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Studio Tour: Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt

Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt brings us into his NYC studio. To learn more about what artists have to say, take our online course, Modern and Contemporary Art, 1945-1989. Created by The Museum of Modern Art.

Video transcript

Thomas: Here we are. There is Jack Smith's picture, stained glass windows. Over there, there's angels up there. A lot of things. The angels are from Charmin toilet paper. Cut their little faces out and made them into little angels. There they are, little cherubs. This was actually once a bedroom, but as art supplies built up, built up, there they are. Art supplies stacked everywhere. These boxes have become a panorama very much like the Andes. As we see, as we move through, sort of like a mountain rage that's about to have an avalanche. Here we have an angel head. That's the wings. That's the head. See, there's the angel. But, [unintelligible] are done, they look like that. So it'll look more like a stained glass window. This room, I used to use as a total work space. Eventually, it's filled up with art supplies, which are endless. If you try to picture this room with nothing in it. That's how it was when I first moved in here. That's when I was making the parts for the iconastasis, which is now in the Peter Ludwig Museum in Aachen, Germany. What's interesting about the iconostasis, is it could not fit into this room, because it's too big for this room. The iconostasis was made out of wood, by a carpenter. Then, the separate parts had to be made here, individual. The separate parts are a lot smaller than the whole thing, so I made each of the parts. The materials in the iconostasis, as with most of the art I make, are basically household materials. Generally, I don't use many art materials. I might use a little acrylic paint or gesso once in a while. Okay, yes, the writing is very important. Taste is everything. That doesn't mean good taste either. Any taste can rise to the level of art. Good taste is the last refuge of the unimaginative. This is the room where the sacramentality of art is realized in the fullness of it's concretization. Like, there on that very piece of wood, the mensa, the altar. That's where the art happens. That's the major altar. The minor altar is another piece of wood that lays somewhere. Here is where I make art. This is beloved my roommate. It's a Bart Simpson doll and it's an actual skull. Very memento mori. Kind of like sobering. (sound of breaking bone) Oh! (laughs) (sound of breaking bone) Sometimes it hits home, what it really is. Then, I feel like Mary Magdalene. She always holds those skulls in the paintings.