Our first film with artist Josephine Halvorson – Close Encounters with Josephine Halvorson – just went live on Friday. Please welcome her to the New York Close Up family by watching early and often!
When we first met with Josephine she was really excited about the kinds of story-telling possibilities that the New York Close Up documentary project can provide. Especially the potential to tell the “making of” stories that are really central to her experience of her own work. Well, in this first film we were able to tell the rather funny and vegetarian-alienating tale behind the making of “Carcass” (2011), a painting Josephine created on-site at a slaughterhouse in Iceland. But over the course of a lot of conversations with Josephine, it was pretty clear that there was another on-location story that really needed to be told, the California-spanning saga behind her painting “Mine Site” (2011). Unfortunately, it was just a little too intricately plotted and quietly tragic to fit inside the constraints of a happy-go-lucky 6+ minute New York Close Up episode.
So in the spirit of extending our films’ documentary spirit to the project website – and Josephine’s own search to incorporate the documentary into her practice – we present a fully illustrated, e-mail-original interview with Josephine about the creation of “Mine Site.” And just as significantly, the painting she wasn’t able to make.
Well, with the housing crisis and all, he could only get the rooftops done. Check our latest video – David Brooks Tears the Roof Off – to make sense of it all.
David is a man of many words, many of which we just weren’t able to fit into the 7+ minute final film. So below is a more extended interview with David about his Art Production Fund-commissioned public artwork Desert Rooftops (the work featured in the film), south Florida as the “Sixth Borough,” and the importance of getting the skateboarders’ seal of approval.
Nick Ravich: Why is south Florida so important for you? What’s the relationship between New York City and Florida?
David Brooks: South Florida does receive an abnormal amount of traffic from New Yorkers, both in its heydays of development, and today with its proximity to New York as a getaway or cultural siphon. Thus, much to the chagrin of the locals, it is sometimes referred to as the “Sixth Borough.” Ugh. More importantly, south Florida is an extremely rare confluence of land, coral, freshwater, brackish water, saltwater – the nexus of the Atlantic seaboard, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Everglades watershed.
Hot off the Mac Pro tower (well, hot off the Mac Pro tower yesterday), our latest film – Eddie Martinez Whistles While He Works.
I have to admit – shooting the material that forms the heart of this film, an afternoon in Eddie Martinez’s studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn – was one of the more intense, enlightening, and privileged shoot experiences I’ve had on location for the New York Close Up project.
It was our second shoot day together. The crew showed up – just myself, the very gifted camera man Rafa Salazar, and a compact HDSLR camera package – at the studio and Eddie immediately dived in to a new painting. I really mean dived in, spray painting before the primer had time to truly set. Before the shoot, Rafa and I had talked about a handheld, stalking, almost predatory approach. The operative metaphor was a boxing match, and we were Eddie’s opponent, bobbing and weaving in and around Eddie as he in turn boxed against his painting. I knew from previously shooting with Eddie that I wanted to visually dramatize Eddie’s very physical process with our own kind of pointed movement.
As promised this Friday’s release is a double premiere – it’s the first film featuring one of New York Close Up’s eight new artists as well as the first film featuring artist Mika Rottenberg. So may we present Mika Rottenberg & Jon Kessler Wanna Make You Sweat.
One of the nice things about this blog is we get the chance to talk about stuff that we just can’t fit into our final films. And this episode in particular definitely represents just the tip of a much larger narrative/backstory iceberg. The biggest submerged part being the stories of the rather extraordinary range of folks that collaborators Mika and Jon cast for their Performa-commissioned performance/ installation work SEVEN at Nicole Klagsbrun gallery. And I was the lucky producer who got to hang out backstage and talk with the performers.
If we haven’t already given you enough reasons to vote for New York Close Up for Best Documentary Series in the upcoming Webby Awards — and in general dig on the project — we’re giving you, faithful viewers, another one: the premiere of our next film, Lucas Blalock Gets a Little Help From his Friends.