Min Song (American, b. 1982, Los Angeles) lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. She received her M.F.A. from UIC in 2011. Her recent group and solo exhibitions include Wood Works, A+D Gallery, Chicago; Bowling Alone at Andrew Rafacz Gallery; 24HOUR/25DAY, New Capital, Chicago; Small Scale Lifestyles at Seerveld Gallery, Palos Heights; Small Scale Lifestyles II at Happy Collaborationist, Chicago; Min Song at Michael Jon, Miami. Song’s most recent solo exhibition was at Trompe l’Oeil Depression at Young Art, Los Angeles this month.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I make and think about art. I really stress myself out by doing both, but they are ultimately very fulfilling. Very fulfilling and very stressful.
How did your interest in art begin? I expressed an interest in it at age three and my parents were (and have remained) very supportive of that. There were many heart-shaped mugs that were made at the start of that period. If you know my work, it may come as no surprise that I was coloring inside the line even at that age (all true!). On a more serious note, I went to Los Angeles High School for the Arts where the students took five art classes a semester and the French teacher made us commit Paul Verlaine poems to memory and showed us Truffaut, Godard, and Rohmer films. I looked through every single issue of Domus at the school’s library one year. In the 30 art classes I had taken by the end of school, LACHSA had taught me about Minimalism, LA art of the 60s and 70s, performance art, Pop Art, early 20th-century American and European art and design, and so on. Those three years of high school education was crucial in my wanting continue to study art at SAIC.
If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? Right now, I would say the work is about collapsing the two- and three-dimensions onto one another. I no longer paint but my interest in the image continues to manifest itself through sculpture, mainly in the way I think about surface. The photographs I use in conjunction with sculpture are becoming more studio-specific in their meaning. I’ve recently started to re-appropriate the found images that I’ve used in older work, along with personal travel photos and install shots of my previous shows.
What artists are you interested in right now? Ken Price, William Leavitt, Dagobert Peche, Alex Chitty, Bjarne Melgaard, Valerie Snobeck, Bruno Munari, Manfred Pernice, Paul Forney, Alastair Morton, Kiki Kogelnik… too many to name. There really are too many. Architektur für Kinderis is not an artist, but it’s a great website full of interesting and insightful permutations of the playground by artists, designers, and architects.
What’s your favorite thing about your city? The AIC! And the many, many great artists who are teachers and friends. Chicago is very affordable. I have noticed that the schools are always willing to share their resources and are encouraging of any artist doing research in both art and in many disciplines related to art.
What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you? It’s a toss-up between Bruno Munari: My Futurist Past at the Estorick Collection and La Carte D’Après Nature at Matthew Marks. Environments and Counter Environments at the Graham Foundation was great, too.
What do you do when you’re not working on art? Not working on art, as in, when I’m not in the studio? I go on very long walks, look at buildings and things, go to art shows, hang out with friends, talk with them about art and life, try to travel as often as possible, try to get in a good meal, watch comedies…things like that.
If you hadn’t become an artist what do you think you’d be doing? Marine biology or forensic pathology, for sure.
What are you listening to right now? I’m digging how American Howard Hanson sounds—some of his pieces I’ve heard are very majestic and matter-of-fact. My three favorite musicians from the last 40+ years are Scott Walker, John Cale, and Robert Wyatt, so no matter what I’m listening to at any given time, their music always find a way to stay close to my life. I don’t like everything they’ve done, but I have so much respect for their work and how their music influenced what I listen for when I listen to music. Melina Ausikaitis in Chicago has been making very strange music in the last couple of years, like she’s the new, American version/extension of Brigitte Fontaine. Her performance with Matt Jencik last month at Empty Bottle was amazing. Space Lady’s Greatest Hits by Space Lady was re-released early this year and it blew my mind when I first heard it. Krautrock, classical music, Italian horror movie soundtracks, British psych and all its offshoots, I love them all and listen to them all the time.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? Someone said, after talking to me and seeing my work, that I was very sane. Otherwise, I get “weird” a lot.