Gorky’s Granddaughter is a website dedicated to giving anyone access to a studio visit. It is the kind of homegrown project that becomes a reality due to unselfish hard work and cheap digital video technology. These videos, between 15 and 40 minutes in length, are edited studio visits with Zachary Keeting and Christopher Joy, two working artists in New Haven, CT. My recent project with Artspace New Haven and the artists Martha Lewis and Karen Dow (both interviewees) introduced me to Gorky’s Granddaughter.
The tone of the studio visits are personal, occasionally silly. Keeting says that they usually spend about 90 minutes with an artist to get the roughly 30 minutes on camera. Their goal was to spend real time with each artist, rather than provide a brief and slick piece that did not reflect the reality of an artists work in situ. Even if you do not recognize a name on their site, I recommend tapping into the videos as a resource. For artists, see how others present their work in the studio visit atmosphere. For curators, use it as a tool to visit more studios. For dealers, get a better idea of who is out there making what.
Take an artist like Gary Stephan who has been showing his painting for nearly 50 years, who still has his many champions, but is no longer with a big gallery. Or Alexi Worth (shows at DC Moore), who is a recent Guggenheim Fellow and has garnered critical praise, but remains a very approachable and interesting subject. I recommend emerging artist Trudy Benson as well, (she shows at Horton Gallery) who speaks frankly about process and her interaction with computer drawing.
Keeting sighted Bruce McClure, who uses sound and projection in his work, as one of his favorites. It is part performance and part discussion. It found myself watching again and again to hear the sound pieces performed in the studio and then, all of the sudden, they leave his studio for the roof. As the discussion contends with the noises of New York, you remember the personal nature of these interactions. Somewhere between interview and friendly chat, we get to be the proverbial fly on the wall.