By NOAH BECKER, AUG. 2016
There was a chance to do a phone interview with artist and curator Dr. Dieter Buchhart. I had heard about him through several Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibitions he curated and was pleasantly surprised to see that in addition to his curating work he was also making art. After seeing his exhibition at New York’s Y Gallery on the Lower East Side, I became interested in what drives his ideas.
Noah Becker: I’ve seen some photographs of the paintings you make, maybe we can talk about your paintings a bit?
Dr. Dieter Buchhart: Yes sure, one of the paintings is a spray painting on the wall of like and dislike, happy and sad faces. And on the other hand there are historical prints, which have been over painted. There is also a box in a booth where you can vote for like and dislike.
Becker: How many solo shows have you done in New York?
Buchhart : Oh in New York, this is the first one.
Becker: You had a lot of solo shows in Europe?
Buchhart: I did a lot of projects in public space but usually it’s always kind of installation, which asks the viewer to participate in decisions.
Becker: So you like to include the audience in the work?
Becker: You studied in Europe at an art school?
Buchhart: No, I studied biology and art history, I never went to an art school.
Becker: So the work is more or less inspired by things like biology and art history?
Buchhart: I was always interested in questions about science but what interests me more is how do we react to given rules and how do we in society respond. So it’s a lot about society.
Becker: And recently I’ve seen that you curated several major shows of the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat? One that took place in New York and a major retrospective of Basquiat at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which was well attended.
Buchhart: Yes, I also curated a major show of Edvard Munch. I was at one time a museum curator in Austria. But I’ve always been working as a conceptual artist even when I was studying biology.
Becker: What specifically in biology?
Buchhart: I studied blood cell tumors and biochemistry and genetics, molecular biology. Although I curated Basquiat and Munch among others I’m not an artist who is influenced by them in my art practice.
Becker: Do you think you work is less about painting than about daily politics?
Buchhart: It’s all about daily politics, and, of course the discussion about society is automatically political. It’s a chance to reflect about society. It’s not a literal or rational political or societal study that happens in my work. WM
Noah Becker is an artist and the publisher and founding editor of Whitehot Magazine. He shows his paintings internationally at museums and galleries. Becker also plays jazz saxophone. Becker's writing has appeared in The Guardian, VICE, Garage, Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art and the Huffington Post. He has written texts for major artist monographs published by Rizzoli and Hatje Cantz. Becker directed the New York art documentary New York is Now (2010). Becker's new album of original music "Mode For Noah" was released in 2023.
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