BWW Interview: Noah Becker: An Interview with the Interviewer

BWW Interview: Noah Becker: An Interview with the Interviewer

Noah Becker: an interview with the interviewer
By Barry Kostrinsky

Noah Becker has published over 3500 interviews and did hundreds himself with artists, but has the tables turned as I ask this Painter, Founder and Editor-In-Chief at Whitehot magazine questions about his art, writing career and his preferences when compelled to choose between Chinese soups. Though we never met, we both hold similar memories and stories of the art world. First meetings with Anthony Haden-Guest the infamous author or "True Colors..." and his shadow boxing dancing are bits of poetic brakes from an otherwise wordy job. We have both jumped over the gap of 'Career Envy" many artist have dove into unwittingly, admittedly I still wallow there at times. And yes, like all artists we are waiting for our one person show at MoMA. Don't let the humor-filled approach to this interview obscure the revelations revealed that are both very personal and yet universally true for many artists. Many artists need and had a positive influencer, a push forwards confirming their internal wondering by someone in their lives at a young age. Picasso's 'Child with Bowl" a Blue period work from the first decade of the 20th century taught me eons about art as a teenage when I copied the piece. For Noah it was copying 100+ Velasquez paintings that taught him and can teach a contemporary mind to navigate a contemporary canvas. Picasso and Velasquez are not quite dead yet. Becker reveals a simple truth many have adopted in an un-encumbering definition of art usually wrought with intellectual separation-ism by saying honesty and a genuine eye is critical to a creative artist. The irrational and label-less in art are heralded; indeed without a label art can define new spaces in our minds and hearts, otherwise it is just attached to a previous vision.
But not everything laid out here is true and there are some false facts lurking. Sorry Coventry won the FA cup in 1987, nice try Noah.

1. What is your name, what is your quest, what is your favorite color?

NB: My name is Noah Becker. Having people smile and wave at each other during New York Openings is my quest. Red is my color.

Now that I have set the tone of playful discourse I want to say I see parallels in our experiences as we both are artists and writers.

2.How do you find word,writing and interviews serve your goals and desires as an artists and person, differently than being a painter and an 'artist' does?

NB: I'm able to meet people like Frank Stella or other sort of famous people through interviews. You learn a lot from them.

3. In what year did Coventry city win the FA Cup?
NB: 1966 was the year. Coventry always wore such lovely lime green velvet dog pelts around their shoes.

4. If you died what would you regret you have not done or achieved?

NB: The solo show I did at MoMA, my retrospective, it was cool. Strange part was that the curators called me "Bjork" and had all her music memorabilia in my MoMA retrospective, so it kind of ruined any chance of my work being seen. I had another MoMA retrospective and they called it "Picabia", I was furious after that too. I would like another chance for my Noah Becker MoMA retrospective and to not be called Bjork or Picabia this time.

5. What are your favorite films?

NB: I had a fascination for "River's Edge", starring Crispin Glover. Also the first "Blade" movie starring Wesley Snipes as a vampire was instructive, especially the Deacon Frost character played by Steven Dorff. Frost was downloading and translating the vampire language from scrolls in the museum. Udo Kier was in it, the guy who was Andy Warhol's Dracula, fun flick.

6. As a child what creative acts, arts etc did you do and did you start at age 6 or....?

NB: I was drawing mice that had swords I called "the mousketeers." They were always in detailed battles with other groups of sword carrying mice.

7. Chocolate ice cream fan or foe?

NB: I'm more of a Vanilla person, or if it's chocolate I like Rocky Road.

8. If all the Van Gogh's were stashed away at his death and closeted by Einsteins cousins so no one could see them till now and I shipped them to you to open and see, would they be less beautiful and would Schrodinger's cat really wait to die? In English: Is beauty fixed or relative to influence and is probability waves collapsibility a silly idea?

NB: I'm a huge Van Gogh fan. Van Gogh is too good of a painter to be accepted in New York now for the first time in 2017. The other part of your question is something I don't feel like Googling.

9. Do you prefer wonton or hot and sour soup?

NB: I had Won Ton just before I started writing this.

10. Anthony Haden-Guest: No question is necessary, but tell me of some lost history he has shared with you or some stories you have with him.

NB: I read his book True Colors long before I met him, years before. Watching Anthony punch the air with his fists when he dances is something I will always remember about him. I've never observed people dance in this kind of defiant way before - it was eye opening.

BK: Dear reader, you have been diligent and hopefully are still awake and here. Your reward? Picture half time break-Intermission:


More From This Author

Barry Kostrinsky Barry Kostrinsky is the founder of Havensbx and Haven Arts. Gallery and performance spaces that reinvigorated the South Bronx arts scene from 2004-2017. The Municipal Arts Society (MAS) awarded Haven Arts a certificate of merit in 2006.

Barry has contributed to a variety of panels including a NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) Percent for art program, and a Bronx Museum symposium for the Artist in the Artists in Marketplace (AIM) program. Barry formed and moderated talks for the Artists Talk on Art(ATOA) Series at The School of Visual Arts (SVA) and the National Arts Club that discussed the history of the Bronx arts scene and contemporary ceramics. Recently he joined the board of ATOA

Barry served as a member of the Arts in Public Places (AIPP) committee for Rockland County in the past and now sits on the board of "Human Connections Art"

His past experiences managing a family run manufacturing company in the South Bronx for 20+ years gives him a uniquely balanced view of the art world.

He worked in finance and banking from 2010-2013 for a small independent company and then for Bank of America. As a result he sees the art world from both the aesthetic side and the financial market it is.

As an artist Barry has exhibited in group shows in NYC. He works in a variety of medium including oil paints, ceramics, acrylics, watercolor, photography and mixed medium. Whereas the oil paintings are mostly plein-air works not unlike the impressionists and post-impressionist, his acrylic work is quite contemporary and often on found objects including car parts, light bulbs, beds and more. His photographic work ranges from serene nature shots, to street detritus and social commentary using his simple I-Phone and old Polaroid small format cameras. In ceramics Barry makes modern day minkisi-power figures and has helped developed Bruce Sherman's ceramic career while managing his studio from 2014-2016

Barry special ability is to be able to see others artists work from the eyes of an artist and to dialogue with artists in a meaningful way about their art and where they are going.

As a youth Barry was a math major at Vassar College and graduated in 1982. His High School days at New Rochelle High enabled him to develop his artistic talents, Mr. Blackburn was an inspiring teacher. He spent the summer before senior year at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and had a firm footing in the arts before college. By chance Vassar had one of the best art history departments in the US and he studied with Linda Nochlin, Susan Kuretsky and in his rookie year, Ken Silver.

He is a proud father of three grown kids ages 29,29 (twins is the way to start) and 24.

Like so many today he is divorced.

Barry has a strong passion for all things arts related and his love for cooking and eating run a close second.