Noah Becker: You signed on with Whitehot from our Berlin office. After a great run in Berlin you moved to LA, now you are returning to Berlin. Can you talk a bit about your sense of logistics and how your projects fit into this migration?
Jesi Khadivi: Los Angeles was my “year on the mountain,” so to speak. My husband Paul and I lived in Ed Ruscha’s old art studio in the Echo Park hills where Ruscha made paintings of words being smashed or set on fire way back in 1964. Paul and I used our time there to make as much work as we could in relative isolation. Los Angeles has a thriving art scene, but is also one of the few places in the United States where one can experience country living in the city. As much as I enjoyed a peaceful place to work, Los Angeles is just too sprawling for me to live there long term. We love the energy of Berlin and its location in the center of Europe. It’s an amazing place to work.
NB: Tell us about your Gram Parsons project?
JK: I was working at the Edward Thorp Gallery in New York City at the time and was putting out feelers for extra work. I enjoyed working in the arts, but wanted a side project that was…different. I had graduated from Eugene Lang with a degree in Art History and Critical Theory in 2004 and after a year of working in a commercial gallery I wanted to do something more academic. I wrote to an old professor of mine, David Meyer, and asked him if he knew anyone looking for a research assistant. Much to my surprise he said, “Yeah, me.” I set out for something academic, but that’s not what I got. Instead I traveled between New York City and Los Angeles for two years interviewing musicians, guitar techs, and groupies for David’s biography of the late country rock icon, Gram Parsons. Basically I spent two years in cowboy boots immersing myself in LA rock and pop from the 1960s and 70s. It was a delight working with David and all of the hard work paid off, Twenty Thousand Roads was named one of the “Top Five Rock Books of 2008” by Rolling Stone and “#1 Rock Book” by Uncut Magazine in the UK
NB: You are opening a new space in Berlin. Is it top secret or can you let us in on some details?
JK: The space is on Kreuzbergstraße. My partner, the painter Paul Tyree-Francis, and I just signed the contract, so obviously the opening date is still in flux. The name of the space is Golden Parachutes. We'll be showing work by emerging contemporary international artists. In addition to a solo and group exhibition we'll host weekly film screenings and other assorted events. Although Golden Parachutes is a commercial gallery, Paul and I are both really inspired by hybrid venues that offer space for critical reflection and investigation. Ideally, we intend to offer our space to reading groups and plan a few ourselves. We've begun to plan our exhibition schedule and a few events, but I'd prefer to keep those details under wraps until they are closer to finalized.
NB: Do you drive a car or a bicycle in Berlin?
JK: Bicycle, of course.