Glass interviews photographic artist Andy Freeberg

GROWING up in New York City and studying at the University of Michigan, Andy Freeberg, is a famous photographer who is known for his photographs which capture the life inside a museum which focus on the artist, art work and art enthusiast.

Born in 1958, the New York native worked for publications such as Rolling Stone Magazine and Time magazine as a photographer before being an artist. Now residing in Northern California, Freeberg has showed his work in several museums in the United States and Europe since 2009. His most popular work is his Sentry, Guardians and Art Fare which give a different and unique insight into the world of art and what goes on inside the world of museums.

What was the inspiration behind your Sentry, Guardians and Art Fare series and why?
In 2009, I was arranging with the Danziger Gallery in New York to transfer some of my Sentry prints to a gallery representing me in Los Angeles. They were both going to be in Miami during Art Basel. James Danziger asked me if I was coming to Miami for the fairs and I said no and he insisted that I needed to come down and check out the scene and photograph it. I took his advice and thus began my Art Fare series.

What I noticed was that the big contemporary galleries exhibiting there were not hiding behind their large white desks like in Chelsea (and other art capitals around the world), but were sitting right in the middle of their booths as if on stage. That was a lot of fun to photograph.

Sean Kelly, Art Miami Basel 2010 Kehinde WileySean Kelly by Andy Freeberg, from Art Fare

How does this work differ from the portraits you took of Neil Young and Michael Jackson and the publications they were for and why?
For many years I worked on assignment for magazines. I was fortunate to meet a lot of interesting people some famous, some not, and take their pictures. Usually I had a very limited amount of time to take the photographs and I was mostly tailoring the images for the specific publications that I was working for. When I do my own projects I am focusing on things that I am most interested in and I give myself as much time as I need to complete the series and I edit the work the way I want it to look.

DK Johnston and Andy Freeberg at the Quin (1)DK Johnston (left) and Andy Freeberg (right) at the Quin

Out of the three series presented at the Quin, what is your favourite and why?
That is a tough question. It’s like asking who is your favorite child, although I don’t have children, so I imagine it would be like asking that. There are different favorites from each series and my feelings about them shift over time. I guess my favorite is usually the one I’m working on at the time.

As you put it, “I was attracted not only to the people but to the combinations of art, clothing, technical devices, and postures.” Why did you want to show the environment and the people who interact with the art featured, within your images?
Yes, that was about the Art Fare series. I think it reflects who we are as a society today. Since the pictures from this series were not posed I was able to capture candid moments and postures that everyone can relate to even though the subjects are so stylish and sitting in interesting settings. One of photography’s strengths as an art form is that it can document a specific time and place and that’s what I’m most interested in recording. Already some of the devices they were using in the pictures are beginning to look dated, some of the art too. I hope in another 10-20 years you’ll be able to look at these pictures and say oh yeah that’s what it looked like in 2006 or 2010.

Andy Freeberg opening guests at the Quin (1)Guests at the Andy Freeberg opening at the Quin

What do these pieces mean to you? Why did you take those specific pieces and why?
I touched on some of that in your previous question but I’m interested in making pictures that are about us as people today. I believe there is a thread through humanity linking all of us and our connections and feelings about art. From the Russian pensioners, to the young Chelsea gallerinas, to the high end art dealer in Switzerland or Miami, humans have a passion for art.

by Amrit Chana