Fellows Friday: Q&A with J. Louise Makary

J. Louise Makary, 2013 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

As part of our new “Fellows Friday” web feature, we focus on the artistic lives of our Pew Fellows: their aspirations, influences, and creative challenges. This week, we speak to 2013 Pew Fellow J. Louise Makary, whose works on film combine dance, still photography, and experimental techniques, introducing unexpected, challenging elements into traditional narrative structure.

What music are you listening to? Which books are on your bedside table?

I listen to a lot of dance music that won’t be around for very long. Because it’s always the same but always different, it reconciles two different, paradoxical drives—stimulated by the newness, comforted by the predictability. Los Angeles DJ Anna Lunoe is life support.

I’m reading Tao Lin’s Taipei but I keep losing my place. I’m looking at a book of photography by Yuki Onodera, which includes the series “Portrait of Second-hand Clothes,” and the catalog for Michael Snow: Photo-Centric, a really exceptional exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art that I was lucky to be involved with.

What do you daydream about when you are working?

I daydream about taking my laptop to a sunlit table where there is light breakfast and a smart choreographer to talk to, or where I get to sit in a studio and watch dancers make things. I’m really daydreaming about being a consultant who helps dance makers negotiate the mechanics of film as they bring their own work to the screen. I also listen to music and let cinematic images work their way through the sound. In my daydreams, I say yes to spectacle, yes to eccentricity, yes to transformations. I’d say yes to trash imagery if I knew what it was.

How does residing in this region contribute to your artistic practice?

Before I was invited to collaborate with Landmarks Philadelphia, which runs four historical house museums, I’d never considered making films that deal with colonial history. My long-term relationship with that organization led to a change in my process, moving toward intensive research and engagement with a field outside of film and fine art. I’m not certain that I will continue to make films about public history, but the experience taught me how to engage more deeply with content, starting with ideas that are geographically close to home.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do?


Collaborators & Colleagues

Violinist Jennifer Koh has performed worldwide with leading orchestras and conductors, and she is on the faculty at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

This month in Fellows Friday News: Alex Da Corte receives major media attention for his Easternsports collaboration at the ICA, Matt Saunders and Bhob Rainey are praised for set and sound design for The Adults, and much more.

The prize, established in 1981, “recognizes exemplary and provocative work by young practitioners and provides a public forum for the exchange of their ideas.”

Meg Foley presents an exhibition of improvisational research and performance documenting up to 750 dances, which Foley performs on a daily basis at 3:15pm.

Grants & Grantees

Rebecca Westcott (1976–2004) was a visual artist and a 2004 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Francis Davis is a writer and jazz critic, and a 1994 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

In 1997 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 46 dance, music, and theater organizations in the greater Philadelphia region.

Grants & Grantees

In 1992 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 16 visual arts, dance, and music artists in the greater Philadelphia region, including Odean Pope and Judith Schaechter.

Percussionist and Pew Fellow Pablo Batista presents El Viaje (The Journey), a new performance work.

Over our first decade, the Center has been privileged to fund extraordinary work by our dynamic and talented community of practitioners. As we reflect on our history and set the stage for the future, we invite you to take a brief, retrospective journey with us through a lively video that looks back over this period.

Grants & Grantees

Clearfield creates deep, emotive musical languages that she says, “synthesize disparate elements into a musical whole,” in works that explore themes ranging from freedom and oppression, to ancient cultures, religion, health, and technology.

Edmunds, executive and artistic director of the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, is The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage’s first visiting scholar. Paula Marincola, the Center’s executive director, spoke with her about the opportunity.