Chris Sharp (1974) is an American-born art critic who has lived in Paris for some time now, but is now concentrating on traveling. He's the editor of the art magazine “Kaleidoscope” (est. 2009, in Milan) and its associated blog; he writes about artists. Thanks to the initiative of the contemporary art center kim?, Sharp visited Riga for the first time last week. Arterritory.com had the opportunity to meet with him over coffee on a sunny, but windy, terrace, and talk about contemporary art, art criticism, the apocalypse, the iPad, the role of art magazines and even plans for old age. It was, in other words, a kaleidoscopic conversation.
Which do you prefer – being the interviewer, or the interviewee?
I haven't been interviewed a lot – just a few times. I've only prepared two or three interviews. I tend to avoid it.
Why is that?
It depends on who you interview. Speaking about artists, I'd rather read about critical reviews of their work than interview them. I have a feeling that when I do an interview, I pass the workload on to the artist. But in today's culture, there is so much available information. In that sense, an interview seems like a rushed way to go about preparing material. Instead, you can sit and read, and write a critical answer to the artist's work.
What hides behind the word “contemporary” today?
Just recently the internet magazine e-flux published an article by the British artist Liam Gillick (1964), on the term “contemporary”. He sees it as an out-of-date term that has become a marketing tool. Modern-day marketing constantly pushes what is “now”.
Do you agree with him?
In a sense, yes. I agree with his proposal to replace the designation “contemporary” with “current”, and to say “current art”. I suppose it is necessary, because later it may prove to be problematic delineating, for instance, when did contemporary art begin – at the end of the 1970's? “Contemporary” is too broad and ambiguous a term. I think that first of all, it is important to separate today's art from post-war modern art, because substantial changes have occurred in that time.