SIX OF ONE: MATT HELD
Six Quick Questions with One of My Favorite Artists
In the Field with Lori Zimmer
I first heard of Matt held on the internet. More and more of my friends were joining his group on Facebook: I’ll have my Facebook portrait painted by Matt Held. There have since been tons of imitators, but Held was the first I’d heard of to turn the rise of social media into a subject for his paintings. They became wildly popular, and scored him a solo show in Chelsea and beyond.
I had the pleasure of working with Matt and using those portraits I loved in a group show I curated in Soho. They are colorful and quirky, but also capture the egotistical vanity that the internet has brought out in all of us, causing a herd of fat girls to take pictures from above, gays to use shots of their butts as their profile pic and virtually everyone to Photoshop out their zits and double chins. Matt’s Facebook pieces are traditional portraits of a false truth, a painting of an idealized lie. Perfect! My Facebook profile pic made it to his second series, which featured me in a recreation of the Feast of Bacchus.
Matt’s interest in social media extends further into his latest project, called “Where’s My Jetpack?” which opens February 17th at the Cyber-NY Interactive. As part of Social Media Week NY, Matt curated a group show combining art works of all genres with a panel discussion entitled “The Collision of Social Media and the Arts.” The pieces in the show will have a retro feel, all confronting the 1950s notion that the future would bring a personal jet pack for all.
Matt’s talents seem to excel as time marches on, as does his work. His passion and fascination about the mystery of social media has not only inspired his work, but also brought out the curator and educator in him.
Lori Zimmer: What are you currently obsessed with?
Matt Held: Well, I hate to point out the obvious, but jetpacks. Where the hell are they?
LZ: Describe your work in three words.
MH: Imaginative, playful, capricious.
LZ: What are your favorite recent exhibitions?
MH: Neo Rauch at David Zwirner.
LZ: What is your favorite place and why?
MH: Brooklyn 99% of the time. 1% I could be anywhere else and it would be better than here. I can’t describe why. Most of the time it can fill my every need, but there are rare days when it feels overwhelmingly suffocating.
LZ: What is your go to karaoke song?
MH: I’d have to be 3 scotches in for a “Town Called Malice” by The Jam or “Common People” by Pulp.
LZ: What book has most influenced you?
MH: I hate to admit it but Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I’ve both embraced and completely rejected her philosophy, but even in rejecting, it comes back and retains some relevance, or rears its ugly head, depending on how you look at it.
Matt Held is a Brooklyn based artist and curator. “Where’s My Jetpack?” opens February 17th, 2012, at the offices of Cyber-NY Interactive, 34 East 23rd ST, 4th floor, the panel discussion will begin at 4:00PM, followed by the opening reception and party from 6:00-9:00PM.
Written by Lori Zimmer
Images Courtesy of Matt Held
Cover Photography by Matt Carr
Design by Devon Pentz
Page 1: Photography by Matt Carr
Images Courtesy of Matt Held