In early April of 2015 Aram Moshayedi visited Atlanta as an Art & Dialogue curator in residence. During his stay, Moshayedi delivered a public program at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center co-presented by Burnaway, and visited the studios of 10 Artadia Awardees. The following is his account of Atlanta’s vibrant art community.
The artists that I met with in Atlanta over three days in April were diverse and varied in their artistic approaches. Not directly united by any brand of regional identity, discovering differences among the Awardees was what interested me the most during my visits.
The individual conversations reflected a range of issues that included Jason Kofke’s research into minor histories and iconographies of the 1980s to Ruth Dusseault’s videographic exploration of homemade recreational battlefields and digital ecotopias. Sarah Hobbs’ shift between installation and photography, architectural space and its representation through pictures engages an entirely different set of ideas than those explored by Tristan Al-Haddad and Formations Studio, which is situated between art and design and focused on large-scale public works.
Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier pursues a project that is deeply personal and historiographical; The Journey Projects looks at ancestry and forms of storytelling to develop collaborative, community-based projects rooted in the development of identity.
Larry Walker’s telephone poles and approximations of building facades are nothing like the choreographies of glo (Lauri Stallings); though they both might have an interest in the function of public space, their approaches could not be more dissimilar.
The playful filmic experiments of Robbie Land—made from cellulose to celluloid and back again—are intimate, domestic and the result of a kind of home science experiment. Meanwhile, Micah Stansell’s silent projected videos expand the medium to the scale of architecture.
Paul Stephen Benjamin’s haunting video-sculpture based on the refrain “Black is the color of my true love’s hair” by Nina Simone continues to stay with me—the repetition and obsessive dwelling on these words evoked by a sea of outdated monitors seem to loop and phase for all of time in my mind. These conversations and meetings made apparent a common set of principles and ethics of making, and a commitment to practice and experimental thinking among the Artadia Awardees. The openness of the ten artists was also meaningful; their willingness to allow me into their studios and homes to discuss their most intimate and monumental works to date has stuck with me. Each personality offered insightful research and the outgrowth of that research into artworks that take a position within and against the world, and I appreciate the time and opportunity to have these unique conversations. – Aram Moshayedi