Anyone who has visited The Standard, Hollywood in the last week will have noticed the festive new art installation by the illustrious Tim Biskup. Fresh off a stint in Art Basel Miami Beach, we sat Tim down to discuss Spanish cathedrals, childhood toys, naked pool parties, and future projects.
The Box and Lobby at The Standard, Hollywood by Tim Biskup. Photo by Rony Alwin.
Standard Culture: You’ve been very busy since the last time we were fortunate enough to have one of your installations in The Box. What have you been up to in the last year?
Tim Biskup: Wow! A lot. I just got back from Miami for Art Basel so that’s fresh in my mind. That was insane. I DJ’d at a party for Taschen that ended with a pool full of half-naked (and some totally naked) people! Right before that I was in NYC for the launch of The Guest project with Jaime Hayon and Lladro at The New Museum. I had a solo show at THIS Gallery in LA this past October called Former State. One of the paintings from that show is now part of the new installation in The Standard, Hollywood’s lobby!
Painting by Tim Biskup in the Lobby of The Standard, Hollywood (This painting was also part of his show at THIS gallery). Photo by Rony Alwin.
SC: Talk about your inspiration for your current piece in The Box and what materials you used.
TB: The initial idea came from a suggestion that Jenni Boelkensm, [Standard Hotel’s Art Director] made about an upside-down Christmas tree. I thought of something I saw at Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona. When he began working on his design he made an upside-down version out of string and little sandbags. That’s how he figured out the geometry of all those angles. It was a fascinating idea that stuck with me. I started experimenting with string and eventually came up with something that looks a lot more like icicles than a Christmas tree. The string is braided mason twine. I’ve always liked working with new materials and techniques. It’s inspiring. I chose the colors because they are sort of approximations of traditional Christmas colors. That was an important aspect of the installation; to suggest at holiday themes without actually going there. The vitrine is supposed to feel like an ice cave, but it’s not literal.
The Box at The Standard, Hollywood by Tim Biskup. December 2011. Photo by the artist.
SC: What’s the best holiday present you’ve ever received? And what’s on your list for this year?
TB: The best one that I can remember was a big red plastic T-rex. It was about two feet tall. I actually slept with it the night that I got it! I must have been about six or seven. This year I’m hoping for some record store gift certificates. I’m obsessed with the new flood of vinyl releases.
SC: How do you feel about your art sharing space with a live model?
I’ve always loved the voyeuristic aspect of the vitrine. The last installation that I did there was very much an attempt to exaggerate the feelings that the experience of looking at a scantily clad woman in a box brings up. There’s something so unnatural about it, but it is undeniably pleasurable. The big mouth was a play on that feeling of doing something that you don’t think you should be doing.
Tim Biskup for The Box at The Standard, Hollywood. March 2010. Photo by Melissa Manning.
This new installation is much more subtle and doesn’t really comment on the girl-in-the-box aspect. I guess maybe I’ve gotten over my discomfort with it? I appreciate beauty in any form. Just more to look at.
SC: What’s the best adventure you’ve ever had in your career as an artist?
TB: It’s a constant adventure. I feel like every project should challenge me on every level. If I don’t feel like I’m learning something and growing and changing as a result of working on something I feel like there is something missing. My work is fully integrated into my life. It’s my therapy as much as it is my job, so it’s always a revelation.
SC: What’s up next for you?
TB: I’m directing a music video for Mastodon right now. It’s the first film project I’ve done in about six years. It’s nice to get back into that world from the perspective of my fine art work. I’m also working on another solo show that opens in Milan late in 2012. Of course there’s lots going on that I can’t talk about…