By LISA LEVY, May 2020
LISA LEVY: What might you be internalizing from your Covid-19 experience that may be inspiration for your work going forward
ERIC DOERINGER: I think it’s too early to say how this experience will influence my artwork. It has forced me to be more flexible - both in my daily schedule and with what/how I’m making. I’m also a bit of a workaholic and the quarantine is forcing me to reexamine my relationship with work.
LL: Personal relationships have been upped in intensity from this experience.What have you noticed that’s new in both good and difficult ways?
ED: It was definitely hard when my wife and I were both living and working in a small NYC apartment. We left the city after 3 weeks of quarantine for a vacant home that belongs to my family, and “togetherness” has been much easier with more space.
I guess I’ve learned to be more tolerant - things that used to irk me (dirty dishes in the sink) no longer seem so important. We both realize that the quarantine is bringing up a lot of powerful emotions for everyone, and I think we’ve both become more empathetic. Instead of, “Why are you snapping at me?” it’s, “I’m sorry you’re feeling so stressed out and short-tempered.” The fact that we aren’t ready to strangle each other after a month and a half of being together 24/7 makes me feel good about our relationship.
LL: Is there one artist/creative that seems particularly relevant to you for the times right now? Why?
ED: I can’t think of a visual artist who feels relevant. However, I’ve been listening to these year-by-year music playlists on YouTube (I started with 1974 - the year I was born - and have made it to the mid-90’s so far) and it’s kind of amazing how many old pop songs seem to be speaking to the current moment.
LL: What about your practice in particular might be helpful to you and others during this time.
ED: Being able to make art has been a lifeline for me. It has taken my mind off the horrible situation and provided some excitement and joy at a time when those feelings are hard to come by.
I don’t know how my art might help others. I guess I never really know that - I just try to make the best art I can and hopefully it interests/inspires other people. I doubt my artwork will offer much solace to someone who lost their job, savings, or a loved one during the pandemic, but who knows?
LL: Do you find looking at yourself socializing on Zoom and literally watching yourself interact with people disturbing to you? What have you learned about yourself from doing it?
ED: I don’t find it disturbing - if anything it’s distracting. I have learned the importance of good lighting… I also find that Zoom forces you to slow down and listen to others since no one can understand anything when two people are talking at once.
LL: What’s the one thing that you appreciate more now that surprises you?
ED: I guess communicating more with my family. I used to go months without speaking to them on the telephone, and now we Zoom once a week or more. It’s been nice. My wife and I have been playing board games with my brother and his wife via Zoom on a regular basis.
LL: Making a living for an artist SUCKS. Has this situation changed your thinking about it? Are there any actions you may take or change moving forward with your earning a living?
ED: It’s scary because my income comes from both selling my art and working at art institutions, and it’s hard to imagine either source bouncing back anytime soon. I’m very lucky that I had a show in February that sold well, so I’m not worried about paying the bills in the short term. I’ve made some small sales (artists books and things like that) during the pandemic, but I can’t ship them out or try to sell things I’ve made during quarantine because I don’t want to go to the post office.
We had been planning to relocate from New York to Los Angeles before the pandemic struck, and one question was whether we would look for a home where I could have a studio or if I would rent studio space elsewhere. We are now even more ready to escape New York and will almost definitely look for a live/work situation. It’s been hard to not have access to my studio for so long, and I’ve been jealous of friends who have studios at home.
LL: What is something you’ve made during this period, art or otherwise that is meaningful to you?
ED: I’ve found time to work on a book that I’ve wanted to make for a while; here are some photos.
The title is "Gesammelte Werke Band 7 (after Dieter Roth)" - kind of a mouthful but it's German for "Complete Works Volume 7". The original publication compiled two earlier books by Dieter Roth (part of a series that republished his books, hence the "Volume 7") The first half is pages from coloring books and the second half is pages from comic books. Each page has holes punched out at random - a Surrealist gesture that disrupts the images and narrative.
Eric Doeringer is an artist who "remakes" work by other artists. Recent exhibitions include "Christy's" (replicas of artworks auctioned at Christie's), "FUCK EM IF THEY CANT TAKE A JOKE" (paintings inspired by Christopher Wool), and "The Brode" (based on the collection of Eli and Edythe Broad). https://www.ericdoeringer.com/ @ericdoeringer. WM
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