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Rbt. Sps. interviews Vanderbilt curator Joseph Whitt for the Kentucky Voice, January 2009

Joseph Whitt, assistant curator at Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery has made quite an impact in two semesters he has been at the school. Whitt has taken a gallery known for exhibitions of work pulled from traditional early to mid twentieth century collections and brought it into the 21st century, showing work by many cutting-edge contemporary artists.

Mr. Whitt's curatorial creations at Vanderbilt (so far) have included a show of previously unexhibited Andy Warhol Polaroids, shown alongside the Polaroids of contemporary photographers Grant Worth and David Horvitz. He also curated a show of paintings by New York artist Jules de Balincourt that came down December 5th.

A show of photographs by internationally acclaimed artist and director Harmony Korine entitled "Pigxote" will be on display from January 8 to February 26, 2009, and is Joseph Whitt's latest curated exhibition. A reception will take place January 8th from 6-8PM.

Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery is located in the Old Gym, at the corner of 23rd and West End Avenues. All events are free and open to the public.

What curatorial experience have you had prior to your position at Vanderbilt?

I used to stage events in my hometown featuring my little sister - concerts in our garage and various backyards with hair, makeup, photography, video shoots, and interviews. She released around 16 albums and E.P.s on cassette between 1985 and 1989. Besides a rotation of poodle metal bands playing a civic center thirty miles away, our gig was the only ticket in town, prior to meth.

Are you opposed to the use of colored mat boards in a gallery?

No, but I must insist that an opening reception for works employing such mats also employ a Barista.

You are also a multimedia artist in addition to your day job at Vandy. Do you have a home studio? When is your best time to make work?

Kind of. It's a tiny bedroom converted into an office where I can dance, write, paint, and read. The best time to make work is during a long travel layover though, preferably while sitting in the abandoned gate of a bankrupt airline.

What is your favorite Vito Acconci video?

Basically anything taken of him without his consent.

Have you ever made a time capsule? If so, what did you put in it?
If you haven't, what would you put in one?

I buried a few Folger's cans full of paper when I was 12. Assuming I'd have something airtight and archival now: a harmonium, a unicycle, a painting of the full moon over the ocean that Alton did in high school, a Polaroid of St. Exupéry's Little Prince emerging from the tatters of a Portuguese poster wall that Grant gave to me, my Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation 1814 tour jacket and matching black cap with metal lip, all of my Choose Your Own Adventure books…

Have you ever been to a Frank Lloyd Wright house? If so, which one/s? Describe the best best subtle detail of your experience in the tour.

Sadly, I've never been to a FLW house. It's probably safe to assume that my experience would be one of gated community reverence. The Guggenheim makes my feet hurt. Does that count?

Have you ever used casein?

Only when it's available in organic and/or free range varieties. Wouldn't it be great if Whole Foods opened an art supply store? I wonder if vegan painters use casein. I wonder if vegan critics accidentally endorse paintings in which casein is used. I wonder if Lisa Yuskavage uses extra casein when painting her ubiquitous breasts just to be funny. Hey, is Yuskavage lactose intolerant?

What is the most optimistic statement that you can make to end this interview?

Quantum physics postulates the existence of countless parallel universes in which Lisa Yuskavage is lactose intolerant.



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