Episode 140: Tony Matelli

May 4, 2008 · Print This Article

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Tony Matelli

Tony Matelli has always been interested in the underdog. He has become well known for his hyper-realistic sculptures often depicting characters and things just barely getting by; things nearly dead, hopelessly lost or otherwise totally unwanted. These sculptures serve as metaphors for our own social malaise and our general struggle for survival. They mimic inner states of desolation, panic, ambivalence and despair; frequent conditions associated with trying to locate ones self within our social world.

Tony Matelli has exhibited extensively in the US and in Europe. His work was most recently seen in “5 Billion Years,” at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and Into Me/Out of Me, at P.S. 1 MOMA New York, travelling to KW Berlin Institute of Contemporary Art. Upcoming projects include Evolution: Tony Matelli/Alexis Rockman, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Still Life, at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin, New Zealand, and Die Macht der Dinge – The Power of Things, Georg Kolbe Museum, Berlin.

Also Duncan tries out his acting chops, with mixed results.

Tony Matelli
Columbia University
The Fifth Element
Rob Pruitt
Sean Landers

Dan Graham
Ivan Albright

John Currin
Keith Tyson
Pace Wildenstein
Charles Ray

Direct download: Bad_at_Sports_Episode_140-Tony_Matelli.mp3

20 thoughts on “Episode 140: Tony Matelli”

  1. Balzac says:

    This confirms a theory that I had that Amanda was part muppet.

  2. I don’t know about “the Amanda show,” but it seems to be “the Gallery Koenig-connections show” I look forward to listening tonight or Friday am. I guess I’ll understand the muppet comment then………..

  3. amanda says:

    oh sheesh. wacca wacca

  4. katie sehr says:

    ironically, i threw out my copy of your headshot…


  5. katie sehr says:

    good show though.

  6. ben says:

    good show, tony matelli’s work is engaging. amanda establishes street cred for solo orator skills. but definitely agreed, is leo koenig the only nyc art that is in nyc? what else is brewing? if everything cool happening in the art capitol of the US is this predictable… something must be missing. snort is a cool name for a dog.

  7. Richard says:

    Am I sick to have voted for Sam the Eagle?

    Although I am rapidly working to Stadler.

  8. Dan says:

    statler is my vote, but only if Duncan gets a moustache, making him waldorf!
    Two critics in the balcony?

  9. Great show, Amanda. Very entertaining. I enjoyed Tony’s comments on the necessity of representation/mediation. Quite a unique take and very against the grain of current theorizing. What with you channeling Richard and Duncan faking him, Richard had a very mediated presence this time! And he was so much friendlier than usual! So, now that I actually listened, I get it — R and D or whoever is trying to muppetize Amanda through the intro and sound bits and so on. Hmmm.

  10. Sam the Eagle says:

    You are all weirdos!

  11. hamlett says:

    i was totally unfamilar with tony matelli’s work before the episode, but i didn’t want that episode to be over. it was really great, not a show that would generate a 65 comments on the message board. . . but a great, interesting, funny, honest conversation all the same. and we got some funny duncan mixed in at the beginning too. you just can’t go wrong with muppets. i’m looking forward to the next show tomorrow.

    just out of curiosity, i wonder what the number of downloads is for an average bad at sports episode? how many people are out there listening to the podcast?

  12. Richard says:

    Including you and Duncan’s Mom, 5 downloads per week.

  13. I don’t think the number of comments has anything to do with the quality of a show — or even popularity of it — it is more a measure of the level of controversiality of the subject.

  14. Balzac says:

    And whether or not Wesley chimes in!

  15. hamlett says:

    sure Mark, you’re totally right. I wanted to point out the difference in the Tony Matelli posts (at that time 11) and the previous show’s post (then a whopping 65). I didn’t mean to imply that the Matelli interview was any more or less interesting, just that it was a different kind of show. I do think it’s interesting that the shows that interview one or two artists about their studio practice seem to generate fewer posts on the site, it points to what you said about the cotroversiality of it. Now if only BAS could score an interview with Karen Kilimnik…(cue the theme from “Jaws” for the Shark)

  16. Richard says:


    Art fairs always generate a debate because the rile some people up philosophically. Also they force the high and mightier of us (guilt at times myself) to confront that in many ways art is ultimately a business like all other businesses. People get mad and throw opinions and some insights around and much melee is had by all. The more animated discussions are why I like the message board part of the blog. When an individual artist is discussing her/his/it/their work there is not a whole lot of dialog that goes on as you either like what they do/ have to say or you don’t and this tends not to yield that much discussion.

    Anyway thanks and keep contributing!

  17. katie sehr says:

    I was talking about Matelli’s actual exhibition. I am very impressed with his candidness and honesty during the BAS interview. I now want to set a drawing on “fake fire”.

  18. katie sehr says:

    I won’t try this at home!

  19. Richard, you are right about “business,” but don’t forget that any categorization is incomplete and /or partially wrong. Anything, anyone, is always more and less than any category in which it or she/he is described or shoved into. E.g., you are a father, but also more than that (artist, lawyer, art critic, art fair organizer, etc.), yet also you are less, in that you are not a fulfilment of nor identical to all other fathers. Likewise art is a business, yet is much more and less. It is one of the most idiotioc businesses on earth, a cottage industry nestled among upper class privileged cliques, yet also is still far more. The lack of any attention to the “more” whiile wallowing in the “less” is what is so depressing about big ar fairs.

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