In teen programming these days, it’s becoming pretty common for groups of museum-based teens to sit down with a big-name artist and conduct an interview with them about their work. And the reason that this is becoming a common technique is simple—these interviews almost always turn out to be pretty great. They give artists a chance to talk about their work in a new way with a new audience, and it allows the teens conducting the interview to gain first-hand knowledge about what it actually means to create art for a living. (You can check out our two-part MoMA Teens interview with Laurel Nakadate here and here.) The teen/artist interviews are more casual than most, more honest in some ways, and they tend to broach subjects that a curator or a critic might never raise in a more formal type of environment.
For the two videos below, we decided to flip things around a bit: Rather than bringing a group of our MoMA teens in to interview an older, more established artist, we brought in ex-MoMA teen (and 22-year-old artist), Sean Vegezzi, and interviewed him about his work. We wanted to shine some light onto the artistic projects that our In the Making alumni are working on these days, and to create a platform that increases the visibility of vibrant, gutsy, emerging artists like Sean. As you can see from the video, the philosophies surrounding his work and his artistic process are just as complex and well thought out as those of his older, more established peers and his recent book of photography, I Don’t Warna Grow Up, holds its own against anything else that’s being released these days.
In Part 1 of the video, we talk to Sean about his experiences growing up in NYC and his time spent exploring the city’s underbelly with the group of young men whose nocturnal (and mostly illegal) adventures make up the artistic core of his work. He discusses his experiences growing up, the strange situations that creative adolescents can find themselves in, and the factors that led him to take his first MoMA In the Making workshop while attending public high school. Throughout it all, sprinkled between images of his art, Sean speaks candidly about the transgressive nature of his work, and how his multifaceted relationship with New York City has led him to create the art that he does in the ways that he does. (More info on Sean and his work can be found in a previous Inside/Out blog post here.)
In Part 2, Sean walks us through a selection of images from his book—sharing the stories behind the pictures, and filling us in on the adventures that characterize his practice and the characters who populate his world. It’s a fascinating look at a broad cross-section of New York City youth, all of whom come off as both completely normal and yet absolutely unique—perfect examples of the type of self-motivated, artistic teens who find their way to MoMA’s free arts programming year after year.
Check out these videos and let us know what you think, and please find a way to support emerging young artists in any way that you can.
A special party for In the Making + MoMA Teens alumni will be taking place in the Louis B. & Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Center the night of Friday, December 14, with food, drink, raffle prizes, interactive art by Babycastles, a live musical performance by SUPERCUTE!, and a special screening of John Favreau’s Elf. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Spring 2013 In the Making course applications are available now.
Special thanks to Sean Vegezzi for sitting down with us and talking about his life, Fourteen-Nineteen, and Ratking for supplying the music.