In January 2016, Pablo Helguera—artist, educator, and arts administrator—came to Chicago to install his Librería Donceles show at the Chicago Cultural Center. Pablo is the director of Adult and Academic Programs at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Pablo’s studio practice (revolving around installation, sculpture, social practice, and performance) continually intersects his methods and thinking as an educator and administrator.
I wanted to interview Pablo specifically because I was interested in the ways I observed that he seamlessly code-switched:
Now, administrating a museum.
Now, thoughtful and heartfelt engagement with people.
Now, discussing immigration and oppression.
Now, art practice, theory…
(no full stop)
I wanted to know how these pieces came together as a “practice,” and how, despite his topical breadth and institutional obligations, one can point to Pablo’s voice, perceptible throughout all these projects.
I was inspired by the ways Pablo plays with different formats as means of showing and experiencing his work, which he variously refers to as “social practice.” Particularly, the immediacy, playfulness, and, at times, delightful snarkiness of his Artoons series (a series of satirical single-frame sketched comics concerning unfiltered impressions of the art world) stamped themselves on my brain as a perfect medium to mine for our interview.
Amicable as ever, Pablo agreed to play with the interview format with me, and we met for lunch at a bustling little diner a stone’s throw from the Cultural Center.