A Couple of Artists Q&A with Amir Guberstein and Jordan Nassar on art, love and togetherness.
We’re feeling those Valentine’s Day vibes. At Twyla, we have a few artists in our roster who are paired up as couples. (We wish we could take credit, but we can’t!) New York-based artists Amir Guberstein and Jordan Nassar answer seven questions about art and their relationship. Scroll down to read their sweet, funny, and telling exchange. When you’re done, check out our other couple Q&A.
1. How did you meet and what struck you about the other at first?
Amir: We were introduced by mutual friends back when we were both still living in Berlin. I was getting my MFA and Jordan was working in a gallery. He was wearing all black when I walked in one Saturday afternoon. He wasn’t standoffish, which in Berlin is a rare find. I guess that’s all it took—being nice. And, of course, having plenty in common, attraction, similar goals in life and a general sense of commonality.
Jordan: I must say that, at first, I thought Amir was just another Berlin party boy, which I was absolutely wrong about. At first, I noticed that he was cute and obviously worked out!
2. What's the best thing about being together with a fellow artist?
Amir: Sharing surplus materials.
Jordan: Also, mutually respecting the urge we both have to respond to the world via our work—that certain sensibility, maybe a sense of urgency, late nights in the studio and so on. That’s the kind of thing that can be hard for a non-artist to understand.
3. How are your artistic and creative processes similar or different?
Amir: Though we come from different places (Israel vs. New York), our family histories have a lot in common. Jordan is of Christian Palestinian descent and my family is Israeli, part Holocaust migrants part Ukranian. Those histories and overlaps are pretty present in our practice and the theory underlying it. I’ll leave it to Jordan to shed light on his work but mine deals with Israel and Palestine’s shifting land ownership.
Jordan: I would say, in contrast to Amir, that my work deals with Israel and Palestine’s shifting cultural identities, to put it very vaguely and big-picture. I do enjoy the fact that, while our work is so so different, we are addressing such a similar issue. I suppose it’s because Israel-Palestine is and has always been so central to both of our lives, and by marrying each other, we basically locked in our relationship to The Conflict.
4. What's your favorite work of art by your partner and why?
Amir: Untitled (Big Blue) from 2014 is favorite of mine. It’s a great example of how he translates historical sentiment into meticulous handwork.
Jordan: I really love the portrait of me he took while he was still in school in Germany (just kidding my hair is horrible)! I love, love, love his oil-on-canvas pieces, like the one in our bedroom, that he painted by hand.
What museum (anywhere in the world!) would you like to exhibit in together someday and why?
Amir: I think I would love to eventually wind up at Storm King Sculpture Park in upstate New York. The reason is that each work I make rests on a foundation of fragments put together. I’d like to expand and extract it and liberate it from its housing one day.
Jordan: Storm King is not an answer I was expecting, since neither of us make sculpture currently! Hmm, what museum would I like to exhibit at? MoMA. Aim high, right?
6. What's your greatest accomplishment or best memory together?
Amir: Jordan knows I’m not big on singular moments, but rather acknowledging the daily trickle of accomplishments and good memories.
Jordan: Just a couple months after getting together, I went with Amir to Israel for his father’s 60th birthday. I just thought it was so special and romantic to immediately introduce me to his home and entire family.
7. What do you think the secret sauce to a relationship is?
Amir: Don’t be a dick.
Jordan: Be chill and pay your part of the bills.