Bearing Witness, Dana Schutz, Artist Interview

Dana Schutz has a traveling show opening at Hepworth Wakefield in October. Priscilla Frank interviewed Schutz for The Huffington Post and shared images from some of the paintings included in the show.  A few years ago I wasn't particularly interested in Schutz's work, my impression from magazines and reviews, was that the paint handling was maybe not derivative but familiar.  I thought more about other artists when looking at her work, than I thought about her work.  That changed in early 2007 when she welcomed our students into her studio, weeks before her show Stand By Earth Man was to open at Zach Feuer. The place was clogged with paintings, in various states.  Stand By Earth Man was on the cusp of completion and it floored all of us. There is a raw magnetism about her paintings and I couldn't take my eyes off of that painting.

Frank's question about her work depicting the absurdities and anxieties of everyday American Life Shutz responded
Actually I don’t think they're so much about anxiety, but more about bearing witness to a situation that should be private. It's not quite social anxiety; it's almost like being a third party to a situation where there should just be two, or a situation engaging one viewer. I think there can be an American space in the paintings -- it's hard because I am American, obviously. But the way of dealing with space is an American way of dealing with space. As for the subject matter, I think it’s pretty universal to be slightly uncomfortable when you are the only audience for a singer songwriter.
Piano in the Rain

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