A few weeks ago I sat down to interview Sean Vegezzi, an emerging 22-year-old artist and an alumnus of our MoMA Teen programs.
Posts by Calder Zwicky
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 email@example.com. 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.
Sean Vegezzi is a 22-year-old alumnus of our In the Making program, which offers free art classes to NYC teens. Like many students attending public schools here in the city, Sean came to us as a high school student who was seeking an outlet for his creativity as well as a public platform to showcase his work.
Recently, a group of our In the Making and Cross-Museum Collective teen alumni were given the opportunity to assist choreographer Dean Moss as he finished his preparations for Voluntaries (created in collaboration with visual artist Laylah Ali), for MoMA’s recent dance performance series Some sweet day.
Here it is, the fourth and final installment of The Teenager’s Guide to the Galleries! So far, the Cross-Museum Collective has led you through the process of entering the museum, interpreting the art, and exploring the galleries.
Everyone knows that The Godfather Part III is the worst film in the trilogy, and that Rocky III and Jaws 3 aren’t anywhere near as good as the famous blockbusters that they followed. But what about The Teenager’s Guide to the Galleries! Part 3?
Some background: for the final project of our 2012 season, the MoMA + MoMA PS1 Cross-Museum Collective wanted to create something that would allow them to share what they had discovered about the world of modern and contemporary art with their NYC teen community. Figuring out a way to do this was no easy task. The group had spent months together, working on projects with artists like Darren Bader and Rashaad Newsome, meeting with MoMA and MoMA PS1 staff, exploring art at our two institutions, and traveling around the city to visit other exhibitions and museums. With just a few weeks to go in our season, the Collective came up with an amazing idea—we would create a short video about all of the things that we felt teens struggle with when coming into contact with the daunting world of galleries and museums. Everybody sprang into action: an outline was made, scripts produced, props constructed, and scenes rehearsed. We called Plowshares Media and booked their crew. Matthew Evans and Chris Lew reserved us space at MoMA PS1, and the artist Max Brand gave us permission to film inside his exhibition. In true guerrilla DIY-style, we acted the scenes out ourselves and shot the whole thing over the course of a single afternoon. Presented here is the first part of the series, with the other three parts to follow over the next couple of weeks. Check it out. Share it with anyone (young or old) who might appreciate what we’re trying to do. And if anyone knows Jerry Bruckheimer’s number, please pass it along!
Special thanks to Chris Lew, Matthew Evans, Max Brand, Plowshares Media, and everybody on the Cross-Museum Collective who made this video possible.
The walls are lined with stained strips of cardboard, 40-ounce bottles half-full of malt liquor and cigarette butts hang from plywood structures, a three-foot long plaster condom lays strewn across the marble floor, the words “F*CK IT” stretch across a wall—carved into a pile of SAT test prep books…
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