Christopher Heaney, Harland & Wolff 3
In conjunction with this week's newsletter, we thought it was high time to introduce you to the curator who introduced us to the wonderful Belfast-based photographer Chris Heaney. Michelle Jubin has worked for the Guggenheim, BBC Scotland, and as an artist's assistant to Andy Goldsworthy. Currently she is a Curatorial Intern at the Metropolitan Museum's department of Arms and Armor, teaches undergraduate Art History at Baruch College and contributes to Slashstroke magazine and Art 21s Open Enrollment series (impressive, non?). We sat down with Michelle to talk about her love for new color photography, her advice for young collectors and her funniest art world experience.
AS: As a curator, what do you look for in emerging artists? How much do you rely on instinct and how much on other (formal, intellectual etc.) criteria?
MJ: I have had a decade of formal "training" through academic programs, so now I try to rely on my gut and choose what I feel excited about, what I respond to, and trust that's enough rather than applying any criteria. With Chris, I've known his work since he was an undergrad at Glasgow School of Art. People were talking about his work even then. At a school that produces lots of great work, that made me pay attention, and I've been interested ever since as his work has developed.
AS: What was it about Christopher's photographs that drew you to him? In 5 words or less, why is he one to watch?
MJ: I have always loved the medium format work of the New Color photographers like Sternfeld, Shore, Meyerowitz, and I feel Chris' work is in that tradition. It's spare, focused and occupies a space in between the documentary and the empathetic. In five words? Images that draw you in.
AS: You've worked for the Guggenheim, the ICI and also teach undergraduate art history. Do you have an answer yet to the criticism of modern art "anyone could paint that"?
MJ: Ha! Yes and no. Yes, your kid could have painted that. No, he didn't, but Pollock did, and that's why he's in MoMA's collection and your kid isn't. It's often an argument I try to avoid, it can end up messy and unproductive.
AS: What advice would you give young collectors who are just starting to collect art?
MJ: Choose what you instinctively love, otherwise you build a cookie-cutter collection. At the end of the day, you have to live with it.
AS: Funniest art world experience?
MJ: Trying to convince NY cops not to move Andy Goldsworthy who was lying down in the middle of the rain in Times Sqaure, video-ing a rain shadow for his work. I was his assistant and it was my job to protect him and the camera for 30 mins to make the work. I ended up showing the cops one of his books, and giving them a little art history lesson in order to get the shot.