What is your name and title/occupation?
Tami Katz-Freiman, freelance curator and art writer, former Chief Curator of the Haifa Museum of Art. Curated the Israeli Pavilion for the Venice Biennale in 2017.
What are you reading/watching/listening to?
I was finally able to finish Paul Auster’s epic novel 4321. Since mid-March, I’ve been flooded by online content – Zoom webinars, Instagram or Facebook Live – provided by museums, non-profits, art magazines, galleries and various cultural initiatives. It took me a few weeks to learn how to filter in a way that would allow me to select, watch and listen only to what really interests me. Online technologies enable me to bridge geographical distances and I participate in webinars in Israel and Europe. I tried to visit some of the Art Basel Viewing Rooms and found it unattractive and unsatisfactory. Surprisingly, I enjoyed Instagram and Zoom studio visits, particularly those of local artists presented LIVE on IG via Fountainhead (@Fountainheadresidency). For fun, we took advantage of the total absence of social life and the long evenings at home, and started to binge-watch some masterpieces like The Sopranos and Breaking Bad that we missed at the time.
What are you working on right now (or how has your work changed over the last few months)?
As a freelance curator I’m used to working from home, but not for so many hours. Thank God for my daily Yoga online classes (@innerbalance). I haven’t been so strong and in such good shape for years. At first, the uncertainty in the art world was shattering and paralyzing, but once you adjust to a vague concept of “future,” you plan only as much as you can. Currently I am working with Tony Vazquez (@tvazquezf), a Venezuelan artist who lives in Miami, on a large-scale solo exhibition at LNS Gallery, scheduled for December during Art Basel Miami Week. As of now, nobody knows if the fair will actually take place, but we continue to meet through Skype and develop our project online. There will be a moment, very soon, when we’ll have to decide if we move forward to production or postpone.
What are you most looking forward to once we are no longer sequestered?
The most urgent wish for me is to see my daughter, who lives in Israel. It’s already the longest time we haven’t seen each other and it’s painful. My second craving is to hug my friends.
Have you taken up any new activities?
It took me a month to realize that this is a very special period for incubation, not just for viruses, but also for future ideas and projects. Via Facebook, I offered my professional consulting and editing skills, pro bono, to artists who wish to develop Artist Statements and portfolio submissions for grants, awards or residency programs. I have worked intensely with 30 wonderful artists (some of them I didn’t know before) and have received amazing feedback. It was mutually gratifying. I love the mentorship dialogue and have decided to continue to offer these services in a way that’s affordable for artists. If you want to contact me about how to get started, I can be reached through my website: https://www.katzfreiman.com/
Do you have a MOCA memory that you want to share?
I have many memorable MOCA moments; one that stands out is Annette Messager’s striking site-specific installation (1997), curated by Bonnie Clearwater. But the best story is a very personal one about our first week in Miami after relocating from Israel in the summer of 1994: New place, new neighborhood, I don’t know a single soul. It’s Friday evening and my dear partner, who felt responsible for the relocation, wants to cheer me up and show me that there is life after Tel Aviv. He searches the exhibition section in the local newspaper (no Internet then) and, based on a similar zip code, he finds an opening nearby. It was our first night out. The venue was called COCA – a tiny shack with a good duo show of young Cuban artists: Quisqueya Henríquez and Consuelo Castañeda. A year later COCA become MOCA and the rest is history.