A recent trip through LA gave me the opportunity to catch up with Matt Glass and Jordan Wayne Long, the two collaborators behind Half Cut Tea, an ongoing documentary video series featuring emerging artists across the US. Now in its second season, Half Cut Tea has traveled from Boston to Los Angeles and many cities in between, featuring soon-to-be-known artists including Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw (New York), Wesley Taylor (Detroit), Beverly Fre$h (Chicago), and Sean Joseph Patrick Carney (Portland). Both Glass and Long have temporarily suspended their individual art making to pursue this collaborative endeavor, which they plan to continue into a third season and beyond. Their motivation is two-fold: firstly, to bring visibility to a generation of younger makers who often are operating outside of traditional art centers; and secondly, to demystify the idea of the professional artist as an unattainable über-genius. Half Cut Tea brings a bit of day-to-day reality to the processes of art making, pursuing artists in their everyday habitats, which, in Glass and Long’s experience, can include calcite mines and jumping out of planes in parachutes. According to Long, the project won’t end until art making is perceived as an accessible occupation, unencumbered by the exclusivity and mind-numbing static of contemporary art speak.
I spoke with Half Cut Tea in their Culver City studio, which doubles as Pretty Gallery.
Sarah Margolis-Pineo: What motivated you to put your individual art practices on hold—somewhat on hold—to collaborate on a series of documentary videos, which are a distinct derivation from your creative work?
Matt Glass: For me, I’m still using the same skills. Whether or not I’m actively making art, I’m still exercising those muscles. Especially with creating the music, the videos have really allowed me to build and expand on what I already do as an artist.
Jordan Wayne Long: I think, for me, being in the art world for a couple years doing performance art, I saw so many people making work who weren’t getting exposure. Maybe they weren’t making the best connections or meeting the right people. Regardless, this video series allows us to make something awesome for little known artists and show that they’re as good or potentially better than those recognized by the mainstream art world. Also, when we started the series we had just came out of grad school and were so sick of art-speak. In mainstream art writing everyone just says the same damn thing! Just talking with people opens them up less formally. We’ll shoot two hours of interview for a three-minute video, pulling out dialog that really gets to the heart of what they’re doing.
MG: They say more about their art when they’re not talking about it.
SMP: What is your relationship as collaborators?
MG: We’re lucky because we have different strengths. I don’t like talking to people and Jordan really likes talking to people. I like being in a dark room, and Jordan thinks that’s kinda weird.
JWL: We’ve been friends since grad school, but I knew of the work Matt was doing even before that point and how crazily talented he is. He did so much work – so many things for people – and he’s never gotten any credit for it. I am just thrilled that this series gives Matt a venue to exercise his skill and talent. It’s just crazy that just the two of us are doing this project, and so much of it relies on Matt.
MG: That’s very kind of you.
JWL: We were both in bands before and have been on tour, so we are both accustomed to dealing with different personalities. We work really well together. Even when we get frustrated – when something doesn’t go right and we’ve had a bad shoot day – we both know when the other person needs to blow off some steam by being absolutely ridiculous. We’ll be in the car singing in different voices and then be fine 30-minutes later. It’s terrible doing something that you really enjoy and it’s going poorly.
MG: Every video we make, there’s always a point that I think: This sucks! I don’t want to do this anymore. But then it’s always fine.
SMP: How are you selecting the artists to feature?
JWL: When we first started, it was people we had already met. From there, the initial interviewees would know someone, so it was a rhizomic growth process. Now, we get sent submissions by colleagues or from artists themselves, and often, we’ll seek out particular artists that we’d like to feature as part of the series – a puppeteer in Venice Beach, for example.
We don’t make money doing this, so if we’re going to create a video, we have to really like the artist that we’re featuring. Each subject is heavily vetted. We have conversations by phone, over a meal – multiple times – just to make sure they’re not an asshole. We’ve definitely had to turn a few people down.
SMP: What are your main considerations when producing the content?
JWL: We know we want to see each artist working. To be honest: the only thing that we ask for is that he/she/they do something that doesn’t involve their art. When we shoot, we always want to do something entirely unrelated to art making, whether it be cliff jumping, playing Dominion, or playing with their dog.
SMP: Is this a way to expand the conversation beyond an artist’s professional identity? Why is this an important emphasis for the series?
JWL: In grad school, our mentor really wanted us to cultivate who we are—our public personas—as a means of developing our careers. I was cast as a soft-spoken, Southern performance artist. I’m not going to live my life hoping that this myth of my personality will take off. I just don’t think you have to fake this myth, hiding parts of yourself to embody some sort of monolithic identity. Part of Half Cut Tea is showing that people are just people. It’s not about putting artists on a pedestal, it’s about showing that professional art making is an attainable, everyday thing. Any kid from any small town can be an artist—there are so many different ways to be creative and be successful. If you don’t come from a lineage of artists, that’s a difficult thing to understand.
SMP: So Matt, it seems as though Jordan is really intent on shaping the diological content of the films, but I’m guessing you’re the one who is behind the visual content. What are your main considerations when approaching each new project?
MG: Jordan is in charge of talking about the art, and I’m in charge of showing about the art. I like the quiet moments. This is something it took us a video or two for us to learn: there have to be some quiet moments. Some of my favorite clips are when you have a nice music queue and an artist is just carrying a box somewhere. It’s in these short scenes that you’re really let in on the process. The verbal interviews are one way to get at an artist’s thinking, but it’s in the quiet moments that you can see the wheels turning—you can see the artist really considering their art.
JWL: It’s really funny. We’ll shoot for an hour and a half doing a formal interview, and as soon as Matt turns his camera and begin to shoot b-roll, the good audio will begin to flow. As soon as I say “I think we’re good,” the artist begins saying what we were hoping they’d say the whole time – the guard is put down. Everyone is so afraid of looking bad on camera. We’re not doing this to fuck with people; we’re doing this to create documents that truly capture an artist’s work.
SMP: The music seems really integral to the visual/aural texture of each video. How is it composed?
MG: I try to use instruments that match the videos and type of art that each individual is making. For example, the Nick [Olson] and Lilah [Horwitz] video features a lot of acoustic guitar, hurdy-gurdy, and violin. In a video we did recently, I put in more electronic elements than usual because the artist deals with mechanics – he’s an inventor.
Sometimes, I go over the top. With each video, I like to create sound that would convey the same narrative arc even if there was no actual interview. There are distinct ups and downs. In a way, it’s like a 5-minute film score.
SMP: Where has the journey of this project taken you geographically?
JWL: We hit… How many states did we hit?
MG: Six? Eight? Massachusetts, New York, West Virginia, Arkansas, Utah, Michigan, California, Oregon… And quite a few in between.
JWL: One of the main things was going outside of traditional art hubs and find people who are doing great stuff..
SMP: I’m guessing you’ve had a number of adventures through this project. Anything particularly memorable?
JWL: The cave. Matt was not a fan of the cave. We went and broke into calcite mine – that was cool. And, obviously, we only used 30-seconds of footage, but we shot for a couple hors in that mine. Matt only went about 100-feet in.
MG: I waited for the earthquake outside.
JWL: What about the time we dodged dozens of tornados? All the way from West Virginia to Detroit, we were avoiding a crazy storm system. We had to wait part of it out in an Olive Garden. Thank god for breadsticks.
SMP: Now that you’re finishing up season two, are there plans for season three?
JWL: It’s in preproduction. We’re still locating artists, mapping the regions we’d like to travel to, and locating funding. I’d like to do the Deep South, and I’m trying to convince Matt to go overseas.
MG: But I don’t even want to go to Florida.
SMP: How are you promoting your work?
JWL: We have a budget of about $40/month. It’s pretty cool to be able to reach the audience that we have. We have about 250,000 hits for the whole season, which is impressive considering the budget. We’re taking the grass roots approach. We pick our markets; for example, if an artist is from Wisconsin we promote in Wisconsin newspapers and hope that the thing will snowball. This is something that I have no experience with, but it’s fun to play at it with such limited resources. It’s so different than promoting your own art practice because there’s a certain guilt with self-promotion. When you’re promoting another artist, you’re doing something great for them in addition to promoting your own work.
All photos and videos courtesy of Half Cut Tea.
Matt Glass is a photographer, filmmaker and musician from Utah with an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Matt’s films are full of puppets and other oddities. His music has been featured on various television programs on NBC, CBS, FOX and more … and he likes pizza.
Jordan Wayne Long is a performance and video artist originally from Bald Knob, Arkansas. He graduated with his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2011. His current work deals with trauma … and he loves sweet teas.
This week: San Francisco checks in with dance legend Anna Halprin!!!
Anna Halprin (b. 1920) is a pioneering dancer and choreographer of the post-modern dance movement. She founded the San Francisco Dancer’s Workshop in 1955 as a center for movement training, artistic experimentation, and public participatory events open to the local community. Halprin has created 150 full-length dance theater works and is the recipient of numerous awards including the 1997 Samuel H. Scripps Award for Lifetime Achievement in Modern Dance from the American Dance Festival. Her students include Meredith Monk, Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, Simone Forti, Ruth Emmerson, Sally Gross, and many others.
Live Benefit Auction Event: March 9, 6-8:30 pm
Robert Rauschenberg Project Space
455 West 19th St, New York
Printed Matter, Inc, the New York-based non-profit organization committed to the dissemination and appreciation of publications made by artists, will host a Benefit Auction and Selling Exhibition at the Rauschenberg Foundation Project Space to help mitigate damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
As a result of the storm, Printed Matter experienced six feet of flooding to its basement storage and lost upwards of 9,000 books, hundreds of artworks and equipment. Printed Matter’s Archive, which has been collected since the organization’s founding in 1976 and serves as an important record of its history and the field of artists books as a whole, was also severely damaged. Moreover, the damage sustained by Sandy has made it clear that Printed Matter needs to undertake an urgent capacity-building effort to establish a durable foundation for its mission and services into the future.
This is the first fundraising initiative of this scale to be undertaken by the organization in many years, and will feature more than 120 works generously donated from artists and supporters of Printed Matter.
The Sandy Relief Benefit for Printed Matter will be held at the Rauschenberg Project Space in Chelsea and will run from February 28 through March 9th. The Benefit has two components: a selling exhibition of rare historical publications and other donated works and an Auction of donated artworks.
A special preview and reception will be held February 28th, 6-8 pm, to mark the unveiling of all 120 works and to thank the participating artists and donors. The opening will feature a solo performance by cellist Julia Kent (Antony and the Johnsons), followed by a shared DJ set from Lizzi Bougatsos (Gang Gang Dance) & Kyp Malone (TV on the Radio). The event is free and open to the public.
All works will then be available for viewing at the Rauschenberg Project Space March 1 – March 9, gallery hours.
All Selling Exhibition works may be purchased during this period and Auction works will be available for bidding online. Bids can be made at www.paddle8.com/auctions/printedmatter.
A live Benefit Auction Event will take place March 9, 6-8:30 pm with approximately 20 selected works to be auctioned in a live format. Bidding on these works will commence at 7pm sharp, while silent bids can be made on all other Auction works. Note, highest online bids will be transferred to the room. For absentee bidding of works, please contact Keith Gray (Printed Matter) at 212 925 0325 or email@example.com. The evening will feature a performance by Alex Waterman on solo cello with electronics. Admission is $150 and tickets may be pre-purchased here. There will be only limited capacity.
Highlighted auction works include an oversize ektacolor photograph from Richard Prince, a woven canvas piece from Tauba Auerbach, an acrylic and newsprint work from Rirkrit Tiravanija, a large-scale Canopy painting from Fredrik Værslev, a rare dye transfer print from Zoe Leonard, a light box by Alfredo Jaar, a book painting by Paul Chan, a carbon on paper work from Frances Stark, a seven-panel plexi-work with spraypainted newsprint from Kerstin Brätsch, a C-print from Hans Haacke, a firefly drawing from Philippe Parreno, a mixed-media NASA wall-piece from Tom Sachs, a unique print from Rachel Harrison, a vintage xerox poem from Carl Andre, an encyclopedia set of hand-made books from Josh Smith, a photograph from Klara Liden, a table-top sculpture from Carol Bove, Ed Ruscha’s Rooftops Portfolio, as well as original works on canvas and linen by Cecily Brown, Cheyney Thompson, Dan Colen, Adam McEwen, RH Quaytman, and many others.
These Auction works can be previewed at: www.paddle8.com/auctions/printedmatter
In addition to auction works, a vitrine-based exhibition of rare books, artworks and ephemera are available for viewing and purchase. This material includes some truly remarkable items from the personal collection of Robert Rauschenberg, donated by theRobert Rauschenberg Foundation in memory of the late Printed Matter Board Member, bookseller and publisher, John McWhinnie. Among the works available are books and artworks from Marcel Duchamp, Willem de Kooning, Alfred Steiglitz,Joseph Beuys, Brigid Berlin (Polk), as well as a Claes Oldenburg sculpture, a rare William Burroughs manuscript, and the Anthology Film Archive Portfolio (1982). Additional artists’ books have been generously donated by the Sol LeWitt Estate. Works include pristine copies of Autobiography (1980), Four Basic Kinds of Straight Lines (1969), Incomplete Open Cubes (1974), and others. Three Star Books have kindly donated a deluxe set of their Maurizio Cattelan book edition. These works can be viewed and purchased at the space. For inquiries about available works please contact Printed Matter’s Associate Director Max Schumann at 212 925 0325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Co-chairs Ethan Wagner & Thea Westreich Wagner and Phil Aarons & Shelley Fox Aarons have guided the event, and Thea Westreich Art Advisory Services has generously lent its expertise and assisted in the production of the auction.
In anticipation of the event Printed Matter Executive Director James Jenkin said:
“Not only are we hopeful that this event will help us to put Sandy firmly behind us, it is incredibly special for us. To have so many artists and friends associated with our organization over its 36 years come forward and support us in this effort has been truly humbling.“
Auction includes work by:
Michele Abeles, Ricci Albenda, Carl Andre, Cory Arcangel, Assume Vivid Astro Focus, Tauba Auerbach, Trisha Baga, John Baldessari, Sebastian Black, Mark Borthwick, Carol Bove, Kerstin Brätsch, Sascha Braunig, Olaf Breuning, Cecily Brown, Sophie Calle, Robin Cameron, Sean Joseph Patrick Carney, Nathan Carter, Paul Chan, Dan Colen, David Kennedy Cutler, Liz Deschenes, Mark Dion, Shannon Ebner, Edie Fake, Matias Faldbakken, Dan Graham, Robert Greene, Hans Haacke, Marc Handelman, Rachel Harrison, Jesse Hlebo, Carsten Höller, David Horvitz, Marc Hundley, Alfredo Jaar, Chris Johanson, Terence Koh, Joseph Kosuth, Louise Lawler, Pierre Le Hors, Leigh Ledare, Zoe Leonard, Sam Lewitt, Klara Liden, Peter Liversidge, Charles Long, Mary Lum, Noah Lyon, McDermott & McGough, Adam McEwen, Ryan McNamara, Christian Marclay, Ari Marcopoulos, Gordon Matta-Clark, Wes Mills, Jonathan Monk, Rick Myers, Laurel Nakadate, Olaf Nicolai, Adam O’Reilly, Philippe Parreno, Jack Pierson, Richard Prince, RH Quaytman, Eileen Quinlan, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Ed Ruscha, Tom Sachs, David Sandlin, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Cindy Sherman, Josh Smith, Keith Smith, Buzz Spector, Frances Stark, Emily Sundblad, Andrew Sutherland, Peter Sutherland, Sarah Sze, Panayiotis Terzis, Cheyney Thompson, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Nicola Tyson, Penelope Umbrico, Fredrik Værslev, Visitor, Danh Vo, Dan Walsh and Ofer Wolberger.
This week: Duncan, Brian, Abigail Satinsky and special guest host Jacob Wick (MFA candidate in social practice at CCA in SF, he has a hot dog stand and it’s art….kidding….kidding) talk to Sean Joseph Patrick Carney about @socialmalpractice, Fuck James Franco and more more more! Everyone gets silly, editing was exciting. After that Richard and Max report live from the Chicago Toy and Game Fair. Max thinks the Star Wars nerds from the 501st are scary as hell.
Sean Joseph Patrick Carney is an artist, educator and writer living and working in Portland, Oregon. He has exhibited original work and performances nationally and internationally in New York, San Francisco, and Amsterdam, amongst others. Carney’s interdisciplinary art practice includes stand-up comedy, sculpture, performance, sound, critical writing, satire, and public happenings. He is the founder and director of Social Malpractice Publishing, an artist book distributor. In 2011, he co-founded the Conceptual Oregon Performance School (C.O.P.S.), a free, artist-run summer institute focused on contemporary performance strategies and critical theory. Carney earned a BFA in Printmaking with a Minor in Secondary Education from Arizona State University in 2004, and an MFA in Visual Studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2009 where he now works as an arts administrator in the Graduate Studies Department and as a faculty member in Intermedia.