Oakland-based curator and arts administrator Zoë Taleporos talks about:

Her straddling independent curating and government-supported public art curating/administrating in her role working for the City of Berkeley; how her curating is more about bringing artists in, as artist outreach, but not cultural gatekeeping; why public art looks the way it does, and why the language of public art has remained unchanged for so long, as well as the problems professionals are faced with in trying to change the face of public art; how one sculpture in San Francisco, while avoiding the problem of becoming a target for skateboarding, but instead became an ad-hoc BMX bike ramp; the alternative and more interesting version of public art: temporary public art, which allows a lot more flexibility and freedom; how panelists judge all public art candidates (Zoë has presented) by a list of criteria, and how she’s always in the room, but never voting as a panelist; the tension in the room when panelists with a wide range of experience with contemporary art weigh in on the candidates who are submitted; the strong mural history and presence in the Bay Area, which are not necessarily a deterrent to graffiti; and how it’s exciting for her to take a given artist’s work and translate it into public art.

                                

                 

                                                               

Amsterdam-based artist Tjebbe Beekman talks about:

His show in New York at GRIMM gallery (which just opened when we spoke); his 9-year stint living in Berlin, before moving back to Amsterdam at the time his son was beginning school, and how he misses the big-city benefits of Berlin; the big turning point in his work and in his life, when in a span of less than a couple of years his mother died followed by his father’s tragic death in a boating accident, early on in a journey attempting to travel the world; how his father’s death was complicated by the slow to non-existent communication about what happened, and then the time it took to get his remains back, all of which led him to stop painting for half a year; how he re-engaged his artmaking by visiting friends at the Luceberthuis residency in the Netherlands, where he also found himself listening to a lot of John Coltrane, and between the music and getting in the heads of well-known painters, he got his mojo back; the influence the legendary painter Luc Tuymans had on him while doing a residency at the Rijksakademie; and how he’s thankful to make a living from his work, because even though the Netherlands offers lots of funding to artists, most artists who rely on it need to have 2nd jobs.

                                

                 

                                                               

Joan Kee, University of Michigan art historian and current Ford Foundation Scholar in Residence at the Museum of Modern Art, talks about:

Her residency at MoMA, where she has been looking into expanding their programming to include art that is more international/not from the U.S., but from the ‘global majority;’ her career trajectory, from art history in undergrad to law school and then corporate lawyer for long enough to pay off her $100+K in debt, a calculation she was able to make partially due to her poker-playing experience); the obstacles she faced getting into a PhD art history program with her focus on modern and contemporary Korean art, and how she strongly believes that tuition for BA and MA programs are completely out of control (for out-of-state students at U. or Michigan, where she teaches, it’s currently 70K/year); her interest and expertise with emojis, including her repeated attempts to get a kimchi emoji approved by Unicode, the world text and emoji consortium (she also taught emojis in a graduate seminar); artists working in emojis, including Rachel Maclean, Laura Owens, John Baldessari and Antoine Catala, the latter whose work she calls the best emoji work she’s ever seen; the benefits and challenges of living in Detroit, and why she chose to live there instead of Ann Arbor, where she teaches; how she’s the first full professor of color in her department; how her book, “Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method,” was turned down nine times before it was accepted by U. of Minnesota Press, and subsequently led to a show she curated at Blum & Poe in L.A.; and the state of the art scene in Seoul, including the challenges for younger/smaller galleries’ survival amidst a pricey real estate market that’s regularly gentrifying.

                                

                 

                                                               

ICA San Diego director Andrew Utt talks about:

Moving back to San Diego, where he grew up, after years away in the Bay Area and South America, and why he did; why San Diego’s art community/culture isn’t known as an art destination, and how he tries to address that deficiency; his route to becoming a curator, starting with his undergrad years at California College of the Arts, when he went to grad students’ studios and had the conversations that would inform his prolific studio visits over the years; the importance of bringing in outside artists, sometimes to be shown alongside local artists, but at the same time, the ‘brain drain’ of artists emerging from SD-based art schools and leaving for L.A. (or elsewhere) for more opportunities, the exodus of which becomes a generational loss over time; the ICA’s 5-foot and 10-foot rules for interacting with new visitors outside the museum; and where art engagement is headed, in terms of infiltrating cities, and through the growth of VR, AI and other interactive platforms.

@ICAsandiego