Visiting Artists

A retrospective of creative encounters culled from our pages.


Jeff Koons

Stopping by the baby- faced artist’s West Chelsea studio in New York—an entire building with an assembly line of assistants—is such a pleasant experience that W came back twice: in 2000 (left), when Koons was preparing for his colossal show “Celebration,” and in 2006, on the eve of his exhibition at Gagosian London.

Photo: Ari Marcopoulos


Agnes Martin

Leading a monastic existence in a retirement community in New Mexico, the artist (left, in 2003) eschewed assistants, lovers, and pets.

Photo: Elinor Carucci


Hiroshi Sugimoto

The ultimate perfectionist, the Japanese photographer shot his own portrait (left) on the roof of his then studio in 2001. “All artists have twisted minds,” he remarked.

Photo: courtesy of Hiroshi Sugimoto


Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla

The couple, who call San Juan, Puerto Rico, home, make little distinction between work and life. They don’t keep a proper studio and bicker their way through creating their politically minded performance pieces and sculptures (here, in 2010).

Photo: Gareth Mcconnell


Betye Saar

In 2011, “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–80” at UCLA’s Hammer Museum put the spotlight on African-American artists like Saar, a jewelry designer turned printmaker.

Photo: Andrew Durham


Cindy Sherman

Over the years, the photographer has transformed herself into everything from a Renaissance Madonna to a sultry screen siren, and her TriBeCa duplex penthouse (left) was a veritable costume department when W came calling in 2012. Rolling racks held Moroccan robes and “Upper East Side ladies’ cast-off stuff,” and her wigs were organized by color and genre (men’s, clowns’, etc.).

Photo: Martyn Thompson


Ed Ruscha

Just before Ruscha’s major 2000 show at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., W visited the artist in Venice, California (left). Pressed to explain paintings like Blast Curtain, 1999, he said, “I don’t pretend to understand myself.”

Photo: Jeff Riedel


Richard Serra

W spoke with the sculptor on the eve of a 40-year retrospective at MoMA in New York in 2007, which included the staggering piece Sequence (above).

Photo: courtesy of Richard Serra


Ellsworth Kelly

In 1970, the painter (left) decamped to a studio in Spencertown, New York, forsaking society in favor of productivity. The move clearly paid off: Kelly was 89 at the time of W’s 2012 story—and as prolific as ever.

Photo: Jack Shear


Alex Katz

In 2006, the painter joined forces with Christy Turlington (left, in Katz’s SoHo studio) on a very unorthodox ad campaign for Nuala, her now defunct line of yoga wear for Puma. “There’s a deadening similarity in the gloss of [fashion] ads,” said Katz. The resulting work showed Turlington in four different poses and ensembles selected by Katz. “He has very specific tastes,” quipped the model.

Photo: Julian Dufort


Urs Fischer

He dug an eight-foot-deep hole in Gavin Brown’s Manhattan gallery and built an alpine chalet from loaves of bread. Fischer’s enormous Red Hook, Brooklyn, studio (left, in 2012) was as impressive as his projects.

Photo: Alexis Dahan


Tom Sachs

W dropped in on the then up-and-coming artist in 1997, when he was raising eyebrows with his takes on Chanel and McDonald’s logos. We caught up with Sachs again in 2012, as he took over the Park Avenue Armory with “Space Program: Mars” (bottom, works from the show in his studio).

Photo: Anna Bauer


Elliott Hundley

Located in a former factory building in downtown Los Angeles, this sculptor’s studio (left) was a rainforest of creative detritus when W stopped by in 2007. Layered throughout were silk flowers, marble obelisks, peacock feathers, strings of beads— even reproductions of Old Master paintings. Hundley referred to it as “a mulch pit.”

Photo: Amanda Marsalis


Tara Donovan

Drinking straws, paper plates, and Elmer’s glue are just some of the quotidian materials that, in Donovan’s hands, become the stuff of sculptural landscapes. Pictured in her Brooklyn studio with her dog Maceo in 2003 (left), she said of her process, “It definitely starts with what’s cheap. We laugh, but I was in the grocery store buying plates, and I was like, Oh, Styrofoam cups are really cheap. I bought a couple of packs and started playing with the possibilities.”

Photo: Joseph Maida


Aaron Curry

“I always want my paintings and sculptures to exist between the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional,” said Curry in 2009. His studio, in the Los Angeles Warehouse District (left), is the perfect base for creating his anthropomorphic plywood-panel sculptures and silk-screen portraits, which are based on sketches he makes on a digital drawing pad.

Photo: Amanda Marsalis