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Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series

The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series provides a forum for distinguished artists to discuss the genesis and evolution of their work in their own words. Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein–Spielvogel and the Honorable Carl Spielvogel generously endowed this series to make such conversations available to the public.

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Julie Mehretu, artist, in conversation with Judith Brodie, curator and head, department of modern prints and drawings, National Gallery of Art. Julie Mehretu is best known for large-scale, densely packed paintings that combine meticulous rendering and seemingly spontaneous abstract gesture. Her work, including drawings and prints, is built up from multiple layers of archival, geographical, meteorological, and architectural imagery—designs, plans, diagrams, blueprints, ruins, charts, and graphs—traced and punctuated with calligraphic marks and obscuring erasures. She maps the histories of civilizations past and present, engaging with issues of social organization, globalization, and geopolitical connectivity. Mehretu has completed collaborative projects at professional printmaking studios across the United States, among them Gemini G.E.L in Los Angeles and Crown Point Press in San Francisco. For the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series at the National Gallery of Art, Mehretu joined Judith Brodie on November 17, 2013 to discuss her career and artistic process, which can be seen firsthand in two prints: Circulation, in the Gallery’s collection, and Circulation (working proof 9), on view through January 5, 2014 in the exhibition Yes, No, Maybe: Artists Working at Crown Point Press.

Video

Joel Shapiro, artist
On October 28, 2012 at the National Gallery of Art, Joel Shapiro presents a lecture on his nearly 50-year career as part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series. Born in 1941 in New York City, Shapiro received BA and MA degrees from New York University. Since his first exhibition in 1970, Shapiro has become one of the most widely exhibited American sculptors and the subject of many solo exhibitions and retrospectives, and his work can now be found in numerous public collections in the United States and abroad. His work, from early minimal objects to increasingly expansive and complex forms, has always dealt with such central issues of the sculptural tradition as size and scale, balance and imbalance, figuration and abstraction. He believes that all sculpture is a projection of thought into the world, and he strives to create intimacy and vitality in all his projects. Shapiro lives and works in New York City. The Gallery owns 16 works by the artist, including drawings, prints, and sculptures.

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Joel Shapiro, artist. On October 28, 2012 at the National Gallery of Art, Joel Shapiro presents a lecture on his nearly 50-year career as part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series. Born in 1941 in New York City, Shapiro received BA and MA degrees from New York University. Since his first exhibition in 1970, Shapiro has become one of the most widely exhibited American sculptors and the subject of many solo exhibitions and retrospectives, and his work can now be found in numerous public collections in the United States and abroad. His work, from early minimal objects to increasingly expansive and complex forms, has always dealt with such central issues of the sculptural tradition as size and scale, balance and imbalance, figuration and abstraction. He believes that all sculpture is a projection of thought into the world, and he strives to create intimacy and vitality in all his projects. Shapiro lives and works in New York City. The Gallery owns 16 works by the artist, including drawings, prints, and sculptures.
Video

Ann Hamilton presented a lecture on her nearly 30-year career as part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series at the National Gallery of Art on September 16, 2011. Hamilton has made multimedia installations with stunning qualities and quantities of materials: a room lined with small canvas dummies, a table spread with human and animal teeth, the artist herself wearing a man's suit covered in a layer of thousands of toothpicks. Along the way, she has constantly set and reset the course of contemporary art. Often using sound, found objects, and the spoken and written word, as well as photography and video, her objects and environments invite us to embark on sensory and metaphorical explorations of time, language, and memory. Textiles and fabric have consistently played an important role in her performances and installations—whether she is considering clothing as a membrane or (more recently) treating architecture itself as a kind of skin. The Gallery owns 15 works by the artist, including photographs, prints, sculptures, and a video installation.

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Ann Hamilton, artist. On September 16, 2011, Ann Hamilton presented a lecture on her nearly 30-year career as part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series at the National Gallery of Art. Hamilton has made multimedia installations with stunning qualities and quantities of materials: a room lined with small canvas dummies, a table spread with human and animal teeth, the artist herself wearing a man's suit covered in a layer of thousands of toothpicks. Along the way, she has constantly set and reset the course of contemporary art. Often using sound, found objects, and the spoken and written word, as well as photography and video, her objects and environments invite us to embark on sensory and metaphorical explorations of time, language, and memory. Textiles and fabric have consistently played an important role in her performances and installations—whether she is considering clothing as a membrane or (more recently) treating architecture itself as a kind of skin. The Gallery owns fifteen works by the artist, including photographs, prints, sculptures, and a video installation.
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Andy Goldsworthy, artist. Held in conjunction with the exhibitions The Andy Goldsworthy Project and Andy Goldsworthy: Roof, Andy Goldsworthy spoke about his career and current projects in this podcast recorded on January 23, 2005, at the National Gallery of Art. Goldsworthy has gained worldwide renown for works both ephemeral and permanent that draw out the endemic character of a place. The artist employs natural materials such as leaves, sand, ice, and stone that often originate from the site of the project. Roof, a site-specific sculpture, consists of nine hollow, low-profile domes of stacked slate, each with a centered oculus, that run the length of the ground-level garden area on the north side of the Gallery's East Building. Goldsworthy selected the dome form as a counterpoint to the many architectural domes in Washington, DC. The Andy Goldsworthy Project catalogue is available for purchase in the Gallery Shop.
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James Turrell, artist. James Turrell began working in the 1960s, when many artists abandoned conventional painting and sculpture for new media and an expanded definition of art practice. In this podcast recorded on April 7, 2002, at the National Gallery of Art, Turrell discusses the four decades of his career spent creating installations based on the pure experience of artificial and natural light. His work, which ranges in scale from single rooms to the vast, complex Roden crater project in Arizona, has established him as one of the most original visionary artists of our time.
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Rachel Whiteread, artist, in conversation with Molly Donovan, associate curator of modern and contemporary art, National Gallery of Art. British sculptor Rachel Whiteread has enjoyed international acclaim for her provocative sculptural practices. Beginning in the early 1990s with positive casts of empty architectural spaces and household objects, Whiteread has continued to articulate typically unseen, immaterial space in increasingly public settings. Her breakthrough work, Ghost (1990), was given to the National Gallery of Art in 2004 by the Glenstone Foundation. In this podcast recorded on October 12, 2008, at the National Gallery of Art, Rachel Whiteread and Gallery curator Molly Donovan discuss all aspects of Whiteread's career, with a particular focus on Ghost.
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Mel Bochner, artist, in conversation with Jeffrey Weiss, curator and head of the department of modern and contemporary art, National Gallery of Art. Mel Bochner is one of the most prominent figures of the minimal and conceptual art generation. In this podcast recorded on March 11, 2007, at the National Gallery of Art, he discusses his body of work, which spans 40 years and includes painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, film, and installation, with Gallery curator Jeffrey Weiss. This podcast honors the Gallery's acquisition of Bochner's painting Theory of Boundaries (1969-1970).
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Chuck Close, artist, in conversation with Jeffrey Weiss, curator of 20th-century art, National Gallery of Art. This podcast recorded on October 17, 1999, was the first program in the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series at the National Gallery of Art. The series began on a high note with artist Chuck Close, one of the preeminent painters of his generation, who discussed his work and career with Gallery curator Jeffrey Weiss.
Video

Brice Marden continues to make some of the most surprising and ravishing paintings of our time. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was known for matte, monochromatic paintings, often with multiple panels. His 1984 visit to an exhibition of Japanese calligraphy triggered a dramatic shift in style that culminated in a masterful series of gestural paintings and drawings entitled Cold Mountain. Since that time, through several further changes in vocabulary, Marden has continued to explore linear networks as the basis for ambitious, allover abstractions. In this video, recorded in October 2009 in the artist's Manhattan studio, Marden discusses his technique, sources of inspiration, and works in progress with Harry Cooper, curator and head of modern and contemporary art, National Gallery of Art.

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Brice Marden, artist, in conversation with Harry Cooper, curator and head of modern and contemporary art, National Gallery of Art, Washington. As part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series at the National Gallery of Art, artist Brice Marden joined Harry Cooper, the Gallery's curator and head of the department of modern and contemporary art, to discuss the evolution of his career and the influence of his contemporaries on his work. In this podcast, recorded on November 22, 2009, Marden and Cooper also discuss five paintings and two drawings by Marden in the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection, promised gifts to the National Gallery.
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In her breakthrough 1990 work Ghost, Rachel Whiteread created a positive from a negative, making a plaster cast of the interior "void" of a Victorian parlor measuring approximately 9 feet wide, 11 1/2 feet high, and 10 feet deep. Whiteread has said of this sculpture that she was trying to "mummify the air in the room," hence the title. Whiteread created Ghost over a period of three months in an abandoned building at 486 Archway Road, North London, covering the interior walls with multiple plaster molds, each about five inches thick. When the plaster dried, she peeled the molds from the walls and reassembled them on a steel frame. In this interview Whiteread discusses the process of making Ghost and lends new insight to her work.

Video

Over the course of three days, from February 14 to 16, 2007, Mel Bochner and his assistant Nicholas Knight installed Theory of Boundariesat the National Gallery of Art. The work, whose size is determined by the length of the wall on which it is installed, consists of four squares of equal size, each separated by a space equal to one-third of the width of a single square. Following the principles determined by the "language fraction" of each square (hence the work's title, Theory of Boundaries), dry pigment is applied directly to the wall, with each of the four squares demonstrating a different relationship of the color surface to its border and state of enclosure.