Fun Friday: Fred Wilson (artist)
The idea for this post came in the comments at some point in the past week. I can't actually recall how we got to talking about the artist named Fred Wilson, but we did. And I said I was going to tell the story of how I met Fred. So I will do that. It's a fun story. And then I will post some of my favorites of his work. And then we can talk about Fred. Because he's a great artist and a super nice person too.
When Google came along I, like many peoople, started googling my own name. Slowly but surely the links on that result jelled along the lines of two primary people – me and the artist named Fred Wilson. Around that time, about ten years ago, Fred was selected to represent the US at the 50th Venice Biennale. That was a big moment for Fred and his name started appearing all over the palce. And that is when I became familiar with the memorable look of Fred.
So fast forward to a few years ago. I was walking down Broadway near the USV offices and I see Fred walking up Broadway on the same side of the street as I'm on. So I stopped and waited for Fred to reach me. When he did, I reached out and said "are you Fred Wilson?", he said "yes, I am", and then I said "I am the other Fred Wilson". He looked at me and smiled. We had a short conversation and that was that. Since then I've met Fred a few times at art events and such and most recently the Gotham Gal, our son, and I met him at his recent show at the Pace Gallery.
Fred is an installation artist who focuses on the issues of social justice, cultural norms, and racism. He uses objects found in museums as the basis for his artistic exploration. Here are some of my favorites of his work:
This work is called Guarded View and has been on display at the Whitney in NYC recently. It hits you as you walk out of the elevator on the fourth or fifth floor. It was inspired by Fred's time as a museum guard. It speaks to how security guards become part of the scenery in museums and other parts of our world.
Speak of Me as I Am is a work from Fred's exhibition a the Venice Biennale. This work was inspired by Shakespeare's Othello and Fred's time in Venice working with glassblowers. Fred's chandeliers, and he has made many varieties, are incredible.
Fred does these amazing black venetian glass mirrors. I have seen a number of varieties of them. This one is called Mark and was made in 2009. The Gotham Gal and I own one.
So that's a quick overview of Fred Wilson, how I met him, and a sampling of his work. If you want to see more, Fred is represented by The Pace Gallery in NYC, Rena Bransten in San Francisco. I have also seen his work at mitterand + sanz in Zurich and JGM. Galerie in Paris. And of course, his work is in many of the modern art museums around the world.
Great story.His art is new-2-me. Thanks.I’m a lifelong fan and small-time collector of iconic art (Haring, Lichtenstein) and photography (Bourke-White, Eisenstadt). I”m drawn to images that keep speaking to me through their profundity and simplicity over time. Capturing a moment of sensation or thought forever.If anyone knows a resource that shows all of the exhibits, showings of art in NY at a glance, I’m can’t seem to find one.
the @gothamgal may know of one. i’m tagging her in this comment so she will be notified and hopefully stop by and share any thoughts
I asked her in a comment recently and she didn’t know of one off hand.I”m a big fan of her art posts but started to get miffed that I only heard of these events through her blog after they were over 😉
Is this any help? http://nymag.com/srch?t=eve…
A start, thanks.I like to get my info through people so was hoping that there was a small blog community that weekly did previews and so intel on what was going on.More and more I want my info on what I care about through conversations.
I think you need something like artlog:http://artlog.com/and to read things like hyperallergic:http://hyperallergic.com/*shrug*
Good ones, thanks!
art is an amazing human thing … inuit decorate canoe paddles, pastel drawings can sell for $100m usa bucks ..though like many things, commodification, if and when it happens, can taint it.
Well said.True for images in photography as well.A bunch of years ago, I bought an original print of John Lennon wearing his NYC Tshirt by photographer Bob Gruen. This is plastered all over the world. It hangs in the hallway, catches my eye many times each day and still draws me in and gives me pause.
I feel the majority of the highest quality art (by those with lots of experience) is generally not seen by much of the public, that it goes into private homes / collections. I think this is a real shame.
That is a great story. You are also an artist in the creative sense & Fred Wilson the artist expresses his thought leadership in other ways.But there is a 3rd Fred Wilson. Fred Wilson & Associates from Jacksonville. They build highways & bridges so you also have lots in common with him. You help build those on the Internet. http://www.fredwilson.com/a…We will wait for that other meetup story to unravel. (I found out about them 3 years ago when we were disambiguating your name for the Eqentia text mining filters)
and don’t forget fred wilson the chess master http://www.fredwilsonchess….
That is amazing. You are a chess master too. Every company you back is like a piece move 🙂
Interesting and unexpected story. Thanks for introducing me to this artist.
His work is really good. Especially the following two are damagingly awesome…http://www.art21.org/images…http://www.art21.org/images…P.S. I am not finding a suitable word for that ‘damagingly’ … my English knowledge is limited.
yes, both of those were on my list to feature. the drips were part of the Pace show and look amazing in a large gallery space.
I can imagine how the drip-drop-flop will look on a big gallery space. It is also there in the backdrop of one of the photo’s you pasted here.P.S. by the way … i was the one brought the discussion on the other fred-wilson last week. I never get the credit for whatever i do … including the last startup i worked!!! :-).
i could have and should have done the work to find that comment discussion (disqus needs search!!!!) and attribute you. i am sorry.
Seriously … Sorry is not what i was expecting…. just a 🙂 would have done the job.I was just kidding bringing my last start-up job also into picture.
“(disqus needs search!!!!)”If they fix the SEO problem they will have search. It’s a big problem. It needs to be made a priority.
Is the pace show still up?And yes, I want those drips. So many layers fo meaning….
no. it has ended. those are some expensive drips!
A girl can dream :)Actually I would choose drawing works first. I like paper.
“installation artist who focuses on the issues of social justice, cultural norms, and racism””I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. “Having said that, I enjoy a lot of modern art, but I skim over stuff that doesn’t show an amazing amount of craftsmanship inside the art. Probably this is why I lean towards welded and multi-material pieces. For example, I might like his mirrors a lot more than the mannequins.-XCPS -= The new version of disqus does not play nicely with LastPass.
thanks for the info on lastpass
As one of a seemingly infinite pot of “Dan Lewis”es out there, this is AWESOME. I’ve met three other Dan Lewises to date — one is my distance cousin (2nd cousin once removed, I think), I went to college with a second, and the third one was another lawyer at the same law firm I was at. (Small world; there were only four Dan Lewises admitted to the bar at the time in New York.)Every time, it’s kind of neat… and kind of creepy, especially when you know people in common. But I’ve never really carried on a friendship with any of them. And as for Google results, I’ve been in the top two or three for most of the last decade plus, and the other ones there kind of bounce around, so there’s never been another Google-iconic Dan Lewis to meet.So count me as “kind of jealous.”
As far as I know there is just one Arnold Aaron Waldstein. That may be enough actually;)
Hehe. You may only want one of you – though I’d be happy with more as long as the quality didn’t dilute. 🙂 I’d say the world needs more of you. 🙂
I’m a little afraid to explore what other people with the name Matt Myers exist, and who they are. Though it could be interesting – finding out their origins too.
Are any of his installations outside?I really like it when you come across something unexpected in everyday circumstances.
well he was going to do work on a public statue in Indianapolis but it created a controversy and he backed away from the projecthttps://en.wikipedia.org/wi…
I loved The Gates when it was in Central Park.
And I.NY is all about public art. Lichtenstein in the subway, Haring on a playground wall of a public school and everywhere.Still discovering pieces after a long time exploring.
where is there a Lichtenstien in the subways????
awesome! thank you
Still stops me in my tracks.So does the PATH to World Trade Center.
Holy smokes that is awesome.I am thinking of raising private funds for a public art installation here in Calgary – here is where it would go: http://www.cbc.ca/news/cana…BTW, I would put our mayor up against just about any mayor in NA.The guy rocks.
Sad that such a proposal would have enough opposition in 2010 to get shuttered. It makes me really interested in taking a closer look at ongoing racial tensions in Indianapolis. Thanks for sharing
As a sculpture major I can tell you that public art, which is 90% 3D objects defined as sculpture, has mainly been disaster in the US. Good not being installed, and instead a lot of crap. Other places have better taste than we do. So depressing
Why has public art in sculpture been a disaster?
Well, as Fred pointed out the controversy which kills cool projects. Which means only the most vanilla projects get made. The full discussion maybe entails more depth into that, and other factors, including politics, which I loathe.
Just curious, I know there was a famous richard serra in NY that got destroyed for some of the reasons mentioned.
Funny you mention it. I was going to put Tilted Arc in my reply to you above. It is an incredible piece and people totally didn’t get it so it was removed.
Great post Fred! As an art history and Museum Studies grad, and recovering Art junkie, I was curious if you had ever met The other Fred Wilson. I, too, share my name. It’s odd there is another Lissa Rosenthal. In fact, at tech prom my name tag did not have my Future if Music Coalition credentials, but hers. But, I appreciate knowing of her and love when people think I went to Dartmouth and work at Credit Suisse.
According to the U.S. census: There are 1,147 people in the U.S. named Fred Wilson.There are 6 people in the U.S. named Andy Swan. There are 2,902 people in the U.S. named Daniel Lewis. There are 1 or fewer people in the U.S. named Kid Mercury. http://howmanyofme.com/search/
There are 50 people in the U.S. named Matt Myers.I thought there’d be more! There are enough of us though that I felt necessary to include my middle initial in most of my online identities to differentiate.
I know one of them!
I tried my name “Kasi Viswanathan Agailandam” … I also got the same result… 1 or fewer!!!. But my name is genuine and not framed :-)But I had a social security number … I thought my name will be permanently there in U.S. register somewhere.
Definitely one of a kind, Kasi. 🙂
Yep… I can easily make my father proud… it is his name that makes the difference (agilandam)…
That’s awesome, now I gotta find my name brethren.Only 1 Mark Essel in the US.AVC’ers I need to reach out and ask that you change that by naming all your children Mark Essel, together we can make a difference.
Same, I am the only Shana Carp out there. Not surprised. There aren’t lots of Shana’s running around, and my personal guess is more than half the of the people with my last name I am related to.
Honestly never met a Shana or a Carp before you. I’ve heard Shana before, always sounded like a good action female lead in a story/film.
It is an old fashioned, very jewish name, that’s why.
I know a couple of Shanas, but I’ve always wondered about your pronunciation: Is it SHAY-NAH or SHA-NUH or something different?
SHAY-NAH. Like the yiddish word for beautiful.Makes for terrible pickup lines at Jewish single’s events.
Interesting – the Shanas I know are SHA-NUHs.
Carp – unusual. I’d assumed it was an anglicized diminutive. Russian?I studied with a fellow student with the name Crem. It was an anglicized Russian name with the C changed from a K and the end chopped off.
Lithuanian (close enough though) – Originally Karobelnick. And I do have some relatives who do have the spelling Karp (though David Karp of Tumblr does not appear to be a relative. Alex Karp of Palantir appears to be a relative, albeit one from 5 or 6 generations back)I’m just glad people don’t call me “that girl with the name that means to complain”
‘Karo’ would have been interesting.Better than “that girl with the fishy name”.
True. Though actually I use the fish thing to make sure people spell it correctly.Fun factoid: I once had a bet in summer camp that the lifeguard couldn’t spell any of my names correctly – and I won.
If you search the following you will see that there are at least 2 possibly three matches for “Mark Essel”. I regularly use this and after time you find out how to triangulate pretty good info on someone (using other info available that is). While it is not 100% accurate I find it is very helpful.http://www.usa-people-searc…
I know Disqus discussion was from a week ago, but what I don’t like is that I can’t see what comment you upvoted.Its great you have an cool artist that shares your name. All I have to be mixed up with is some boy band cheese named Don Philip who has a song Sugar.
Agreed.I love the “comments above/below ‘ box, but the flags for the new comments need to be more visible, too.
The threading is really bad. And the UX/UI is really mediocre. There needs to be a popup that if you hover over shows you at least part of the comment for any reply. In a long thread it’s impossible to follow what someone is saying unless they quote. The quoting tag has been changed so it doesn’t look as nice. Why did that happen?All this effects happiness with reading and commenting on the blog. Stuff like this matters but it’s never taken seriously on the web where there is just a firehose of users to paper over a million annoyances like that. Clicking on someone’s picture takes you away and you loose your place.Little stuff matters. Remember when the Honda Accord came out and put a coin holder in their car? It was a big deal and so simple and obvious.
Interesting stat…. there are more ‘Kasi viswanathan’ than Fred Wilson in the U.S…. can that be true (1,568).
“There are 2 people in the U.S. named Luke Chamberlin”I’m sorry other Luke Chamberlin, but one of us has got to go. No hard feelings, it’s just business.
There appears to be only one Elia Freedman. Not surprised. Hated my name in high school but realized it was an ice breaker with girls in college. Still, could have done without all the “Miss Freedman” calls and panty hose mailers. (My mom liked that one.)
Only one of me. No surprise.Important factoid…99.9% of those with the name Arnold are males. Go figure…
I’ve met two good lookin girls named “Andy”. All kinds of psychological fodder available there…
Funny…My parents named me ‘Arnold’ because they thought it sounded ‘American’, like ‘Jesse’. They though ‘Arnold Aaron Waldstein’ would fit in with the mainstream.I’m calling my mom right now to thank her!
at least your parents weren’t considering Hepsibia (true story)
True…but they certainly were considering Chiam;)
I dated a Chaim once…long time ago….Actually there is a custom to add the name Chaim to your name if you get seriously sick.
Mine were considering WolfgangAnd Atwood Stuyvesant Bouvier (dad’s law partners)I think I lucked out.
That you did, unlike me. I mean, it means beautiful, but only when people stop butchering the pronunciation…
is that really a name?
Yes, and my father was considering it.
@awaldstein:disqus wait a minute…. your parents didn’t expect Americans to bend and accommodate their every cultural whim? Didn’t they know that society should be rearranged in an esteem-building effort that will keep you isolated from any conceivable chance at success?
I always wondered what they were arguing about with my grandfather in yiddish around the kitchen table.That must have been it!
Where in NY did you grow up Arnold?
Born in West Bronx. Family moved to Jersey to split the distance between Paterson and the garment district where my father and grandfather worked.
Wow, the shammata business….
Shanequa?But in a sense it shows how people’s view can so easily be altered by their “hood”.By the way right now there is some kid in high school or college who sees the picture of Zuckerberg showing up in a hoodie that is going to fuck up some job interview.
I almost got tagged with Billie. I probably would have become a therapist.
Great link Andy!Only 4 of me in the US, there is at least 1 in Canada that has @JohnRevay (dormant, I need to reach out to him & see if he will transfer it to me)
Haha, well played.
112 Aaron Kleins. But despite owning the dotcom, my Google juice keeps getting stolen by the anti-Obama web journalist/author.Bonus trivia: we once had a deal for me to sell him aaronklein.com for $75K but it fell through. And I’m sorta glad, because I like having that claim on my identity. 🙂
culpable deniability has value
I would have told you to sell it. $75k for a first name would be good and for a combo like that way more than the value. Why did it fall through? I own several (first names) and haven’t gotten any serious inquiry on any of them in 15 years. One name in particular a journalist wanted (he was nationally syndicated out of LA) but he offered to do something like thank me in an article. As if.
It fell through on his side. I might have accepted less but whatever money he was going to spend on it fell through. 🙂 A thank you…that’s funny!
“.that’s funny!”One day I will put together a blog of all the things people try to do to get a domain name for nothing. And one of all the things sellers say to enhance the value of what they are selling.Ok, here is one. This is a variation of the “I’m doing something good so just give it to me” pitch. We’ve worked hard – very hard – on [redacted], sacrificing serious blood, sweat, and tears. That’s not any exaggeration. My daughters and their mother have suffered and sacrificed deeply for the sake of this good project.Do I expect you to respect these statements?Yes. Absolutely. Any decent citizen would.Perhaps some people do not agree with my moral standards, but in business I certainly factor commitments to society put forth by good folks. [redacted] is entirely designed to benefit community, country and equality among all global societies. [redacted] gives science, education, government, and the whole collective body of citizens a fresh chance to communicate in ways never before possible among humanity.Any commercial interests are completely secondary. In fact, public service explains the seeds for those first [redacted] technical diagrams organized long ago in 1987.I was 26-years-old in 1987. Now, I’m 50-years old. Each of those 29-years passed were totally devoted to this chance we now have approaching MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) sponsoring an application to the NSF (National Science Foundation) funding [redacted]. Quite exactly, I’ve devoted my whole lifetime to public service, and my entire family has promised that same commitment to helping our collective body of citizens.I’m interested in hearing what the people who registered [redacted] expect for the purchase of that domain. I’d hope they appreciate helping their own society. Even if they never profit a nickel by that original purchase of [redacted], they earn treasure more priceless than any money helping their own children and families live better, safer lifetimes.You have my contact information. Please let me know how we might acquire that important domain for our decent work.This name sold for $38,000 the same month this letter came in (the letter followed a phone call).
This is a book LE
I’ve always though buying up domains that are names as a good business idea, but I think people might get legally mad at me….
I really did not want to win this contest.
there are 550 named Aaron Cohen in the US and 1200ish worldwide. I’m friends with 140 of them on Facebook. That’s created some newsfeed confusion
@andyswan that was really fun! Thx for sharing that link 🙂 I am the Kirsten Lambertsen in the U.S. Sorry, I just had to say it.
There are two that are Philip Sugar and there is the one guy named Don Philip that has a song Sugar.It is the most god awful boy band cheese: http://www.youtube.com/watc…
haha, at least he’s Don.
Yeah, but when you vanity search for Philip Sugar I am the first four and he is the next five.
“There are 1 or fewer people in the U.S. named Kid Mercury.”
1 or fewer for me too – hope they don’t know something I don’t. Just got off of a Skype call with another Bill Soistmann not an hour ago.
There are two people named Ken Berger who comment on this blog.
and it is so confusing sometimes 🙂
I’m part of the “only 6 of us” club as well.
That site is fun, but innacurate. It says there’s only one of me, but FB and Google disagree.
Regardless of how many people were named Kid Mercury, there would only be one.There are 17 Donna Brewingtons; 2167 Donna Whites. I honestly think I might have been a different person growing up as Donna White.I still can’t get used to having a last name that I don’t have to spell for people. Or being at the end of a list.
You’re so Googlevainwow there’s an appropriate term: egosurfing
There is no English word called curiosity anymore? 🙂
guilty as charged
Hey, it’s part of doing business for you though. Rep is king.
my up vote is only for egosurfing – great term.
I am a pro hockey player. http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl… a pro bowler http://www.jeffcarterbowlin… and an artist http://www.jeff-carter.net/…
Remembered a tweet from Eric Weiner, former NPR reporter and author of ‘The Geography of Bliss’ “I confess: Sometimes I Google myself. How many of the 7 deadly sins does that break? Sloth? Check. Envy? Check. Pride? Check. . ” Haha. And, as a funny coincidence, I am interviewing him today! 🙂
You guys should take a picture together (Probably already have). You’ve both got great style.
I’m going to admit something I am actually ashamed to admit. I understand a lot of things. I consider myself practical but also intellectual. I can participate in conversations about history, religion, psychology, technology, politics, sports, music. But the world of art, whether paintings, sculpting, or installation, escapes me. Maybe I’m too literal – I always struggled with deeper meaning in English class, too. I wish I understood it but just don’t. I see dressed up manicans, a chandelier and a black sculpture. I wish I saw what you all see.
Same with most of us … just trying to elate thyself i think :-).by the way … you missed the exit sign in one of the pictures :-)…
My son wrote a paper for one of his classes at Tisch and asked shared it with me. Now I know what’s wrong with me – I am an artist and I didn’t know it.
advice someone gave me when she was a guard at a musuem – if you don’t get it, stare longer. Eventually you will start pondering more as your mind wanders, and you’ll get it…
That black Venetian mirror is awesome.
it sure is
Black mirror is a beautiful visual and very interesting material as poetic reference. In sculpture, you learn that your medium talks, and you learn to listen to it. Black mirror has very interesting and clandestine things to say.
that is the point
Yes, probably the most intriguing black I know, and I have a specialty in color.It must be a very intriguing piece to have around. I would think it draws a lot of secrets out of it’s viewers while it listens to what you think as you look at it. It seems a two way dynamo in terms of relating to the viewer.Or am I projecting?
a little of both
It doesn’t hold my attention that much, sadly.
How interesting and amazing. Your worlds are seemingly so different despite having the same name. He appears to be successful in his world and you are definitely successful in your world. I’d love to hear his story as to how he happened on his current path from museum gaurd to recognized artist. Who in his story believed in him?
I’ve never met anyone with my name, or even my first name. Believe it or not! 😉
And let’s not forget the oscars winning actor: Castaway’s Fred Wilson the volley ball.
Glad that you own some of his work, I think I recall reading that you do invest in early stage art.#CallingAllFredwilsons
you have to know where that art is at, it is definitely not going to be at Pace….
Wilson has said that, although he studied art, he no longer has a strong desire to make things with his hands: “I get everything that satisfies my soul from bringing together objects that are in the world, manipulating them, working with spatial arrangements, and having things presented in the way I want to see them.”
First of all, I cracked up at the idea of you running to tell the other Fred Wilson that you are Fred Wilson.Secondly, I think Kara Walker covers “black art” thing much better – http://www.pbs.org/art21/im…
Pretty funny and random story. Thanks for introducing me to an artist I was unfamiliar with.
I agree, Ben. This put a smile on my face. Thanks, Fred.
I have seen Fred Wilson’s art and been amused by the connection. I really enjoyed his Guards at the Whitney. Several artists I know have done the museum guard thing. The glass stuff if quite elegant. And glass is a very tough medium to work in and say something original.
Where else but New York could you meet your namesake on the street like that? I think if you stay in NYC long enough, you can eventually meet nearly everyone you want. I have!I don’t know which is more gorgeous, the mirror or Fred, himself.
Not sure if I would consider myself a dilettante in the truest sense of the word but this story is really cool. What I like most is that the other Fred Wilson also seems to be filled with passion and depth. Great to know accomplished individuals share the same name.
That’s very cool that you were able to connect with a namesake.In different circles, I go by Matt or Matthew, just depends.My family calls me Matthew and I generally prefer that name but still have many friends who call me Matt for whatever reason. And that’s fine too.Apparently there are a couple of relatively famous Matt Hughes’:One, a terrific UFC fighter who is at or near the end of his career.Two, a TV host on Discovery channel who died in an accident recently?I have been asked about the UFC fighter hundreds of times. I’ve never watched UFC but I am told he’s a real gentleman and class act of the sport. I’m glad about that.
I bought some Venetian glass art when I was there a few years ago. I’m very happy that I did. Also, Tacoma WA has a good glass art community and museum. Hopefully Fred Wilson visits us in the northwest someday. West Virginia is another good spot for glassblowing.
I like my name, the ‘Jason’ part that is, but I don’t like other people having it. When I was born only very old men had the name. Now it’s everywhere. It’s nice to be unique.
When I saw the title, I thought you were going to announce the start of your hip-hop carrer.
I primarily collect 19th & early 20th can. French school works and some contemporary photography, but have to admit I’ve just fallen in love with Fred’s black venetian mirrors. Speaks to me! Definitely will add one to holdings. Thanks for the intro.
I dig the other Fred Wilson’s mirrors…and his sweet dress shirt.
The resemblance is uncanny! 😉
Fun post fred!Funny thing ..when I was in NYC back in march walking through chelsea, looked up and saw a banner attached to lamp post that said “Fred Wilson” on it.I thought of you and snapped a photo thinking that maybe you were supporting the arts ..anyhow this post and the chandelier in the photo have solved the mystery!
Everyone should have memorable look!
I thought this was going to be another Canvas or similar post when I read the title on my android screen. Was eager to see some art by the AVC, etc. Fred Wilson.The other guy’s not bad!
Similarly, I have found another ‘Mrinal Desai’ who is the cinematographer of SlumDog Millionaire, Fred and we have become friends and communicate often. Yet to meet in person though .. Hopefully soon 🙂