An Interview with OE’s new art columnist, Marina Claire, by OE Intern Gillian Bradshaw

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Gillian and Marina in Washington Square Park

Hi, Marina! I hear you’re studying Fine Arts and Philosophy at the New School. Tell us about that. How do these subjects work together for you?

Well, initially I wanted to concurrently study both because my studio work used to reference a lot of philosophy in its content. Now, after a few years in art school, I’ve found that I’m not so much interested in talking about philosophy with my art as I used to be, but more so how the philosophical way of thinking influences the form of my work. In other words, instead of proselytizing Philosophy 101 concepts through abstract found object sculptures, I think more broadly about modes like absurdism and existentialism as means to approach a work of art (if that makes sense). But certainly I still think there’s a relevant and tight dialogue between the two. Also, at the risk of sounding like a mad naive schoolgirl, Philosophy and the Arts are both disciplines that (in my humble opinion) strive the most toward identifying and describing some sort of “Truth” and objectivity of things that Are in the world, and that’s always been my chief personal interest as a human being or whatever.

We’re very excited to have you. Would you care to explain to our readers what your job at Ohio Edit entails?

Well thank you, I am very excited to be had. And hmm that sort of remains to be seen I suppose, Amy “hired” me under the premise that Ohio Edit is looking for a ‘lover of the arts’ to write regular show reviews, and I kinda love art, so yeah. I don’t have experience writing reviews in this capacity per se but I’ve been to my fair share of gallery openings and saw this opportunity as a win-win — not only do I get to pump up my atrophied writing and critiquing muscles but I also have a reason to have to get out to shows. Amy and I both appreciate the reviewing style of Jerry Saltz, the way he has a penchant for leveling with and appealing to the more every day art viewer. Amy additionally brought up the stylistic attitude of The New York Times“The Stone” column, which I also hope to cultivate in my own writing.

Speaking of which, you’re a fellow working for Simon Critchley (of The New York Times‘ “The Stone”). What’s he like to work with? What is it you do for him exactly?

I was selected to be a student fellow for a class that Simon is teaching now at The New School called ‘Philosophy and the Media.’ Essentially the project of the course is to organize and compile all the articles written for “The Stone” since 2010 (which feature a few hundred different authors, from Peter Singer and Slavoj Žižek to lesser known budding philosophers, responding to a range of current events with philosophical thought, and seeking to appeal to the average Times reader that might not typically pause to read anything under the connotatively dry and elitist label of “philosophy’) and format the pieces for print publication. The course is less concerned with philosophy and journalism as it is the editing process and what it means to oversee online publications, which is why it was quite fortuitous to have it coincide with this opportunity to write for Ohio Edit. I somewhat sheepishly admit to having little appreciation for the “celebrity” status of Critchley when I was applying for the position, but it’s definitely apparent through seeing the dynamics in the classroom that many of the students enrolled in the course just for him and his name. However I find him to be quite humble in contrast to his eminence; he has a super dry sense of humor and good taste in music, and my friend and I have a theory that he was a total crusty London punk back in the ’80s.

The word on the street is you’re going to Berlin in April. What is it you’ll be doing there? Will you still be able to contribute to OE?

The rumors are true, I’m studying abroad for a semester at Universität der Künste Berlin, an art school known for it’s conceptual undergrad Fine Art program. When I first contacted Amy I was hesitant because I thought I could only write for Ohio Edit for a month as my flight leaves April 1st, but was pleasantly surprised when she suggested that I be an international correspondent and write reviews for shows in Berlin. So hopefully that’s the plan.