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← Bryan Zanisnik & Eric Winkler's Animated Conversation | ART21 "New York Close Up"

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Showing Revision 1 created 07/21/2016 by Amara Bot.

  1. ["New York Close Up"]
  2. [Eric Winkler, artist]
  3. [WINKLER] I met Bryan at a Halloween party.
  4. [Bryan Zanisnik, artist]
  5. [WINKLER] He was in the arts,
  6. I'm in the arts.
  7. We both grew up in New Jersey.
  8. We basically had the same kind of life.
  9. ["Bryan Zanisnik & Eric Winkler's Animated
    Conversation"]
  10. [You go swimming! I'm making art!]
  11. [WINKLER] And then we started doing the comics
  12. just because...
  13. I think Bryan has always wanted to be able
    to draw something.
  14. He can't do it, though.
  15. His sculptures are like drawings.
  16. He tries things and erases things.
  17. The way he works is very similar to drawing.
  18. He's Italian by way of New Jersey,
  19. by way of wanting to be mildly Jewish.
  20. That wraps up into basically
  21. him using his hands a lot,
  22. just talking about, like,
  23. all kinds of crazy things.
  24. After years of friendship,
  25. I know that he's going to tell me a crazy story
  26. and I'm going to have to say,
  27. "So which part was really true?"
  28. [ZANISNIK] Yeah, I don't know.
  29. I got this, like, really weird flu.
  30. My head started pounding me.
  31. I'm mostly better, but I'm just, like,
  32. really confused now.
  33. I don't know, but...
  34. there could be fluid building around my brain
    as we speak.
  35. And sometimes, I'll be, like, sitting at home,
  36. all by myself,
  37. and I'd just say,
  38. "I'm Bryan Zanisnik."
  39. "I live in Ridgewood, New York."
  40. "I'm an artist."
  41. And I kind of just repeat facts about myself,
  42. because I think if I know these things
  43. and I'm not confused,
  44. I could make the argument
  45. that if I think I'm confused, I'm not
  46. because confused people don't know they're confused.
  47. But I'm pretty sure there's fluid forming
    around my brain.
  48. --We ought to think about what we want to
    make
  49. --our next comics about.
  50. --Because we could either
  51. --address some of the more current things
    that are going on.
  52. [WINKLER] Like, what were you thinking?
  53. [ZANISNIK] [SIGHS] I don't know, you know...
  54. [WINKLER] So what's going on in the work now?
  55. [ZANISNIK] So, yeah, I'm working on this project.
  56. I'm, like, building this library.
  57. You know, it's all based around the time Philip Roth almost...
  58. [WINKLER] He tried to sue you...
  59. [ZANISNIK] Yeah, Roth tried to sue me.
  60. ["The Seventh Lawsuit" starring Philip Roth as Death]
  61. --[ZANISNIK, IMPERSONATING ROTH] I'm Roth,
  62. --I will be by your side a long while,
  63. --as will my lawyers.
  64. --[ZANISNIK] No! No!
  65. --Get out of my brain!
  66. So, back in 2012,
  67. I was doing this performance at Abrons Art Center
  68. where, in the middle of these thousands of objects,
  69. there was this twelve-foot-tall glass container,
  70. and then I was holding this Philip Roth novel.
  71. I wasn't even reading it out loud--
  72. I was just holding it.
  73. And he found out about this
  74. and he tried to sue me.
  75. So yesterday I went on Amazon
  76. and bought 550 Philip Roth novels.
  77. [WINKLER] No you didn't!
  78. So then how much did they cost?
  79. [ZANISNIK] It's like, uh...
  80. I don't, it's like 1,600 bucks for five...
  81. It was cheap!
  82. [WINKLER] Hmmm!
  83. [ZANISNIK] So now I'm collecting a huge library
    of his works.
  84. You know, it's The Philip Roth Presidential
    Library.
  85. I have a 3D-modeled printed bust of Roth.
  86. [WINKLER] Your new roommate!
  87. [RADIO PROGRAM PLAYS]
  88. --"This is Fresh Air. I'm Terry Gross."
  89. --"Happy birthday, Philip Roth!"
  90. [WINKLER] You think he's going to sue you
    again?
  91. [ZANISNIK] Well, I'm hoping, but...
  92. don't tell the gallery in Miami this.
  93. I'm actually going down there on Thursday.
  94. --[TSA agent] "What is this, a joke?"
  95. --"Whose bag is this?"
  96. --"You want to explain this to me?"
  97. [ZANISNIK] I was in graduate school,
  98. and I was shooting these videos.
  99. And then after the videos were finished,
  100. I was taking objects from the videos,
  101. arranging them on the wall as a tableau,
  102. and then photographing them.
  103. And I began realizing these photographs
  104. were actually even more interesting than the
    videos themselves.
  105. And I think in recent years,
  106. I've really been interested in seeing
  107. how far I can push it site-specifically.
  108. Yeah, let's keep talking about that,
  109. because I really feel like there's something
    in there...
  110. in the comic book about...
  111. [WINKLER] No, I'm already getting ideas,
  112. so I think it's good, but...
  113. You're doing something at the Queens Museum, right?
  114. [ZANISNIK] Yeah, well my studio is there for
    the year now.
  115. I'm working on this project
  116. where I'm building these sets
  117. for photographs.
  118. I don't know if you remember...
  119. you came by studio in DUMBO last year?
  120. Remember how it had this, like, crazy view
    of the Manhattan skyline?
  121. [WINKER] Yeah, yeah.
  122. [ZANISNIK] So I built these sets over the
    windows,
  123. and then I kind of, like, punched holes.
  124. [SOUND OF PAPER TEARING]
  125. When I went to the Queens Museum,
  126. I kind of thought I wanted to continue this.
  127. [WINKLER] Not as good of a view, though.
  128. [ZANISNIK] I don't have windows in my studio,
  129. so that's a problem.
  130. But, right outside the museum
  131. are all the monuments from the World's Fair.
  132. People think I do this in Photoshop.
  133. I think that these places
  134. that are so much tied to the city
  135. or identified with the city
  136. are just almost becoming outside of our reach.
  137. Like even with the Queens Museum,
  138. it's an amazing institution,
  139. but I am practically half a foot in Long Island.
  140. So I'm feeling like I'm being, like,
  141. pushed and pushed,
  142. like the things that we identify as a city--
  143. and the iconic New York City--
  144. are, like, slipping away from artists.
  145. And I think, in a way, it also feels like--
  146. to me, this project--
  147. I feel, in some weird ways,
  148. it's almost kind of a goodbye to New York.
  149. ["Escape from New York"]
  150. My work is very personal,
  151. but I've been careful not to get
  152. too indulgent in autobiography,
  153. but Eric can address it directly in a comic.
  154. And I like that.
  155. I like this idea
  156. that it sort of contextualizes--
  157. it brings another level of autobiography.
  158. This is that performance where
  159. I was wearing baguettes as arms
  160. and they got ripped off
  161. and then my mom and dad ate my arms.
  162. [WINKLER, LAUGHING] Right!
  163. [ZANISNIK] That was a good time.
  164. [WINKLER] The character is a little more arrogant.
  165. Not that Bryan isn't slightly arrogant.
  166. Sometimes that comes across.
  167. [ZANISNIK] There's a lot of similarities between
    Eric and I.
  168. He lost his mother to cancer two years ago
  169. and I lost my mom to cancer last year.
  170. So I think there's also kind of been a real,
    sort of,
  171. new depth to our friendship there,
  172. and us kind of both having gone through this loss
  173. early in our lives.
  174. How's your dad doing?
  175. [WINKLER] He's okay.
  176. [ZANISNIK] It's always weird,
  177. it's like how do you...
  178. how do you talk about losing your mom, without...
  179. It feels like I always just go to, like,
  180. talking about my dad.
  181. [WINKER] No, I mean, there's different stages
    of, like,
  182. having to deal with it,
  183. and then, like, how you feel,
  184. like, during different stages.
  185. No, I still...
  186. you know, I get...
  187. Like, I have hard days.
  188. [ZANISNIK] My mom was...
  189. a real character.
  190. [WINKER] Your mom was a character.
  191. So was mine.
  192. [ZANISNIK] Yeah, so was yours.
  193. And it's crazy thinking about, like,
  194. how many comics did you draw of my mom--a lot!
  195. [WINKLER] I know, a lot!
  196. [BOTH] Yeah.
  197. [WINKLER] It's weird sometimes,
  198. because I want to put her back in sometimes.
  199. [ZANISNIK] Maybe it's a weird thing to say,
  200. but I feel like she would like it.
  201. Someone said to me once,
  202. "The relationship doesn't really end."
  203. Like, it just changes--
  204. in a very different,
  205. kind of, often sad way.
  206. But it's not like it completely ends a hundred percent.
  207. [WINKLER] Right.
  208. [ZANISNIK] You know, I probably had done
  209. around thirty performances with my parents,
  210. believe it or not,
  211. over seven years.
  212. One of the things that was really nice
  213. is my relationship with them
  214. really evolved over those years.