The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists
Mary Jane Jacob
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The image of a tortured genius working in near isolation has long dominated our conceptions of the artist’s studio. Examples abound: think Jackson Pollock dripping resin on a cicada carcass in his shed in the Hamptons. But times have changed; ever since Andy Warhol declared his art space a “factory,” artists have begun to envision themselves as the leaders of production teams, and their sense of what it means to be in the studio has altered just as dramatically as their practices.
The Studio Reader pulls back the curtain from the art world to reveal the real activities behind artistic production. What does it mean to be in the studio? What is the space of the studio in the artist’s practice? How do studios help artists envision their agency and, beyond that, their own lives? This forward-thinking anthology features an all-star array of contributors, ranging from Svetlana Alpers, Bruce Nauman, and Robert Storr to Daniel Buren, Carolee Schneemann, and Buzz Spector, each of whom locates the studio both spatially and conceptually—at the center of an art world that careens across institutions, markets, and disciplines. A companion for anyone engaged with the spectacular sites of art at its making, The Studio Reader reconsiders this crucial space as an actual way of being that illuminates our understanding of both artists and the world they inhabit.
all part of a unity crafted and ventured by the sculptor to evoke a way of life. In keeping with the property of plaster itself, the way of life placed subtly on display was a highly absorbant one, which—in contrast, for example, to the wooden, chapellike decor of Bourdelle’s studio and its distracting props—was capable of drawing in and focusing the visitor’s attention on the contents of the place, the sculptures on show. Over the years, Brancusi’s sculptural palette, so to speak, would be
a working-class woman from what I suspect is a long line of thwarted creativity, I have made uneasy peace with the desire for a removed and isolated studio in which to think and dream, and the necessity—because of personal economics and values—to find a studio in the streets. In this studio, a space where reflection and production are sometimes indistinguishable, negotiation is an important method of “making.” Besides negotiating between various perceptions, factions, and political realities,
everything we touch is an idea. AB That’s phenomenology. The minute we touch something it is also a feeling, emotion, sensation, etc. TS Our brains are ideas. I bet ideas were our best ideas! Ideas replicate, they mutate, they have a self-preservation drive. AB But what about emotions? Are they different? TS I think emotions are very biochemical ideas, like an idea from the dawn of time. I take them very seriously—ideas that don’t use words. AB Beautiful, I agree with you. Hey, are we in our
in the studio. The question remains, how the studio became such a site and with what changing nuances have perceptual truths been pursued there. Studio as Retreat The workplace had not previously been conceived of as the retreat it was to become. An Italian mural painter like Piero della Francesca can be described as setting up a temporary workplace in San Francesco in Arezzo while he was painting his fresco cycle there in the mid-fifteenth century. Climbing up on the scaffolding during a
beginnings of and sometimes throughout their careers, all artists must be content with squalid hovels or ridiculously tiny rooms; but I am describing the studio as an archetype. Artists who maintain ramshackle workspaces despite their drawbacks are obviously artists for whom the idea of possessing a studio is a necessity. Thus they often dream of possessing a studio very similar to the archetype described here. 2 Thus the architect must pay more attention to the lighting, orientation, etc., of