Tehching Hsieh

You guys don’t know who Tehching Hsieh is?  Man, that is so embarrassing.  Google him immediately, or at least read this interview of his with the Brooklyn Rail from 2003.  Hsieh retired from art back in 1999 basically (I think that’s the right year) but apparently in 2003 he was allowing artists to live for free in his building in Williamsburg.  Siobhan is tracking down the gatekeeper right now.  The world shall know my micrographic masterpieces!

Hsieh: I have a building in Williamsburg and I let artists live there for free from 1994 until now. There are different artists in there every year. They have a 1000 square feet to work in. I don’t call that art; it is just a visiting artists project.

Rail: You bought buildings there?

Hsieh: I bought a building, renovated it, and built another building that was entirely new.

Rail: You financed it yourself?

Hsieh: Yes. You see, before I came to the U.S. I was a painter and I did many paintings until 1973. In 1994, they were all sold at an auction and I made about $500,000.

I have four floors. One floor I rent to cover expenses. The rest I give to visiting artists. This year, one is a Mongolian filmmaker and another is a Ukrainian folk singer.

Rail: How do you find the artists?

Hsieh: I have a person who helps me select the artists. And that person gets one floor, and the other two floors are given to two artists a year. But again, that is not art to me, because to me any person can do that kind of “art.” Rich people for example can do it without any problem. So, that is the kind of action I do, the life I create.

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