I caught up with Altmejd for breakfast on the roof of the Armada Hotel in the old Sultanahmet sector of Istanbul the day after the opening of the Biennial. In the shadow of the Blue Mosque with a panorama view of the Bosphorus we spoke about energy generating werewolf heads, studio visits with Matthew Barney, the relationship between art and commerce, and what it means to be a French Canadian artist working in New York City.
Alexis Rockman sauntered up to our meeting spot on Canal Street, the sanguine spring in his step belying the bizarre state of Broadway, deserted except for about twenty police officers wearing flak jackets and carrying machine guns. The natural history painter’s studio is located in an area of Manhattan that was closed off to all nonresidents in the aftermath of the tragedy of September 11, Black Tuesday, and he arrived exactly on time to escort me into the war zone.
Installing large-scale, interactive artworks in heavy-traffic zones of cities around the world, Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer explores the intersection between new technologies, public space, active participation and “alien memory”.