In 2016, Ansel Krut, Nicole Wermers and Joshua Simon, and Sarah Michelson spoke about their approach to making work

31/05/16 Sarah Michelson

The question is, is making art—and within that, I am a dancemaker—a self-congratulatory redundant practice, or—if there is a real pursuit of the nature of the beast to ground level, knowing there is no ground—a humble service? -Sarah Michelson

Sarah Michelson stays clinging to the ice mountain of dance. She has served as associate director of Movement Research, editor-in-chief of Performance Journal, and is currently an associate curator of dance at The Kitchen.

Whitney Stories: Sarah Michelson from Whitney Museum of American Art on Vimeo.Read more about Sarah's work in her interview with BOMB Magazine.

Photo credit: Annette Yoosefinejaard


10/05/16 Nicole Wermers + Joshua Simon

For the second of the 2016 Stanley Picker Public lectures, artist Nicole Wermers discusses her work and her practice, followed by a discussion by Joshua Simon on neomaterialism and how it might relate to Wermers’ works.

Joshua Simon is the Director and Chief Curator of MoBY – Museums of Bat Yam, Israel. He is a co-founding editor of the literary journal Maayan, of the film journal Maarvon (Western), and of The New & Bad Art Magazine, all published in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Simon is a fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School, New York. His book Neomaterialism was published in 2013 by Sternberg Press, Berlin. He recently edited the monograph Ruti Sela: For the Record(Archive Books, 2015) following the exhibition he curated of the artist’s works which was shown at MoBY and at Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam. Recent exhibitions include Factory Fetish(co-curated together with Liang Luscombe) at Westspace, Melbourne, 2015; and the retrospective Roee Rosen: Group Exhibition(co-curated together with Gilad Melzer) at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 2016, and The Kids Want Communism- a yearlong program of exhibitions at MoBY marking the 99th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Simon is currently working on a book titled Israel-Palestine: The Great Syrian-African Rift.

Nicole Wermers was born in Germany in 1971 and lives and works in London. She graduated from Hochschule für bildende Künste, Hamburg, Germany in 1997 before completing her MA in Fine Art at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design, London, UK in 1999. In 2015 she was nominated for the Turner prize that took place at Tramway in Glasgow. Recent solo exhibitions include Infrastruktur, Herald St, London, UK (2015); The London Shape, Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston upon Thames, UK (2014); Manners, site-specific sculpture, Tate Britain, London, UK (2013); Spray, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, USA (2012); Hôtel Biron, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany (2011);Masse und Auflösung, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado, USA; Earring, site-specific sculpture, Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (2006); Chemie, Secession, Vienna, Austria (2005).

Recent group exhibitions include Quiz 2, MUDAM Luxembourg (2016), Function Follows Vision, Vision Follows Reality, Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz, Vienna, Austria (2015); Überschönheit,Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, Austria (2015); A Singular Form, Secession, Wien, Austria (2014); Villa Massimo Stipendiaten, Martin-Gropius Bau, Berlin, Germany (2013); Perspectives On Collage, Photographers Gallery, London, UK (2013); Re-generation, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea (MACRO), Rom, Italy (2012); The New Decor, Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2010), A wavy line is drawn across the middle of the original plans, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany (2012); Weltempfänger, Galerie der Gegenwart/ Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany (2007); Tate Triennale, Tate Britain, London, UK (2006).

Nicole Wermers, Untitled (snow), 2010. Collaged magazines. 48 x 37.5 cm / 18.8 x 14.7 in. Courtesy the artist and Herald St, London


15/03/16 Ansel Krut

On resistance in painting:
“Personally I like the way that paintings can be so non-compliant - that it's in their material nature to behave badly.  You could say that paint is resistant; it seems always to want to change to rules, upset the status quo, to resist fixed interpretation.”For the first of the 2016 Stanley Picker lectures, South African artist Ansel Krut discusses his latest series of works, in relation to the theme of ‘resistance’ and the contemporary relevance of flowers.

Dear Pascal
... I have made these paintings in a kind of white heat, throwing myself into painting more completely than I have been able to do for some years ... and I think that it has forced me into something more elemental in my own working practise.  Perhaps something more fundamental to myself as an artist.  All bar two of the images are of flowers. It is a theme I stumbled into... I have always painted flowers, maybe one or two paintings a year, but this is the first time I have settled on them as a theme for an exhibition. Historically I suppose flowers as a subject tend to be thought of as being slightly domestic, bourgeois, but of course if you look closely at flowers they are incredibly exotic, sometimes they are unbelievably so, almost to the point of seeming extraterrestrial. It is a strange thing for them to be cut and displayed as decoration, tamed as it were. I suppose I try to express this strangeness by juxtaposing them with the strangeness of their containers, vases that resemble bodies, or have something of the body about them.  Sometimes the flowers are not in vases but bound together, another kind of forced relationship...
I have painted flowers that have personal meaning for me, some I grew up with in South Africa and some I got to know later....  With one exception I have not felt the need to have the flowers in front of me when I painted them... The 2 paintings that are not of flowers are both of books burning their own content. The idea of books being burned is so freighted and seems to me to touch on something of the current climate of cultural destruction - but that they should be destroying themselves seems even more ramped up and potent. The self-awareness that this implies is shared by the flower paintings, and ...there is l think ... a compelling overlap of interests.

All the best

(From an email February 2016)

Ansel Krut (b.1959 Cape Town, South Africa) lives and works in London. Krut completed a BA Fine Art at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (1982), he then attended Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (1982-1983) and received a MA painting from the Royal College of Art, London (1986). Krut was awarded the Abbey Major Scholarship in Painting, British School at Rome (1986-1987). From 2006-2015 Krut was a Lecturer in Painting at the Royal College of Art, London and from 2005-2007 he was a Drawing Fellow at Wimbledon College of Art, London and Artist–lecturer at The National Gallery, London. Krut's recent solo exhibtions include Verbatim, Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, UK (2014); Ansel Krut, Modern Art, London (2014); Ansel Krut, Marlborough Chelsea, New York, USA (2013); Ansel Krut, Kade, Amersfoort, The Netherlands, invited by Robbert Roos (2011); Ansel Krut (solo presentation), The Armory Show (2011); Ansel Krut, Modern Art, London (2010). His recent group exhibitions include The Violet Crab at DRAF, David Roberts Arts Foundation, London (2015); Feels Like Heaven, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2014); Live and Let Die, Modern Art, London (2014); The Tyranny of Grammar curated by John Strutton at Fishmarket Gallery, Northampton (2011); Art Basel Miami Beach, Modern Art (2010).

Photo credit: Ansel Krut, Roses, 2016. Oil on canvas. 130 x 110 c