– Summer 2008

Sturtevant in Conversation with Bruce Hainley

Bruce Hainley

Sturtevant, Infinite Exhaustion, 2007, video installation, 4 monitors, Betacam SP PAL. Courtesy of the artist.

Sturtevant, Infinite Exhaustion, 2007, video installation, 4 monitors, Betacam SP PAL. Courtesy of the artist.

Not eccentric to but working as a centrifugal force amongst the artists who made the American art world of the 1960s and 70s so dynamic, Sturtevant, in addition to landmark solo interventions, participated in important performances by Claes Oldenburg and Robert Rauschenberg, and exhibited her work in key group shows including Gene Swenson's 'The Other Tradition' at the ICA in Philadelphia (1966); the Dwan Gallery's 'Language II' (1967); and the Leo Castelli Gallery's benefit show for E.A.T. (1969). In the 1970s Sturtevant made repetitions of works by Walter De Maria and Michael Heizer; her Study for Various Beuys Films (1971) was shot by Robert Fiore, whose involvement was crucial to the completion (and sonic evolution) of Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty film (1970). When she returned to the art world in the mid- 1980s, most notably with what was billed (somewhat paradoxically, since Sturtevant has always had little truck with retro-spection) as a 'career retrospective ... curated by Douglas Davis and Eugene Schwartz', she continued to present a radical challenge to the historical-categorical separation of different movements of art (Pop, Conceptual, Land art, institutional critique) while showing art's economic, contextual and social complications.

Sturtevant reveals the total structures working in the interior of art; in other words, her work concerns the inappropriable.1

Bruce Hainley: For your first solo show in England, 'Cold Fear', you put into catalytic tension two Warhol Black Marilyns (both from 2004), facing off across from your Duchamp Fresh Widow2 The works were lit so everything else in the room fell into utter darkness. Coming into the gallery, everyone was almost blinded by the effect. Your 1973 show at the Everson

  1. This interview resumes a previous conversation between Sturtevant and Hainley, which was published in Artforum in March 2003, pp.246-47.

  2. At Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London, 2006.

  3. 'Sturtevant. Studies for Warhols's Marilyns, Beuys's Actions and Objects, Duchamps's, etc. Including Film', Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY, 1973.

  4. 'Raw Power', Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, 2007.

  5. Roy Lichtenstein, Image Duplicator, 1963.

  6. 'America America', Galerie J, Paris, 1966.

  7. 'The Brutal Truth', Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt a.M., 2004.