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
Continues thru Sept 23:
Edouard Vuillard: “A Painter and His Muses" 1890-1940
The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave., NYC (@ 92nd St.)
Admission $7.50+, Saturdays Free, Closed Wednesdays
Featuring some fifty key artworks in various media, this exhibition offers a fresh view of the French artist Edouard Vuillard’s career, from the vanguard 1890s to the urbane domesticity of the lesser-known late portraits. The presentation focuses on the inspiration provided by friends and patrons whose support became inseparable from the artist’s achievement.
Freight+Volume, 530 W24th St., NYC
In an age of sound bites sandwiched by social media excess and information overload, Nicole Wittenberg’s paintings are a refreshing antidote. Distilled down to their essentials, Wittenberg’s work - whether her “Skype” portraits, her architectural interiors, or her landscapes – offers up a complicated contemporary universe reduced to a skeletal framework. Its elegant brevity is not dissimilar to symphonic variations on a theme: one frame, presented in a multitude of ways, a sure and pared-down message conveyed as directly and with as much brevity as possible. - June 30