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STUDIO STORIES 2020

STUDIO STORIES 2020 is a collection of short interviews with artists who have been making contemporary work during the Covid 19 pandemic. It introduces readers to the ways in which artists continue to create and adapt their practice today.

CURATED BY LILACH SCHRAG

ABOUT STUDIO STORIES 2020 - As the global health pandemic changed artists' lives and practice, Chicago-based artist Lilach Schrag found herself drawn to stories of how artists were adapting to lockdown and the new reality. The result is Lilach's curated presentation "Studio Stories 2020", hosted by Kol HaOt. "When I realized it would be impossible to have my scheduled June residency at Kol HaOt's gallery in Jerusalem, I reached out instead to colleagues and friends around the world who make contemporary art and started collecting their stories. I asked them to provide a glimpse into their mission, their methods, and their hearts. They spoke about their work, altered daily routines, challenging moments, uplifting realizations, and the ways in which they continue to create and adjust their practice during the pandemic. Individually, from their homes and their studios, they tell fascinating stories with thoughtful words and beautiful artwork. Collectively, they offer a snapshot of artists responding to the unprecedented reality of our time.” – Lilach Schrag, 2020

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Andi Arnovitz

ANDI LAVINE ARNOVITZ WAS BORN AND RAISED IN THE UNITED STATES. SHE EARNED HER BFA FROM WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS AND IMMIGRATED TO ISRAEL IN 1999. HER WORK HAS BEEN SHOWN AND INCLUDED IN COLLECTIONS IN MUSEUMS, FOUNDATIONS, AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS IN EUROPE, ISRAEL, CANADA, CHINA, AND THE US.

My working practice follows a pretty typical process. I realize there is something I need to express, or a problem I need to address, or an issue I want to make the viewer aware of. Then I (slowly) germinate a way to express it. Finally I start to explore the very best medium. Sometimes, as most artists know, this happens lightning-like fast, and sometimes it takes me years to figure something out.
A piece really sings because of the perfect cohesion of idea and materials, but there are enormous challenges.
I FIND THAT MANY MATERIALS TODAY ARE NOT STABLE - MEANING THEY CHANGE COLORS OR FADE OR DISINTEGRATE OVER TIME. IF I AM WORKING ON SOMETHING FOR A YEAR, I DO NOT WANT IT TO DISAPPEAR OR FALL APART FIVE YEARS LATER.
FOR "THE COMMERCE OF INFERTILITY" PROJECT IT TOOK A YEAR TO FIND THE RIGHT POLYMER THAT DID NOT MELT THE READY-MADE BABIES.
Creating "Lashon HaRav" for example, was an unbelievable adventure: I could find no one anywhere in the world to fabricate the tongues (Today this would be a 3-D printing no brainer.)
Eventually, I made them out of FIMO polymer clay, hand mixing colors, baking in my kitchen oven, and using fingernail polish to make them look wet.
The final result I think works really well, but getting there was complicated with a lot of dead ends.

All of my artwork is a response to what is going on around me, personally and globally.

I'm Not, 2019
Heavy, 2020
My Worry Beads

MOST OF MY WORK IS A RESPONSE TO THINGS I SEE IN RABBINIC JUDAISM WHICH ARE BROKEN. ( IE: AGUNOT, HYPER-SEXUALIZING LITTLE GIRLS, OBSESSIONS WITH WOMEN’S MODESTY, DIFFICULTIES WITH CONVERSION AND WHO IS A JEW, THE MORAL BANKRUPTCY OF THE RABBANUT ETC.)

Garment of the Sotah
ODDLY ENOUGH I BEGAN WORK ON A SERIES CALLED “EPIDEMIOLOGY” LAST SUMMER, IN 2019, WELL BEFORE ANYONE HAD HEARD OF CORONA.

Sneeze

I HAD JUST TURNED SIXTY AND WAS SUDDENLY CONFRONTED WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY FALLING ILL, SOMETIMES FATALLY, AS WELL AS MOURNING THE DEATH OF MY FATHER.

I HAD WEIRD MEMORIES OF VARIOUS STAINS AND SMEARS INVOLVING MY FATHER’S ILLNESSES, THINGS THAT WERE AT ONCE DISGUSTING, BUT ALSO STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL.

Epidemiology, 2019

I ALSO BEGAN TO LOOK AT THINGS LIKE MY OWN OSTEOPOROSIS AND EVEN WHAT FRIENDS SUFFERING FROM PANCREATIC CANCER’S CELLS LOOKED LIKE.

THERE IS A KIND OF BEAUTY IN ALL THESE THINGS. THERE IS ALSO SOMETHING IMITATIVE ABOUT THE WAY WATERCOLORS BLEED AND SPREAD- SIMILAR TO A VIRUS: THE PROCESS IMITATED REALITY. MY WORK IS A CONTINUAL RESPONSE TO WHATEVER IS HAPPENING AROUND ME.
For Making me According to his Will
For many artists this is an extremely challenging time. Lots of artists have their studios outside their home and they simply could not get there.
Setting my studio at home was a necessity when my children were younger. During the lockdown I just went upstairs and worked, and a great many projects got finished. With art supply shops, etching studio and my printer being closed, and no Amazon deliveries to Israel - my circle of resources was vastly circumscribed.
So, like many artists, pre-Pesach, I did a massive clean, and found papers and supplies I had forgotten about. I cannot say I did a massive, new body of work, but I started working on small personal pieces. I think a lot of artists everywhere returned to paper and drawing.

I WOULD LIKE TO MENTION THE DEPENDENCE ON, AND THE NECESSITY OF THE INTERNET. SUDDENLY THERE WERE ON-LINE EXHIBITIONS, AND ARTISTS-IN-QUARANTINE INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK GROUPS. THESE RESOURCES BECAME HUGELY UNITING AND HELPFUL. IT WAS A WAY OF ALLEVIATING WORKING IN A VACUUM. THERE ARE GOOD SIDES TO TECHNOLOGY TOO!

andi arnovitz

you can see more of Andi's work by visiting:

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Created By
Lilach Schrag
Appreciate

Credits:

All photos courtesy of the artist