John Cox Answers 20 Questions

By in News on February 2, 2013

Artist, Popopstudios founder and NAGB Chief Curator John Cox answers this week’s 20 Questions from Guardian Arts&Culture.

1. What’s been your most inspirational moment in the last five years?
As far as art is concerned, taking the Popop Junior Residency prize winners to New York City and Schooner Bay as part of their residency experience. It is a real joy to see them light up when they see and experience some of the great wonders of the art world, and the wonders of discovering the process of making art in new ways. Just last summer in New York, we all went to Dia:Beacon and saw the Richard Serra torqued ellipses sculptures… it was spiritual. Their expressions and excitement were priceless.

2. What’s your least favorite piece of artwork?
I never really enjoyed the works of Salvador Dali. I really hate them actually, but for some reason I find myself looking at them all the time. Maybe there is something there trying to tell me something.

3. What’s your favorite period of art history?
The Now Period!

4. What are your top 5 movies of all time?
Pulp Fiction, Apocalypse Now, Do The Right Thing, Enter The Dragon and The Big Lebowski.

5. Coffee or tea?
Coffee for sure.

6. What book are you reading now?
I am embarrassed to say it but I am a bit of a challenged reader. I read my students’ essays on visual practice and art history. I read books on Buddhism; I particularly enjoy Thich Nhat Hanh. Once I tried to read a Buddhist Dictionary of terms, concepts and characters, then I came to my senses. Oh yeah, and I read cycling magazines.

7. What project are you working on now?
Most of my art involvement these days is administrative. I am really working hard to further develop my studio (Popopstudios International Center For The Visual Arts). We are about to select the new Popop Junior Residency prize winners which gets harder and harder each year. I have curatorial projects for the National Art Gallery as well. I am now working on a show called “Single Sex”. It is an all-female portrait show, where there are only female subjects being depicted. It will stand in dialogue with the “Master Artists of The Bahamas” Exhibition (which will be exhibited later this year). In that exhibition there was no female representation. In the country’s 40th year of independence, I think it’s fitting to have all voices heard and all parties represented. The art community is rapidly evolving and I feel like the way forward is to be deep and wide.

8. What’s the last show that surprised you?
The 2012 Residency Show at the Studio Museum in Harlem – “Primary Sources”. It’s always good to see strong painting thriving as a part of the contemporary visual language.

9. Saxons, One Family, Valley Boys or Roots?
One Family. They seem most likely to take risks and change the face of the tradition.

10. If you had to be stranded on one Family Island which one would it be?
Eleuthera… I would sit on the Glass Window Bridge and forget everything.

11. What’s the most memorable artwork you’ve ever seen?
Do Ho Sun’s “Some/One”. The armature made out of military dog tags to the perfect combination of technical innovation and emotion.

12. Which artist do you have a secret crush on?
Julie Mehretu.

13. If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?
My wife.

14. Who do you think is the most important Bahamian in the country’s history?
The most important Bahamians are all of the first graders in all the schools (public and private) in the country.

15. Who is your favorite living artist?
John Beadle.

16. Sunrise or Sunset?

17. What role does the artist have in society?
My good friend Heino Schmid has coined a saying: “Be Honest!” It’s also really important to give it back or pay it forward. Nothing puts me off more than a selfish artist.

18. What’s your most embarrassing moment?
Not being able to live up to my own expectations. I don’t know if other people can sense I drop the ball, but I know and it really frustrates me. I had to cancel a solo exhibition last year at the Central Bank and I was pretty embarrassed by that.

19. What wouldn’t you do without?
Imagination and music.

20. What’s your definition of beauty?
Story (my daughter).

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