Juliet Myers

Juliet Myers is studio manager for the artist Bruce Nauman and has provided consultation services to artists through her company Art/Artist Care for over 20 years. Currently the Director of Education and Public Programs for SITE Santa Fe, in 1990 she co-founded FACT (Fine Arts for Children & Teens), an art school that provides art education to young people in northern New Mexico.

Rebecca Cleman: With your diverse range of experiences, I'm hoping you can address several perspectives on media in the art world. On the one hand, you've worked with museums and cultural institutions and collectors around the world, and on the other you've worked on ambitious local arts initiatives.

Juliet Myers: My involvement with media art has almost exclusively been within the context of working with Bruce Nauman and the collectors and institutions that show his work. Here at SITE as Director of Education & Public Programs, my involvement is from the perspective of providing an enriching and enlightening experience for the viewers.

RC: When did you first start working with media art and in what capacity?

JM: My first experience of working directly with media came when Bruce asked me to assist in the production of the video installation Clown Torture in 1987. I interviewed and hired the actors and crew, found and secured a location for shooting outside of Bruce's studio, acted as the production assistant, and was the official goldfish wrangler. I continued to fill all or some of the same jobs on the production of subsequent video works including Learned Helplessness in Rats (Rock and Roll Drummer) (1988), Rats and Bats (Learned Helplessness in Rats II) (1988), World Peace (1996) and End of the World (1996).

RC: Could you isolate any especially significant changes in your experience of working with media art over the years?

JM: Decisions regarding questions of format updating and hardware changes have been at the center of adapting Nauman's work so that it may continue to be shown while maintaining the aesthetics of his original intention and vision.

RC: With Nauman, or any of the other artists you work with, are you involved with the storage and cataloging of media works? We have found that many artists are interested in maintaining their own archive of works and are thinking about hard-drive storage.

JM: We do not maintain archives here in New Mexico. Nauman's early films and videos are, of course, maintained by EAI. For all subsequent video works, Dennis Diamond at Video D Studios is handling the transfer of materials for archiving. We are in the process of transferring to Beta and making DVD copies of Bruce's video works from the 80s to the present. A Beta copy and set of DVDs are stored at a professional facility in New York. We have not investigated the use of hard drives at this time, but would be interested to learn more.

RC: It would be informative to discuss Nauman's media installation works in relation to exhibition practices. For example, I've seen Mapping the Studio (Fat Chance John Cage) (2001) installed in two iterations: at the Dia Art Foundation in Chelsea in 2002, and later at Dia:Beacon in 2003. Could you speak about how the installations differed? What site or technical conditions informed the decision making process? To use another example, I've seen Art Make-Up displayed differently in different venues-projected on opposing walls in a gallery or, at the Guggenheim, projected on four screens side by side.

JM: You're right! The video installations are flexible and Bruce often reconfigures his work to accommodate the venue. We work on a case-by-case basis. In general we ask institutions and collectors to maintain as closely as possible the original specifications of the installation. When that is not possible, we deal with each installation based on the details of the space and the needs of the curator or collector. If the changes are too drastic we do not approve the proposal to show the work. As we are not always aware of, nor are asked about, the showing of Nauman pieces, the work is sometimes exhibited in ways we would not have approved.

RC: We've spoken before about changing technologies, which is a growing issue, particularly as the pace of these changes picks up. In this instance we were discussing the display of works on monitors versus projection, something that is changing due to emerging digital technologies. Is there concern about works that require specific equipment that might become obsolete, and how this might affect the display of works?

JM: We continue to want to maintain a distinction between videos originally shown on monitors and 16mm films (transferred to video format) for which we require projection. As monitors become obsolete we understand that museums and collectors will want to use new hardware such as plasma and flat screens. We want works to be presented in a similar-sized format to that of their original presentation. In general, the closer we can come to maintaining Nauman's original intention, the better. We've very much appreciated EAI's assistance in this matter.

RC: In terms of your experience in education and public programs, what is your sense of the local media arts scene and how this has changed or is changing? Are there relevant projects at SITE Santa Fe that represent the growing interest in media art? Does FACT have any plans to include media practice in its program?

JM: SITE Santa Fe exhibitions almost always include media art. A sampling from the past 10 years includes Jim Campbell, Pipilotti Rist, Cai Guo-Qiang, Janet Cardiff, Don Ritter, Bill Viola, Paul Pfeiffer, Sam Taylor-Wood, and Bruce Nauman. The 2006 International Biennial included video and sound installations. When I was still at FACT we did a few video projects with the kids, but I don't think they are doing it now. I don't have much contact with the program anymore, SITE and Bruce keeps me pretty busy.