Q/A Amy Sillman

 Photo: Marco Anelli, © 2012

What do you teach young artists?

I see myself as a link from the past. At this point in my life, I really teach a way of working against amnesia and the extinction of ideas and objects that I love. I don't do it for the money, since I can now make money with my work. I teach to transmit the intimacies of a practice to younger people who want to know about a certain kind of attitude toward painting, the kind in which a slow material practice is linked to a kind of philosophical position - a form which came down to me from a painter like Philip Guston. This kind of painting is about pondering, dwelling on things, drawing, destroying, rebuilding: it is about a form that is not necessarily efficient or useful, and accepting the risk of failure. It is about taking time and holding it in your own hands.


Amy Sillman (*1955) is head of the painting department at Bard College's renowned MFA program. She publishes essays and fanzines of her own cartoons. Her work is currently on view at MoMA in New York as part of "The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World"