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A brush with...

Author: The Art Newspaper

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In this podcast, based on The Art Newspaper's regular interview series, our host Ben Luke talks to artists in depth. He asks the questions you've always wanted to: who are the artists, historical and contemporary, they most admire? Which are the museums they return to? What are the books, music and other media that most inspire them? What do they get up to in the studio every day? And what is art for, anyway?


Series 1 of A brush with... focused mostly on painters, but the artists in subsequent series use a wealth of media and work across a range of disciplines.


The podcast offers a fascinating insight into the inspirations, the preoccupations and the working lives of some of the most prominent artists today.



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17 Episodes
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Ben Luke talks to Doris Salcedo about her life and work through the artists she most admires, the writers she returns to and the music she listens to. She recalls her epiphany when confronted with the works of Francisco de Goya, and how his empathy with the victims of war and violence prompted her own aim to give voice to the voiceless in the Colombian civil war and beyond. She talks about the influence of Paul Celan's poetry, which she quotes directly in her Unland series. She describes how Joseph Beuys's public sculpture gave her an example of a sensitivity to place that she has employed in her many memorable public works. Plus she reveals a secret to her studio life that she has never shown in public and answers our usual questions: if you could live with just one work of art, what would it be? And what is art for? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
A brush with... Ali Banisadr

A brush with... Ali Banisadr

2021-03-3101:01:331

As he prepares for a two-part exhibition in Florence, the Tehran-born, Brooklyn-based artist discusses his life and work through the cultural epiphanies and influences that have shaped him. He talks about drawing in the basement of his family home as the Iran-Iraq war raged around him as a child and how visiting the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy prompted a turning point in his work. He talks about the auditory-visual synaesthesia that means he hears and feels the paintings as he creates them. He recalls life-changing encounters with Michelangelo and Hieronymus Bosch, reflects on his love of epic poetry and Sufi verse, and discusses the music he listens to as he works. And, of course, he answers those tricky questions that close all the A brush with... interviews: if you could live with just one work of art, what would it be? And what is art for? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
As her retrospective opens at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Ethiopian-born, New York-based artist Julie Mehretu talks in depth about her life and work. She discusses the rich language she uses in her paintings, drawing on geopolitical subject matter but pushing towards abstraction. She talks about the influence of contemporary artists like David Hammons, Kara Walker and Glenn Ligon, her collaboration with the British artist Tacita Dean, how Rembrandt made his mark on her as a child and the way she uses news photography as the basis for her most recent works. She talks about her literary influences, from Toni Morrison to Chris Abani, on the music she listens to in her studio, from Sun Ra to Joan Armatrading, and her fruitful collaborations with the jazz pianist Jason Moran and the theatre and opera director Peter Sellars. Among much else, she also talks about the cultural experience that changed the way she sees the world, the one work of art she would choose to live with, and answers our ultimate question: what is art for? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In the last of the present series, Ben Luke talks to Tala Madani, the Tehran-born, Los Angeles-based artist, about the influences and cultural experiences behind her remarkable paintings and animations. She talks about art's role in shaping her experience in the US after she had moved to Oregon from Tehran as a teenager, about the early influence of Francis Bacon, and about a range of artists she continues to think about today, from Giorgio de Chirico to Lee Lozano and Paul McCarthy. As always on A brush with... Tala is asked about the literature and music that have played key roles in her life, and reflects on the influence of Iranian poetry, her enduring fascination with Stanisław Lem's Solaris, her love of Miles Davis and Léo Ferré and about how "sometimes I need to go to Iran, in my brain, and I listen to music that emotionally puts me in Iran". Plus, she answers the other questions we ask all our guests, about studio rituals, the one artwork they would want to live with and, ultimately, what art is for. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ben Luke talks to Charles Gaines, one of the key figures in American conceptual art, about his influences and cultural experiences and how they have affected his life and work. Gaines discusses the impact of visiting the Metropolitan Museum's collection of African art during a period in which he "completely rethought who I was, not only as a person but as a Black person in America". He talks about the early influence of Magritte and Matisse. He discusses the impact of writers and activists like Edward Said and Frantz Fanon. He enthuses about jazz (he is jazz drummer himself) including Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane, and classical music, including Beethoven and Bruckner. And he answers our usual questions, including those about his daily studio rituals and the one work of art he would want to live with. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
A brush with... Tal R

A brush with... Tal R

2021-01-2054:07

This week, Ben Luke interviews the Danish artist Tal R about his influences and cultural experiences. In this in-depth conversation, the painter and sculptor discusses his early love of art and frustration with art school, the unlikely ritual that keeps his art fresh, and why pursuing mystery is perilous for an artist. He talks about the writers and music that he returns to, and discusses painters including Georges Rouault, Marsden Hartley and Alfred Wallis. Plus, he answers our usual questions, including which cultural experience changed the way he sees the world, what work of art he would most want to live with, and what he thinks art is for. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ben Luke talks to Tracey Rose about how her influences and cultural experiences have affected her life and work. Among other things, she talks about her education as the only Black child in a catholic school in South Africa and her performances in which she explored gender and race, pushing her body to extremes. She talks about the seismic effect of seeing international contemporary art after the end of Apartheid, about how Duchamp is the most "African" artist in the Modernist canon, and how exploring her ancestry has led her to research the East African slave trade and the earliest forms of human creativity. Plus, she answers the questions we ask all our guests, including: if you could live with just one work of art, what would it be? And what is art for? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ben Luke talks to Rachel Whiteread about how her influences and cultural experiences have affected her life and work. Among other things, she talks about the influence of her parents on her work; the enduring power of Piero della Francesca; the seismic effect of seeing Bruce Nauman's art; how poetry informs her sculpture; and she recalls memorable trips to Egypt and the Soviet Union. Plus, she answers the questions we ask all our guests, including: if you could live with just one work of art, what would it be? And what is art for? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ben Luke talks to the US artist Roni Horn about her life and work, with reference to the art, music and literature that are her influences and touchstones. Among much else, they discuss Horn's enduring engagement with the poems of Emily Dickinson, and the sculptures and installations that she has made as a result; her unique friendship with Felix Gonzalez-Torres and the works it inspired; the jazz and R&B singers that she has listened to throughout her life; and her profound experiences in Iceland, the subject of her new book, Island Zombie: Iceland Writings (Princeton University Press). Plus, the questions Ben asks all the guests on A brush with..., including: if you could live with just one work of art, what would it be? And what is art for? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ben Luke talks to the Los Angeles-based painter Christina Quarles about her life and work through her influences and cultural experiences. Quarles discusses her powerful figurative paintings. "I see them," she says, "as being portraits not of looking at a body, but portraits of being within your own body." She discusses the effect of living in Los Angeles and arriving there as a child at the point when the city was engulfed in riots prompted by police brutality; how her work might be as influenced by tchotchkes found in a thrift store just as much as works in museums; how writers like Audre Lorde and James Baldwin influenced her thinking; and how she listens to epic musicals as she works. Plus, the questions asked of all the guests on A brush with..., including which contemporary artists she most admires and which work of art she would most like to live with. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ben Luke talks to the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson in depth about his influences and cultural experiences. Among much else, they discuss Kjartansson's love of 18th-century art and him being "horny in Rococo class" in school; his admiration for the painter Elizabeth Peyton; how reading Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray changed his life; and the collaborative ethos behind his video-installation masterpiece The Visitors (2012)—which emerged from "longing to do something with your friends and people you admire". Plus, the questions asked of all the guests on A brush with..., including: if you could live with one work of art, what would it be? And what is art for? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ben Luke talks to Rashid Johnson about the cultural experiences that have had an impact on his life and work. They discuss his beginnings as a photographer, but how he quickly occupied a "post-medium space", working in everything from film to sculpture, installation and, as with the other artists in the first series, in painting. Rashid talks about his use of materials like black soap and shea butter, the role of books in his work, and the personal and political background to his recent body of Anxious works, culminating in the new Anxious Red paintings. Through the conversation, Rashid reveals the influence of cultural figures as diverse as the hip-hop star Rakim, writers including Toni Morrison and Paul Beatty, and artists as diverse as Roy DeCarava, Franz Kline, Jean Dubuffet and David Hammons. He also answers our regular questions about studio rituals, the one artwork he would choose to live with, and, finally, what is art for? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ben Luke talks to Chantal Joffe about the cultural experiences that have had an impact on her life and work. They discuss the shift in her work from early paintings based on pornography to recent depictions of herself and her daughter; they explore the writers and music that she returns to for inspiration, the museums she regularly visits and the daily rituals of her studio life. Above all, they talk about art in depth, and the inspiration of artists as diverse as Piero della Francesca, Edgar Degas, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Chaim Soutine, Maria Lassnig and David Wojnarowicz. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ben Luke talks to Jenny Saville about her cultural experiences and their effect on her work and life. We learn about how her uncle inspired her to explore the Old Masters and match their ambition, how having children hugely affected the way she works, the visit to an artist’s studio that changed her life, the epic poetry that drives her painting into new territories, the strange rituals in her daily practice. Ultimately, we explore in depth her passion for art and the compulsion to respond to the world through paint. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In the inaugural episode of The Art Newspaper's podcast series of conversations with artists, host Ben Luke talks to Michael Armitage about his life and work through his cultural experiences: the artists, living and long gone, who he most admires; the art he has pinned to his studio wall; the museum that holds endless inspiration; the writers he returns to; the music he plays as he paints in the studio; the rituals of his daily practice. We learn about the unique fusion of East African and European culture at the heart of Armitage's paintings, explore the ways that the art of the past can infuse the present day; and ultimately ponder the wonderful, yet at times absurd, act of painting. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Ben Luke talks to the Seoul-born, London-based artist Do Ho Suh about his influences and life-changing cultural experiences. They discuss his recreations of his various homes in coloured fabric and how his early work in South Korea has been ignored by curators and critics. Do Ho reveals that, influenced by a painting of fish and shellfish in his family home, he wanted to be a marine biologist, and that he only switched to art when he realised his maths was not good enough. He reflects on the influence of the Chinese artists Qi Baishi and Bada Shanren and discusses the contemporary artists he admires, from Felix Gonzalez-Torres to Rachel Whiteread. And, as with all the guests on the A brush with... podcast, he names the writers and musicians he admires, ponders his studio rituals and answers the ultimate question: what is art for? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Introducing A brush with... a new podcast series by the team behind The Week in Art at The Art Newspaper. In each episode, the host Ben Luke has a conversation with a leading artist, exploring their life and work through their cultural experiences, asking the questions you've always wanted to: who are the artists, historical and contemporary, they most admire? Which are the museums they return to? What are the books, music and other media that most inspire them? And what is art for, anyway? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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