Stalked: Jordan Nassar. Coordinator of Fairs and Editions for Printed Matter Inc & Artist
2 December 2014
I first met Jordan at a private view at the super cool gallery Evelyn Yard in London in which he had previously exhibited his own works at a few months before. Jordan, a born and bred Manhattan boy is not only a very talented artist but also is one of the main guys behind Printed Matter Inc and the Printed Matter Fairs.
I caught up with Jordan for drinks and a hotdog at Herman Ze German on Charlotte Street while he was in London for Frieze week, and quizzed him on what he's doing and what artists he's following at the moment.
What do you do and what do you love about your job?
I work as Coordinator of Fairs and Editions for Printed Matter Inc. in New York City. Basically, me and one other guy run Printed Matter's NY Art Book Fair and LA Art Book Fair, each Fall at MoMA PS1 and New York and each Winter at the MOCA in Downtown Los Angeles, respectively. The events are the world's largest and are totally unique - part trade fair, part art fair, part mass-pop-up-shop, part festival - a celebration of Artist's Books and the community surrounding. We organise 250-350 exhibitors, a weekend full of Visual Art and Artist's Book-related programming, conferences, bands, parties and everything else to do with the events. While a part of me loves the spreadsheets and huge logistical accomplishment, what I love most about it is bringing the community of artists, Artist's Book makers, publishers, and aficionados together - it's a bit like summer camp, seeing all these friends who live all over the place in one spot.
What influences your artwork?
My artwork comes from a very personal place - my heritage and upbringing as a Palestinian-Polish New Yorker, as well as my marriage to an Israeli. It stems from the constant presence of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in my life, but also from my life-long love for crafts, specifically anything traditional and especially textile-based. The embroideries I have recently been making, in the style of traditional Palestianian Tatreez, also look to Slavic embroidery motifs, experimenting with expression and manifestation of identity and place. I'm also interested in the structure - basically, pixels - that make up the fundamental elements of traditional cross-stitch embroidery, and how that has been re-contextualises post-internet, post-photoshop.
If you could live in another city/country where would it be and why?
I've already lived in a few very different places - New York City, of course, then Tokyo for a few years, then Berlin for over 6 years, and now New York again. I love a lot of things about a lot of places... I've had my eye on LA for a while now, because of the space available, the laid-back lifestyle, the weather! I also wouldn't mind living in Israel for a while - I love being in the Middle East - but we'll see where the wind blows. For now, the energy and competition in New York is really motivational for me.
Who are your favourite fashion designers and your favourite artists?
That's a tough one. Fashion wise, I've always loved Comme des Garçons - less the crazy stuff, more the subtle, gorgeous things. Japanese designers are at the top of my list - Yohji, Junya, etc. I also am into Kenzo, KTZ, HBA, Nasir Mazhar, and that kind of luxury/cool NYC-Tokyo-Paris stuff. I like Thom Browne but never wear suits. I like Raf Simons, especially his collab line with Fred Perry. I like Jil Sander.
Artists are way harder for me to list off... there are so many that have a permanent place in my heart and mind. We just did an exhibition of Dorothy Iannone's books at the NY Art Book Fair, so I've fallen in love with her all over again. Ever since going to Norway earlier this year, I can't get enough of Hanna Ryggen, a Norwegian painter-turned-weaver who was super active in the 60s and 70s. I love Mark Flood's lace-paintings. I love Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian's mirror mosaics. I think Eric Yahnker is hysterical. There are so many artists in my life (close friends to recent acquaintances) whose work, ideas and practices I am inspired by - Donna Huanca, Brendan Fernandes, AA Bronson, Tauba Auerbach, Hanayo, Matt Connors, Iñaki Bonillas, Kandis Williams, Przemek Pyszczek, Zhivago Duncan, Avery Singer, Cali Thornhill Dewitt, Elijah Burgher, Brent Wadden, Sarah Crowner, Sam Falls, and last but not least, my husband, Amir Guberstein... to name a few.
How would you describe your approach to fashion?
I definitely like to be comfortable - not meaning sweatpants, but meaning, something that fits my mood, my day, and so on. What I wear totally has to do with the music I'm listening to, the things planned for the day, the night I had before. Oh, and lots of black
What five items could you not live without?
Clothing items? Lately.... my Raf Simons x Linda Farrow sunglasses, this pair of purple-ish printed Kenzo shorts, my Black Timberland Boots, a regular old black crewneck sweatshirt a friend gave me, and my bling bling diamond earrings.