Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pushing Painting: Q&A with Etienne Zack in today's National Post

Montrealer Etienne Zack's paintings are like crazy eyeball fiestas--there's always a lot going on in them, so much that it can be hard to keep track of. At the same time, Zack has made a name for himself by bringing the dazzle from a display of relatively unremarkable materials—the paints, brushes, models, palettes and other accoutrements of the painting studio. Masking tape ain't never looked so fancy!

With Zack getting his first major museum show this month, I wanted to talk with him about where (the heck!) his paintings came from and where he sees them going. (Turns out the answer is, in part, into sculpture.) Today the National Post published our condensed Q&A. Here's an excerpt:

Q One of your old paintings, Model for Success, seemed to poke fun at art-world status games. How do you see that piece now that you're having your first big museum show -- what some might identify as that kind of status?

A When I made that painting, it seemed like everybody was making art for a certain idea of success. I wanted to talk about that in my own way, to make a structure that speaks to a certain attainable stardom.

It's not that I'm against success --I work really hard, and almost have no choice in doing so. But I also know there's a whole system around art, and a lot of my paintings are about that, too--about art objects and how they are presented in institutions. They're about the systems that aid and diffuse art after it is made and how those affect the value of art.

Image of Zack's Spills in a Safe Environment from the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal

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