Skype Artist Interviews: Tiago Carneiro da Cunha and Klara Kristalova

Since neither of the artists was able to be here for the opening of the current New Work exhibition, I made these videos to introduce SFMOMA’s audiences to Tiago Carneiro da Cunha (Brazil) and Klara Kristalova (Sweden). Generally, we interview artists when they come into town, but I thought that a Skype video chat would be a great workaround. I was delighted that both artists agreed to essentially invite me into their homes for a conversation.

Interviewing artists is my favorite part of my job, hands down. Having gotten to know them through the objects they make, I find it priceless to be able to spend an hour or so talking through their ideas with them. Most of the interviews that we conduct are very formal — a talking head in front of a neutral gray background with a classic three-point lighting setup. Part of this is because when we started producing video content in the 1990s, the only people who made interview videos were professionals, TV people, and documentarians. Times have changed, and museum audiences are now accustomed to a range of production values that would have been unthinkable even five years ago. For me, the fact that these videos are full of little technical glitches is part of their charm — it’s great to hear from an artist in a slightly less formal setting. Before my interview with Tiago, his wife was running around in the background turning lights on and off to make for a better-looking shot. In an era when online video chat is used to connect with far-flung friends and associates, I hope that these videos allow SFMOMA’s audiences to see a more personal side of each artist.

Erica Gangsei is manager of interpretive media, education, SFMOMA.

Though they couldn’t come for the exhibition opening, Tiago Carneiro da Cunha and Klara Kristalova are both in town this week, and will join Assistant Curator of Painting and Sculpture Alison Gass in conversation Thursday evening. The program starts at 7 p.m. in the Wattis Theater and is FREE with museum admission.

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