She’s a Talker

My thesis advisor, the wonderful Allen Frame, formally introduced me several months ago to the work of Neil Goldberg. I knew “She’s a Talker” (which much of the internet knows, and appreciates on a less, say, political level than perhaps the artist intended)

from my time as a Film/Video student at SAIC, but it took almost a decade for me to be exposed to Goldberg’s full catalogue (or, more accurately, find out who the awesome “men with their cats” video guy was, and see what else he could do). Much of Goldberg’s work is video based and largely silent, and it’s the sort of work that describes a deep love for and understanding of the medium – this is a man who made “Ten Minutes with X02180-A,” a single channel video of random strangers interacting with a “particularly fetching lilac bush” in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, for example, and my personal favorite, “Salad Bar, depicting intense close ups of people silently selecting food from salad bars. In his photographic work a similar love for the mundane (yet uncanny) is gloriously evident.

These stills from “Missing the Train” transcend their NYC-specific titles (each is labelled with the specific subway the subject has missed, at which station) and become, to the artist, something almost referential of an old master painting.

From the oddly poignant gesture of filling his deceased father’s Camry with brilliantly colored leaves to the simple act of capturing the iconic (yet commonplace) trucker’s arm while paused in his daily commute, Goldberg’s eye transforms small gestures and fleeting, subtle indicators of humanity into epic, funny, heartbreaking works of art.