The Art Assassin 2

a nonfiction novel by Albert Wang, or a portrait of the artist as a young failure…

ASSASSINATION: Dannielle Tegeder, Artist Represented by Priska C. Juschka Fine Art

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Photograph of Dannielle Tegeder. Courtesy of Dannielle Tegeder and Facebook.
Dannielle Tegeder: Rust Conductor Plan with Sound frictions and Chroma-Construction, 2009, gouache, ink, colored pencil, graphite, pastel on Fabriano Murillo paper, 39 1/2 by 27 1/2 inches. Courtesy of Priska C. Juschka Fine Art.

This summer I received a private Facebook message from an artist who had invited me to her solo show at Priska C. Juschka Fine Art while I was out in New York City. Her name was Dannielle Tegeder and I felt rather happy to get a personalized message to request that I ought to take a look at her artwork out in Chelsea. The next day I rushed out to the gallery space with a friend and looked at the mesmerizing admixture of mobile-like sculptures, epic-sized colorful drawings full of curves and lines, and a room of more drawings combined with a rather abstracted sound piece. Quite the visual ballet to engage the imagination with such infused passion.
Later on, I had a chance to speak with the artist regarding her work as our friendship developed. It was quite fascinating to learn more about the nature of the concepts ranging from art history to mathematics and music driving her work. The colliding systems of chaos and natural forms become more evident as the viewer is willing to look behind the seemingly random admixture of geometric shapes. Tegeder’s works deserve multiple looks because one’s eyes following the contours of these rigid yet sensual compositions that dance and hover from the plane of the surface engage within a form of multiple viewpoints that do not resolve in a typical manner.
Time to explore the background behind such beautiful pieces. If you have any questions about Tegeder’s artwork, feel free to contact her gallery Priska C. Juschka Fine Art at (212) 244-4320 or at
And now on to this show revealing THE ART ASSASSIN’s latest details of this “assassination”:

qi peng: To start off on a lighter note, what are some of your favorite artists, books, television shows, sports, art magazines, toys, movies, and other cultural artifacts that you wish to share with your fans of your work here? Do you have any recent galleries or exhibitions that you have seen and would to recommend to us? What things in those shows inspired your artistic eye and tastes?
Dannielle Tegeder: Some of the artists and exhibitions that influence me now include hard edge women abstractionists such as Tomma Abts, Kim Fisher, Agnes Martin, Lydia Dona, and Dorothea Rockburne. I am attracted to car accidents and failed architecture projects. I like the James Ensor show which just opened at MoMA. I am attracted to poets like Christian Bok, Caroline Bergval, Kenny Goldsmith. I like People magazine, followed by Art Forum. No TV, no sports; maybe soccer sometimes. Other perennial influences include Malevich, Aram Sorayan, small creepy towns in upstate NY, the new public art sites at Governor’s Island, NY (which is not to be missed- rent a bike while you are there).
qi peng: Are there any restaurants or hangouts such as bookstores around New York where you are based out of or anywhere else that you wish to recommend us? What are the qualities that you enjoy best about the places that you have chosen?
Dannielle Tegeder: I spent a lot of time in the used bookstores in my neighborhood in Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill Brooklyn…I recommend the Neighborhood [The Community] Book Store on the corner of Court and Warren streets. It is falling apart, surrounded by very high piles of books, and has probably not been cleaned in 25 years. You can find great things there especially for collages, and even new books. Say hi to John the Russian owner, and check out his coffee cup display behind the counter…I promise you will not be disappointed.
If the Chaos gets to be too much, head up to Book Court (on Court street), not used but fabulous for poetry, art journals, art books, and other interesting writings; it is a favorite by the many authors in the neighborhood (Jonathan Lethem, Paul Auster, etc) and they have readings and a good clean bathroom.
Afterward, head on over to Red Hook to FreeBird Books in Columbia street, a great used book store with an outside garden and if you are hungry go to Alma on the corner for good Mexican food.
qi peng: How do you feel that the current economic recession impacted the contemporary art market and way that it functions in the larger national economy? Do you feel that artists will be pursuing more personal and intimate projects than the overly commercial work, typically geared for the art fairs, during the upcoming years? How do you think that galleries and non-profits will be coping with the dramatic shifts within the political and corporate culture, particularly in America?
Dannielle Tegeder: It is hard to know how things will eventually play out. The obvious downside is the fact that there is less money, less funding for art projects and to support the art market. The upside is that people are focusing more on discussing, writing and seeing art than in the past years. I have always had a romantic longing of the 1970’s in NYC where all creative people – artists, writers, choreographers, composers- seemed to be part of a more unified and collective dialogue about their work, influence one another, and collaborate more than they do now. I am hoping
That this downturn will bring some of that dialogue back. I also hope that the fact that rents are coming down will allow for some artists to move back into the city.

qi peng: Do you have any favorite hobbies which you enjoy in your spare time?
Dannielle Tegeder: I do have some strange hobbies. One is tracking missing people on the internet through a network of missing people sites. This obsession of mine in fact informed a project that I did last year entitled The Index of the Invisble that was shown at The MCA and Tony Wight Gallery in Chicago, and then at ISE gallery in NYC.
My other hobbies include writing poetry, writing very long titles for my pieces, collecting books, and taking very long walks.
qi peng: How do these activities inform the studio work that you pursue? With your personal interests, are your painting, works on paper, and installations reflective of those hobbies you engage in?
Dannielle Tegeder: I am always interested in tracking large amounts of information and how that becomes abstracted into systems that then become my abstractions. So yes, I think that some of my hobbies definitely influence my work.  Other things I have tracked include car crashes, (that culminated into an installation entitled  Crash Rainbow in 2007), disease charts, and now sound and music in my current show entitled Arrangements to Ward off Accidents. Writing poetry has probably influenced my work more then anything.
qi peng: As a graduate of both State University of New York at Purchase and School of the Art Institute of Chicago, what were those  school years like? How was life in the studio like back then? Did you have any influential professors or students during that time and what was their impact on you and your work?
Dannielle Tegeder: I had a great experience at SUNY Purchase. The school has a number of conservatories and is based about 45 minutes from Manhattan. It was inspiring to live with actors, poets, playrights, musicians, dancers… I had my own studio and a and a lot of space. My professors were all caring, working artists. I still have a relationship with a number of them today.
In regards to SAIC, I am glad I went there, but it was a very different experience to undergraduate school. It was competitive and I was intimidated. It really affected my work for a number of years. The Visiting Artists were great, however. Jerry Saltz was a regular and Amy Sillman was a year long critic/artist. Still, I needed to put everything in perspective after I obtained my MFA. So I left for a long trip to India.
qi peng: Your current show at Priska C. Juschka Fine Art is entitled “Arrangements to Ward off Accidents with The Library of Abstract Sound.” With a literary tenor to the solo show’s title, how did you come up with the idea for this rather musical phrase? What elements of modernism, particularly Constructivism and Suprematism, fascinate you and your visual interests? How do you update the aesthetic of the artwork from those eras into an updated postmodern sensibility?
Dannielle Tegeder: The title for my show came from one of my poems from last year, that dealt with the balance of things. In this show, I used drawing, installation, sculpture, and audio. It was very new for me, especially the audio element. To make all of these different elements work, I felt I had to have a sensitive interaction and balance with all the different pieces. It has more of a literary reference rather then musical, because my I think of the sound more as a language.
Constructivism and Suprematism have always fascinated me. I have always been interested in abstraction, particularly hard edged, but the utopian philosophies of these movements are the main reason why I choose this a reference point for the show. My work has always been about utopias, especially my older work that dealt with utopian cities.

qi peng: How do you determine the poetry of your mellifluous titles such as “Transmission Music Contraption Machine Plan with Flowing Code” or “Nocturnal System Drawing and Atomic Nightlight?” Before executing your paintings, works on paper, or installations, how do you determine the color scheme and the geometric arrangement of the separate elements? Do you do any preparatory sketches before the final version appears?
Dannielle Tegeder: The writing and titles are very important to me. At one point a few years ago, my titles reached up to two paragraphs. I determine the titles after the pieces are finished, and have a number of different ways to determine them. I have a giant glass jar in  my studio that is labeled “words”. In it, I am always putting interesting words and phrases that I find in it for when I want to create a title. Sometimes I lay them all out on the floor and create phrases, like a giant puzzle while looking at the piece.
I do determine my color palette for the work usually before hand, but I don’t do sketches. Part of my interest is determining how things link in the drawings like a giant machine, and I think I would be bored to plan this out beforehand and then recreate it.
The colors of the current show dark yellows, and greys arrangements to Ward off Accidents, was determined by looking at historical photos and insatalltion like Peggy Guggenheim’s Utopian Museum, and Malevich’s installations.
qi peng: Your mixed media installation “The Library of Abstract Sound” combines 130 framed drawings with a “choreographed ‘sound guide’ for each drawing, transcribed by a computer program that reads the lines and forms of their compositions.” How did you put the inspiration by Scriabin‘s theory of sound and color into this particular work? What things do you enjoy about the complexity of classical music? What challenges did you face in working with computer transcription in relation to traditional drawing? What elements and patterns of modern dance or ballet are reflected in the rhythms of the sounds colliding with each other or the way the lines intersect in the drawings?
Dannielle Tegeder: The inspiration from Scriabin came from more of a multi disciplined installation, entitled Mysterium. The work was intended to be a week-long performance with music, dance and light and it was going to performed in the Himalayas. In a more humble manner, I set to create a show that included interrelated architecture, sound, drawing, and sculpture. The audio and computer elements of this project presented a real challenge. After several weeks of working with software designers, we created a software that “translated” the images into sound. Each drawing was scanned from top to bottom, and is 30 seconds to three minutes long. I choose a number of variables for each reading, such the instruments that would interpret each piece. The drawing always came first and the sound would follow.

qi peng: Assume that you could create your own personal museum of artwork. Which artists or pieces would you include in the collection and why? Do you like looking at art museums or galleries anywhere? What types of pieces does your visual tastes gravitates towards?
Dannielle Tegeder: In my collection I would include drawings, collages, works by Morandi — who made the boring fabulous— Kandinsky, Malevich, Julie Mehretu, Matthew Ritchie, Florine Stettheimer, Hanne Darboven, and of course Mondrian.
I do like looking at galleries and museums wherever I am. I mostly am in NYC, and really like a lot of the new Lower East Side galleries— it is a lot of fun to walk around and very different from Chelsea.
If you looking over my list you will realize that I have a proclivity toward abstraction and drawing.

qi peng: Do you have any favorite cuisine or dishes that you enjoy? Considering that food is essential for the artistic soul, what things do you enjoy about meals either prepared in a restaurant or home setting?
Dannielle Tegeder: I eat most of my meals out —in NYC this seems the best way— and I like eating with people. I enjoy African food, Korean, Thai, Greek, anything adventurous.
qi peng: What is the methodology behind your paintings, works on paper, sculptures, and installations from start to finish, from preparatory studies to the completed work? What is an average day like within your studio?
Dannielle Tegeder: Most of my prepatory work is research, and or quick sketches, gathering materials usually for the sculptures.
An average day in the studio starts at 11:00, includes lunch usually with friends in my studio building, then work work work… my husband Pablo Helguera, another artist, is down the hall as well. We stay until 9 or 10 then head back to Brooklyn.
qi peng: Your work has been exhibited a few times in Priska C. Juschka Fine Art as well as Mixed Greens. What has your experience with galleries, particularly Priska C. Juschka Fine Art and Mixed Greens, and museums been like over the years? Do you have any advice for up and coming BFA and MFA graduates who are graduating from art school and are starting to hunt for galleries to show their artwork?
Dannielle Tegeder: Both Mixed Greens, which I started with, and my gallery now Priska Juschka Fine art have been very good experiences.
The current show up now is my third one with Priska.
I have been with them since 2000.
My advice, is 1. Be careful about where you show your work, but do not be overly protective of your work— you need to be sure that it is being shown out there; 2. When you are courted by a gallery, always talk to the other artists in it and make sure that they are  having a good working experience with it — are they getting paid? Etc. 3. Remember that having a gallery is not everything. Instead of obsessing always about finding a gallery, try to curate your own exhibitions, find spaces, opportunities, and start a blog. 4. Artists who are alone stop making work. So keep your friends from art school and don’t burn any bridges; 5. Take extra classes in art school. Suggestions: any writing class, business, public speaking, and anything other than the art that interests you.
qi peng: Your work reflects a strong interest in “architectural blueprints and technological sketches,” both of which are of a scientific and engineering nature. What events allowed you to combine your interest in science and engineering with art? What things fascinate you about the concept of a system and the use of repeated forms? In what ways does looking at the past allow us to understand our future as humans?
Dannielle Tegeder: I grew up in a family of Steamfitters, and that is where I learned how to do mechanical and engineering drawings that influence my work. I have always liked systems, and how small things relate to one another in a much larger and sometimes invisible way. Most of the plans I draw or are influences by are hand drawn, which is very different than how things are made today on the computer. My work has imperfections and small bleeds that a computer generated work does not. In looking at the future, it make me realize how these “mistakes” are beautiful as well.
qi peng: Within your current exhibition, the sculptures hanging in midair are complex mobiles of objects and lines in the context of three dimensional spaces. Was there any influence from the examples of Calder? In what ways were you able to adapt your mobiles to fit within your unique signature within the design and creation of these fascinating sculptures? What did you enjoy best about this experience?
Dannielle Tegeder: In the case of the sculptures, I wanted the viewer to be able to look through the pieces and made connections with the drawings behind them that influenced the piece. I did look at Calder as a reference but also a number of other artists that have used mobiles such as Gego and León Ferrari. I really enjoyed the process of making the drawings become 3-dimensional.
qi peng: How do you think that the new media, ranging from video art to Internet-based projects, will impact people’s appreciation of painting and photography and sculpture, more traditional and established media, which are interacting with each other in terms of visual motifs and archetypes? Do you feel that as people interact with new media, they will be able to critique the cliches of mainstream media and have a profound understanding of what it means to be human?
Dannielle Tegeder: I think that different modes and mediums of working are always influencing one another. How we look at things in context greatly influences what is made. I think the the look of a lot of current abstraction would not exist without us being immersed in a digital age.
qi peng: What are some of your future projects or exhibitions that you will be pursuing soon? Will these new artworks be an extension of the themes and ideas that you are examining now or a different direction instead?
Dannielle Tegeder: I am currently still focusing on drawings, and a few solo shows coming up next year, one at Tony Wight Gallery in Chicago and another at SUNY Purchase. I am just starting to work again after this show, and am not sure yet the direction the work will take but yes I do think it will be an extension of what I have been doing. I would like to create another drawing archive.

qi peng: Do you have anything else which you would like to share with your readers and fans of your paintings, works on paper, sculptures, installation work, and forthcoming exhibitions here?
Dannielle Tegeder: I think we have covered everything, if people would like more information on the show images and information can be found at, and my website is also

For more gossip or dishing me the art scoop: E-mail me at

Written by qi peng

October 19, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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