Baseera Khan is a New York-based artist whose work shares an experience of exile and kinship shaped by economic, pop cultural, and political situations. She mixes consumerism with spirituality and treats decolonial histories, practices, and archives as geographies of the future. Khan has recently joined the MFA Art Practice faculty, and we asked her to introduce herself by responding to the AP Questionnaire.
What was the last thing you made?
I just made an installation at Sculpture Center called [Feat.] which is a part of the "In Practice: Another Echo" exhibition curated by Allie Tepper on view through April 2.
I am looking at karaoke as form and space to express and finds one’s identity through a set of songs that I consider to be my armor - finding oneself in a system of pop culture and art historical measurements and sources. If you get a chance to view the work I am expanding upon a set of Acoustic Blankets I created as sound suits during my imuslima show at Participant Inc, around this time last year. I feel blessed that I get to push my work further in these ways.
What was the last thing you read?
The last thing I read was...Gucci Mane - not gonna lie.
What was the last exhibition you saw?
What motivates your practice?
Finding ways to cope with and manage systems set up to work for you, like technology, but that in practice work against your best interests—whether this is technology, religion, culture, policy, or history. I use endurance performance, comedy, and music to find loopholes toward more tenable spaces.
How has your practice changed?
I used to be scared of using my body and voice, I was able to create narratives through painting and photography, I am more persistent about the presence of my collective self now - in performance and installation work my practice is what it needs to be at any given time using materials and mediums to support the ideas visually. I have also started to share what I write, for example in the forthcoming Belladonna Series, "Be Careful What you Wish," I did a reading recently at Pioneer Works of this text, and begin an artist residency there this Fall.
Who do you most admire?
My dad who past away October 01, 2014, 11:44AM, in Denton, TX. May he Rest In Peace.
Your favorite artwork made before your lifetime?
James Van Der Zee. I was able to create a performance at the Whitney Museum loosely based on this photographer last year through the Sessions projects. Van Der Zee worked to expose subjects and spaces indexing bodies who seem unfamiliar to the American imagination. I love this work for this kind of exposure. Also the photos are gorgeous.
Your favorite artwork made during your lifetime?
I'm not alone in saying: David Hammons. In particular his African American Flag posted on the Studio Museum building in 1990. This work has become quintessential to views of policy and adversity in our country right now. I also love how it transcends artistic objecthood, I can walk down the West Indian Day Parade and buy a mini version of his flag and the seller has never heard of David Hammons, this work is as powerful and ubiquitous as the Campbell's Soup Can.