Published June 16, 2020

Joan Linder Interviewed by Becky Brown

Joan Linder's work hanging at Nina Freudenheim Gallery.

Photo: Nando Alvarez-Perez

Cornelia Magazine, ISSUE 3: WINTER 2020: Visiting Assistant Professor Beck Brown interviews Professor and Department Chair Joan Linder about her current solo exhibition Brood at Nina Freudenheim Gallery and other works.


Everything Looks Distorted Already

Joan Linder’s exhibition Brood at Nina Freudenheim Gallery (March 6th–April 17th, 2020) was the last public display of artwork I saw in person, and I’m grateful I did. Art is about physical presence to varying degrees, but Joan’s work has a particular investment in material and scale; much of its power (and pleasure) is found in direct encounter. I met the artist last year when I joined the University at Buffalo Art Department. Since then, I’ve spent time with her drawing Don’t like country music? (an excerpt from The Pink (2007), a 1:1 scale drawing of The Pink bar in Allentown) that hangs in our department office, relishing its density of tiny ball-point pen lines, as well as the intimate view it offered into the culture of my new home, the city of Buffalo. I’ve also participated in an informal “drawing club” with Joan, drawing alongside her over whiskey and chocolate, and watching those tiny lines accumulate. I was thrilled to see this formal presentation in early March, bringing together four subjects in three series of small-scale drawings and one artist’s book. Joan’s work is among the many things I look forward to encountering face to face, at close range, when such encounters are safe again.

She and I talked via Zoom on May 28th 2020, and the below interview has been edited for clarity.