New Museum Triennial: AMBERA WELLMANN

Photography Aubrey Mayer

What is your current state of mind? Half full.

What body of work would you like people to know more about? No answer.

What’s the last thing you binged? And how long did it take you? A pack of Marlborough Lights, it took a day and a half.

Describe your work for the show in 3 words: Long, spatial, becoming.

Do you think that earth is safe? No.

What makes for a great group show? My favorite group shows recently are those that exhibit historical works alongside contemporary ones.

Studio necessity: Privacy.

What artist dead or alive would you like to share a two-person show with?
Leonora Carrington or Robert Gober.

What’s your best art joke?
Sadly I don’t have any, I guess that’s what the art meme IG’s are for.

Who or what is the last person or thing that made you cry?
The new Matrix trailer.

What qualities make for a good art work?
I think if the work is good it tells the viewer which qualities are important.

What is your most treasured possession? My dog, Chicken.

Most disturbing thing someone has said about your work?
Some people were trolling me in a comments section once and a person said, “She’s just Francis Bacon” and another person chimed in and said, “She’s not Bacon, she’s Turkey Bacon.” It was also the best and funniest thing someone’s ever said.

The most flattering? Whenever it makes someone else feel like painting.

Do you like gossiping and if so about what? Unfortunately yes, I do, but I won’t say about what.

Do you ever see parts of your childhood in your work? Always.

Are there topics that should be untouched by art? No.

Do artists have responsibilities? To themselves, yes. Which I think is the same as having responsibilities to others.

In your mind, what is the state of art criticism? When it’s good—alive and well and vigilant.

What show do you wish people talked more about this year? I think it was talked about a lot, but Niki de Saint Phalle at MoMA PS1 was incredible.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing what would it be? A praying mantis or a succubus or something allowed to be more destructive.

If you could live with one work of art, what would that be? Courbet’s Sleep or Gericault’s Morgue Studies.

What’s your biggest fear? Feeling obsolete.

What is one thing you do when no one else is around? Talk to my dog in a special weird voice.

How would you like to die? Suddenly, or saving someone else I guess.

Published: November 12, 2021

The fifth New Museum Triennial, “Soft Water Hard Stone,” is on view at the New Museum, 235 Bowery, through January 23, 2022.