Artist Q&A with Joseph Nechvatal
Joseph Nechvatal’s contemporary art practice engages in the fragile wedding of image production and image resistance. Through his version of an art-of-noise, he brings a subversive reading to the human body through computational viruses, articulating concerns regarding safety, identity and objectivity. Since 1986, Nechvatal has worked with ubiquitous electronic visual information, computers and computer-robotics. His computer-robotic assisted paintings and computer software animations are shown regularly in galleries and museums throughout the world.
Who is your favorite artist of all time?
Marcel Duchamp. Because Duchamp’s entire artistic activity since the “definitive incompletion” of his masterpiece The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même), most often called The Large Glass (Le Grand Verre) in 1923 was an exercise in strategic invisibility, giving rise to objects and events which―because they were apparently too impermanent or unimportant or insubstantial, or because they eluded established genre conventions, or because they confused or diluted authorial identity―evaded recognition as traditional “works of art.”
How did you become a professional artist?
I went to art school, moved to New York City, and began showing my drawings in non-profit spaces during the early 1980s and, through those exhibitions, was invited to show with the commercial galleries Jack Tilton, Brooke Alexander, and Paula Cooper. Good reviews in the press helped.
What are the influences and inspirations in your work?
Dionysus, the apocalyptic, communication excess, the virus, and gender fluidity. Recently I have been inspired by the Virginia Woolf book Orlando (1928) and Antonin Artaud’s prophetic text The Theatre and the Plague, originally presented as a performance-lecture on April 6, 1933 at the Sorbonne (now an essential element … Click here to read more