nycARTscene Interview: Noah Becker
Noah Becker is a NYC-based oil painter, a jazz saxophonist, the founding editor of Whitehot Magazine and a contributing writer for numerous publications (Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art, the Huffington Post).
Becker’s recent paintings are currently on view at The Lodge Gallery, a solo exhibition of his portraiture and collage-like reconsiderations of art history.
nycARTscene contributor Gabriel Sands leads us in conversation with the artist:
GS: How have you been influenced by other prominent New York City artists who came before you? Whom specifically?
NB: I was influenced by Warhol, Basquiat, Jackson Pollock and many others.
GS: How has your relationship to and perception of portraiture changed as a result of your own work?
NB: Making unknown people or making famous people becomes an issue. I try and do as few famous people as possible… I’m painting mostly unknowns but that might change.
GS: You are also a musician. What is the interplay between your music and your visual art, if any?
NB: I’m a saxophonist. There are shapes and feelings in music and shapes and vibrations in painting. It’s coming from a source that transcends the human world. I’m not sure that they have an interaction except for the fact that I do it and it comes from my consciousness. The world is mysterious and we really don’t know everything yet.
GS: Can you tell us about the idea of mass production in culture and art? What does that mean to you?
NB: Mass production is something Warhol was doing with his Factory and now people like Jeff Koons and Kehinde Wiley are doing it. Supply and demand is the issue here. I’m not sure how much work an artist needs to make… Vermeer made only about 35 paintings I think… How many do you need to be a famous artist?
GS: On Twitter, you recently tweeted an offer to paint people’s portraits. Tell us why you did this.
NB: Twitter is an interesting thing because you can test the social and creative dynamic. I Tweeted that because I’m interested in the challenge of painting someone I don’t know. It’s also a way of dealing with the current situation with the online world in an experimental way. For example I offer people Skype studio visits where I link to them and they give me a one hour tour of their studio. I’ve been invited to studios all over the world via Skype.
Noah Becker: http://noahbeckerart.com/
The Lodge Gallery: www.thelodgegallery.com 131 Chrystie St., NYC
Opens Fri, Nov 15, 6-8p:
Thierry Goldberg Gallery, 103 Norfolk St., NYC
“Ahuja references a variety of cultural traditions, including the arts of Africa, Asia, and America… she suggests that identity is not only fluid, but that it represents a layering of different guises—both real and fictional, historic and contemporary. Her work also demonstrates an interest in different types of marks and materials. She employs hand stamps, paints with brushes, and draws directly onto the collaged ground.” - National Portrait Gallery
“My self-portraits are “auto-mythic.” I define automythography as a process of identity formation that combines the real with the self-invented. I position myself within a history of Eastern and Western representation, reflecting my identity as an African American and South Asian American woman. My sources include Buddhist wall paintings and Mughal manuscript art.” - Mequitta Ahuja