Solange Discussed The Power Of Performance Art For Her Stunning ‘Surface’ Magazine Cover Story

Andrew Zuckerman for Surface Magazine

Solange is the cover star of Surface magazine’s January/February 2018 “Spaces And Places” issue, describing the intersections between her music and performance art and her installations at various esteemed modern art museums. “Solange has recently begun to test the bounds of performance with site-specific happenings at art spaces like the Menil, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Chinati Foundation,” Surface editor-in-chief Spencer Bailey said in a statement. “It’s this authentic, high-impact, deeply personal engagement with art—and just as importantly, the spaces and places that show it—that continues to push Solange’s craft forward. Because of this, she was an easy and apt choice for the cover of the issue.”

Throughout the lengthy story, which was conducted by Antwaun Sargent in Solange’s recently-acquired New Orleans home, she goes in depth on her background in music, the thought process behind her various art projects like “An Ode To” at the Guggenheim Museum or the “Scales” at Marfa’s Chinati Foundation, and her place in the world as a politically-minded black artist. The full cover story is available here, but check out a few choice quotes below, along with some more images from the feature.

On being asked whether her debut set for SNL was performance art:
“I struggled to answer, I was all over the place. I did not feel worthy at the time of saying ‘Yes’ to that.”

Reflecting on the same question a year later:
“I’ve spent my entire life dedicating myself to this craft, and yes, I am qualified!”

On her work off the traditional concert stage:
“I’m not at all interested in entertainment. I’m really interested in energy exchange between the viewer and the performer. One way to do that is to make an inclusive experience through style, through energy, through space.”

On the performance of “An Ode To” at the Guggenheim Museum:
“I don’t think that everyone involved fully understood the scale at which I was wanting to create. I don’t think that they understood the scale of how many bodies I wanted to introduce into the space — all the ways that I wanted to activate it through the choreography, visuals, and staging… I had 250 black bodies going down that rotunda in a way that the Guggenheim has probably never seen before! That moment, I will cherish it in such a colossal way.”

On the artistic influence of New Orleans:
“Living in New Orleans has really changed my train of thought when it comes to permission. The way that New Orleanians occupy that city — they don’t ask permission for sh*t! Being immersed in that kind of spirit has absolutely impacted the way that I occupy space… I think New Orleans has had a great influence on me in terms of the freedom that I was able to have, and the courage really, that I am able to live in.”

Andrew Zuckerman for Surface Magazine

Andrew Zuckerman for Surface Magazine