#23 Infinity and Beyond with Artist Tavares StrachanPublished 25 January 2018
Whether hauling ice from the Arctic, partnering with SpaceX or training as a deep-sea diver, the artist Tavares Strachan works on an ambitious scale—often at the cutting edge of technology. He largely operates beyond the gallery model, instead relying on patrons, partnerships and collaborations to create innovative works of art.
The Bahamian-born artist, who was recently appointed to the MIT and RISD boards, is interested in overlooked or forgotten histories and “operating in a state of play”. His work ranges from multimedia installations to large-scale earthworks and is often an exercise in creative problem solving. Speaking to our host Charlotte Burns, he says: “If there’s a way that art can actually affect the way we think about the world, it is forcing us to think about the gray, about where we overlap and how we’re actually the same. If we spend more time focusing on that as an exercise, we may be able to move some immovable ideas.”
“In Other Words” is a presentation of AAP and Sotheby’s, produced by Audiation.fm.
Click here for full transcript
Charlotte Burns: Hello and welcome to In Other Words. I'm your host Charlotte Burns, and joining me today is the artist Tavares Strachan. For those of you who don't know, Tavares Strachan is a very ambitious and hardworking conceptual artist whose work defies easy categorization and appears in myriad forms: from…
Tavares Strachan was born in 1979 in Nassau, Bahamas. He received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he studied glass, and an MFA in sculpture from Yale University. He currently lives and works between Nassau and New York City.
His work is ambitious in its scale and scope. Notable projects include The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want (2006), in which he excavated a 4.5 ton block of ice from the Arctic and sent it via FedEx to the Bahamas where it was displayed in a solar-powered freezer in the courtyard of his childhood elementary school.
Strachan is interested in themes of exploration and displacement, as well as the idea of pushing the body’s physical extremes. Orthostatic Tolerance (2008-11) was a four-year, multi-media work incorporating photography, video, drawing, sculpture and installation and documenting the artist’s experience in cosmonaut training at the Yuri Gagarin Training Center in Star City, Russia.
For the post-Katrina New Orleans Prospect Triennial in 2014, Strachan created You Belong Here, a 100-foot by 22-foot neon sculpture that sat on top of a barge that floated along the Mississippi River. He also recently contributed the work I AM (2017) to the Desert X exhibition in the Coachella Valley, California which involved digging 290 craters over 100,000 sq ft and lining the craters with neon tubes that spelled out “I am” when viewed from the sky.
In 2013, Strachan represented the Bahamas at the 55th International Venice Biennale—the first time the country took part. He was recently appointed to the MIT List Visual Arts Center advisory committee as well as the RISD board.
executive editor of In Other Words
Charlotte Burns is the editor of In Other Words, our weekly newsletters and podcasts. She was previously the US news and market editor for The Art Newspaper, as well as a regular correspondent for publications such as the Guardian and Monocle. Previously, she worked with the London dealer Anthony d’Offay on special projects. For several years, she was a consultant at the cultural communications agency, Bolton & Quinn. She also worked at Hauser & Wirth in London.
Burns received a Masters degree (with Merit) from the Courtauld Institute in Art and Cultural Politics in Germany, 1890-1945, as well as a first-class B.A. honors degree in English and History of Art from Birmingham University. She moved to New York in 2010.
The live record
Behind the Scenes: Infinity and Beyond with Artist Tavares Strachan
For More on Tavares Strachan
His upcoming show “Always, Sometimes, Never” at Frye Art Museum, Seattle (27 January-15 April 2018)
His show “Seen/Unseen” (2011)
His work I Am at Desert X (2017)
“Storm King Show to Focus on Climate Change in 2018” by Daniel McDermon in The New York Times (2017)
“Tavares Strachan’s Desert Explosion” by Matt Mullen in Interview Magazine (2017)
“Desert X Aims to Be the Coachella of the Art World. Here’s a Sneak Peek” by Deborah Vankin in the Los Angeles Times (2017)
“Artists Disrupt the Palm Springs Landscape for Inaugural Desert X Biennial” by Ann Binlot in Wallpaper* Magazine (2017)
“An Artful Ode to an Undersung Chemist” by Ann Binlot in T, The New York Times Style Magazine (2015)
“‘It’s Never Really Over’: Tavares Strachan on His New, Rosalind Franklin-Inspired Show” by Ella Coon in ARTnews (2015)
“Tavares Strachan Goes Big” by Fan Zhong in W Magazine (2015)
“Three Artists Whose Work You Should See to Understand Tace in America Today” by Charlotte Burns in Quartz (2014)
“Tavares Strachan” by Chrstian Viveros-Fauné in ArtReview (2014)
Where to look
Works by Tavares Strachan