2020 was a year for the books. It was one that forced many people to reassess their own mortality and admit their utter helplessness in the face of a pandemic, which shook our society to the core. The foundations on which many had built their hopes and dreams for the future had been exposed as being faulty. It had become blatantly apparent that the systems of leadership to which we had become accustomed to relying on did not have the answers that we were seeking and in this moment, there was no one coming to save us. Instead, we would be left to fend for ourselves. For many it was a time of reinvention, a time to reflect and reposition. The world as we had known it had entered a new phase, and what was at stake was the survival of an American way of life that seemed to be disintegrating in real time.
It makes sense that in this time of instability and uncertainty, that William Buchina, while conceptualizing his exhibition Low Information Settings, would choose to take his work in a new direction. Normally his work exists in a space that is steeped in mystery, that speaks to the human condition without getting caught up in the web of the current moment. However, this moment, one that felt as if we were living through history, proved to be too rich of a source of inspiration for William to ignore.
I first caught up with William in August of 2020, when he was spending a lot of time in Millbrook, NY, at the summer house of a mutual friend, researching and conceptualizing his future exhibition. The small village nestled in upstate New York had become a safe haven for William, who wanted to escape the eeriness of a NYC that almost started to resemble a ghost town. The once sprawling metropolis seemed almost abandoned as New Yorkers opted to leave the city for greener pastures, inflamed by the media reports characterizing the city as a Covid hotspot, and death tolls that were among the highest in the nation.
The time that I spent in Millbrook could be described as a crash course in William Buchina, his world view, life story and the ideals that shaped his work. All that was going on in the world at that time served as a rich foundation for our forays into various topics which ranged from the media and information we were consuming while in lockdown, to our views on the pandemic, the growth of movements like Q-Anon and the upcoming election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. The conversations between William and I during this brief excursion would serve as the impetus for the following interview which took place shortly after the opening of his new exhibition, Low Information Settings, which is on view at the Hollis Taggart Gallery in Chelsea until April 24th.
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