An interview of Regina Vater conducted 2004 February 23-25, by Cary Cordova, for the Archives of American Art, in her home in Austin, Texas.
Vater speaks of her childhood in Copacabana, Ipanema, south of Rio de Janeiro; her father's career as a physician; her Basque, Portuguese, and Jewish heritage; her early education including early experiences with Greek philosophy; her parents' reaction to her desire to be an artist; her great-grandfather's translation of Virgil and Homer into Portuguese; her study abroad in France in 1972; her move to New York in the mid-1970s; her motivations for various works of art, including the series Gentle Solitude, Three Chinese Monkeys, Luxo Lixo, Electronic Nature, The Knots, Tina America, and "O Que e Arte?"; her Guggenheim fellowship in 1981; the 1976 Whitney Biennial; her marriage to video installation artist Bill Lundberg; her move to Austin, Tex.; her work with the Franklin Furnace Gallery and Flue magazine; her involvement with "cinema verité"; making films with Ruth Escobar; her travels in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lima, Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia; her perception of the emotional differences between Latinos and Americans; her love of Brazilian culture; her own classification of her work and potential reasons for the lack of scholarship on her work; her activities as a curator including the 1984 show "Latin American Visual Thinking," at the Art Awareness Gallery in New York, N.Y.; difficulties with the Brazilian government in attempting to bring her film Green into that country; her love of poetry, especially concrete poetry; and the spirituality of her work. Vater also recalls Helio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Frank Schaeffer, Antonio Diaz, Carlos Vergara, Rubens Gerschman, Mario Schemberg, Lucy Lippard, Augustos de Campos, John Cage, Joseph Beuys, Quentin Fiore, Tomasso Trinino, Bill Lundberg [the artist's husband], Leo Castelli, Dore Ashton, Nam June Paik, Charlotte Moorman, Sophie Calle, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Ruth Escobar, Antonio Pitanga, Bobby Wilson, Sylvia Orozco, Bill Viola, Ana Mendieta, Martha Wilson, Catalina Parra, Liliana Porter, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Regina Vater (1943-) is a multimedia artist from Austin, Texas. Cary Cordova (1970-) is an art historian from Austin, Texas.
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs and 1 compact disc. Duration is 5 hr., 10 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
This interview is part of the series "Recuerdos Orales: Interviews of the Latino Art Community in Texas," supported by Federal funds for Latino programming, administered by the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives.
The digital preservation of this interview received Federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.