My first interaction with Katja was over email. She had found my work through a mutual social network and asked about doing an interview. Immediately, our exchange became more than a handful of questions and shared interests— there was a certain fervor. This is what discourse with Katja Horvat is like. Her passion for artists and idea exchange is palpable, and the connections she forms extend beyond straightforward interviewing. These relationships have become the basis for her most recent endeavor— a show she co-curated with fellow journalist Paige Silveria.
Good Taste, presented by Something Special Studios, includes a collection of work by artists the two curators have formed personal connections with. I had a chance to exchange roles with Katja and ask her some questions about Good Taste.
The term good taste has a double meaning, visual aesthetics and human sensory. Can you discuss the relationship between the two and how it applies to curating?
The main reason why we called this show Good Taste comes from an essay I read that explains how great art is not an accident yet it is a representation of wise choices made by an artist from a variety of options. What we like and how we see things can be artificially amplified by stimulating the area of the brain that regulates emotion and manipulates our senses.
On the other hand, the term is very direct, and it says everything as it is. I mean, for a curator or an artist to put something out there, to show it under your own name, well that obviously means you like it. And we all think we have good taste – so with us picking all these artists/works, that’s our nod to our egocentrism and us manipulating everyone into thinking we have good taste, which I do think we have!
The relationships you form with artists are very much a part of your practice. Do you find your experience of the work amplified through these interpersonal relationships?
Yes and no. The whole thing is a slippery slope. Often times it is easier to work with people you have no relations to, as it is easier to keep your objectivity. But then again, the knowledge and the in-depth you get when you form a bond results in better work. This show we just put together mostly consists of people me and my co-curator Paige Silveria, worked with before. It is my first show, I never curated before, so in a situation as such, the interpersonal aspect proved to be very beneficial as there was more trust coming from both, me and the artists.
What is it like working in such a global community and in such a global way? We worked together via Skype before ever meeting in person.
To be honest, I can’t wrap my head around it. It is hard to digest as everything is happening so rapidly on such scale and so all over the place. Me coming from a small town in Slovenia to me living in Berlin, working in New York, traveling all over the world to meet artists, to talk to them, to be part of their world, it feels surreal.
But just the other day, I talked about this with one of the greatest people out there, Juergen Teller. I asked him if he ever thinks about how lucky he is to have had so many enviable experiences, to have had the privilege to meet so many amazing artists… and he said no, explaining, “I push my luck! Everything that is happening or has happened comes from my own hard work. It is not like I do nothing and wait for things to happen. I am extremely workaholic and I take everything very seriously. If you combine that with my looseness, that, I guess, invites people and that is what you get. ”
And you know what, I sign on this one. He said it better than I ever could, so I am just going to say – same applies to me.
What’s the most attractive quality in an artist or artwork? The quality that makes you want to reach out.
I actually do not know but the whole process is very instinctive, and it has a lot to do with my state of mind at certain times.
You work with a lot of magazines. I love working with magazines myself, I see it as a kind of ephemerality that’s impossible to achieve in an art market. How does this feel to you?
I started to work with magazines to become part of the market. I never had the artists thing in me, but I am good with forming relationships, gaining trust and interrogating, (laughs). So if you combine all these assets, the magazine world feels like home.
That being said, I do agree on the ephemerality that’s impossible to achieve in an art market – but like a good one is impossible to achieve. I think ephemerality, when it comes to the art market nowadays, is very much present, but it carries a negative connotation. With magazines, this word/concepts sits lighter. Carly, I don’t know where I am going with this, long story short – art people take themselves to seriously!
What keeps you going?
This may sound very shallow, but most of the times it is ego and pride. Hype fits the bill as well, but not as much as the other two do. I have this weird obsession of proving, but not to other people, as I generally do not care much what others think, it is more about me, and proving to myself I am better than my last work.
Top three favourite places.
Two I can name off the bat; Kokaljeva 10 and LES, the third one varies, usually a certain bed.
Good Taste, July 26 – July 30, 393 NYC, 393 Broadway, New York.
Powered by Budweiser.
Interview: Carly Mark
Photos: Chad Moore