NYC ARTIST PORTFOLIO – ANTEK WALCZAK
NYC ARTIST PORTFOLIO – ANTEK WALCZAK
New York’s center of gravity is a place where you can have all or nothing. Ideas, like people, stick to it or are pushed away like two of the same magnetic poles. While the stakes of making art in New York are often governed by this similar idea, generations of artists come to this city to see where they stand in relation to this magnetism. Its surrounding literal and social architecture can be taken in many directions and angles, yet the focus on this center never shifts.
Hercules invited me to select a few artists that are definers of what it means to be making art in New York and some that are making their path in this particular landscape. How do they navigate this community of similar and dissimilar as well as their relationship with the physicality of New York City? What is their vantage point and how do they choose to live here? While in many ways these artists are diverse, all are making interesting work that in one form or another speaks of New York’s current artistic climate.
I presented a few questions to these artists about their relationship to the city they call home. Once a week for the next five weeks Hercules will feature an artist from this group.
Colin Snapp is an artist who lives and works in New York. To view his work please visit his website www.colinsnapp.com or stop by his current show at The Journal Gallery up until April 29th.
Antek Walczak was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1968 and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He received a BFA at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. His work has been shown at Cinematexas in Austin, the Pompidou Center, Fri-Art in Fribourg, Switzerland and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. He is a core member of Bernadette Corporation since 1994. He has written for magazines/zines like Purple, Pacemaker, Pazmaker, Zehar, and Made in USA.
His latest solo show, “Los años de plomo”, opens March 29th at the House of Gaga gallery in Mexico City.
How has working in New York influenced your practice? To the extent that I’m able to see myself as working under the malignant magnetism of New York: as disposable labor for the city’s patriarchs and their Wall Street minions, as customer and potential criminal for the armies of cops in the employ of real estate developers, as sincere peddler of critique in the phony flea market of authentic urbanicity, as non-existent quantity in the equation of nameless hipsters heroically sacrificing themselves, liver by liver, in dive bars across the five boroughs. All this has made me stupid and careless, ruled by my whims and passions, and utterly destitute in a bespoke neurotic quagmire, which I then distill to a stiff, bracing quaff of individual character. New York is an extremely dense environment both socially and physically. Which one would you say has a larger impact on your work? The social density, now more than ever, because it’s so rigid and restrained. For example, picture Jay-Z throwing Ambien in the eyes of tired models at a party at The Standard Hotel during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Now picture veteran East Village Squat Scene photographer Clayton Patterson calling for Occupy Wall Street to get a strong leader to head the movement, all this during a town meeting at the mobile BMW-Guggenheim Lab temporarily operating on Houston Street across from the Whole Foods. I point out these contradictions not to gently mock them, but because they are interesting, volatile, and indicative of an instability lodged all the way down at the molecular level of being in this city. The color and tone of the social fabric is as farcical as its situation, so what happens when the mask is dropped? Mayhem? Genocidal orgies? Spontaneous meditation circles? Waves of general strikes and mass walkouts by people who work at home? How has the location you grew up in affected your process, and does this continue to influence your practice today I just want to say that like the chimp in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the first word I uttered wasn’t mama or dada but “No!” And that this happened in a suburb of Pittsburgh, and that what ensued is lost in a green-gray noxious cloud of repressed memory. What are you currently working on? Do you have any exhibitions approaching? Something involving silk-screens of financial themed spam emails from 2007 on lead sheets, and then spamming a gallery in Mexico City with that. Gaga Arte Contemporáneo, opening March 29.
Portraits by Cameron Krone
Text and curation by Colin Snapp