Monday, September 24, 2012

Beer with a Painter: Clintel Steed

Before the tape started rolling, Clintel Steed and I had a pretty epic conversation. We met at a happening—and loud!—bar restaurant in Harlem, the Corner Social, a few blocks away from where he lives and works.  It was one of the last summer nights, and the neighborhood was pulsing with energy.   Too loud to record, we avoided the subject of painting, instead just catching up. 

There is no small talk with Clintel, of course.  I’ve known him for years, running into him at the Met on Friday nights and events at the New York Studio School. This past spring, Steed had a solo exhibition at Art Amalgamated.

Steed is passionate and intense and I like to accuse him of being a mind-reader (or, as our mutual friend puts it—he is just very perceptive—after all, he’s a painter!).  So, we talked about romantic love, the home, the idealization of it all, and the things that get in the way.  Like our phones, of course, interrupting us, penetrating our private time and space. The thing is, Clintel’s work is all about the same issue.  Broken-up space, fractured forms, and the resulting rhythms.  The potential and scope of what we can see, and the complex tumult that ultimately organizes it all. 

Beer with a Painter: Dov Talpaz

Photo by Naomi Lev

Full disclosure: Dov Talpaz is one of my favorite people on the planet. I have known him for years, through the painters I’ve written about, like Paul Resika and Rosemarie Beck.  But we became close friends more recently, after I wrote a catalog essay for the Painting in New York group, which he is part of. I was going through some transitions myself at that time – personally and professionally – and Dov, Chris, and Tyler were pretty much convinced that having beer with painters (them!) would cure whatever ailed me.  And, yeah, it kinda did.

There are a few rules to having beer with them: 1) They always pay, as in, really, your money is no good here! 2) You are going to be drinking on an empty stomach, so, get used to it! Hunger pains will eventually go away, after enough beer. 3) You are going to be talking about painting for most of the night, as in, who is the opposite of El Greco, quick! 4) Photos will be taken, so make sure you look decent. Looks are important, because life and art are all about beauty, right?*