I was first introduced to Carmen Winant’s photography some five or so years ago. Since then, Carmen has received her MFA from CCA, moved to Brooklyn, and has begun writing for art publications. Whether it’s photography, drawing, or collage, Carmen’s work is consistently thoughtful and inquisitive. Here she is telling us more about herself and some of the things that have been keeping her busy.
Describe for us a typical day. I usually run in the morning, weather permitting, and eat oatmeal and buy coffee. Is that too specific? A few days a week I work for the photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia, and the rest of the time I am either working in my own shared studio space in Gowanus or working on a piece of writing. In addition to being an artist I am an arts writer, and sometimes reseraching and pitching reviews, interviews and essays can be a full time job of its own.
Describe for us the room you are in right now. I am in my studio apartment in Downtown Brooklyn. It is sunny in here, and I can see the Brooklyn bridge.
What are you currently working on? In my studio life, I am working on completing a body of work about and around Linda Lovelace, the deceased star of the 1972 pornographic film Deep Throat. She is a fascinating and devastating subject. Lovelace’s wrote five autobiographies over the course of her relatively brief life, and I have read all of them (and made work directly from cutting up their pages), attempting to reconcile some semblance of her contradictory, and often brutal, life. While Linda was a star of sex cinema, my work is not strictly interested in the look or politics of pornography, but rather Linda’s capacity to convey disjointed meaning about the expectation of feminine performance. She was both a victim and a perpetrator of her own image, desperate to please her personal and public audience. The work is largely drawing and collage based.
What have you been reading? Linda Williams is a great critical resource to my and my visual work. I just finished Rich Texts by John Kelsey, whom I became mildly obsessed with after reading his text in the Alec Soth/Catherine Opie/Rodate book last year. Have you read it? It’s influenced me profoundly. I am trying to read more books of essays, and am part way through John Updike’s Higher Gossip and Jonathan Letham’s The Ecstasy of Influence — very different books working in the same model. Luc Sante is good for this too. My boyfriend is reading this book of essay’s by James Baldwin, so maybe that will be next if I still have steam. I read a lot of fiction too — I keep returning to Lydia Davis, Joan Didion, Roberto Bolano, and great writers like that. Reading is an important part of my life, though it doesn’t necessarily drive my visual work.
What are three things that are inspiring you right now? Springtime in New York. Sonja Iveković at the MoMA. Elizabeth Warren.
What is something you are looking forward to? I have forthcoming print pieces in Frieze, WAX, and X-tra magazines — it is always exciting to see my text in print…even though online sites can actually have a wider readership, it’s most satisfying for me to see words on a page. Another thing: I’ve just joined the team of editors at the Highlights journal (founded in 2007), which has been a great experience. The next issue, which has the theme of ‘closed communities’ will come out June 1st, and is shaping up really well.
On a non careerist note, I’m looking forward to trips to Big Sur, CA and Sweden in the coming spring and summer. In fact, that is what I am looking forward to the most.
Thank you, Carmen!
See more of Carmen’s work HERE