We had the good fortune of connecting with Gao Hang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gao, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
Interviews with American Artists, by David Sylvester. I have read this book 2 times and each time it gives me something, a lot of thing, new, in terms of understanding the artists I look up to, deconstructing art making process, and some links that could potentially chain my works into art history. I think reading art critics is important however interviews with artists give me more inspirations with artists’ “inside-talk”, more intimate you know? This is why I like reading it, as an interesting book per se.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am sure my art process has something to do with my habits and obsessions. I mostly listen to standup comedy while making my work. I enjoy standup comedy that challenges general beliefs, and political correctness, yet at its core is negotiating between the observations, language, and laughter of a given performance. Then you realize that it’s no paradox, but a good conversation between the performer and the audience. At some point, my paintings are like standup comedy, they can only do so much about solving real problems. But brutal honesty, absurdity, and humor are very powerful qualities in any type of conversation. I think being a career artist is just as hard/easy as every other career: Keep working, keep learning, experimenting, practicing, reading, reacting to feedback from other professionals and sometimes your audience, and of course marketing. I learnt that every year I should at least work a little harder and read a little more than last year, this is the only way.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
It was the Menil collection, but now I guess the Kinder building, MFAH. You know what, both of them. And in terms of eat and drink, I would take them to Church’s Chicken.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wanted to thank to University of Houston MFA program because it is the reason I came here from China in 2015 and it provided me everything a career artist should equip. Everything wouldn’t happen if it didn’t bring me here at the first place.