quarantine at home or in the studio, both in Brooklyn. I live and work alone. There is no proper style of being in a community right now. I speak on the phone more often than before, which is good. And I got involved in a few projects to raise and donate funds for mutual aid, but it’s all networked through the phone, social media, or email. You could call it a community. But I’m done with Zoom, I hate it there. I used the HouseParty app once, but it stressed me out. I miss my friends. I slowed down again, a lot, because there is no point in hurrying. It’s been over a month, every day is the same. I take my time on some detailed photos. I lost the worry about speed, or having to follow our accelerated culture. We do not care? Culture has a lot to do with it. I watched Titanic a few times during quarantine, which seems relevant. The ship sinks at the end. —April 23, 2020

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In November 2019, Bunny Rogers (center, ground) brought together artists and zombie friends, including writer Allese Thomson (front row, second from left) and podcast host Dasha Nekrasova (first row, in a pink dress).

Rogers Rabbit
Bunny Rogers wanted to be photographed alongside the performers who participated in her latest work, Sanctuary, staged last November during Performa 19. The play took place at Essex Street Academy on the Lower East Side, and had the chilling effect of reminiscent of a school shooting. She has long infused her work with references to the 1999 school shooting that killed 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Colo. When Bunny was just nine years old. At 27, she had her first solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York, Brig and ladder, which included an animated video titled A very special holiday show at the Columbine Auditorium, featuring a mix of characters from the animation Clone high sitcom, as well as Grizabella from Cats. There was also Colombine Library, a personal exhibition at the Société Berlin, and Colombine cafeteria, a solo exhibition at Greenspon in New York. But it was at Performa that she first brought her community into the fold and allowed them to work with her.

“[I’m quarantining in] New York. [My version of community right now consists of] my friends online, my friends on the phone. I have ups and downs. My motivation is down. I just try to take care of myself and the people I love. Of course, I still collect Disney licenses Little Mermaid merchandise. It will be useful someday. “—April 24, 2020

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Both dressed in red, Nathaniel Mary Quinn and his wife, actress Donna Augustin-Quinn, stand with their friend Gardy St. Fleur (far left) and Gagosian Gallery director Ashley Stewart (at the far right) on the street near Quinn’s favorite cafe, Corner Moudre. Stewart wears jacket by HELMUT LANG

Nathaniel Mary Quinn
Nathaniel Mary Quinn doesn’t need a large group of people to help him while he’s at the studio. The Chicago native is only seeking the approval of one person: his wife, actress Donna Augustin-Quinn. Ever since he started making paintings – fabulous distorted representations of bodies, neo-Cubist explorations of the face – she has been his first viewer, sounding board and editor. “My wife sees everything I do, and I trust her judgment and evaluation, you know?” Quinn said. And her role isn’t just a casual support position: she’s officially Quinn’s studio director. “I don’t exactly have an assistant factory or anything of that nature… we run everything together as a team, a loving team,” he said. Even when great museum directors come and call them — and they did; his work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum, the Hammer Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. He says he relies above all on his wisdom and discretion.

“Donna and I are in quarantine at our house in Brooklyn. Everyone in my community remains in a shelter, although there has been a pinch of people who seemed unresponsive to the severity of the pandemic and the associated risks. Initially, during the nascent stages of the epidemic, as the world underwent its profound shift from what was impeccably tenuous to what is monumental and historically shattering, I was held back in my tracks for about four weeks. I couldn’t do art. I just kept reading and watching everything about the coronavirus, the pandemic, and the immense heartache and pain that enveloped the world. After a while, I became more and more integrated into my studio practice. It seems that the magic of creation gave me an intermittent respite from “The Happening”. Somehow, I know that the surreal and profound impact the world is experiencing flows through my hands, into my work – not that I create works specifically about our present existence – but; conversely, the works certainly carry the weight and internalized acceptance of the current state of the world, as I pursue accepting it, letting go, dismantling concepts of control, and becoming as peacefully present as humanly possible. And yet I am constantly thoughtful – for compassion and empathy never slumber – as we hope and wait for better days, a sense of release and relief that seems a day late and an hour less after each day. that passes and every critical hour. —April 24, 2020

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Korakrit Arunanondchai (center, in white tank top) rehearses alongside dancers and collaborators, including musician Aaron David Ross (far left, in glasses) and cinematographer Alex Gvojic (center, in red pants) – for her very first piece of performance art, which debuted at Performa 19.

Korakrit Arunanondchai
Last November, 33-year-old Thai artist Korakrit Arunanondchai launched her very first performance art piece, Together, at Harlem Parish, as part of Performa 19. The performance brought together over a dozen people, and, rightly so, he wanted to be shot with his collaborators. Collaboration is an integral part of Arunanondchai’s work; He was joined for the shoot by personalities from the Corakrite orbit, including musician Aaron David Ross, cinematographer Alex Gvojic – with whom he collaborated at the Venice Biennale – and a rotating cast of choreographers and dancers. . The large group of people, all from different fields, illustrate the moving lifestyle that the artist favors. Although he now lives and works in New York City, he often returns to Thailand, where he also owns a studio, and where he often finds rich cultural subjects to explore in his work. For most of the past decade he has built his own ever-expanding universe, illustrated through his video, multimedia and now performance work, which has been on display at MoMA PS1 and the Venice Biennale 2019. While filming , Arunanondchai said: “It will be a historic photo.”

“I am in my studio in Bangkok, Thailand. [I’m keeping in touch with my community] mostly on video and phone calls, and in person, I have my twin and my parents. I was working on a few projects before that, but now the condition of the world that will be the context for these projects has changed, so it’s pretty hard to keep going. Guess the process hasn’t changed, but maybe the terms have changed. “- April 26, 2020

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