In the mid-1990s philosopher and cultural critic Richard Whittaker founded the art journal Works and Conversations to fill a gap in the contemporary discourse. Conversations with important artists have played a central role in the magazine, where Whittaker’s understated but perceptive questions have allowed artists to comment on their work, their philosophies, their influences, the difficulty of creating art, and the failures that are part of the creative process. The result of Whittaker’s attentive dialogue has been a series of fascinating and highly personal interviews that frequently contradict what others have said elsewhere about these artists.
The Conversations brings together what Whittaker considers the sixteen most relevant interviews, providing remarkable insight into the individual artist’s work, mistakes, and philosophies as well as the social and cultural values in which these artists work. The artists interviewed are Richard Berger, Jim Campbell, Squeak Carnwath, James Doolin, Viola Frey, James Hubbell, Enrique Martínez Celaya, Michael C. McMillen, Nathan Oliveira, David Parker, Judy Pfaff, Irene Pijoan, Jane Rosen, Katherine Sherwood, James Turrell, and Ursula von Rydingsvard.