Saturday, July 24, 2004

Ana Finel Honigman on David Nicholson


I really should make Artnet part of my regular reading. But somehow it never makes the cut in between coffee number one and coffee number two. I dunno why. None the less last week I came across Ms. Honigman's interview with Mr. Nicholson, the only reason that this is significant, is that she writes "The Montreal-born Nicholson, who has no formal artistic training (and in fact is an amateur middleweight boxer)" although if he is an Amateur Boxer how does he pay the bills, but I digress. Her 1,692 word interview strikes me as interesting on a couple of points.

First, most of her questions are banal at best.

  • "Why do you choose to paint in oil?"

  • "Right before Sept. 11, 2001, you did a series of paintings about East/ West tensions. How did that series come about?"

  • "Who or what would you cite as your strongest art historical or cultural influence?"

  • "Do you feel that, as an artist, you need to engage art history directly without the mediation of critical theory or academic discourse?"
Umm, not to belabor the obvious, but if you're going to lead with a question about medium (and by extension, technique) follow it up. She doesn't.
With regards to the second question I pulled, yes, you're living in New York City, but fer chrisakes, despite what Michael Moore and George Bush say, not everything revolves around Sept. 11. If Ms. Honigman had paid attention to her question she would have realized that Mr. Nicholson actually made the paintings before then. A question along the lines of "your series of paintings depicting East-West tensions are quite powerful, how did you come to make them?"

The question about influences is so completely flat as to almost become ridiculous, and I won't bore you with another rant against three syllable words. OK?

Now, some of the answers she elicits from Mr. Nicholson are quite telling. He states "I am referencing porn less than I am updating the notion of ideal beauty." Umm, I'd love to know when was the last time Mr. Nicholson got laid. And he then follows that up with "Why is it that history can tell that there was a difference between Shakespeare and his contemporaries but we are incapable of discerning taste distinctions in our contemporary culture?" I think that explains perfectly why Mr. Nicholson is a painter.

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