The AP Questionnaire: Emma Sulkowicz

MFA Art Practice welcomes Summer 2018 Artist in Residence Emma Sulkowicz! Emma (b. 1992) is an American artist of Japanese-Chinese-Jewish descent who lives and makes art in their hometown, New York City. They earned a BFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University in 2015 and studied studio art in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. They are perhaps best known for their senior thesis at Columbia University — “Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight)” — an endurance performance artwork in which they carried a dorm mattress everywhere on Columbia’s campus for as long as they attended the same school as their attacker. Their awards include the National Organization for Women’s Woman of Courage Award (2016) and Susan B. Anthony Award (2014), the United States Student Association’s National Student Movement Builder of the Year Award (2015), and the Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. Magazine’s Ms. Wonder Award (2015). We asked them to introduce themself by responding to the AP Questionnaire. 

What was the last thing you made?

I did a guerrilla-performance-action at the Met, MoMA, and the 86th St subway station, inspired by The New York Times article, "Chuck Close Is Accused of Harassment. Should His Artwork Carry an Asterisk?" You can read about my performance here or here

What was the last thing you read?

I listen to audiobooks in the studio. I just finished Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. Now, I'm halfway through 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.

What was the last exhibition you saw?

When I finished protesting artworks by misogynists at MoMA, I checked out the Stephen Shore photography show.

What motivates your practice?

The feeling that if I don't say it, no one else will.

How has your practice changed?

I don't have an answer to this question!

Who do you most admire?

Pretty much everyone who works hard for something they believe in.

Your favorite artwork made before your lifetime?

I don't have a single favorite artwork. Every artwork has something to teach us, whether good or bad. Two artists that have inspired me greatly and made work pre-my-birth are Tehching Hsieh and Adrian Piper.

Your favorite artwork made during your lifetime?

I am thrilled by the artwork that my friends make, because I understand it intimately and know where it's coming from.