Self-Portrait 150 Years Ago, 2017–19. 24k gold, epoxy, moisturizing face mask, rabbit, steel coat hanger, and Tang drink mix, 11.5 x 8.5 x 22.5 in. Photo: Wil Aballe Art Projects

Material Instincts: A Conversation with Daniel Giordano

Daniel Giordano works on the third floor of his family’s former coat factory in Newburgh, New York (across the Hudson River from Beacon), where he makes outlandishly beautiful sculpture from the most unlikely of materials. Very much aware of Modernism but not beholden to it, Giordano represents a new kind of creative thinking. His work is startling, and he negotiates issues of taste with nonchalance, allowing high culture to mix easily with the popular and the mundane. The amalgam might be regarded with suspicion, but the exuberance of Giordano’s work is compelling. Not only does it suggest a passionate affection for everyday life, it retains the quality of the experience and the process behind the construction. Throwing caution to the wind, Giordano creates a valid space for childhood memories, his understanding of recent art history, and his love of the American demotic. He is currently working toward a solo show at MASS MoCA, planned for March 2023.

Jonathan Goodman: You have played semi-professional tennis, studied accounting at Pace University, and received an MFA in sculpture from the University of Delaware. How have these disparate experiences influenced your work?
Daniel Giordano:
I’m retired from playing tennis competitively, but I still love it. My aggressiveness in the game works in tandem with the passion that infuses my sculpture. I love the physical attributes of tennis, and its instruments often find their way into my work. Balls, string, grommets, weighting tape, and Har-Tru American Red Clay (a court surface) find a new life as sculptural materials . . .

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