There’s something not quite right about Daniel Rolnik. Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy, everybody does, but I suspect something strange afoot there. Aside from his popular blog, he writes for a number of sites and publications that include Beautiful/Decay, Fecal Face, and LA Weekly, not to mention his work here at CARTWHEEL. He has this tendency to be everywhere at once. He bounces around interviewing various art world luminaries. He might be seen at five different art openings in a single evening. Unconfirmed Rolnik sightings in both San Francisco and Los Angeles have been reported on the same night. Now consider that he does all of this subsisting on a diet of nothing but hamburgers. Stranger still is that ever present smile, a tick which I always find suspicious. Now I’m not saying he’s a shape-shifter, or that he’s cloned himself, but you’ve got to admit it’s odd, right? So, now the man is adding curator to his resume with “Interviews” at Curio by AFN. The show features a potent selection of artists including Josha Petker, Ryan McIntosh, Xvala, Jesse Hazelip, Gregory Siff, and Luis Arevalo just to name a few.
Talk to anyone who knows Mr. Rolnik and the word that always comes up is energy. The man has boundless energy, unrelenting, take no prisoners energy. So it’s no surprise then that the exhibit he’s curated is a wildly kinectic ride through a vast array of artistic styles. High brow minimalist pieces offer visual whispers alongside the boisterous bellows of pop and street art. Craft and folk pieces actually find harmonic balance with impressionist portraiture. The garish dances with the elegant. Honestly, it shouldn’t work, but it does. It works beautifully, and as one might expect from Daniel Rolnik, it’s a hell of a lot of fun. It’s probably about the most fun, engaging show I’ve seen all year.
It was impossible to get Daniel to stand still at the opening Saturday night, so I caught up with him the next day to ask some questions.
1) How did you go about selecting the artists and the work?
At a certain point of coming up with heavily edited lists of artists with Anne Faith Nicholls (owner of CURIO), she just gave me free reign. So, I went through huge lists of artists that I loved and wanted to see in a room together and found a way to make it happen. I called or emailed people and wouldn’t let anyone say no. It was also really important for me to have a big spread of available work, so the show has works from $40 – $4500. The $40 works are from an artist I’ve been following for a long time on ETSY and her pieces were right next to Boris Hoppek’s photos – who is a big artist that lives in Barcelona. Also, this may sound crazy, but it was really important to me to choose artists whose energy I really like because art mimics life and therefore I think the artists who make the work should be really nice and cool people that you’d want to be around. If I don’t want to be around the artist, I don’t want to be around their art. It’s my like one weird hippy belief, even though I normally hate hippies hahah!
2) Why “Inter Views”? Is their a common thread in the work that connects them?
Anne Faith Nicholls came up with the name INTERVIEWS, which looks like INTER-VIEWS because of the awesome flier, after we had days and days of brainstorming names. Here were some of the brainstorms I had “Nothing Scary”, “Pumpkin Pie”, and “The Dinner Guests”. The name Interviews really works though because I’ve interviewed all of the artists in the show for different publications or I’m about to!!!
3) Is there a particular artist or work that you’re especially fond of that you want me to point out?
Oh man, hard question! I love all the work times infinity, but I was really excited to have the puppet by Jeffrey from Almighty Opp because it was kind of a struggle. I had to beg a little bit to have it in the show. So, it was really rewarding to finally get to see the piece. His group Almighty Opp plays a free show in Korea Town once a month and it’s the most underground crazy thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve been following them for about 5 or 6 years and back in the Myspace days he used to tell me that the puppets were alive and made out of explosive materials and he’s still never broken character. I mean, the last time I saw him perform, my friends and I spoke to him at the end of the set and then he climbed up a tree and may have stayed there for the entire night, I’m not sure haha!!! Also Jon Bernad’s time capsule was really awesome because it allowed people to get interactive at the show. Gary Baseman left a drawing in there and my mom left a note that Jon will never be able to read and there’s even a million dollar bill in there!!! Oh God, Joshua Petker’s 16 paintings were beautiful and he made them specifically for the show and he’s the greatest dude in the world! Whoa!!! I’ll list everyone if you want and I have a story for each and every one of them.
4) Do you have any future shows planned?
It’s all very hush hush now, but I’ve started my sketches for the next show.
“Interviews” runs through October 26th, 2012
CURIO Studio & Collection
324 Sunset Ave. Venice, California 90291
Phone & Text: 323) 382-6533
open Thursday- Saturday 12-6pm, or by appointment
Text and photos by Keith Ross Dugas