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David Velasco

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David Velasco (born 1978) is an American writer and editor.[1] He has been editor-in-chief of Artforum International since 2017.[2][3] Velasco has written on a breadth of topics, from fine art and literature to cultural touchstones such as Fire Island Pines. In 2016, he organized the “Modern Dance” book series published by the Museum of Modern Art, which featured monographs on Ralph Lemon, Sarah Michelson, and Boris Charmatz.[4][5][6][7] In 2018, he wrote the introduction to Weight of the Earth, a collection of tape journals by the artist David Wojnarowicz.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Velasco was born in Portland, Oregon, to a white teenage mother and a Mexican-American father. His parents never married, and he was raised by his mother and grandmother in a low-income household. His grandmother worked at the Yellow Pages, and at age twelve, Velasco’s first job was helping her with proofreading. His father is Humberto “Reedy” Velasco, lead singer of Reedy & the Hellraisers.[8]

He graduated from Reed College in June 2000 with a degree in Anthropology. In May 2004, he earned his MA in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University.[8][9]

Work[edit]

Velasco left the West Coast in 2002 and moved to New York City to attend New York University.[10] In 2004, he submitted an essay on the artist David Altmejd to a competition for young unpublished writers organized by the magazine Art Papers. He won first place, and his essay became the cover story for the July/August 2005 issue. Shortly after, Velasco responded to a job posting at Artforum, and joined as an editorial assistant at the website in November 2005.[8] In 2008, Velasco became the magazine’s web editor.[4]

In 2017, Velasco was appointed the magazine's editor-in-chief, succeeding Michelle Kuo. His first issue as editor, January 2018, featured the HIV-positive photographer and vogue dancer Kia LaBeija on the cover and was dedicated to the “Uses of Power.”[11][12] The issue is best known for debuting a portfolio of images by the photographer Nan Goldin, in which she indicted members of the Sackler Family for their role in the opioid epidemic and announced the launch of P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now), an activist group responding to the opioid crisis.[13][14] The result has included in the removal of the Sackler's name from the Louvre to divesting of artworks donated by the family to various museums. Later that year, Velasco published a monograph called Sarah Michelson: Modern Dance, published by D.A.P.[15] The book has several original essays, as well as an interview with Michelson and a cultural history of her oeuvre written by her peers.[16]

Weight of the Earth: The Tape Journals of David Wojnarowicz, was published by MIT Press in 2018 and includes transcribed audio journals by Wojnarowic's during a chaotic 1980s as an artist in New York City. The book includes a Introduction by Velasco.[17]

In a piece for New York Magazine titled “I Love the New Artforum,” art critic Jerry Saltz wrote that “Velasco may be the perfect person in the perfect place at the perfect time.” Subsequent issues have taken up topics including Art & Activism (May 2019), the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall (Summer 2019), Friendship (December 2019), and Prison Abolition (September 2020) which represents a major shift from the magazine's previous direction under Michelle Kuo as heavily influenced by the Frankfurt School, post-structuralist discourse, and post-internet art.[18] Under his vision for a more transparent and equitable culture industry, Velasco published The Tear Gas Biennial, an open letter by artist Hannah Black, critic Tobi Haslett, and writer Ciarán Finlayson calling for artists to pull their work from the 2017 Whitney Biennial in protest of Warren Kanders position as the co-chair of the board of the museum while making a living from selling tear gas and other weaponized technology.[19][20][21]

In 2020, Adrian Piper permitted Velasco to be the first person to reconceive her classic 1982–84 piece Funk Lessons. The performance, titled David Velasco Teaches Adrian Piper’s “Funk Lessons,” was performed on February 15, 2020, at the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt and was his first public project as an artist.[22][23]

Writing[edit]

Velasco’s writing has appeared in Artforum, Bookforum, New York Magazine, and Parkett, among many others. He has written on artists from Adrian Piper and David Wojnarowicz and literary figures such as Kathy Acker for Chris Kraus's book After Kathy Acker and Douglas Crimp.[24][25][26]

References[edit]

  1. "Weight of the Earth: The Tape Journals of David Wojnarowicz (PRINCE STREET) | McNally Jackson Books". www.mcnallyjackson.com. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  2. Reid, David Velasco, Hilary (2019-12-30). "What Artforum Editor-in-Chief David Velasco Can't Live Without". The Strategist. Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  3. Chayka, Kyle (August 6, 2019). "The Decisive Moment". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2020-12-14. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Artforum.com". www.artforum.com. November 1, 2017. Retrieved 2020-12-14. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. "Weight of the Earth: The Tape Journals of David Wojnarowicz (PRINCE STREET) | McNally Jackson Books". www.mcnallyjackson.com. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  6. "The Phenomenal Phrase Work of Sarah Michelson". walkerart.org. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  7. Sarah Michelson ARTBOOK | D.A.P. 2017 Catalog MoMA Books Exhibition Catalogues 9781633450080. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Prickett, Sarah Nicole (2018-01-15). "First Interview: Artforum's New Editor-in-Chief David Velasco". ssense. Retrieved 2020-12-23. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  9. "Let's Go There: Marissa Perel and Artforum.com Editor David Velasco Talk Dance". Art21 Magazine. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  10. "Let's Go There: Marissa Perel and Artforum.com Editor David Velasco Talk Dance". Art21 Magazine. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  11. "New Artforum Editor Describes Kia LaBeija as 'An Artist I Immediately Needed Know'". Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  12. Dazed (2018-04-17). "The vogueing, radical artist de-stigmatising HIV with self-portraiture". Dazed. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  13. Moynihan, Colin (2018-01-22). "Don't Call Her a Victim: After Surviving Opioids, Nan Goldin Goes After the Makers (Published 2018)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  14. Marshall, Alex (2019-07-17). "Louvre Removes Sackler Family Name From Its Walls (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  15. Sarah Michelson ARTBOOK | D.A.P. 2017 Catalog MoMA Books Exhibition Catalogues 9781633450080. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  16. Sarah Michelson: Modern Dance. 2017-07-25. ISBN 978-1-63345-008-0. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  17. Press, The MIT. "Weight of the Earth | The MIT Press". mitpress.mit.edu. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  18. Saltz, Jerry (2018-01-02). "Wherever the New Artforum Is Heading, I'm Along for the Ride". Vulture. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  19. Harris, Elizabeth A.; Pogrebin, Robin (2019-07-25). "Warren Kanders Quits Whitney Board After Tear Gas Protests (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  20. Moynihan, Colin (2019-07-20). "Eight Artists Withdraw From Whitney Biennial Over Board Member's Ties to Tear Gas (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  21. "Warren Kanders Resigns From the Whitney Museum's Board, Following Months of Protest and a Renewed Artist Boycott". artnet News. 2019-07-25. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  22. "David Velasco Teaches Adrian Piper's "Funk Lessons"". www.mmk.art. Retrieved 2020-12-26.
  23. "(Won't you take me to) Frankytown — Downtown Critic". downtowncritic.net. Retrieved 2020-12-26.
  24. "David Velasco on the art of Adrian Piper". www.artforum.com. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  25. Press, The MIT. "Weight of the Earth | The MIT Press". mitpress.mit.edu. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  26. "Natural's Not in It". www.bookforum.com. Retrieved 2021-01-05.


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