BOMB - Aug. 1, 2018
Liking Difficulty: Nancy Shaver
Interviewed by Ann Lauterbach
Found objects and fabrics.
Nancy Shaver and I have been conversing for some years, often, but not always, sitting side by side on a slightly raised deck with narrow tables, facing the bar, toward the entrance of the restaurant Swoon in Hudson, New York. Swoon is a few doors down from Nancy’s shop, Henry, on Warren Street. We order some drinks and some appetizers, and we talk. We are in each other’s company on other occasions, because we both teach in Bard’s MFA program—she in sculpture, I in writing—and so we find ourselves in relation to these pursuits and to our students. Nancy is a person of precise terseness when it comes to language; I am a person of elaboration. We make an excellent couple when it comes to thinking about art. Nancy likes to talk to me because, I think, I allow her to articulate her thinking. This “allowance” has to do with a spirit of collaboration innate to her work; she has given me permission to be her interlocutor, to draw her from her natural reticence into her often astonishing and always acute reckonings with the world, its objects, affiliations, relations.
We decided that we might want to proceed by single words, rather than questions, although I am not sure we can hold to this in live conversation. It is almost ten a.m. on a sunny day in late May. Nancy is going to arrive at my house in Germantown at noon, and we will have lunch and then begin our conversation.