Friday, February 24, 2012

Interview with Robby Herbst by Rose Lou (DAC Intern): "New Pyramids for the Capitalist System"

Artist Robby Herbst

Upon the installation of his show, "New Pyramids for the Capitalist System" I had the chance to interview artist Robby Herbst about his projects, grandfather, and socialist endeavors...

Rose Lou: Since capitalism is clearly depicted as a corrupt system in this exhibition, what form of a social/political system would you like/hope to see applied instead? What is your main issue with Capitalism?

Robby Herbst: I’m into sharing with people, long hikes, growing and making things, a good sandwich, comic books and non-fiction writing – so naming social or political system is nothing I'm so interested in. I guess when we see that system we like I’ll let you know- perhaps then you can name it. Till then let’s keep playing and demanding. OK?

My beef with capitalism is mainly extinction and poverty.

RL: Where are you on the Capitalist Pyramid? Would you consider yourself a socialist like your grandfather and his troupe of acrobats?

RH: As a teacher and an artist in the developed world I’m second rung as will everyone who reads this interview I imagine- a member of bourgeoisie (petite or otherwise). Sometimes I feel like I’m the shit bottom, but then I leave the situation in some manner.

I like socialism, yes. It seems fair.

RL: Why did you chose the medium of graphic drawings/watercolor,  photographs and amateur acrobats? How do these modes of representation  best represent your working method and message to be conveyed? 

Robby Herbst, New Pyramids for the Capitalist System, 2012

RH: With visual art I work on two levels: action and interpretation of action. I am interested in this because at heart I am interested in the schemas of interpretation; how some one comes to understand something internalizes it and re-presents that concept to the world. These chains of mediation are involved in the publishing that I do (currently the Llano Del Rio Collective, previously with the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest); making themselves known all the way through the writing process, the editing process, the process of distributing text, and then the process of hearing or seeing a public form around a text and respond to it.

Working with people in my artwork- I am generally interested in the ways individuals work through physical, emotional, ideological, and intellectual demands placed upon their bodies. Generally I’m not satisfied just displaying photographic documents of performance because I am not solely interested in the fact that an event took place. Within the fact of an event physical, emotional, ideological, and intellectual transferences between subjects occur. I am interested in furthering that transference through a second (third?) act of transference; where these physical, emotional, ideological, and intellectual events are reinterpreted through a language other than verisimilitude.

If radicalism is a message that passes like a virus between people- lets say from reading or acting upon Marx or an Occupation- than I am interested in exploring how virus move between people. The chain of developing a score, asking someone to perform it, them interpreting and then performing it for me, documenting the performance, reinterpreting the evidence, then displaying those documents as artworks to a public to interpret and perhaps re-perform; this is interesting to me.

RL: Do you feel a closer connection to your grandfather after carrying  out this particular project? Is he a prevalent figure amongst most of  your work?

RH: Yes.

This is the first time I’ve ever worked directly with my grandfather. I guess though that he’s a part of how I came to be me. So in that sense he’s always a figure in what I do. This is a chain isn’t it?

The artist's grandfather, Martin Weiss, bottom of the three-person stack. Courtest of the Herbst Family Archive

More information about Robby and his projects can be found here: 

Celebrating 3,000 Twitter Followers MST3K Style...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

WORKSHOP: Introduction to Ikebana: The Art of Japanese Flower Arrangement

Sunday, February 26, 10 AM-1PM

Course Fee: $85 | $80 for DAC Members
(includes $40 materials fee)

**Please register in advance by calling 718-694-0831 or by visiting

Workshop takes place at 111 Front Street, Ste. 212, Brooklyn, NY

Chase away the winter grays and learn the basics of Ikebana from artists Lily Pu and E. Maye Smith-Beauchamp in this 2.5 hour workshop. Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement. In Ikebana, the whole of the flower is considered (blooms, leaves and stems) in union with the environment. Emphasizing line, shape and form, Ikebana is a minimal, asymmetrical style of flower arrangement.This class is presented in conjunction with Aeron Bergman and Alejandra Salinas' exhibition at DAC. Lily Pu created a live Ikebana performance as part of the opening reception

WORKSHOP: Songwriting for Artists with Eric Lindley

Wednesday, February 29, 7 PM-10PM.
Course Fee: $15 | $12 for DAC Members

**Please register in advance here or by calling 718-694-0831
or by visiting:

Workshop takes place at 111 Front Street, Ste. 212, Brooklyn, NY

This workshop will explore songwriting through an artistic lens for people with a broad range of musical background, from people who have never picked up an instrument, to those who have been playing for years. Basic and essential ideas such as melody, harmony, rhythm, lyrics and song structure will be discussed in terms as they relate to the bigger ideas in songs, and how they fit in to larger musical landscapes.