FROM THE MAGAZINE

Meet the Contributors Behind Volume 7, 2019


Photograph by Tim Walker.

The photographers, writers, stylists and models who worked on W’s Art Issue share their memories of the first work of art they ever saw—and confess who their biggest critics are.

1
Alec Soth
Courtesy of Alec Soth Studio.

Photographer, “Motoring On”

What is the first artwork you remember seeing, and what did it mean to you?

Jonathan Borofsky, at the Walker Art Center in Minnesota, where I live. It was a sprawling show with paintings, sculptures, moving pieces, and drawings. For me, as a 15-year-old, it just felt full of possibilities.

Who is the best artist of our time?

There is no such thing as the best artist of our time. But I’m often asked, “If you could own artwork by anyone, who would it be?” And I answer, “James Turrell.” The kind of work I make and respond to tends to be emotionally intense or vulnerable, but the type of work that I want to live with is a Turrell Skyspace, this very serene thing.

Who is your biggest critic?

Myself, but at age 22. That’s when you define yourself and have all sorts of opinions about what your work is going to be. And now, confronted with the realities of being an artist and the compromises that have to be made, I’m not sure that that 22-year-old would have an easy time with them.

What is the best place to view art today?

Little regional museums, like the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis. You really get to commune with the work.

2
Bruce Gilden
Photograph by Maximilian Motel.

Photographer, “Eleganza Extravaganza”

What is the first artwork you remember seeing, and what did it mean to you?

A van Gogh painting in a book—his work stood out to me emotionally.

Who is the best artist of our time?

Bob Seger.

What is the best place to view art today?

The street.

3
Alice Goddard
Courtesy of Alice Goddard.

Stylist, “Hiding in Plain Sight”

What is the first artwork you remember seeing, and what did it mean to you?

I remember being obsessed with John Baldessari’s Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line at school. It made me realize how much you could do with so little.

Who is your biggest critic?

My mum!

What is the best place to view art today?

In a gallery.

4
Christopher Bollen
Photograph by Sébastien Botella.

Writer, “Fresh Start”

What is the first artwork you remember seeing, and what did it mean to you?

My mom is an artist, so some of my earliest memories involve her at work in her studio in our basement. Back then, she was doing these beautiful batik portraits and abstract fabric sculptures. I really owe my love of art to my mother. All we did as a family was go to museums.

Who is the best artist of our time?

For my generation, it’s Wade Guyton or Rachel Harrison. Best alive might be David Hammons or Marlene Dumas. Best of the 20th century was Alice Neel.

Who is your biggest critic?

The British. They tend to exenterate me every time I publish a book. Sadly for them, my new novel, A Beautiful Crime, a gay heist set in Venice, is out January 28 from Harper.

What is the best place to view art today?

If New York City were on fire, I’d save the Met.

5
Penelope Tree
Photograph by Tim Walker.

Model, “A Muse for All Times”

What is the first artwork you remember seeing, and what did it mean to you?

As a young child, many of the paintings in the house I grew up in frightened me…they seemed so hypnotizing and alien at the same time. It wasn’t until I happened upon A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884, by Georges Seurat, in the Art Institute of Chicago at a very vulnerable moment in my life that the whole world of art really opened up for me.

Who’s the best artist of our time?

My favorite living artist is Peter Doig.

Who is your biggest critic?

Meeeeeee (I know I’m not alone here).

What is the best place to view art today?

Wherever you happen to be when you come upon something that changes how you see things.

6
Derek Blasberg
Photograph by Mark Guiducci.

Writer, “#katemossbyrichardprince”

What is the first artwork you remember seeing, and what did it mean to you?

I grew up in St. Louis, and the art museum there is fantastic. When I was a kid, my mom would take me to see this incredible Monet “Water Lilies” painting. I remember asking, “Why is it blurry?”

Who is your biggest critic?

My mom!

What is the best place to view art today?

Museums are some of the few places left where people walk around not staring at their phones. At least they should be!