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Tools and Contemporary Art

From the get-go, Manhattan was the center of my universe. My curatorial career began at MoMA in the early 1970s, when international phone calls were expensive and audio cassettes cheap. New York City was bankrupt, the art world small, no one had money, yet energy and ideas soared.

Christopher Thomas Allen

I have always been influenced by my tools and different processes in my work, particularly when there’s a happy accident to be created. I became fascinated with light and projection at a very early age, having a father who was a photographer and being exposed to the wonder of home cine films by my mother.

Ken Okiishi

In a world where easily circulatable image files of artworks have become interchangeable with, or even more present as the artwork than the physical work itself, there is often a feeling of seeing an artwork in person as a simple identification within a mentally plugged-in database.

Jana Winderen

The most important instruments for any artist working with sound are their ears and the ability to learn how to listen and develop their relationship with the world around them.

Karen Archey

Since I’m a writer, primarily an art critic, I’m going to treat the word “tool” in a way that isn’t related to the stuff of artistic practice. Literally, the only tool to which I’m attached is my laptop loaded with a pirated, malfunctioning copy of Microsoft Word.

Tun Win Aung and Wah Nu

Research is central to our art practice to a significant extent. Process and repeated reflections are also primary components. Interdependence is crucial for us as we benefit a lot from discussing and offering suggestions to each other.

Marilyn Minter

The most useful tool is probably digital media—Photoshop, digital cameras, and advanced editing equipment. I feel sorry for artists that don’t take advantage of these tools.

Judith Barry

The definition of technology (from Greek τέχνη, techne, “art, skill, cunning of hand”; and -λογία, -logia) is the collection of tools, including machinery, modifications, arrangements, and procedures, used by humans. Philosophers as diverse as John Locke, Martin Heidegger, and Gilles Deleuze have discussed technology as a form of world-building, an originary form of truth-revealing, and as a way of destabilizing subjectivity rather than conventionality “as a means to an end.”

Johanna Fateman

In the early ’90s, I wanted to be a cyborg. So did all my friends, and according to Donna Haraway, we already were. “By the late 20th century, our time, a mythic time, we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism,” she writes in the book we were obsessed with, her 1991 Simians, Cyborgs and Women.

A Tool is a Tool is a Rose

If a rose is a rose according to Gertrude Stein, and a tool is a tool, we can not but reconsider the old Borgean statement that all the Niles are in the word “Nile” and all the tools are in the word “tool.”

Teppei Kaneuji

I still get amazed by the most obvious of things—like how it is that a photograph actually works, how a plane flies, how a record makes music. In this way, a lot of things still seem “new” to me.

The Artist’s Hands

As the primary designer for The Residents over the past 40-plus years, I have seen my tools evolve in many ways, but the primary change, as for many artists, has been from analog to digital. Regardless, I still think the tools to which I’m most attached, both literally and figuratively, are my hands, and the ways that I use those tools have changed dramatically.

Josh Kline

When choosing tools, I sometimes evaluate their usefulness based on their relationship to the time I’m describing in the work. Sometimes a tool’s “newness” or level of novelty becomes essential in depicting where certain subjects and phenomena are in the present, have been in the recent past, and are going in the future.

Haroon Mirza

There are so many different types of tools an artist can use, from conceptual and theoretical ones—or maybe language itself—to literal tools such as brushes and screwdrivers.

Antoine Catala

The primary tools that I use are my obsessions: the physicality of image or solid language. Physical transformations, translations (in the mathematical sense of the word, a sliding from point A to point B), deformations, or mutations.

Guy Goldstein

In recent years, my works are created by transitions between media, attempts to convert and translate actions through one medium to another.

Tools of the Trade

The tools in my art practice are intrinsically linked to the direction my work is taking and the questions I am trying to raise. I often work with multiple media simultaneously. This process of investigation leads me to rediscover familiar tools and sometimes demands modes of working with new tools.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2015

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