New Interview
Tara Donovan

Tara Donovan: “I don’t map it at all”

June 12, 2019

Ms. Donovan, why do you leave your artworks untitled?

At a certain point I felt titles to be very unnecessary. I think once we make a work and put it out there, we have very little control over what the viewer experiences. A lot of conceptual artists intentionally inscribe meaning into their work or write it out on a wall text next to it to explain it, but that often feels like a forced message, which has never really been something that I’m interested in. Viewers bring their own associations when they experience a work of art — and then they read a wall label that could contradict their own interpretation.

With no titles to guide your viewers, you must have heard some surprising associations about your work over the years.

This was a long time ago, but I remember there was this group of young people — I think they were around seventh graders and, you know, kids that age say exactly what they want to say. All of the kids had a very different take on my paper plates sculpture they were looking at. One of them was like, “It looks like snakeskin!” and the other, “It looks like garlic!” (Laughs) A lot of things that I certainly hadn’t even considered.

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Rolex is proud to support The Talks as they continue to feature inspirational conversations with the creative icons of our time.
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Last week’s Interview
John C. Reilly

John C. Reilly: “We all owe a debt”

June 5, 2019
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Mr. Reilly, which comedians made you laugh as a kid?

At the Golden Globes this year, I got to meet Dick Van Dyke, and that is someone who was very, very important to me as a child. I was also just weeping watching their Carol Burnett tribute and it made me realize that, “Wow, that was a big influence on me.” Another influence would be Gene Wilder, who came up when I was a kid in the seventies, when it was a very macho world for men, especially in movies, it was guys like Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando.

Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, Richard Roundtree…

Right, this kind of uber macho protagonist. Gene Wilder was someone who said it’s okay to be sensitive, it’s okay to have a feminine quality to yourself as a man. That’s not some terrible thing, that’s just a recognition of what it’s like to be a human being. I really latched onto him at an early age, because I thought, “That’s how I feel! I am a sensitive person, I am not up to the task of being as macho as Gene Hackman!” I understood what it felt like to be someone like Gene Wilder. I understood the empathy that he expressed, the care and the humanism.