BOMB Magazine | Interviewed by Frances Stark

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BOMB Magazine | Interviewed by Frances Stark

Frances Stark, Private Huerta’s deployment, 2023, acrylic, textile screen printing ink, and gesso on canvas, 62 × 78 inches. Photo by Elon Schoenholz. Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery. © Frances Stark.

In May, Frances Stark texted me from her studio in Los Angeles about how one the hot selfie became a never-ending project involving all these different dudes. A team had assembled to put the finishing touches on a group of large paintings. An informal project coordinator assisted a master printmaker and an airbrush artist took a shirtless mirror selfie of the Private Huerta” on canvas. Huerta is an artist and reservist whose potential romance with Stark was blown by the course of his sudden deployment.

Since the 1990s, Stark’s works in writing, drawing, painting, collage and video have been studies of desire and exchange that are also quiet thoughts of contact and translation. An exuberant bricolor, she folds literary and musical modes into networked compositions inlaid with sexts and theory. I met Stark for the first timeher work in 2017 in the form of her animated, episodic video clip My best thing (2011). After seeing her Ian F. Svenonywith Censor now” (2017) for the 2017 Whitney Biennial, I started following @therealstarkiller on Instagram.

— Max Levin

Max Levin Theresa passage by Samuel R. Delanymagazines that resonate so much with your work: The edited forms of the constant commentary I make on my life constitute my art. How presumptuous to think that anyone else might care about this comment. Yet editing is done strictly with this in mind. The poetry is called “concentrated” because by editing the commentary, the poet tries to suggest what has been omitted through the form of the resulting hole. Then he grabs the strings, pulls them, and lo and behold, the pieces are drawn into form: a poem.

FS yes I love this – whatis omitted. Poetry is big in the current show. Huerta is a poet and an artist, and I think of my approach to art as a kind of poetry as well. Charles Ray was the first person to call me a poet, which is a more elegant way of thinking of me as a conceptual artist. A poet uses the most basic tools and elements that all share. Ches the material. My life is such a large part of the material of my work.

In a letter Huerta sent me, he said: “One of the things that amuses me all day is in the form of cryptograms that are published in Stars and stripes. It reminds me of the process of reading poetry and trying to understand the meaning encrypted beneath the surface text. It is like a student thinking that the meaning is locked in the back of the picture and the artist can provide the key to unlock it. I do nt believe this. But maybe what Huerta is saying is that he’s a mysterious bastard and I should read things carefully.

The puppetry is so beautiful in Delaney’s quote. It makes me think about control and gravity and getting to the point where the shape takes the right shape. Cheit is a metaphor for the physics of intelligence. I was thinking about that with jazz and getting into Miles Davis. The audienceIt took intense attention to sense the lines drawn musically. Attention is the canvas on which music is painted, and thereis a structural necessity for the receiver as part of the marking.

Picture of a photocopied book page with black and red underlining and yellow underlining,

Frances Stark, Serve the dominant ideology or stop being a dick, 2023, acrylic, enamel, and gesso on canvas, 78 × 62 inches. Photo by Elon Schoenholz. Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery. © Frances Stark.

ML Receivers with multiple inputs. You give people a lot to read at once.

FS These new paintings are part of a book, so as a viewer you are a reader who is formally included in everything I do. The idea of ​​implementation is so critical: HuertaMy deployment to a war zone and my deployment, my love and longing for intimacy with an understanding mind. This is something I apply to move my work forward. I deployed Huerta the way I deployed the dudes My best thing.

With this new job, II try to draw attention to how my sexual energy or desire functions in creating things. My other works related to sex chats are completely clinical. No body or proof that I actually pulled. But the reality is that my body was the engine of thought production that unfolded. With that show, I had this sexual encounter that unleashed this crazy series of catalytic issues, ideas, and images.

A silkscreen of two inverted images, including a heavily graffitied bathroom mirror and a blurry selfie of a shirtless man.

Frances Stark, Los Angeles today Baghdad tomorrow, 2023, screen print, acrylic and gesso on canvas, 62 × 78 inches. Photo by Elon Schoenholz. Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery. © Frances Stark.

ML I allowwe are talking about the emission and distribution of mediated materials.

FS When I was in school in the beginning 90s, one of our great teachers, Patty Podesta, would say, Art will end because of it AmericaThe funniest home videos.” This is pre-power, maybe twenty-five years too early. Now weall swimming in vast rapid rivers of content that completely erode the barriers of art with a capital A and all.

ML And then Instagram came along.

FS I used to have an idea that was like a seed in my mind. It can grow and germinate in the private darkness of my brain. Now, when you smell a germ, our impulse is to put it in your phone, where it can be sucked into the river of tits, propaganda, stupid ads and cat videos. The river of everything turns into a river of mud, and then into himhas been sold back to us. So we are the food. My Instagram project was a way of saying: Wewe are all letting go of our old way of developing ideas. I pulled my posts out of the shit river and released them back into the world as isolated ideas. Theyare super simple, but theyI also track my own experience with user addiction, which Ii was sucked in like everyone else. I canrun away from him. Itis something meI struggled with it for a long time.

ML Cat videos!

FS I used to make cat videos before YouTube. Theynowhere near as funny and amazing as the nine hundred million cat videos roaming the earth now. I saw it more like a Chantal Ackerman – structuralist approach to making art with a personal component. Regarding the film, Akermanwith News from home and Morgan Fisherwith Standard gauge are the two most impactful things on me.

My original VHS cat videos were magical because of the diegetic sound. I followed my cat around the house with a camera and whatever was on the stereo became the soundtrack. The new cat videos started because I thought Huerta was sending me cryptic messages. I hadn’t attached songs to Instagram stories or reels because it felt cheap. But then he did it with the song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and a video of him playing tug-of-war with a dog. I thought he was mocking me, but he was also talking about a lot of things. Indirect messaging is built into memes and platforms where you can communicate with one person while talking to everyone at once. I initiated the new cat videos as a kind of cryptic message.

ML Before that, they were unencrypted broadcasts. Here you switch to a different mode.

FS Instagram is where we met. Cheis the stage where you know someone will be in the audience. Youyou wink at them or you don’t. In a weird way, cat memes on the internet can represent incels. Desperate, hesitant, hungry, fragile things are popular subjects for one to project oneself onto. I love cat memes that are like kiss me” or cause of death: left for reading.” c The Magic Flutethe librettist says: “I want to be kissed or II will kill myself.” Cheis the critical theme, the theme that never stops. The human experience of oral connection: breath, voice, kisses.

Photograph of numerous paintings and prints displayed in two gallery rooms.

Installation view of Francis Stark: Serve the dominant ideology or stop being a dick, 2023. Gladstone Gallery, New York. Photo by David Regen. Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery. © Frances Stark.

ML How has putting this show together changed your thinking on this topic?

FS The show is the full edition. The happy ending. A book of poems I made for Huerta ends with Dorothy Parker: If I must labor in day and dark / Sanctify valiant earnest truth / Then on my world I may set my mark / And what if nott / so what if I do.” Cheis the hope of doing something. You make a sign that someone else will look at. The fact that your consciousness forms a form that it transmits to someone else’s brain three hundred years or three days later is magic. This is the basis of all my faith in art. Magic transmission of consciousness.

Going back to Delaney and the taut strings, manipulating something so that it appears is the responsibility you place on yourself as an artist, and thereit’s a contradiction between that and the fundamental need to have a partner or care for someone and have them care for you. Ultimately, the show is my love letter to the men in my life, but I don’tI don’t see it as a way to seduce them. Instead, the show—the art—is the consolation that we haven’t earned the love we crave.

Francis Stark: Serve the dominant ideology or stop being a dick is on display at the Gladstone Gallery in New York until July 29.

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