in Interviews | 01 MAR 10
Featured in
Issue 129

Questionnaire: Pae White

What do you like the look of? Raw cosmetics

in Interviews | 01 MAR 10

What should change? All forms of animal cruelty should be considered a felony and, in some cases, punishable by death.

What images keep you company in the space where you work? See a selection of them above.

What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you? In 1970, my mom took me to the Pasadena Art Museum where I experienced DeWain Valentine’s resin discs. I immediately understood them to be decapitated lollipops. They were huge and I was small and I wanted to be inside of them; I wanted my mouth all over them, but I could not get near them. It was torture, yet my poor mother had to drag me out of that room.

If you could live with only one piece of art what would it be? Félix González-Torres’ billboard of a bird in the sky, Untitled (1995).

What is your favourite title of an art work? The Inconsolable Wailing of the Damned, Part II (2007). It’s one of my own works, so maybe that’s off limits?

What do you wish you knew? The recipe for the cold tofu served at Mandarette Cafe on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles.

What should stay the same? My dog KeeBeeFee. I wish she would never die.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do? I’d be a helicopter pilot.

What music are you listening to? My older sister died last month. While she was ailing, I put together a ‘Lisa’ mix in an attempt to reach her through the music I knew she loved. This included Neil Young, Gentle Giant, Led Zeppelin, Morrissey, Jethro Tull, Steely Dan and lots of Pat Metheny. Now I use that same mix to trigger memories of her. I am always amazed how embedded images can be released with just a few forgotten notes.

What are you reading? It’s probably not fair to mention the books I intend to read that are in two vertical piles by my bed. To be honest, the last things I read were boring, tedious, horrible project contracts. 

What is art for? Engagement. It should have the ability to transfix – whether it be conceptually, materially, visually, politically, intellectually, viscerally, poetically, loudly, quietly … whatever. It just can’t be inert.

Pae White lives and works in Los Angeles, USA. Her work is included in the 2010 Whitney Biennial and she has been commissioned by Art on the Underground to create a new work for Gloucester Road tube station in London, which will be installed later this year.