REVISIT WITH CHRIS BOGIA
The last time I saw you you were on your way out of the studio residency at the Queens Museum in New York, how has the transition out of that program been for you?
It was not easy. The Queens Museum was a utopian situation where everything was provided for me and there were supportive people all around me for two years. Those two years went by so fast though, and I had to line something up to go to from there. I’d found something nice in Maspeth Queens, but it fell through the day before the moving trucks were coming. The timing was a nightmare because I was about to start working on a piece going into a museum show and I had to finish the work for the NADA booth with Mrs. gallery. I was panicked. My partner was like, holding me psychologically together with duct tape, lol. Thanks Rod!
I got in my car the next day (and for about a week) criss-crossed every block of the South Bronx working my way north. I called every single number on every single building I could find. I was not getting too many bites – I got maybe four calls back, but one of the studios turned out to be a really great fit. I haven’t even fully unpacked yet. It’s been breakneck. I got in there and I just had to start working towards fast approaching deadlines. I made the large sculpture for NADA and I didn’t finish until the day it needed to ship. I don’t typically work that way. I like to be able to try different things and make mistakes, but I just had to trust myself and hope that everything went as planned. The work came down here to NADA and here we are! We got some nice press right away, so the two months of crippling anxiety were worth it!
When did you know you were going to be showing with Mrs. Gallery for Miami and how did you collaborate on the look and feeling of the booth?
Sara Maria Salamone from Mrs.Gallery saw my work for the first time at Spring Break. She and her business/life partner Tyler Lefreniere did studio visits and I participated in a group show last summer at the gallery. It was mid-August when they called me to talk about collaborating on NADA. I’ve been holding it down for Queens since the ‘90s, and people have been teasing me about it forever. The fact that a gallery had sprung up in an even less “fashionable” area…I just had so much respect for that. I liked all the work they were showing, and I’d already started going to the gallery for shows, so it was a dream come true!
As far as the booth goes it was a collaboration. I had already begun working on the sculpture not knowing where it would end up, so it was easy to figure out what we would show. I always make detailed studies of things before I start them so the gallery had enough to submit a proposal and plan the space. Sara had been wanting to paint a wall lavender and I was cool with it even though it was not something I’d thought about. When I saw it finished my expectations were exceeded. It looked great, and that’s how it all came together.
Did you make new work specifically for NADA?
I’d already planned on making the big sculpture, but I didn’t know when. It was really a matter of resources, but I did get a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant about a week before Sara called me, so I knew I had the resources to make what I wanted.
You’ve shown at Spring Break art fair, how do feel about the experience here in Miami?
Spring Break and NADA are soooo different. Spring Break has a wild unruly energy – it was a great way for me to emerge and show folks what a solo presentation of everything I do in the studio looks like. It opened many doors and is the reason I’m down here in Miami today. Miami is another beast entirely though. NADA is a site for art viewing but also for art commerce. Unlike at Spring Break, I don’t have to hang out in front of my work all day (although I am kind of creepy and love to hear what people think of the work when they don’t know the artist is standing near by). But no – I did not do that here, lol. There is too much art to see and not enough time! I have been going to the other fairs and taking in all the work. I’m meeting a lot of artists whose work I’ve admired but until now had never hung out with and that’s been fun. The night life here in Miami is insane. I’m not a big going out person, so I have to make sure I take a nap and then I go out. Once I start to fade, it’s time to pack it in for the night. I’m glad to be hanging with my friend and fellow sculptor Hein Koh as well as the folks from Mrs. and their friends. I would not want to do this scene solo.
Have you seen anything interesting this week, did you make it to other fairs/collections? Any Highlights?
Clarity Hayne’s paintings look fantastic in the Invisible Exports booth. I love seeing that work in person because they’re so big and bold. Dietmar Busse’s painted photos at the Fierman booth are incredible and wonderful to see in person. I loved Raul de Nieves carousel. I didn’t really know Summer Wheat’s work in person, and the surfaces are so groovy and seductive. I liked the Rob Pruitt chain link fence works at Art Basel, those really stood out for me. They were gorgeous and impossible and smart. I loved the feel of UNTITLED; the architecture of that luminous tent on the beach is great to see art in. Nick Doyle’s work and Devan Shimoyama really stood out over there. Each fair has its own vibe. Last night I ended up in an RV/installation at the Satellite art fair because a friend of mine was “booth sitting”, and it and there was a young wild energy. The only other times I’ve been to Miami was to recruit undergrads for NYU so I’ve never actually been here for this, and this feels like such an event. A city-wide event.
What are your plans post Miami? What do you have coming up?
I’m doing a project with the Public Art Fund at a yet to be disclosed location which is really soon and I wish I could talk about it more but I can’t yet! I may be doing something with Facebook–a permanent installation at their New York office.They approached me at the same time as the New Museum and Mrs. and they wanted me to start in it September and I said I couldn’t because of scheduling, but they’re contacting me in January about doing something in the Spring. I’m honestly most excited about unpacking my new studio and starting new ideas. I have 1,000 square feet–it’s really big and really cheap. I need to put up drywall over the concrete walls, build shelves and storage and get cracking. I’m really excited to nest in this studio and start doing some new stuff. And it’s almost Fire Island Artist Residency admissions season, which always keeps me really busy. Summer 2019 will be here before we know it!