Art21 New York Close Up

NYCU | Debo Eilers Makes Things Uncomfortable

Production still from the "New York Close Up" film, "Debo Eilers Makes Things Uncomfortable". © Art21, Inc. 2013.

Production still from the New York Close Up film, Debo Eilers Makes Things Uncomfortable. © Art21, Inc. 2013.

What happens when an artist doesn’t speak for himself?

In a Tribeca loft, two friends of Debo Eilers discuss his sculpture and performance work, as the artist quietly observes in the background. For this film, Eilers has invited Loryn Hatch, a psychoanalyst, and Bosko Blagojevic, a writer and computer engineer, to meet for the first time and riff on the cultural associations in the hanging sculpture Juice (2011). For Blagojevic, Eilers’s work—uncanny forms made with found objects and layered epoxy—evoke the “restless energy of teennagers.” For Hatch, Eilers’s performances—murky scenarios in which Eilers and other performers act out the role of the artist—provoke discomfort with their sexually charged themes. In past performance works, Eilers has asked others, such as Kaya, the teenage daughter of a friend, to direct his performances, creating an unsettling power dynamic between the older male artist and young female performer. Through the course of being filmed, Blagojevic and Hatch’s conversation becomes both an exploration of the artist’s work and an “outsourced” performance of that conversation in which the the traditional roles of artist and viewer are conflated and questioned. Featuring the sculptures Juice (2011), Spoogoo (2011), Remaking (2011); the sculptural group Dolly(blue), Dolly(purple), Dolly(orange), Dolly(red), Dolly (yellow) (2012); and the performances KAYA (2010) and Carly (2012).

Debo Eilers (b. 1974, Texas, USA) lives and works in Brooklyn and New York, New York.

CREDITS | New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Mary Ann Toman. Cinematography: Lauren Kraus, Nick Ravich & Erik Spink. Sound: Nick Ravich & Erik Spink. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Design & Graphics: Stephanie Andreou & Open. Artwork: Debo Eilers. Thanks: Bosko Blagojevic, John Burkhart, Courtney Childress, Loryn Hatch, Jane Jo, Candice Madey & On Stellar Rays. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2013. All rights reserved.

New York Close Up is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; The Lambent Foundation; Toby Devan Lewis; the Dedalus Foundation, Inc., The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and by individual contributors.