Monday, May 31, 2010

INTERVIEWING THE INTEVIEWER: Erik LaPrade on BREAKING THROUGH

Erik La Prade has a B.A and an M.A. from City College. His first book, Things Maps Don't Show, was published in 1995, and his second, Figure Studies, was published in 1999. SWATCHES, a chapbook, was released in 2008 from Poets Wear Prada. Some of his poems have appeared in Fish Drum, Night Magazine, The Hat, The Reading Room, The New York Times, and Artist and Influence. He also has articles and interviews in The Brooklyn Rail, Captured: A History of Film and Video On The Lower East Side, and The Outlaw Bible of American Essays.

BREAKING THROUGH, released earlier this year in March from MidMarch Arts Press, is engrossing history of Richard (Dick) Bellamy's Green Gallery conducted through interviews by La Prade with Alfred Leslie, Mark di Suvero, Philip Wofford, Mimi Gross, Claes Oldenburg, Tadaaki Kuwayama, Rakuko Naito, Pat Passlof, Richard Smith, Sally Hazelet Drummond, Lucas Samaras, Wolf Kahn, Emily Mason, Hanford Yang, James Rosenquist, Frank Stella, Charlotte Bellamy, Jeannie Blake, Sam Green, Virginia Dwan, Paula Cooper, Robert Morris and Richard Bellamy. It includes an introductory essay, limited illustrations, and a chronology of exhibitions at the Green Gallery.

FDC: How did you get started conducting these interviews?
ELP: I just liked writing about certain artists. The editor of a magazine said I could have a page in their magazine and write about anything. I wanted to. So, I did.

FDC: How did you get to meet the players?
ELP: I originally met Richard Bellamy because I went to interview him regarding an artist he showed in The Green Gallery in 1963. I was planning to write about Larry Poons at the time, 1998, so I met Bellamy in January 1998. Strangely, Bellamy died in March 1998.

FDC: Over what period did you conduct the interviews?
ELP: I conducted these interviews over a three-year period. Most of them were done by telephone. I only met about 8 artists in person.

FDC: Who was the most intriguing of all the people you interviewed for the book? Were there any suprises?
ELP: They were all intriguing. Emily Mason surprised me by being so candid about how hard or impossible it was for women to get shown during this period. Not only that, but since women artists wanted a career and money was tight, they generally opted to not have children or just had abortions. Many women artists were locked into a position that they found very frustrating.

Bellamy was elusive. He generally didn’t want to be in the spotlight at all. I suspect, if I had wanted to interview him personally, he would not have done so.

FDC: BREAKING THROUGH just came out this year, at the beginning of 2010, 45 years after The Green Gallery closed. Is it still relevant 45 years later?
ELP: The Green Gallery set a standard for exhibiting unknown artists who created new works. The example of the gallery is still relevant because it offers a model of a gallery focused on new and unknown artists; it’s just a matter of finding them.

FDC: How has the New York City gallery scene changed in 45 years? What is the current relationship between the artists and gallery owners. You mention in your introduction about Castelli introducing 50% commission on sales and the growing gallery expenses, also $ side of galleries and the competition between them for artists.
ELP: The emphasis seems to be more and more on money and names and creating a buzz. I can’t say what the current relationships between artists and gallery dealers are since it is so varied.

FDC: Is there a place for co-op galleries? Are there any "art saints" today?
ELP: Co-op galleries are good introductions to the commercial art world as Alfred Leslie talks about in his interview. I don’t know if there are any “art saints” around today.

FDC: What your next project? Is there anything special you are working on now that you would like to tell us about?
ELP: I am currently editing a memoir on working in Gotham Book Mart. Plus, a collection of poems.



BREAKING THROUGH
Richard Bellamy and The Green Gallery, 1960-196523
Interviews by Erik La Prade
ISBN 9781877675782
Soft Cover - Perfect Bound - 215pp.
$24.00
MidMarch Arts Press
Release Date: March 2010


Now available at Ursus Books on Madison Avenue, Spoonbill & Sugartown Bookseller in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, and St. Marks Bookstore in the East Village, or online from Specific Object (http://www.specificobject.com/objects/info.cfm?inventory_id=14676).

2 comments:

Paula said...

I find it interesting that Mr. LaPrade failed to include an interview with Larry Poons in his book on Richard Bellamy, (although mentions him in this interview). Larry Poons was one of the early artists represented by The Green Gallery. I can't help but wonder if this is more revisionist history.

Sarah Hall said...

Greetings! I'd like to read his both books: "Things Maps Don't Show" that was published in 1995, and "Figure Studies" published in 1999. I'll write a review later. Best regards, http://custom-writing.services/