In anticipation of the joint exhibit of Tommy Hartung and Uri Aran, Eleven decided to send some questions to the man in charge, White Flag Project’s, Matthew Strauss. Like he asked, these inquiries and replies are without omissions and without editing for content.
Matthew Strauss: I first encountered Tommy’s work at the Greater New York exhibition at PS1. His film “The Ascent of Man” was something I wanted to show at White Flag and I put it in a group show called Impossible Vacation (MoMA actually just bought that film…) We started talking about a show of his work at that point. I was aware of Uri Aran’s work, but really it was Tommy’s idea to bring in Uri for a more or less collaborative show. They’ve known each other since grad school and have a very close friendship.
11: What is the theme of the exhibit?
MS: The nature of these two really great young artists’ exchange with one another.
11: Where is it you find a median between the work of Tommy Hartung and Uri Aran? Hartung is a filmmaker and Uri Aran arbitrary utilizes a vast breadth of approaches and mediums for his found sculptures. It seems like this could lead to either a disjointed exibit or an exciting experiment in the cohesion of two different mediums.
MS: They both make films, they both make objects, they help one another with their separate work… it’s really not about finding a median as much as it is about letting these two great friends and great artists try something out. It’s just about their relationship and the relationship of their work, and then my faith in them as artists.
11: In Aran’s last work, there where over 80 artists participating who effectively collaborated to create a distinct vision. Where your choices influenced at all by Aran’s participation in Commercial Break?
MS: That’s actually not my understanding of how Commercial Break was conceived if we’re thinking of the same thing- I think that was just a really disjointed bunch of videos Neville Wakefield put together for Venice that was supposed to go around with a big screen on a boat or something, right? Anyway, I don’t think those films added up to much aside from a good party in Italy. In any case I didn’t even notice Uri was in it- everyone was talking about the video with Lindsay Lohan that Richard Phillips made.
11: In reference to Tommy Hartung’s latest film, Tommy Hartung’s Budget Guide to New York, how is it that St. Louis artists could learn from Hartung’s film?
MS: That’s actually not one of his films- that’s something PBS’s Art21 did about him. I think the only thing a St. Louis artist could learn from that is that living in New York is not impossible, it’s just difficult and requires a lot more hustle and sacrifice than it does in St. Louis- but they probably already knew that.
11: Is there any local artist that you feel could make a pertinent film on how to make it in St. Louis as an artist? What aspects do you think he or she could focus on?
MS: There’s no such thing as making it as an artist in St. Louis… I mean I guess it depends a little bit on what one means by making it- an artist can survive here, make a living I guess. You can show your work and get a teaching job. But no artist is going to get work into MoMA hanging out in St. Louis. No one’s going to have Art21 following them around- for better or worse that’s just not how it works. If someone could make that film it would be pretty fucking impressive.
Thanks Matthew for clarifying the nature of Tommy Hartung’s Budget Guide to New York!
We’ll let the reader decide on the nature of the Commercial Break work. What do you think? Disjointed, cohesive, containing Aran’s work, or just plain lacking in the LiLo?
Who: White Flag Projects
What: New exhibit featuring Tommy Hartung and Uri Aran
Where: 4568 Manchester Avenue St. Louis, MO 63110
When: January 19 – February 18, 2012
Why: ‘cuz White Flag is dope and we all need to question the legitimacy of contemporary art as a reflection of our world.
This entry was written by Interview, Q+A, Upcoming and tagged Matthew Strauss, preview, tommy hartung, uri aran, white flag, White Flag Projects. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink., posted on January 12, 2012 at 10:00 am, filed under