Nathan Manuel and D.Billy, a pair of Washington, D.C. based artists who are currently showing collaborative works at DCAC, participate in the Artists Interview Artists Project. Below Nathan and D.Billy respond to another artist's five questions (Andrew Wodzianski from Washington, D.C.). In order to participate, Nathan and D.Billy had to provide me with five questions for some other artist to answer. The assigning of questions to artists is completely random. If you're an artist and interested in participating, let me know.
1. How important is it for an artist to be present at their exhibition's opening reception?
How important is it to whom? There are really three entities to which it may or may not matter: The artist(s), the gallery, and the audience.
The artist(s) may or may not feel the need to be there. We both enjoy seeing some of the public reaction firsthand, and like being around to answer questions and so on. Other artists -- whether it's due to time or geographical constraints, or aloofness, or disinterest in "the scene", or agorophobia, or the fact that they're dead -- don't go to their own openings. A lot of the no-shows are more well-known, and possibly enough of an art world commodity that their work has its own independent life very much outside of the artist. If you get art-famous to this point, collectors or curators can even put shows on without you knowing about it, or you're just so burnt out from a lifetime of openings that you really don't care anymore. But we like to be there and think it's kinda lame if the artist isn't.
The gallery usually likes to have the artist(s) present at the opening. It's good presentation. Lends some extra validity and atmosphere to the show, and probably helps sales.
Audiences generally like the artists to be present so that they can put a face to an artist's work, or, if the artist is crazy-famous, so that they can have that celebrity encounter.
2. Is an artist statement necessary?
50% of art is not knowing what the fuck you just did...
and the other 50% is be able to explain it anyway.
3. Do market pressures influence your studio practice?
Nope, it just happens that we both make reasonably sized, affordable art that looks great above any style couch.
4) Why are biographies and movies about musicians more popular than those of visual artists?
Are you forgetting Pollock, Frida, Basquiat, Downtown 81, Survivng Picasso, Crumb, Condo Painting, How to Draw a Bunny, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Life & Times of Andy Warhol, Warholo, I Shot Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, El Greco, M, Rivers & Tides, etc. etc. etc...?
(Sure, you could bust out a big list of movies about musicians, but the point is that the artist movies aren't as scarce as you might think. D.Billy's Netflix queue is chock full of them, and he can't friggin' believe that Nathan still hasn't seen How to Draw a Bunny.)
5) If a movie were to be produced about your art career/life, who would you like to be cast as yourself (living or dead)? If a biography were written, who would you like to write it?
Ahh, that's a piggyback double-question.
The film role of D.Billy will be played by: a sock puppet.
D.Billy's biography will be written by: Jim Davis of "Garfield" or Cathy Guisewite of "Cathy". Whoever wins in a street fight.
The film role of Nathan Manuel will be played by Stephen Baldwin, and his biography will be written by Madeline L'Engle. (There's a theme to detect there, kids!)
Juno Doran (questions by James W. Bailey)
Josh Feldman (questions by Joseph Barbaccia)
Lisa Stephenson (questions by Whitney Lynn)
Joseph Barbaccia (questions by Josh Feldman)
James W. Bailey (questions by Matt Hollis)
Matt Hollis (questions by Juno Doran)
Carol Es (questions by James Leonard)
Alexandra Silverthorne (questions by Ami Lahoff)
Christine Buckton Tillman (questions by Carol Es)
Douglas Witmer (questions by Alexandra Silverthorne)
Sky Pape (questions by Douglas Witmer)
Whitney Lynn (questions by Lisa Stephenson)
Heather Levy (questions by Joanne Greenbaum)
Heather Lowe (questions by Samantha Wolov)
Samantha Wolov (questions by Heather Levy)
Timothy McClellan (questions by Heather Lowe)
James Leonard (questions by Sky Pape)
Joanne Greenbaum (questions by Timothy McClellan)
Richard Kooyman (questions by Robert Walton)
Candy Keegan (questions by Warren Craghead)
Robert Walton (questions by Candy Keegan)
John M. Adams (questions by Richard Kooyman)
Prescott Moore Lassman (questions by Mary Addison Hackett)
Mary Addison Hackett (questions by Prescott Moore Lassman)
Andrew Wodzianski (questions by Nathan Manuel & D.Billy)