I might be biased, but I just love when writers venture into art curation. This past summer, Daniel Rolnik – a freelance art critic based in Los Angeles – has used his connections and creative sensibility to bring together a sweet line-up of contemporary artists (Joshua Petker, Jim Mahfood, Ellen Schinderman, Will Deutsch, Ryan McIntosh and many more) for his first show at CURIO gallery in Venice Beach.
INTERVIEWS opens Saturday, October 6th from 7-11pm at Curio Studio and Collection in Venice Beach (324 Sunset Avenue Venice, CA 90291). The exhibition will feature paintings, sculptures, and photographs – 68 pieces in total. We had a chance to chat with Rolnik about this latest project, and here’s what he had to say:
LF: How did you get into curating art?
DR: I’ve been going to Anne Faith Nicholl’s gallery, Curio, for the past year in order to cover their shows for all the art websites I write for – which I think at this point is at like 14 different publications that make me stoked to wake up every morning, including LA Weekly, A&O, Beautiful/Decay, Hi Fructose, and the newest one, CARTWHEEL. Anne and I always talk about art in general and one day she asked me if I’d be interested in curating an exhibit for her space. I jumped at the chance and screamed YES without thinking twice about it and now there’s so much art in this show that I think some of it may have to go on the ceiling. I’d love that, though. It’d be dangerous. She’s given me free reign to pick every artist in the exhibit, so it’s been an absolutely incredible experience. I’m especially excited about having all these different people in one room together because normally they’d all be showing in drastically different environments.
I mean, I’ve got pieces from the leader of Almighty Opp, the most underground thing ever in LA, right next to my favorite mainstreamers who are blowing up right now. Curating this show is all part of a progression stemming from the fact that I love art and I’d probably marry it if one could give a ring to a noun and a body to an idea. It started with my obsession with films that lead me down the rabbit hole of The Criterion Collection and then transitioned into music when I’d had enough of the grim reaper talking to men over chess, and finally atom-smashed into paintings, sculptures, and works on paper when I walked into a gallery that I can’t walk into anymore and realized people could create things that ignited my imagination.
LF: Why so adorable?
DR: For some reason after Angeleno Magazine featured me as one of LA’s top bloggers in their March issue, I started getting a bunch of emails and Facebook messages from cute girls that thought I looked adorable. It gave my ego a high that I wanted to stay in forever, so I tattooed it on my bio and now it’ll stay there until the end of the digital age. And it’s now become a moniker that really fits my strange sense of humor, especially since I’ve only ever written about weirdo sex and erotic art for the LA Weekly, which is about as far from adorable as it gets. But hey, Shel Silverstein wrote for Playboy before creating one of the best childrens’ books of all time, so who’s to judge! I don’t know. I think it’s a very macho thing to have a tag line. It makes me feel like a boxer or one of the wrestlers I used to watch as a kid back when it was still the WWF. Instead of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I’m Daniel “The World’s Most Adorable Art Critic” Rolnik. I like it
LF: Tell me a bit about the underlying themes of the “Interviews” show?
DR: What initially ties the work in INTERVIEWS together is that at some point I’ve interviewed every artist in the show for a publication. However, on a deeper level the reason I interviewed each artist is that their work hit my id with awe, my ego with passion, and then my superego with a heightened sense of something inexplicable. For example, when I first saw Jennie Cotterill’s diorama that’s going to be in the exhibit I had the same reaction a 10 year old kid gets during the holidays. WHOA!!! YES!!! AWESOME!!! But then, when I spoke with Jennie about it and realized the piece is actually part of a much larger body of work entitled The Museum of Procrastination that features an audio walk-through tour of this vibrant tale she had created it hit a deeper nerve ending. I just want everyone to see it and every other piece in the show, plus we’ll end up with pages if I start really getting into it.
LF: Why did you choose to show at CURIO?
DR: Anne Faith Nicholls, the owner of CURIO and an awesome artist herself, approached me with the idea, but I thought it was the perfect fit because I always felt a very warm spirit at her space. I mean a lot of the big galleries feel cold to me and kind of uninviting, especially when it’s not the opening. But what Anne has done with CURIO is create this very intimate rough luxe interior for artists to show in and collectors and enthusiasts to feel welcome in. I like to think of CURIO as this kind of radical installation and so I can’t wait to bring all the energy of the artists into it and see it shimmer!
LF: Who’s your favorite artist right now?
DR: Oh man, I can’t answer that one. Not because it’s too political, but just because there are too many and fortunately a lot of them come over to my house for dinner every Friday night.
LF: How fast do you live?
DR: Fast as all reckless hell because I’m inherently lazy like my hero Orson Welles once said about himself in an interview with Michael Parkinson and I’d just lay out on the beach if I didn’t make sure I had something to do.