At the pivot point between the abstract expressionism of the 1950s and the pop art of the 1960s is the seminal Alex Katz. For fifty years his largely figurative practice has encompassed painting, printing, and a curious sculptural technique he calls cutouts, in each medium flattening, compressing and cropping a range of appearances, from the social to the pastoral, while brilliantly communicating effervescence and vitality. Seated on a couch in his New York studio, Katz shares inspirations, methodologies, and stories with Kim Heirston, whom he met twenty years ago at the front desk of Robert Miller Gallery. As Heirston recalls, Katz asked her to pose for a portrait "with a dash of cool and a hint of shy," itself an apt description of a body of work that paved the way for a generation of artists to explore the mysteries and properties of the surface. Now, Katz confides, his challenge is to see the world in the present tense, to embrace the challenge of depicting Washington Square Park as a high-definition film set, instead of the rainy, impressionist watercolor of his yesteryear.
Interview by Kim Heirston. Video and sound by Dream Machine Creative (Dylan Steinberg, Daniel Wills, Colin Alexander, Dan Leung). Edited by Nick Vannucci. Thanks to: Alex Katz, Alex Katz Gallery, Kim Heirston, Sophie Hyewon Hong, VAGA, Gavin Brown Enterprises, Lucy Chadwick at Gavin Brown Enterprises. Special thanks to: Vincent Katz and Ada Katz. All art (c) Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.
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