Recently I was looking at some art in a friend’s apartment when she and her husband shared with me their tradition of making a painting each year on their anniversary. One begins on the canvas and the other finishes. Neither of them is a painter by profession—she’s a poet, he’s an urban planner—but this is how they express themselves as a pair. I couldn’t stop looking at the canvases of different sizes and shapes that hung in their hallway; I was smitten with each as an act of intimacy and partnership.
I’ve always loved a good collaboration. Fischli and Weiss. Broad City’s Abbi and Ilana. The sister-brother duo of the Swedish electronic band, The Knife. David Bowie and Tony Visconti. David Bowie and many others: Queen, Carlos Alomar, Brian Eno, Iggy Pop, Mick Ronson, etc. Husband and wife creators of The Wonder Years, Neil Marlens and Carol Black. Brandy and Monica. Allora and Calzadilla. Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. I could go on.
I’m struck by the coupling of creative instincts, of what may be drawn from an artist when she is pushed by another’s thinking, the possibilities born when a particular sensibility sparks and build upon another’s. How do sister and brother, a relationship that for me is always on the brink of maddening, connect on a level that inspires creativity in tandem? How are lovers so in sync with each other as to together forge not only families but also whole exhibitions?