This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast remembers Austrian artist Franz West, who died two weeks ago at age 65. West was one of European art’s most Puckish innovators. His art was playful and sly — he often encouraged viewers to pick up and play with or to sit down on his work — but it was also deeply rooted in the intellectual history of Vienna, his lifelong hometown. No artist was more important to Klimt than Gustav Klimt, whose obsession with the body, women, sensuality, sex, and (ideally) the combination of all four was the subject of this early, foundational West titled Chez Klimt (1972).

Joining me to discuss West’s life and work (and Chez Klimt) is Darsie Alexander, the chief curator at the Walker Art Center. In 2008 Alexander curated West’s only American retrospective, which opened at the Baltimore Museum of Art and traveled to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 

In the second segment, artists Steve Roden and Stephen Vitiello join me to discuss their recent collaboration in Houston. In association with the exhibition “Silence,” in which both artists are represented and which is on view at The Menil Collection through, Roden and Vitiello performed a sound piece at The Rothko Chapel. Roden and Vitiello have also provided an extended audio clip from their improvised performance, The Spaces Contained in Each.

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