Oral History

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Maren Hassinger by Lowery Stokes Sims
Hassinger High Noon 2

“Right, they weren’t paintings, they weren’t colorful, but I kept doing them because that’s what would come to me. I could have stopped, I suppose, but to me they seemed like good pieces and they were in line with my thinking. Artists do what they think is important to them in their life span. That’s what they’ve always done—Rembrandt or Van Gogh or Picasso. They did what they did because they thought it was important.”

Joshua Bonnetta & J.P. Sniadecki’s El Mar La Mar by Matt Turner
El Mar La Mar 01

An experimental documentary on border crossing, less about that place than what it represents.

William T. Williams by Mona Hadler
William T Williams 01

“I didn’t want to paint figuratively. I didn’t want something that was overtly referencing the social issues around me, but I wanted to find a way to describe them. How do you internalize this? How do you make a form that forces a painting to be an experience that is not necessarily easy to see, handle, or look at?”

James Little by LeRonn P. Brooks
464937842 04142017 James Little Bomb 35

“The reward is getting through the tough stuff. And that’s what’s perplexing about the art thing. When I was going to school there were kids that could draw their asses off. There were kids that were better draftsman than me, for certain. But no one was more determined than me.”

Peter Bradley by Steve Cannon, Quincy Troupe & Cannon Hersey
Pbradley Bomb 1

“I don’t want to mention names, but there are several black artists that would like to shoot me today because they weren’t in that show. Some of them are dead, but the ones that aren’t dead still give me a lot of bullshit every time I see them.”

Eldzier Cortor by Terry Carbone
Cortor Bomb 1

“I’m fighting between control and letting nature take its course.”

Melvin Edwards by Michael Brenson
Edwards 1

“I just wanted to be sure I didn’t get caught not expressing what I thought was important to me. That can easily happen, because you can easily get discouraged by not being allowed to participate, or just being ignored, when you know your work is beyond ignoring.”

Chloé Griffin’s Edgewise: A Picture of Cookie Mueller by Pati Hertling
Pati Hertling

Late one night in the summer of 2002 or 2003, I was in Berlin, having just returned after six months in Paris. Friends told me of a woman I just had to meet, a bartender at Barbie Deinhoff’s. 

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe by Kalia Brooks
Ashe 01

“We have to tell the truth in the image.”

Adger Cowans by Carrie Mae Weems
Cowans 01

“Photographers and artists are alchemists at the highest level, I think.”

Lola Arias by Elianna Kan

“One is constantly working over what happened and constructing the future based on the past. So there’s no way of saying now we’re done with the past and it’s time to look for our future. No, there’s a direct continuity between these things.”

Remembering Edward Clark
Ed Clark 01

Clark talks to his friend and fellow painter, Jack Whitten, about growing up in Louisiana, coming of age in Chicago, heady days in Paris, and living in New York City when the abstract expressionists ruled.

Kara Walker & Larry Walker
Walker 01

“I would like to do more of that kind of thing: travel, spend some time in a place and really work from a different vantage point. I don’t know what will happen in my work from that, but I trust my ability to find the tools to find my way into my work. I think I will sit out in the woods more.”

Wangechi Mutu by Deborah Willis
Mutu Oral History 09

“The collage works are going to be life-size. My work increased in scale when I realized that I wanted people to enter the worlds or to see them almost like dioramas— these places that they could be immersed into, with their own social structures and their eco-systems.”

The Federal Writer’s Project’s Remembering Slavery by Suzan Sheman

In the early 1930s, shortly after the invention of the portable audio recorder, the Federal Writers’ Project documented the experience of slavery by interviewing those who had lived under it.

Tracers by Betsy Sussler
Chaves Caristi 01 Body

With the play Tracers, actors Richard Chaves, Vincent Caristi, and other Vietnam veterans use the theater as a mouth piece to play out their experiences of the war. Chaves and Caristi relate the realities of war and stage with Betsy Sussler.

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