HANS ULRICH OBRIST To start, I would like to ask you how you came to art and photography—or vice versa, how art and photography came to you. Was there kind of an epiphany, or…?
COLLIER SCHORR Yeah, actually there was a huge epiphany. It’s interesting because right now there is an exhibition dedicated to David Wojnarowicz up at the Whitney [on view through 30 September 2018, editor’s note]. It shows a piece (Untitled (One day this kid…) (1990/91)) that I first saw in 1990, in a group show curated by Bill Olander at the New Museum. I remember looking at that picture—it was a picture of a boy—and thinking that there were no pictures like that for women. That my identity was not represented, or even misrepresented. And so I started making work really just because I thought that content was missing. I was working at 303 Gallery as an assistant director and wanted to become a writer. But I started making work because I sensed that there was a purpose and an audience. The only purpose of making artwork, for me, was as a form of propaganda. I didn’t study art, I didn’t have an aspiration to have an art career, I didn’t think about selling. The only reason to do it was that: to address a dearth of my own storyline.
HUO In an older interview we did three years ago for i-D Magazine, you said, “I don’t think a new picture will be made by a man in my lifetime. It’s not that man don’t make good pictures, but they’ve been making pictures for so long that I think that we might have seen all the pictures they might make until the world changes.” So who are your heroines, the artists that inspired you the most back then?
CS I’m purely a product of the ‘80s—deconstruction and French post-feminism, the nefarious and seductive operation of advertising. I would definitely mention Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger and Louise Lawler as inspirations, and I was drawn to Susan Sontag’s writing. At the same time, when you’re a young artist, sometimes you aspire to something or you idealize something, but you also kind of want to rebel against what you see as the literati elitism. It felt that the rules that these figures were operating within were not working for me. And so I was very much like, “Fuck authority, even feminist authority, because I want another kind of feminism.” And I can’t say that I was successful in achieving that—I just remember feeling that, and that that feeling was a trigger.