Interview and Slideshow: Jeremy Kost's Exhibition, 'Of An Instance'

5.3.2012

By Max Berlinger

The photographer talks about his latest show, which opens Friday, May 4, in New York City.

Eric: In the 1950s, Andy would invite any beautiful boy he happened by over and take photos, and there are a lot of nudes but the cocks have hearts on and around them. So it is unrequited.

How has your process changed? It used to be much more candid.
Jeremy: There’s no candid work anymore.

Why?
Jeremy: Number one, I think I’ve done it. It is so well represented in the archives that I don’t know how much more can be done with it. Also, there’s the film situation. Every frame is another I can’t use. I have to be more precious with the material.
Eric: As it goes away, so too is the nightlife that you were recording. There aren’t many places you can go to see…
Jeremy: …the same viscerality

It used to be that you were just a kid with a Polaroid camera.
Jeremy: There was that moment with Mary J. Blige in 2004 when she sort of said, “With a Polaroid? What is this?” So I walked away.

And there’s a video piece as well?
Jeremy: As of now, the one video in the show is of Sharon, and its called “The Queen’s Speech.” She’s in three different costumes stumbling around the Meatpacking District—as a nod to the tranny hookers—and mumbling an Oscar acceptance speech, as this delusional character. Bryce shot it…and I guess I, well, directed it.

I like this shot of the paparazzi. Do you always feel like you’re on the outside, or the inside?
Eric: You were never paparazzi
Jeremy: The interesting thing about all those paintings, if you look at them, is there’s a consistent sense of access. I’m on the carpet with Dolly Parton. I’m on the carpet with Cate Blanchett. I’m behind the cameras and all the shots are clearly very intimate and I never stood behind a barricade. I never would, and if I was told that I had to, I would leave.

It doesn’t seem like an, ‘Excuse me, may I take your picture?’ kind of thing.
Jeremy: That’s what I think is interesting about it. I wanted a tension between these more focused photos—like Madonna—and the more situational abstractions. One is of Brad and Angelina signing autographs at the American Spirit Awards. Its called “American Royalty”. You’d never know it, though, because it’s all these fans shoving 8x10s at them to be signed.

It’s kind of spooky to be honest.
Eric: But it’s also great that you’re getting photography within photography.

Do you consider yourself a voyeur in general?
Jeremy: I do…and I think Andy was.
Eric: He absolutely was—par excellence
Jeremy: I wanted to create this sense of manic-ness. I think it is interesting going back through archives and looking back on things with a different filter. Things you thought were garbage suddenly seem great, but the paintings are something I’m really going to continue with and develop, without question.

SLIDESHOW: Click here for a slideshow of more images from Of an Instance

"Of An Instance" in partnership with Hugo Boss and The Andy Warhol Museum will run from May 4th through May 31st at 150 Eleventh Avenue, between 21st and 22nd Streets, in New York City. 

For more about Jeremy Kost, visit his website here

All photos courtesy of Jeremy Kost. 

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. 

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