3 Questions

3 Questions with Julie Ault


Artist, curator, writer, and editor Julie Ault on investigating form, transformative dialogues, and working with enthusiasm.

3 QUESTIONS is series of brief, three-question interviews with PNCA’s visiting artists and lecturers. Each year, PNCA attracts innovative, thoughtful, and creative makers and thinkers who share our belief in the transformative power of creativity. In three short answers to three short questions, these artists offer perspectives on career, motivation, and transformation. When available, we include links to audio recordings, transcripts, slideshows, or video.

The MFA in Visual Studies welcomes Julie Ault as part of the 2012-2013 Graduate Visiting Artist Lecture Series. Ault, along with Gregg Bordowitz and Tracey Cockrell, founding chair of the Low Residency MFA in Visual Studies, traveled with Visual Studies students to Caldera for a two-week residency. You can also listen to a podcast of Julie Ault’s lecture.

“Be open and flexible
and present to possibility
and new ways of working.”


Photo by Tim Hailand, via PortlandArt.net.

What advice would you offer current students about to embark on a career in the arts?

I’ve always kept making money somewhat separate from working as an artist. I want to work from a place of enthusiasm and desire to learn and to share what I learn through my work, without the opportunity to pay my bills tempting me if and when the impulse wanes. My interests and projects are not congruent with making much money anyway, so this is a good match.

How do you maintain your creative practice? What keeps you motivated and engaged?

Recurrent refreshing is built into my practice as I have a somewhat investigational relationship to form. In addition to adopting curatorial activities, I’ve turned to editorial pursuit as artistic practice, using publication as a medium. I sometimes employ text as medium, and sometimes take on an apparently design role. It’s important for me to be open and flexible and present to possibility and new ways of working.

Could you describe a moment or experience that profoundly changed the nature of your work?

I’ve had many moments of revelation including the shift of working exclusively in collaboration with others (Group Material) to developing an independent voice and practice; encountering certain artists’ work that changed the course of my thinking; and meeting particular people and having transformative dialogues with them.

Julie Ault is an artist, curator, writer, editor, who works both independently and collaboratively. She often assumes curatorial and editorial roles as forms of artistic practice. Her work emphasizes interrelationships between cultural production and politics and frequently engages historical inquiry. In 1979 Ault cofounded Group Material, whose practice explored the relationship between art, activism, and politics until disbanding in 1996. Ault’s recent exhibitions include: “Ever Ephermal, Remembering and Forgetting in the Archive,” Signal and Inter Arts Center, Malmö, 2011, and “No-Stop City High-Rise: a conceptual equation,” with Martin Beck, for the São Paulo Bienal, 2010. Her edited and authored publications include: (FC) Two Cabins by James Benning (2011); Show and Tell: A Chronicle of Group Material (2010); Felix Gonzalez-Torres, (2006); Come Alive! The Spirited Art of Sister Corita (2006); and Alternative Art New York 1965–1985 (2002). Ault teaches on a visiting basis.

— Posted on 11/06 at 10:00 AM

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