It’s good to keep off balance or else you can go into a comfort zone

Bleecker Street at Elizabeth (I've Been Investigating The Dislocation Of Reality) ©MAIERMOUL
Bleecker Street at Elizabeth (I’ve Been Investigating The Dislocation Of Reality) ©MAIERMOUL

My whole practice is predicated on doubt.

For more than 30 years now, I’ve been investigating the dislocation of reality, and how that’s affected culture, and how that culture then affects us. I started with amusement parks, and mall culture and virtual reality, and then I moved into drugs, and then into the immersive reality of the Internet. I incorporate all of these worlds we can pop in and out of. Even though artists aren’t supposed to deal with escapism, I think escapism is responsible for a lot of the shape we’re in as a culture.

In the exhibition, the difference between the big pictures and the New York Times series is that with the latter, I can work fast. I can work out my anger over the news. I can talk back to it in my own way. I don’t think it’s effecting any meaningful political change. What I like is that they keep me off balance because each picture has to be dealt with in the particularities-the surrounding context and bylines. So that pushes me in directions I might not have gone. It’s good to keep off balance or else you can go into a comfort zone. That’s the death of an artist.

-Fred Tomaselli, interview Art in America, 2014