Neville Wakefield Interview
Neville Wakeﬁeld is a writer, curator and commentator on contemporary culture, art and photography. Having contributed to British and Italian Vogue, Interview and The New York Sunday amongst others, Neville Wakeﬁeld is also the Creative Director of Tar Magazine and the curator of the Frieze Projects, a program of artists’ commissions released annually at the Frieze Art Fair.
Let’s start with Tar magazine… In November of last year you launched the premiere issue of Tar magazine, a bi-annual publication that ‘attempts to look at the realities of our time through the collective vision and voices of ‘ Tar ‘contributors’ and that offers ‘artistic and hopeful ideas for the future’.Tar itself operates as a collective, responsible for other various creative projects. How did the decision to produce a periodical out of this collective come about and what hopes does it present to you personally?
The magazine was created as a funnel through which a variety of talent and endeavour could pass. It represents, if you want, the exposed tip of an iceberg that is constantly changing according to the cultural climate and currents in which it ﬂ oats. I’m drawn to these kinds of situations – situations that are somewhat protean and which allow for mistakes to interrupt the kind of professionalism normally assumed to be a part of this kind of process. While I don’t entirely agree with Raymond Pettibon when he say that ‘professionalism is a hate crime’, I do think it tends to sterilise the very aspect of a culture that is interesting which is the power of contagion. Iceberg or petri dish – take your pick…
What strengths do you attribute to working as a collective?
Organized chaos has its virtues signiﬁcantly in the context of a magazine it allows for certain degree of surprise in an environment that is largely prescriptive. That said it’s a tough position to maintain – I think it was Francis Ford Coppola who said of ﬁlm making that it was the last opportunity to be a dictator in a democracy, and the truth of maintaining a democracy within dictatorial circumstance is that it is extremely hard.