10 Questions for Chris Roberson [AOTM]


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What's the last show that you saw?

Robbie Hunsinger’s fantastic performance at Soundcrawl. The highlight, for me, was her 'Duet for Arduino & Soprano Sax,' which involved playing the sax while moving around a motion sensitive device that sat on a snare drum. Her 'Ebeneezer Creek' piece was also haunting.

What's the last show that surprised you? Why?

The first show that comes to mind is Answers to Questions by John Wood and Paul Harrison at The Frist last February. I rarely stumble upon much in Nashville because I am either already aware of an artist’s work or have researched an exhibition before seeing it. I was there to see the American Art exhibit, so their work in contrast seemed especially British and dry. I enjoyed their "Three-Legged" piece where they strapped their legs together and dodged tennis balls being shot at them.

What's your favorite place to see art in Nashville?

At Cummins Station on the ground floor, there is a nicely displayed portfolio of The New York Collection for Stockholm - which is 30 small prints by Oldenburg, Twombly, Serra, Judd, Red Grooms, and pretty much all of the other 60’s heavy hitters. I’m not sure many people know about it.

Where are you finding ideas for your work these days?

My work usually evolves through researching/ordering new materials off the internet and experimenting with new processes in the studio. Other things that I’m currently ingesting are older electronic music — especially Yellow Magic Orchestra and all of their offshoot projects, animated gifs on Tumblr, and investigations into the darker corners of professional sports.

Avant Garde No. 5, with cover art by Tom Wesselman
  • 'Avant Garde' No. 5, with cover art by Tom Wesselman

Do you collect anything?

I am kind of in the process of de-collecting things, although I would like to own all 14 issues of Avant Garde magazine. I currently own 3.

Mehdi-Georges Lahlou
  • Mehdi-Georges Lahlou

What's the weirdest thing you ever saw happen in a museum or gallery?

I wouldn’t call this weird, but one of the most stunning performances I’ve ever seen was by Mehdi-Georges Lahlou at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Chicago — a shirtless man running in red high-heels around a prayer rug, screaming in Arabic, and stomping on glass tea cups. Subtlety usually provokes a more emotional response in me, but this piece has really stayed with me.

What's your art-world pet peeve?

Artists should try their hardest. It bugs me when they don’t, especially the really good ones.

Do you have a gallery/museum-going routine?

I don’t have an established routine. As a recovering catholic and a person who loves routines, this question makes me feel guilty and I plan on developing one soon.


What's the last great book you read?

I am currently reading Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era by Julia Bryan-Wilson which covers the formation of the Art Worker’s Coalition and their relationship to labor and artist’s rights. Also, after moving back to Nashville, I read most everything by Barry Hannah.

African-American Flag, David Hammons
  • "African-American Flag," David Hammons

What work of art do you wish you owned?

Anything by David Hammons.


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