INTERVIEW WITH DAVID FRENCH OF DURDEN AND RAY
Under what conditions is collaboration not possible?
For me I have to like the person with whom I may collaborating. And I have to be sure that what they want is an open ended collaboration. If I do not like the person or trust their motives I will not do it. Sometimes people have asked me to collaborate when all they really want is to use my skill set to produce their idea.
Hannah Arendt recalled her friend and novelist Mary McCarthy in this way: ‘It’s not that we think so much alike, but that we do this ‘thinking business’ for and with each other’. Shortly before dying, Arendt realized that she was not going to be able to finish editing her last book, The Life of the Mind. She asked McCarthy to finish it for her. How does “thinking alike” and “thinking together” feed collaboration?
For me, I suppose thinking alike and/or together helps fuel confidence to go forward…Armed with the knowledge that I am able to trust the person also with whom I am collaborating.
When we look at a forest, the first thing we see are the trees, individually striving to reach the light. What we don’t see is the massive mychorrhizal network underneath our feet. While fungal networks cannot produce their own food, they are nonetheless responsible for distributing resources and information throughout the forest: they are the mediators that help the other plants to work together. What and/or who mediates collaboration, and what are its effects on the process?
Necessity for survival in the art world is fueling our collaboration, I feel. Simply being a solo artist hoping to be represented by a gallery is no longer a viable option for today’s ‘artist’. With thousands upon thousands of art students leaving college every year, more and more artists are banding together to form unions in which to organize themselves.
For non-­Bushwick galleries: What have you brought with you to Brooklyn?
Well, I feel I will bring obviously my artists group,­ our work, our vision–both collective and stylistic–and our professionalism. We have participated in other shows and each one, though different, has always generated much excitement and enthusiasm for our work and our artists and by definition art practice itself.
What will you leave in Bushwick?
Some catalogues we intend to produce, a sense of optimism
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