"Art making is a form of alchemy, in a way, because you are trying…to make gold from nothing. When it works very well is when you manage to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary."
From the series, "Exclusive"
Filmed in 2004, Fred Wilson discusses how beauty and ugliness together create meaning. For his installation "Speak of Me as I Am" at the 50th Venice Biennale (2003), Wilson arranged "blackamoors"—decorative sculptures common in Venice—throughout the American Pavilion. In doing so, he called attention to how these beautiful objects depict Africans in servitude. Also shown in this film is Wilson's piece "Cabinetmaking, 1820–1960" (1992)—ornate nineteenth-century chairs juxtaposed with a whipping post—installed at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2004.
CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Mead Hunt & Joel Shapiro. Sound: Judy Karp & Merce Williams. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Fred Wilson. Special Thanks: Maryland Historical Society & The Studio Museum in Harlem. Theme Music: Peter Foley.
Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.