Weekly conversations ...with Emily McDermott (Critic in Residence)
…with Emily McDermott (Critic in Residence)
Emily McDermott is a writer and editor based in Berlin. Her writing has been featured in numerous catalogues and magazines and she has worked on editing projects with various institutions, companies and publications.
She is a Critic in Residence at studio das weisse haus until November 28, 2019.
Can you talk a little bit about your professional and artistic road that eventually led you to being a critic here at das weisse haus?
It’s been a long and winding road—one that’s honestly a bit difficult to recount. I suppose it kind of began with an article I wrote for Harper’s Bazaar at the moment when Helmut Lang quit designing clothing in favor of making sculptures. Writing about his first sculptures, on view in a private townhouse on Washington Square North in Manhattan, came more naturally than anything I had written about fashion. Fast forward a few years and I was the digital art editor at Interview magazine, meeting some of the city’s most renowned cultural figures and attending fairs and international biennales for the first time. Fast forward another few years and a former professor sent me a link to a grant, simply stating I should apply. So I did, and one year later I moved to Berlin with the support of a Fulbright for professional journalists with the intent to familiarize and integrate myself with(in) the more noncommercial aspects of the city’s art scene.
Although people say Berlin is dead, that it is no more what it used to be, it still isn’t New York; there is still more time and space that allows for creative production outside of the market-driven side of the art world that consumes much of New York. When the 10-month duration of the Fulbright came to an end, I decided to stay and continue writing about exhibitions, artists and culture in Berlin as well as around Europe. Through various editorial projects in Berlin and having met Vienna-based artists elsewhere in the world, I’ve become curious about what it has to offer, so when I saw the open call for the critic-in-residence at das weisse haus, it seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to regarding your residency?
I particularly look forward to meeting artists in Vienna and becoming familiar with the overall art scene. With galleries like Croy Nielsen having moved to the city from Berlin and with an international curatorial collective now heading the Kunsthalle Wien, it’s clear that something is happening in Vienna and I look forward to exploring what it is.