Photographer Interviews

Great Artist Statements: Jeff Wall and Encouraging Conversation

August 31, 2017

By Conor Risch

Jeff Wall Works and Collected Writings © Ediciones Poligrafa; Jeff Wall Selected Essays and Interviews © The Museum of Modern Art; Jeff Wall Marcel Duchamp: Étant Donnés © Verlag für moderne Kunst

Along with making images, Jeff Wall has written extensively about his own work and the work of other artists—his essays have been collected in several books. One strength of his writing is that it “never seems to hold tight to one interpretation,” says artist and educator John Pilson.

In our story “Conquering the Dreaded Artist Statement,” we asked photographers and teachers for their advice on writing effective artist statements. One challenge that artists face is that they have to provide enough information about their work to entice interest, but not tell viewers what they are supposed to think. “It’s not a closed conversation [even though] some artists present...

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