Neil Young's box set, titled Archives, was released a couple of months ago to great acclaim. Made up of 10 Blu-ray discs, each holding 50 gigs of information, it is truly Neil Young's life in a box. There’s a beautiful moment we stumble upon in the box set where we see a film showing Young leaning out of an old car on
his property in the hills of California, a land that I am so intimately
connected to from having grown up here and watching the subtle changes
of coastal light, and he says, “No matter how many people are around
me, I keep talking about all the things that go on inside me.” The joy
and vulnerability on his face against the bright blue sky suddenly made
me see him as a dreamer, as someone who followed the only thing that he
could do and followed it fully, preserving all the evidence of that
journey in his music.
John Baldessari has been called an LA artist, a conceptual artist, a pop-artist, but is quite simply and completely an artist. Winner of the 2009 Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale, Baldessari is one of the most important artists living and working today. In October, he will have a retrospective at the Tate that will travel to Barcelona, Los Angeles and New York. Stay tuned for an article on him in The Times.
For the past couple of weeks, I have aired pieces played earlier this year—two interviews with two directors up for Academy Awards. Those directors were Ari Folman of Waltz with Bashir and Laurent Cantet of The Class. Neither won the Academy Award and, in light of Mickey Rourke's loss, I wonder what value the Oscar has (even Sean Penn seemed shocked when he got the award against Rourke). The point being that both these films were great surprises. The Class continues to be chronicled, reviewed and revered in well respected publications across the globe. Waltz with Bashir was a groundbreaking work and well worth the fiscal sacrifices Folman took to create the film. While neither walked away with a gold statue, I still would have voted for them and, in my heart, they won. So after two weeks of repeats, I have just posted a new piece about Warhol and his relationship to music. The interview was with respected curator Tim Burgard, who restructured my thoughts about Warhol. Like many, I saw Warhol as an aloof, self interested, blown up artist but the truth is that he brought portraiture back into modern art, he is one of the most important and prolific filmmakers of our time and he was able to revive the communal aspect of art making by bringing people together to create great work. His open door policy and his keen eye changed people's lives and that is the best thing you can do while alive, make a difference. Check the interviews out and listen to the podcast, Sight Unseen, on iTunes.
I had the great pleasure of interviewing Katy Grannan. More on this later but here are some images from the series she has created since her move out west. She has a show coming up in London and I wrote about her work for The Times in the UK.
A few years ago, I had the honor of spending the day with Studs Terkel, a journalist that I deeply admire. At the time, I was an editor at a publishing company called Seven Stories Press and Studs Terkel had come to New York for several interviews. I was his escort through different parts of the city and was too shy to ask him questions about his life. He was older now and his wife had just passed away. He kept on calling me "kid!" which I really liked and he wore a bright red sweater and still had the smile of a curious young man. He died a little over a week ago at the age of 96 and when I heard that he was no longer physically on this earth, I truly felt a great person was lost. Terkel published several books including Working and had a radio show in Chicago for 45 years. Listen to some of his recordings, here are some special ones on The Depression that aired last week on This American Life.